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Not so different 2876
"You think I am a monster, but you're no different from me, Drake. How many men have you killed? How many, just today?"

"We're not so different, you and I."

Two characters who seem radically different turn out to have more in common than they would like to believe.

As a good thing, the frequent resolution of an Enemy Mine or Locked in a Freezer plot: two enemies learn that there is more that unites them than divides them. The punch line to about 50% of plots in an Odd Couple or Odd Friendship series.

As a bad thing, the realization that our hero is really just a hair's breadth away from villainy. In these cases, it's almost always the villain who is the first to notice: our hero has him cornered and even seems to relish the prospect of finally ridding himself of his nemesis, and the villain deftly points out, "We're not so different after all." The hero realizes how close he is to crossing the line, and spares the villain (though every once in a great while, he'll decide that it's worth crossing the line, off the villain anyway, and then have several episodes of moral anguish over the darkness in his soul: see Shoot the Dog). Especially common when the villain is the hero's Evil Counterpart.

Also a bad thing when the bad guy points it out after the hero has bested him through questionable tactics. Often followed by the hero's hysterical protests along the lines of, "I'm not like you! I'll never be like you!" Occasionally followed by the hero's observation that they are different, because of some other aspect that the opponent overlooked or intentionally ignored. However, the hero should have some snappier comeback, like "You noticed?" or "That's why I can beat you," and worry about the differences later - or a comment that the dog that protects the flock is a very close relative of the wolf that ravages it. Then again, a simple "Shut UP, Hannibal" can work wonders. Another common rebuttal might be for the hero to acknowledge that they share some similarities, but are sufficiently different where it counts; not all similarities are equal.

When the villain who believes this also believes that the hero denies it because he is a Slave to PR, he often sets up What You Are in the Dark to get the hero to act like it. The failure rate for this approach is...high.

Sometimes goes hand-in-hand with a Double Aesop, You Could Have Used Your Powers for Good / Evil, We Can Rule Together, or He Who Fights Monsters. Can also be phrased, "You would have made a good thief / assassin / Klingon / Mandalorian / Dalek / Minbari / Troper/Wikipedian."

Compare Your Approval Fills Me with Shame, where the villain outright compliments the hero on his Dirty Business.

Contrast Sympathy for the Devil. Sometimes, the difference is only that the heroes are A Lighter Shade of Grey. Hitler Ate Sugar is when this trope becomes a logical fallacy based on the idea that sharing any similarity with someone 'evil', no matter how minor, makes the sharer just as evil. This trope also happens to be a staple of many a Break Them by Talking. Can also come with much Foe Yay.

Examples of Not So Different include:


Anime and Manga Edit

  • The Big O
  • Mazinger Z: Dr. Hell as a white-haired, Large Ham, Obviously Evil Mad Scientist built Humongous Mecha. So was Dr. Kabuto in the original manga. The difference between both was Hell wanted to Take Over the World for himself, whereas Kabuto suggested his grandson making just that. This was intentional, since Go Nagai intented to show Mazinger-Z was a machine, hence he could have just so easily used for bad instead of for good.
    • Great Mazinger: He is a powerful warrior and accomplished swordsman, proud of their skills, that wants to protect his kind, and is capable of showing admiration towards someone who can match his skills, even if that person is an enemy. Both Tetsuya Tsurugi and Ankoku Daishogun fit in that description. Really, the bigger difference between them is Tetsuya is human.
  • Mugen and Jin in Samurai Champloo. Pointed out by Fuu within her diary, much to both's displeasure. They're both morally ambiguous Blood Knights who differ only in personality. Although at first glance Jin appears to be the Standard Good Guy and Mugen appears to be the Token Evil Teammate, the series quickly establishes that Jin is also cold, irritable, and arrogant (esp. in regards to Mugen) despite his noble bearing and fine words, while by the second episode Mugen is already showing some heroic tendencies and concern for Fuu despite his claims of being a loner and hating everyone. Additionally, both Jin and Mugen enjoy the company of prostitutes, both Jin and Mugen love to fight and never back down from a challenge, both Jin and Mugen become better people as a result of Fuu's quest... the list goes on.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX: Yubel informs Amon during their duel that he's just like her -- they both destroy the ones they love.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! has several, but a notable one is in the DOMA arc. Raphael, one of Dartz's henchmen, is convinced that even the nicest people have darkness in their heart, and tries to prove this to Yami Yugi by making him play the Seal Of Orichalcos field spell card that feeds off of the darkness in people. He succeeds, and wins as a result, in one of the most painful and depressing moments in the series.
  • In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann during Simon's final fight against Lordgenome, Lordgenome says, "There was once a man who fought as you do, unaware that his actions would lead to the universe's destruction." He's talking about himself, back in the day when he and the other thousands of spiral warriors unsuccessfully waged war against the attacking Anti-Spirals (which the Dai-Gurren Brigade battle in the second story arc, only to succeed), stating that Simon and he are not so different in that respect.
    • The Anti-Spiral himself is also an example. He swears that his people have no Spiral Energy and that he's opposed to Spiral Energy and anything it represents, yet during the final battle he suffers a Villainous Breakdown and ends up becoming Hot-Blooded himself.
    • Early on, when Kamina first met Leeron, he got creeped out and drew a blade on him. After making a Heel Face Turn and being recruited into Team Dai-Gurren, Viral's reaction to Leeron was the exact same- although in the form of death threat from Gurren's cockpit.
  • Spike and Vicious have a moment like this during their standoff in the Cowboy Bebop episode, "Ballad of Fallen Angels":

 Vicious: You should see yourself. Do you have any idea what you look like right at this moment, Spike?

Spike: (with a savage grin on his face) What?

Vicious: A ravenous beast. The same blood runs through both of us. The blood of a beast that wanders, hunting for the blood of others.

Spike: I've bled all that kind of blood away.

Vicious: Then why are you still alive?!

    • The anime also parodies this trope with Andy, Spike's one-shot Foil whose similarities to the protagonist are so prominent as to be lampshaded repeatedly by the remaining cast. Naturally, the two hate each other's guts with a passion -- well, Spike hates Andy's guts. Andy can't even remember Spike's name for most of the episode, which only serves to infuriate the protagonist further.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Happens a few times in the manga/Brotherhood, and more is added in the first anime like with Bald now giving this speech. Lampshaded in "The Phantom Thief":

 Edward: It's funny. Every crook I meet wants to tell me how much I'm just like them.

    • When Edward confronts Shou Tucker over his use of his wife and daughter as subjects in his experiments, Tucker says Edward is just like him, because Edward used alchemy to try to bring his mother back.
    • Defied when Edward first fights Scar. Scar notes that both of them use their arms for destruction. Edward answers "Don't you start! We're nothing alike!"
    • It's never quite mentioned in the first anime series itself, but: An older brother sacrifices his right arm, so that his younger brother can live. Now, are we talking about Edward Elric, or Scar's older brother? The manga, and second series does bring this up by showing an action by Ed forcing Scar to have a flashback to his brother who did a similar thing to protect Scar. Scar is also a lot older in the manga/Brotherhood to emphasize the bond between brothers that they share.
    • Rare hero to villain instance: after Kimblee's chimera underlings are defeated and tied up, Alphonse asks them if they really have no family or anyone who cares about them. They respond that, being half-human monster-things, they can't exactly go home again. Al takes off his head to show them he isn't a normal human either, and if he can hope to get his body back, so can they, talking them into a Heel Face Turn.
    • Greed gives one of these speeches to Ed not too long before the final battle, explaining how even though what Ed is wanting to do is seen as noble and Greed's goals are seen as selfish, both of them are at the end of the day motivated by desire, and that "greed" doesn't necessarily have to be evil. Also, when Greed first fought Ed, Greed taunted Ed for being the kind of person who doesn't mind getting beat up but flips out when people he cares about get hurt, and ironically Greed turns out to be exactly the same in that respect.
  • In Outlaw Star, Harry MacDougal pulls one of these on Melfina, to whom he reveals to her that he's also an Artificial Human, with all the Cloning Blues that go with it.
  • Death Note: Both Light and L fall under this trope, engaging in roughly the same questionable activities in their cat-and-mouse game. For example, they both use criminals to test the power of the Death Note at least once during the story.
    • Lampshaded several times in the story, especially with L's true name: Lawliet, which is pronounced in Japanese like "low light."
    • Matsuda and Light are also Not So Different, as Matsuda admits to having occasionally thought that the world would be a better place if some people weren't in it. Later on, he starts to become seriously worried by how much he sees the world as having improved with Kira around, leading to something of a Get a Hold of Yourself, Man! (minus the hitting) moment on the part of the other policemen. Then you have Mello, another detective investigating Kira, whose actions in pursuit of Light are so dreadful that it's hard to say that he's any better than his foe. Really. He's a lot worse. So much that the police is willing to accept Kira's help to take him down.
    • Near, who, before officially taking on L's name, is shown to be just as questionable in his methods as his deceased predecessor, if not more so. It's hard to go into detail, but a hotly debated issue is the accuracy of Matsuda's theory that he controlled Mikami with the Death Note. Not helped at all by Word of God, which states that Near "cheats." But many have found him to be simply maligned by L-Fangirls who see him as a Replacement Scrappy
  • Monster: Dr. Gillen invokes this towards the incarcerated serial killers he interviews. Since his sins actually appear to amount to being an emotionally distant husband, and getting competitive as a student to the point of cheating on ONE test, this seems a bit of a stretch.
  • Negima turned to this during the school festival arc. Negi and his group going back in time by ten days to "fix" the future another traveler had created, he reasoned that it was no different than her going backwards to change her own future.
    • And again in the magical world when Tsukuyomi calls out Setsuna on her motivations for helping Negi.
    • Negi and Fate Averruncus are also not so different from one another. That's why they joined forces to save the Magical World.
  • The final battle of Zeta Gundam has a couple of speeches along these lines. Played straight in the case of Camille and Jerid, and played rather strangely in the case of Reccoa and Emma. Also, there is a really nice scene in a theater...
  • In the anime version of Prétear Fenrir even says at one point that Himeno is going to repeat her fate -- to which Himeno immediately objects. Not only Fenrir actually got her powers from being in the same position as Himeno, she turned evil because of her unrequited love for the same person Himeno is in love with.
  • Astro Boy gets to hear one of these speeches every time he tangles with Atlas or Blue Knight. In fact, in Blue Knight's case it actually worked for a while.
  • Late in Code Geass, Jeremiah Gottwald asks Sayoko Shinozaki if it's chivalry (the same code of loyalty that he's tried to live his life by) that makes her remain loyal to Lelouch, despite being Japanese herself, and she agrees that this is probably the reason. Considering they spent the vast majority of the series on opposing sides, and tried to kill each other the first time they crossed paths, it counts. Both are much beloved Ensemble Darkhorses so the idea of them being a pairing soon entered Fanon via Memetic Mutation based ENTIRELY on this small speech.
    • Much more important is the ending: When Lelouch and Nunnally confront one another, Nunnally reveals that she willingly worked with Schneizel in order to focus all the world's hatred on the WMD-flinging space fortress Damocles, so that people could finally unite and move towards peace. As we learn at the final episode's climax, Lelouch had the exact same plan - except that he made himself the object of hatred, and then allowed himself to be killed so humanity as a whole could move on.
    • As foils of one another, it's obvious to the audience that Lelouch and Suzaku are Not So Different, and there are a number of instances when they realize this in the show. One obvious example in R2 being during the meeting at the Kururugi shrine, when Suzaku sees through Lelouch's lies because he recognizes that, like him, Lelouch is pained by having to cover things up in order to make the world better. Because of Schniezel's interruption, it's still a few more episodes before they actually manage to reconcile.
  • Naruto and Gaara. Their arc (and their friendship) actually bases on them being Not So Different. This also happens in way too many fillers in the anime, particularly in the Temple of Fire filler with Sora. Not only did they initially start out as outcasts in their respective communities, but Sora even has part of the Nine-Tailed Fox's chakra within him. Also, in the Ultimate Ninja game, if you select Hinata's history mode, when you face Sakura she'll say that Hinata reminds her of how she used to be shy before meeting Ino, fighting you/Hinata for a good challenge, and offer encouragement and comfort if you/Hinata lose.
    • Pain also pulls this off in his fight with Naruto, pointing out that they both act out of their sense of justice and that they both desire peace, even if their methods are different.
    • In chapter 485, Naruto admits that he isn't too different from Sasuke, since he once harbored thoughts of revenge against the Leaf Village for his shabby treatment. He claims that if things had been a little different, their positions could have been switched.
    • In chapter 581 Kabuto says he and Sasuke are not so different because they both wish for the destruction of the Leaf Village. In response, Sasuke says "I'm not like you".
  • Jail Scaglietti of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha uses as the basis of his Break Them by Talking the assertion that Fate's adopting children who would become Child Soldiers that loved her makes her no different from Jail himself or her Evil Matriarch of a mother. Erio and Caro, the children in question, respond with a You Are Not Alone speech about how they're the ones who chose their path and that all Fate did was raise them to be strong-willed enough to do so, which gives Fate the strength to take Jail and his Numbers down in a Crowning Moment of Awesome.
    • In A's, during Zafira's third fight with Arf in Episode 7, he says that he will serve his mistress regardless of whether what he's doing is right. He then says "You're the same type of beast as me... can you say you're any different?" While he is a guardian beast and Arf is a familiar (which Arf herself says is a difference only in terminology), he has a point considering that Arf had helped Fate gather the Jewel Seeds in the first season. Arf is left unable to articulate a response.
    • Ironically, it turns out that Jail is right about himself and Fate being similar, just not in the ways he thinks: both are Artificial Humans who exceeded design expectations and took down their own creators. Too bad for Jail that he was Fate's creator.
  • Tetsunosuke and Suzu from Peacemaker Kurogane, although constantly pushing each other's buttons and being rivals, are shown to think to themselves that maybe they're not so different after all. At least until Suzu goes insane and obsessed with Tetsunosuke...
  • A variation: Habashira Rui and Hiruma have a moment in Eyeshield 21 where Habashira asks why their paths are so different when their methods are the same.
  • In One Piece, done inadvertently by Sanji when fighting Absalom: Not only they have a similar reaction to seeing a sleeping Nami in a wedding dress, but Sanji reveals that given invisibility powers, he would do little better than Absalom himself.
    • It becomes a bit unnerving just how similar Luffy and Blackbeard were when they first met.
  • Done with a positive intonation in Gaiking Legend of the Daiku Maryu. When Lee actually meets a momentarily-blinded Vestanuu, she lets him know she fights simply because she and the others of Darius believe that humanity attacked first and they're justified in defending themselves.
  • In Yu Yu Hakusho, Yusuke notices that he's some similarities with his opponent Jin, particularly enjoying fighting and a similar fighting style, and his acknowledging their similarities is slightly played up in the anime. After dying at Yusuke's hands, Toguro tells Genkai that Yusuke has the potential to become great, but might end up like him if Genkai doesn't make the right decisions.
    • Happened with Hiei and Mukuro as well, with Mukuro recruiting Hiei for the sole reason they they both grew up with terrible lives, and living in Makai, where it's a constant struggle for survival, that's saying something.
    • This is actually a major underlying theme in the story. Mainly in that demons are also Not So Different to humans. Demons are a designated evil and have no obligations to being good. Thus often making themselves out to be more evil. Well, at least in this show. But the series then introduces many humans who are just as evil if not worse than demons and many demons who have proven to be truly good hearted, at least deep down.
  • In SD Gundam Force, Sazabi tries this on Captain near the end of their fight, in an attempt to lure him to the dark side. Captain's response?

 Captain: If you want a friend... You'll have to do better than that!

  • Subverted in Code Breaker when a Chaotic Evil character says she was severely abused because of her powers, and a Chaotic Good character says that he too was abused. They go through a Defeat Means Friendship moment and then Chaotic Evil drops all the people she's frozen into a pit. It seems that Defeat has nothing on treating someone like a human being.
  • Baccano goes for a not quite good, but not quite bad thing in "Drugs and Dominoes", when Eve Genoard finally encounters Luck Gandor, the man who "killed" her brother after he killed three of Luck's friends, entirely unprovoked. Not only does she learn that he's not the Complete Monster she thought he would be but also that, given similar circumstances (namely, learning that Gustavo killed her father and other brother for his own personal gain), she would do the same without a second thought -- the only reason she didn't blow Gustavo's head off then and there was because of Luck's intervention.
    • In 1711, while agonizing at the possibility of having to kill the envious fellow alchemist Szilard to protect some dangerous knowledge, Maiza asks "Are he and I really so different?" (As it turned out, they were different enough that Szilard completely lost his marbles and started killing people for the knowledge even while Maiza was still thinking it over.)
  • In Full Metal Panic, Sousuke is subject to this kind of Break Them by Talking from Gauron in "The Second Raid". Gauron gets pissed off that Sousuke has been trying to fit in with normal people and have friends, saying that it's making him "weaker", and that it's a hopeless goal to have. He proceeds to go on about how they were a match made in heaven, and that Sousuke shouldn't deny it. It eventually ends with Sousuke shooting Gauron. Which was exactly what he was hoping for.
    • In the manga, Leonard Testarossa asks Chidori why she is more afraid of him than Sousuke, saying that Sousuke has killed just as many, if not more people than Leonard.
  • Urusei Yatsura. Ataru Moroboshi is a Casanova Wannabe and Unlucky Everydude, shunned by everyone, while his unwanted wife Lum is a Cute Monster Girl Magical Girlfriend who is immediately popular with all the other schoolkids. It's subtly hinted that part of the reason why Lum is attracted to Ataru (the other part being that she can recognize his deeply buried noble qualities) is because they're much the same; Lum is also sneaky, mischievous, bad-tempered and uninhibited. The main reason she comes off as a Tsundere in their relationship is because Ataru keeps chasing after other women rather than pay attention to her, which makes her angry and jealous, rather than being angered by his perversion.
    • Similarly, as much as Jariten berates Ataru for his perversity and gets angry when Ataru hints at Ten's own lustful thoughts, he's really no better than Ataru, as he's well aware that being a cute little baby makes him much more attractive to the girls then Ataru.
  • In Hellsing OVA 4, the Major pulls a double whammy. First he points out that if He allows the Major's evil to exist, then Iscariot's God must be mad, or evil. When told "You're Insane!" for showing off the slaughter he's caused, he points out, "You sure didn't have a problem fifty years ago!" He is talking to the Iscariot Organization.
    • Alucard also notes how similar he and the Major are, as they are both lovers of war who destroy their enemies and allies alike in pursuit of their mad ambitions. The big difference between them turns out to be that, when offered immortality on the verge of death, Alucard accepted while the Major adamantly refused.
    • It turns out that the two who were really Not So Different all along were, in fact, Alucard and Anderson, to the point that it actually brings Alucard to bloody tears . Though the two originally had a Red Oni, Blue Oni thing going on, Alucard appreciated him as his dearest enemy and tells him that if Anderson killed him, he would be honored. That doesn't stop him from going full force against Anderson to test him, though...which ends up backfiring hard when Anderson uses a Deadly Upgrade and essentially becomes a tool of God in order to finally kill Alucard. Alucard, who sold his soul to the devil in order to live as a vampire, cries and gets extremely pissed because he didn't want Anderson to become a monster like him. After all, a monster of God is still a monster.
  • In Revolutionary Girl Utena, Mikage (the villain of the second arc) points out that he and Utena are very similar. He can barely finish the sentence before she punches him.
  • Afro and Justice from Afro Samurai becomes a clear case of this over the course of the series. Justice is the reigning Big Bad, having killed Afro's father before his eyes when he was young boy. From that day on Afro led his life on the path of vengeance to kill Justice. While his reasonings for wanting to kill Justice is sound, Afro uses rather extreme measures to achieve his goals essentially making him a Villain Protagonist. By the end of it, the viewer comes to realize the only thing that really sets Afro apart from the Big Bad Justice is that Afro is simply the viewpoint character. It was even stated by Word of God that Justice had his own legitimate reasons for killing Afro's Father, making Justice a Designated Villain more than anything else.
  • Gunslinger Girl. Triela comes to think this of Distaff Counterpart Pinocchio (the young assassin she'd dedicated herself to killing) at the end of Il Teatrino. Flashbacks reveal that their backstories are remarkably similar -- both are victims of child abuse rescued by their surrogate fathers, and who judge their own worth solely by their ability to kill for that 'father'.
  • In Slayers, it is revealed that the only differences between Gods/Shinzoku and Demons/Mazoku is the type of emotions that feeds them and the magic that can be called upon from them (Shinzoku being HolyMagic and Mazoku being Black Magic.)
  • In Bakuman。, Nanamine, having revealed his true colors, tells the main characters, whom he's a fan of, that they should understand his lack of trust in editors and plan to get ahead by releasing his rejected one-shot online and consulting 50 people for advice by saying that they had to defy their editors and make waves in the past, and that "Tanto," a work that they were dissatisfied with enough to want to end, is the result of them listening to their editor.
  • In the Berserk manga, Puck chastises Guts - who at the time is just as vicious as the monsters he hunts for - for being so cruel to Vargas, a kind but revenge-driven man who wants the apostle who mutilated Vargas and forced him to watch as he ate his wife and children dead, saying that they weren't much different and should consider each other allies. Guts laughs it off, but later reconciles to himself that he and Vargas weren't so different after all, since he and Guts shared the same cruel fate when encountering apostles.
    • Another, very disturbing one is the result of Fridge Horror. Look what Femto did to Caska and Guts during the Eclipse, now look back at volume 3, where Guts is forcing young Theresia to watch as he brutally tortures her father (The aforementioned Count, who himself is quite the Tragic Villain) right in front of her. It causes me to shiver everytime I remember, because you can just see how close Guts is to turn into what Griffith had become!
    • Also appears in the non-canonical video game Sword of the Berserk: Guts' Rage, when it is revealed that both Guts and Balzac, the game's antagonist, had not-so-different tragic love stories.
  • In Bleach, making this connection with Kyoraku Shunsui is part of why Starrk loses, as he starts to assume too much about Kyoraku's methods. For his part, it's left somewhat ambiguous how far Kyoraku actually is like Starrk, as it's the Espada who gets the revealing monologue and flashbacks. Given that the similarities between the two is why Starrk would sooner see Kyoraku as a friend than an enemy, this is also a Tear Jerker.
  • Heaven Canceller in To Aru Majutsu no Index points out to Accelerator that he and Touma are not all that different in their determination to protect those they care about.
    • A few characters Lampshade Hanging how both sides of Science vs. Magic have similar methods and goals. For example, Academy City's goal of creating a Level 6 Esper through science is similar to the teachings of Gnosticism.
  • Black Lagoon Between Rock and Balalaika.
  • Leiji Matsumoto really loves this trope, but it's more obvious in Galaxy Express 999 (in fact, the series revolves around the concept that the only difference between humans and mechanized people is that the mechanized people feels less limited by their robotic bodies).
    • Played horribly straight in Uchuu Senkan Yamato. For most of the first season we are repeated that the Gamilas are evil for what they've done to Earth and Mankind, but when the Yamato is about to reach Iskandar we find out that the Gamilas did what they did because they had no other choice but to adapt Earth to them if they were to survive, and that included the extinction of Earth's original life forms. Kodai has to acknowledge the Not So Different angle after the battle to reach Iskandar has devastated Gamilas and destroyed its cities, killing billions, by the very actions of the Yamato crew.
  • Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water: When Jean and Hanson stop fighting over the blue water, they realize they're more mecha geeks and simultaneously Squee over the Nautilus. For the last seven episodes, these two have been antagonistic but thanks to Enemy Mine they become good friends.
  • An interesting variant occurs in Gundam Seed when Uzumi Nara Atha, leader of the neutral nation of Orb, notes that the warring factions of ZAFT and the Earth Forces, are not so different; both are genocidal regimes who are unwilling to compromise or seek a mediated solution. He draws particular paralells between their leaders, the Natural-hating Patrick Zala and Coordinator-bashing Muruta Azrael. Both men would go ballistic if they heard this.
  • In Mai-HiME, Natsuki realizes that she is Not So Different from her bitter enemy Nao when Nao reveals that her father was killed and her mother was rendered comatose in a robbery, leading her to trick men into soliciting her for Enjo Kosai and robbing them in revenge and for her to distrust anyone other than herself. Natsuki lost her mother at a young age and her father abandoned her, leading her to be similarly vengeful, as well as distrustful of others until she met Shizuru. As a result of this, Natsuki prevents Shizuru from finishing off Nao after destroying her Child, in spite of everything Nao did to her.
  • Inuyasha: Inuyasha and Sesshoumaru turn out to be this. They even follow the same Character Development path (although it takes Sesshoumaru longer and the anvils dropped on his head need to be more vicious to get him to pay attention). This is lampshaded a couple of times in the manga, usually Played for Laughs, such as when Toutousai deliberately provokes the pair into trying to kill each other then complains that their identical short tempers prove they're brothers.

Comic Books Edit

  • Xavier and Magneto of X-Men...
    • An interesting variant occurs during the "Acts of Vengeance" crossover, where Magneto decides to ignore the stated purpose and kill the Red Skull. Red Skull launches into a Not So Different speech, essentially taunting Magneto about the fact that his quest for mutant supremacy is quite similar to the Red Skull's own ideology. In the end Magneto spares his life but seals him inside an underground room filled with food and water.
    • Or Cyclops and Prof. X. After taking charge of the X-Men Scott has begun to keep secrets and make unilateral decisions, the same things that made him kick out Xavier.
    • Then there Emma Frost to X-23, who explains to the latter the reason she wants her to leave Xavier's Institute is because Emma sees in her the same capability to hurt (and kill) those close to her that she has as a young girl. However, Emma also points out one big difference, whereas she would do this willingly, X would likely have no choice in the matter due to her conditioning to a "trigger scent."
  • Also X-23 and Vampire Jubilee realize they have much in common, with X-23 having to struggle with finding herself and the trigger scent and Jubilee struggling to control her newfound blood lust. They get along really well though.
  • That he is Not So Different from his greatest enemies, especially The Joker, is repeatedly shown to be one of Batman's greatest fears. It's not an unfounded idea either; he may not be cruel or a murderer, but he's still not the sanest guy.
    • The Killing Joke has the Joker try to prove this to Batman in his own psychotically twisted way. In the end, after Batman proves that the Joker's biggest point, that everyone was just like him, false, he and Joker share a big metaphorical Not So Different moment, and end the book laughing maniacally together. One of the Joker's primary goals is to prove that everyone else is Not So Different from him. He tried it in The Killing Joke, and he tried it again near the end of Batman: No Man's Land when he shot Gordon's wife Sarah. The Dark Knight Saga also has the Joker trying to show the people of Gotham that deep down they're no better than he is. He fails with the people of Gotham, but succeeds in corrupting Harvey Dent. The Joker is driven to show people that all it takes for someone to go crazy is One Bad Day -- by giving them that Bad Day.
    • Mr. Zsasz gave Batman one of these speeches during the Knightfall crossover. His main point was that they both hunted people.
    • The whole point of Arkham Asylum a Serious House on Serious Earth is about questioning Batman's sanity and showing him being Not So Different than his villains.
    • Batman himself is also regularly used as the unsavoury person from whom the hero is not so different, when other heroes accuse their Bat-raised team members.
      • Oracle (Barbara Gordon): while Barbara is more emotionally stable than Bruce and is actually willing to let people get close to her without being compelled to push them away, she can be every bit the Manipulative Bastard Control Freak that he is. In an early Birds of Prey storyline, Huntress called out Barbara on her secret attempts to "fix" Huntress (Huntress took issue with being considered "broken") and left the team. As she left, she accused Barbara of turning out to be a manipulative jackass just like Batman.
      • Nightwing (Dick Grayson): as the leader of several groups of heroes, he's occasionally being judged as becoming way too much of a drill sergeant by less, ah, obsessive heroes. Happened a couple of times in The Titans and Outsiders.
      • Tim Drake: more prevalent in earlier years, when Tim's Crazy Prepared Properly Paranoid tactics hadn't come to be as accepted by his friends, and they tended to blame the fact that he could be distant, manipulative, and distrusting on Batman. Nowadays they know better.
      • Doesn't happen with as much regularity to the members of the Batfamily who would most rejoice in the comparison, Cassandra and Damian, both of whom want to become Batman.
  • Iron Man has been compared to Doctor Doom quite a bit. Especially since his behavior in Civil War. It really doesn't help when Doom discovers that the technology behind their Powered Armor is nearly identical.
  • The Punisher gets a lot of these, although he usually just shoots the guy before they get beyond "we're no--".
    • A quadriplegic mob boss goes on a rant about how the Punisher is a evil monster who is no better than her. Frank's response:
  • Here's a weird one: In the first issue of the new Azrael, Az is on the hunt for a serial killer. During the course of his investigation, he realizes the killer is targeting people who allowed a horrible crime to happen. When they finally confront each other, the Avenging Angel gives himself the Not So Different speech, and allows the killer to depart.
  • In the Archie Comics Sonic the Hedgehog comics, Scourge often brings this up to convince Sonic to be 'evil' like him. As he puts it, "All it takes is one bad day, and you'd be just like me." Throughout the series they compare themselves to one another (in one issue, Sonic says something along the lines of "My evil 'twin' conquered a planet on his own. What do you think will happen if I let loose?")
    • Promptly after the aforementioned Scourge quote, Sonic catches him off-guard with a counterattack, and while he's on his back, proceeds to throw the same thing right back at him, saying the real reason he hates Scourge is that if he only had a little kindness and decency, he'd be just like Sonic.
  • The Mist (Nash) from the 1990s Starman series gave this speech to Jack Knight, citing the fact that they were both carrying out the roles because of their fathers. Jack goes out of his way to prove her wrong by being nice to her father, the original Mist.
  • The Incredibles comic has this when Mirage and Elastigirl have to work together on a mission, Mirage bringing up the point that Helen ended up having to lie to her family about a new adventure as well as having been the ex-girlfriend of the supervillain they're going after.
  • In Blackest Night, Saint Walker tries to connect with Atrocitus by pointing out that he has lost his family as well, so he can understand his pain. However, Atrocitus retorts that Saint Walker lost his family in an accident, while Atrocitus' family was murdered.
  • dWARf!/Fleshmaster calls this between himself and Empowered, but she proves him wrong. Also, Sistah Spooky claims this to be true about her then-partner Mindf??k and Mindf??k's brother, a Complete Monster. (She just wanted to hurt Mindf??k.) What's really sad is that Sistah is right. Mindf??k had to psychically lobotomize herself in order to remove her less savory personality traits.
  • Deconstructed in this strip from Quino. For those who don't understand Spanish, it's about how a rich and a third world country woman comment on their food restrictions: While they both claim that they only eat cereals, the rich woman does so to keep her weight, while the poor woman does it because its the only thing left to eat, and they both complain of that their children eat a lot of "trash" like junk food in the rich woman's case and worms, infected water and rotten food in the third world woman's case.
  • In one classic Doctor Strange story, our hero finds out that the only way to defeat Shuma-Gorath is to become him. He destroys Shuma-Gorath and then kills himself.
  • Read this article about Norman Osborn and you'll see that he and Peter Parker are not so different.
  • Scott Pilgrim makes the realization that he's as much of an asshole as his greatest enemy, Gideon Graves. The only difference is that Scott wants to change and be a better person. This realization causes him to level up and gain a sword called The Power of Understanding which he uses to defeat Gideon.
  • Done across two different dimensions by Jonathan Hickman with Reed Richards, scientist, explorer and leader of Fantastic Four from Marvel Universe and his evil Ultimate Marvel counterpart. Compare the two speeches, both written by Hickman:

 Marvel Universe Reed Richards: So we'll begin here. With you and me. With a new focus for your ongoing and never-ending education. Our curriculum will start at survival and end at the edge of an eternal tomorrow. The rules are simple. I teach one class and it's pass or fail. Welcome to the Future Foundation.

Ultimate Marvel Reed Richards: And we'll begin here... with you and me. We're going to have a new focus for my ongoing and never-ending education. The experiment will start with survival and end on milennial tomorrow. My rules are simple. In the dome it's evolve or become extinct. Welcome children. Welcome to tomorrow. I'm sorry. Most of you are not going to make it.

  • Tony Stark once allowed an anti-war activist/documentarist named John Pillinger to interview him knowing the man was heavily biased against him. When Pillinger later asked him why Tony agreed to the interview, Tony responded with an Armor-Piercing Question that essentially asked if Pillinger's work has actually changed anything at all. When Pillinger admitted that he didn't know, Tony said that he didn't know if anything he has done has changed anything either. The two shake hands before parting, realizing that for all their differences they are both just trying to make the world a better place.


Fan Works Edit

 "But what do kids know of strain, anyway? They don't know a thing. They just play all the time. Even their work is play. Not like your work. Your work... is work. Isn't it?"

  • According to Word of God, A:TLAR will also display the similarities held between Deuteragonist Katara and Azula, as the original series did with its protagonists (Zuko and Aang).
  • In the Portal 2 fanfic Test Of Humanity, G La DOS uses this to torture Wheatley by telling them they're no different from one another.

  "Oh, but it's true. Face it, moron core, you are nothing but a cold, heartless, sadistic, unloving machine. Just like me. You may look human. You may sound human. You may act human. But that's only because I wanted to see how long a robot could live a lie. You're more like Hal than you want to admit. You're more like me than you want to a-"

  • In Kyon: Big Damn Hero Kyon realizes this and mentions it to Wataru as both want to protect their loved ones, in particular each one's sister.
  • In When There Was a Tomorrow Shepard and his crew can't help but see an uncomfortable number of parallels between The Illusive Man and Dr. Halsey, and several of his teammates seem to be losing respect for him for siding with her, maintaining loyalty only because Shepard thinks she's their only ticket home.
  • To Kill a Thief. Guess who?


Film Edit

  • Manhunter. Hannibal Lektor informs Will Graham of this.

 Lektor: You want the scent? Smell yourself.

  • Luke Skywalker of Star Wars gets his Not So Different moment when he cuts off his father's artificial hand. Luke sees that he has just repaid Vader's violence in kind, but also sees his own prosthetic hand as symbolizing the possibility that he's becoming like his father. This was foreshadowed earlier in The Empire Strikes Back, when Yoda sends Luke into a cave to be attacked by a masked warrior brandishing a lightsaber, looking much like Darth Vader. Luke quickly defeats the warrior, decapitating it. The warrior's mask falls off, and its face is exactly like Luke's. Yoda pointed out before Luke went in that the cave only contains what you take into it (i.e. it shows you yourself, and your weaknesses) in fact telling Luke he won't need his weapons. Luke completely ignored him, leading to that sequence.
  • Occurs twice in the Austin Powers trilogy, between Doctor Evil and Austin (who, amusingly enough, are both played by Mike Myers); first in the first film near the end, and later in the third film:

 Doctor Evil: Remember when I said 'We're not so different, you and I'?

Cuts back to the first film, with Austin aiming his gun at Doctor Evil.

Doctor Evil: We're not so different, you and I.

Flashback ends.

Doctor Evil: See? I did say that.

Austin: Yes, very nice. Now where's my father?

    • The third film also reveals that Doctor Evil and Austin are twins proving that they are Not So Different in more ways than either believed.
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark: Rival archaeologist Rene Belloq provides a definitive example of this trope when he taunts the protagonist, Indiana Jones.

 Belloq: You and I are very much alike. Archeology is our religion, yet we have both fallen from the pure faith. Our methods have not differed as much as you pretend. I am but a shadowy reflection of you. It would take only a nudge to make you like me. To push you out of the light.

 Bill Corbitt: The "we're not so different you and me" speech is copyright Ben Gazzara. It cannot be used without the express written consent of Ben Gazzara.

 Mr. Potter: Look at you. You used to be so cocky. You were going to go out and conquer the world. You once called me "a warped, frustrated, old man!" What are you but a warped, frustrated young man? A miserable little clerk crawling in here on your hands and knees and begging for help.

  • Inverted Trope in Galaxy Quest, where the villain forces the main character to explain how he's Not So Different from the villain... to an ally who hero-worships the main character. Once shown the "historical documents" Sarris is the only nonhuman character who actually realizes that he is dealing with actors who have been mistaken for real explorers. This implies that unlike the Thermians, his own race produces entertainment. This creates a bit of Fridge Horror when you realize the Big Bad can empathize with humans more than the kind, gentle Thermians.
  • The Man with the Golden Gun: Scaramanga does this with James Bond. Bond tells him that he is full of a certain bodily discharge.

  Bond: "There's a useful four letter word. And you're full of it. When I kill, it's on the direct orders of my government. And the men I kill are themselves killers."

  • The Kingdom is an interesting version, having a Not So Different ending. At the very end of the movie, it is revealed what the hero said in the beginning when whispering a reassurance to another member of his team "We're going to kill them all", referring the Diabolical Mastermind terrorists who executed an attack that killed at least one of their coworkers. Just after this revelation the film cuts to that terrorist's grandson, who heard his last words after the terrorist was fatally shot. Asked by his mother what his grandfather's last words were, the young boy replies that they were "Do not worry, my child. For the day shall come when we kill them all".
  • Spoofed in a deleted scene from Small Soldiers when the protagonist's slightly obnoxious neighbor and his family is being held hostage by sentient toys:

 Phil: You know, we're not so different you and I. I have been accused of being plastic all my life!

    • Also inverted:

 Major Chip Hazard: "You've got a lot of guts. Let's see what they look like!" (attacks Archer)

Archer: "They're wires and metal, the same as yours."

Major Chip Hazard: "We're nothing alike. You are programmed to lose."

  • In Falling Down, an odious Nazi shopkeeper tries to use a Not So Different speech with the insane vigilante protagonist.

 Nick: We're the same, you and me. We're the same, don't you see?

D-Fens: We are not the same. I'm an American and you're a sick asshole.

  • Reverend Mother in The Trouble With Angels says it's one of the reasons she decided at the last minute not to expel troublemaker Mary: both are strong willed, and Reverend Mother says she can't be less tolerant of Mary than the Church has been of her.
  • An exchange from the 2007 Transformers movie:

 Ironhide: Why are we fighting to save the humans? They are a primitive and violent race.

Optimus Prime: Were we so different?

    • Especially considering that Ironhide's personality summed-up in two words is "primitive and violent".
    • And the Transformers have been in a non-stop war for millions of years. I really don't think they've got room to talk.
  • This is a major theme in Heat, where despite Pacino being a cop and De Niro being a professional thief, the two realize that they're very similar people.
  • In Scanners, Cameron tells Revok that he's not so different from the now-dead mentor Paul Ruth, specifically to piss him off. Neither of them have much respect for Dr. Ruth, by this point.

 Revok: No. Not like him. Like REVOK! DARRYL REVOK!

Cameron: You sound exactly like him. It's as though he's been reincarnated in you.

  • In The Elephant Man, Bytes does this to Treves ("You think you're better than me? You wanted the freak to show to those doctor chums of yours!"), which really shakes him up later on.

 "I think Mr. Bytes and I are very much alike."

  • In David Lynch's Blue Velvet, insane drug-addicted rapist Frank hisses "you're like me" at the story's young hero Jeffrey Beaument.
  • In District 9, we have this scene when the main character, already in his alien form, is hiding in the nice alien's house. The nice alien kid likes the main character, because they're the same.
  • Batman uses a not-so-different Speech to try to reason with Catwoman near the end of Batman Returns in hopes of demonstrating that he understands her struggle with an alter ego that deliberately rejects hope for a happy life. Awareness that he is not so different from the Penguin as Batman and from Max Shreck as Bruce Wayne is also hinted at being his reason for taking his battles against them so personally.
  • Shinzon hits Picard with this repeatedly in Star Trek Nemesis. Seeing as he genetically is Picard, but with a vastly different life, it's understandable that the idea unsettles him something fierce. However, the movie is notable for how once he gets a handle it, Picard makes a game attempt to turn it around on Shinzon: Rather than stressing how far removed he is from villainy, he tries to show how Shinzon could cross the "not so different" gap for the better. It doesn't work. Shinzon's nuts.
  • Blithely dismissed in Red Dawn:

 Matt: "What's the difference, Jed? Tell me, what's the difference between us and them?"

Jed: "Because...WE LIVE HERE!" (shoots soldier)

  • In Zulu the Men of Harlech scene where the Welsh and the Zulus are singing their tribal Proud Warrior Race songs to each other before killing each other.
  • Inverted in Dogma, when Bethany, the Last Scion, unknowingly has a conversation with fallen angel Bartleby, whom she's been recruited by Heaven to fight against. They talk about each other's problems, the frustrations of life and how much they have in common, and it's only near the end of the conversation that Bartleby realizes who she is. The stage seems set for Bartleby (who, so far, has been a reasonable and sympathetic foil to his more villainous partner Loki) to learn that we're all in this together and everyone has the same problems. Instead, he's infuriated that humans are oblivious to being favored by God over the angels, and their conversation leads him to try to Put Them All Out of My Misery.
  • In the climax for Time Cop, when McComb, the corrupt politician, mentions that Max Walker's attempts at stopping McComb (who in the process of going back in time to ensure he won the Presidential elections, also arranged for the murder of Walker's wife) made him as bad as himself. Walker contradicts him, however, stating that he was actually attempting to set the timeline right.
  • The protagonist of the first Mad Max has a minor Heroic BSOD over the thought that he might be sliding into this trope, and/or its close relative He Who Fights Monsters. Then said monsters murder his wife and child, after which he's past caring about either trope.
  • Turned on it's head in Under Siege, when protagonist Ryback give the speech to antagonist Strannix.
  • In The Truman Show, after a heated and bitter on-air callback confrontation, both Sylvia and Cristof stroke Truman's image on the monitor, suggesting that for all their differences, they genuinely love and care about Truman in their separate ways.
  • Jordy, Jason and the Bread Squeezer in Mystery Team.
  • In Mean Girls, Janis wants revenge on Regina and is as manipulative and spiteful as Regina. It brings an interesting interpretation as Janis used to be the queen bee in her old school and Regina was the innocent friend (like Cady) who was slowly evolving.
  • X Men First Class, when Erik/Magento confronts the villain Sebastian Shaw at the end:

  Erik Lehnsherr: If you're in there, I'd like you to know that I agree with every word you said. We are the future. But unfortunately, you killed my mother.

    • Later when Xavier is shot and Erik/Magneto is speaking to him, the following conversation takes place:

 Erik Lehnsherr: Us turning on each other, it's what they want. I tried to warn you, Charles. I want you by my side. We're brothers, you and I. All of together, protecting each other. We want the same thing.

Charles Xavier: My friend. I'm sorry, but we do not.

    • In a good way, the American and Soviet sailors. Every scene with the American navy is almost immediately mirrored by the Soviet navy (or vice versa), showing that they had the same reaction or feelings. Both have a strong sense of honour and discipline and both are reluctant to shoot first and provoke World War III. The most obvious may be their It Has Been an Honor moment where Magneto fires their missiles back at them. The above similarities were displayed after they not-so-differently attempted to wipe out both mutant groups, including the one trying to help them, so it's perhaps not so good in the end.
  • Possibly the sole saving grace(if any) in Irish Jam is the love interest's father giving such a speech to his fellow Irishmen over their racism toward the Black main character (they expected an Irish-American to own their bar) given how their countrymen were treated in America up to JFK.
  • Averted in Circuitry Man where androids are genetically and biologically engineered lifeforms. The villain "Plughead" and the hero Danner are both androids. Plughead spends every moment trying to kill Danner and get back his Maguffin. In a virtual reality world it comes to a head when Danner is going to kill Plughead. Plughead realizes he's outmatched and tries to save himself with a "you're just like me". Danner looks like he's going to turn away when he responds with "Yeah, maybe just a little" and stabs Plughead through the heart
  • Zen Noir contains a non-villainous example. The story concerns a private detective investigating a death at a Buddhist temple. At one point the detective insists to the oldest monk that he is completely different from the monks and doesn't understand them at all. The monk interrupts to ask for the detective's fedora. Eventually the detective gives it to him, revealing that the detective is almost entirely bald under the hat. "Not so different" says the old monk with the shaved head... who then puts on the fedora and sets it at a stylish angle.
  • In the Apocalypse film series movie Tribulation, Franco Maccalusso's Digital Avatar tells Helen Hannah that, as Lucifer, he used to be God's chief angel until he realized he was just like God. Helen Hannah refutes it by saying God loved the world and died for His world while Lucifer (by extension of Maccalusso) wants people to die for him.
  • The Avengers shows similarities between Tony Stark and Loki. Both are very clever but have little idea how to fight beyond Attack! Attack! Attack!. Both are nacissistic, Deadpan Snarkers and prone to self-destructive behavior. Bitterly jealous of the blond nobler, teammate who his father liked better? The only real difference is that Tony learned the hard and bitter way to care for and rely upon others, while Loki did not. Tony himself says it best.

 Stark: And Loki, he's a full-tilt diva, he wants flowers, he wants parades, he wants a monument built to the sky with his name plastered-

(Beat)

Stark: Son of a bitch. (realizes Loki will use his Stark tower to summon the Chitauri.)


Literature Edit

  • Murtagh does this to Eragon at the end of the second book of the Inheritance Cycle. The only thing Eragon can come up with is along the lines of "I don't have scars on my back."
    • In the third book, Eragon occasionally notes how he needs to hold off on actions that would make him like Glabatorix. He doesn't really succeed, but nobody seems to notice this...
    • This is also Gallbatorix's favorite tactic.
  • Near the end of Terry Pratchett's Witches Abroad, Granny Weatherwax has a Not So Different moment with her sister, Lily, who has become a Knight Templar "good" witch and the de facto ruler of Genua. Granny expresses aloud the fact that she's felt the same urges to use her powers, but never gave in to them. Earlier, Nanny and Magrat had noticed Lily saying "If you don't have respect, you don't have anything", which is a more grammatically correct version of Granny's Catch Phrase "If you ain't got respect, you ain't got nothing." Granny gives the audience a hint of her potential evil side when Lily states that she was doing a needed duty, and Granny is extremely upset that Lily apparently didn't have any fun being evil.
    • Not only is she annoyed that Lily didn't have fun, she is annoyed that Lily is a pathetic villain (at least in her opinion). Throughout the novel, Granny and Nanny Ogg note at various points that if Granny turned evil she would be so good at it that every evil witch that had come before her would pale in comparison. Fortunately, she subscribes to witchy ethics, and feels that because her sister ran off to be evil, she "had to be the good one" to balance things out. With Granny Weatherwax 'balance' tends to be leaning in her favor.
    • Subverted in Small Gods, when Brutha momentarily raises his hand as if to slap Vorbis, who calmly turns his cheek to receive the blow. Brutha hesitates, then lowers his hand, and says "I'm not like you". This really makes Vorbis -- a Knight Templar who's been smugly regarding himself as a Messianic Archetype for years, and just got outclassed -- pissed off.
    • The good version occurs in I Shall Wear Midnight, when Tiffany learns that, while she was resenting the fact that fairy tale heroines were all blonde and blue-eyed, while brown-eyed brunettes were just milkmaids, and therefore deciding to be the witch, Leticia was resenting the fact that being blonde and blue-eyed made her a fairytale princess, and therefore she couldn't be a witch. It was even the same fairy-tale book.
  • In Good Omens, made quite clear that Heaven and Hell are Not So Different. Demons in the book are former angels after all, and have the same feathery wings, albeit somewhat better groomed.
  • In The Lord of the Rings, Sam wonders of the dead Southron soldier "whether he was really evil at heart, and what lies or threats had driven him on this march so long from his home, and whether he would have rather stayed there in peace."
    • A speech given to Faramir in film, but omitted from the theatrical movie, presumably because it was felt to be Too Soon after 9/11.
    • Even when the Free People’s (Elves, dwarves, hobbits, ents and good men) have We ARE Struggling Together! and the Orks, nazgul, trolls and evil men have an Enemy Civil War, both sides knew that any of their enemies will destroy them ruthlessly, Gorbag tell this to Shagrat in the second book and Frodo tells this to Sam in the third (see Meaningful Echo).
    • The Silmarillion and supporting materials mention that the Ainur Aule and Sauron were very similar in the beginning, both being interested in artifices and engineering and both being impatient that the Children of Iluvatar (Elves and Men) had not yet awoken. The difference is that when both were given a chance to repent, Aule did so and Sauron did not.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire gives us this gem, from Sandor Clegane to the Brotherhood Without Banners: "A Knight's a sword with a horse. The rest, the vows and the sacred oils and The Lady's favours, they're silk ribbons tied 'round the sword. Maybe the Sword's prettier with ribbons hanging of it, but it'll kill you just as dead. Well, bugger your ribbons, and shove your swords up your arses. I'm the same as you. The only difference is, I don't lie about what I am. So, kill me, but don't call me a murderer while you stand there telling each other your shit don't stink. You hear me?"
  • An uneasy dynamic between Harry Potter and Voldemort, made most explicit in the second book. They have similar appearances (at least with Voldemort's past self), abilities, passions, disregard for rules (although Harry's father James was also shown to have a similar disregard for the rules in his youth, so it may have also been from his father as well), and histories. As well, some of Voldemort's power was transferred to Harry at the beginning of the first book, and at the end of the fourth book, Voldemort transfers some of Harry's motherly protection to him.
    • This trope is very nearly mentioned by name in Deathly Hallows, when Harry finally sees all of the parallels between himself, Voldemort, and Severus Snape.
    • Justified, however, in that Harry has had a piece of Lord Voldemort's SOUL resident inside his body ever since he was a year old.
  • Nearly every Animorphs book explores this theme, with the Animorphs worrying that they are becoming too ruthless, too willing to do anything they have to in order to win their war. And they compare themselves to the Yeerks, who are paragons of ruthlessness. The characters face many morally ambiguous situations, which either dispel or (perhaps more often) confirm these doubts. Some Yeerk characters have made "not so different" arguments to the Animorphs, especially Karen/Aftran, Taylor, and the human villain David.
    • In "The Message" Cassie feels that it's wrong to morph a dolphin - an animal that's intelligent. She raises the question of how morphing is different then what the Yeerks do.

 "It will be strange morphing something so intelligent," Rachel said.

"Yes," I agreed. "Strange, and . . . wrong, somehow. I felt a twisting in my stomach. "How is doing this any different than what the Yeerks do?"

Rachel looked surprised. "Yeerks take over humans," she said. "Besides, they don't morph, they infest. We don't take over the actual animal, we just copy his DNA pattern, create a totally new animal, and then - "

"And then control the new animal," I said.

"It's not the same," Rachel insisted. But she looked troubled.

"It's something I'll have to think about," I said. "It's kind of been bothering me."

  • Fevre Dream, Damon Julian saying the "We are not so different" to Abner Marsh. Abner actually agrees with him, but still refuses to Julian's We Can Rule Together.
  • In the later books in A Series of Unfortunate Events, the Baudelaires are almost paralyzed a few times from the idea that by lying and wearing disguises everywhere, they're starting to become like Olaf and his gang. This particularly surfaces in The Grim Grotto, wherein they discover one of the gang - the Hook-Handed Man - is in fact the older brother of one of their newest friends, driven to villainy by his tragic past. He himself explains it:

 "People aren't either wicked or noble," the hook-handed man said. "They're like chef's salad, with good things and bad things chopped and mixed together in a vinaigrette of confusion and conflict."

    • As the Baudelaires slowly became more wary of their 'villainous' deeds over the course of the plot, Olaf and his associates were gradually either killed off or - especially in the case of Olaf himself, in his final moments - found to have a hidden 'human' side. Asked about the subject, the author (Daniel Handler) commented:

 "It's sad, isn't it? I think the Baudelaires are getting older, and one of the sad facts about getting older is that you've always thought of yourself and people you know as righteous and true and the people you dislike as evil. The older you get the more muddy that water becomes."

  • The Big Bad of The Thief of Always tries to pull this on the hero, pointing out that although the Big Bad was a soul-stealing monstrosity, the Hero remorselessly killed the Big Bad's minions, who weren't willfully evil, at least one of whom wasn't hostile, and who were thoroughly convincing and seemingly "real", despite actually being dust given life with illusion. The hero doesn't so much counter it as just shrug it off and continue trying to take down the Big Bad -- because, well, the Big Bad is a soul-stealing monstrosity who, despite his valid points, is not the least bit sympathetic and who absolutely has to be destroyed.
    • Hood is correct in this assessment; they've both stolen things that make a person what they are — things that should never be taken by anyone. Hood has stolen the souls of the children lured to his Holiday House, while Harvey has stolen the lives of Hood's illusory minions. The difference comes in why they did it — Harvey did it to lure out Hood so he could defeat him and save the children trapped there, while Hood has merely done it to extend his warped existence and feed his unholy hunger. The book is showing that the difference between heroism and villainy sometimes isn't in what you do, but why you do it. Not the sort of thing you tend to see in a children's book.
  • R A Salvatore's Drizzt Do'Urden is Not So Different from villain Artemis Entreri. This is actually pointed out by Drizzt's Love Interest Cattie-Brie, and as the series continues Artemis becomes more and more sympathetic; pointing this out to him may be a bad idea, however.
  • Ratha of The Book of the Named bit and crippled her cub, Thistle-chaser. Years later, Thistle-chaser comes back for revenge against Ratha. A small cub tries to defend her, and Thistle-chaser knocks it out of the way. Ratha tells Thistle-chaser that she is no different than herself, since Thistle-chaser got between her and her true target.
  • Jenny and Julian, from L. J. Smith's The Forbidden Game trilogy, could be said to fit this trope. There's a part of the seemingly-timid Jenny which likes danger and challenge, and a part of Julian that is surprisingly different from the others of his 'family,' and seems to long for things that don't fit his projected personality. If brought up in the same place, they might've been uncannily similar people.
  • Zhi Zhong in the Conqueror books occasionally catches himself admiring Genghis Khan's ambition and tactical prowess, comparing his enemy to himself. Jelaudin later ponders on how his father used tactics very similar to Genghis in his own wars.
  • Used as a theme in Neil Gaiman short story A Study In Emerald, which is a crossover between Sherlock Holmes and the Cthulhu Mythos. (And no, I'm not kidding). Here there is a detective who lives on Baker Street and is aided by his housemate/war veteran friend. Said detective investigates crimes, often at the behest of Inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard. Only at the very end of the story does it become increasingly clear that the detective is in fact Professor James Moriarty, (and that the war veteran is Moriarty's right hand man Colonel Sebastian Moran) while the criminals/rebels being hunted are Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson.
  • In Simon Spurrier's Warhammer 40000 Night Lords novel Lord of the Night, Mira realizes this about her and Saheel on her own. Indeed, reflecting on how similar their personalities were led her to consider that the Imperium had not treated her well. She still resisted in their climatic confrontation -- but not forever. Considering the Imperium, whether this is corrupting her is an open question.
  • In Red Dragon, deranged-but-brilliant serial killer Hannibal Lecter loves to tweak FBI profiler Will Graham with this idea whenever they interact, face-to-face or through mail. It isn't clear how much of it Lecter himself believes, but that disturbing knack he has for empathizing with and thinking like the psychopaths he chases is oh-so-much-fun to play with!
  • Warrior Cats: The majority of the plot for the second half of The New Prophecy is about how similar Brambleclaw is to Hawkfrost and how they are, in turn, like their father. Firestar has also been compared to Tigerstar (since they are both somewhat ambitious) and Scourge (Since they are unknowingly related, and the author's note at the beginning of Rise of Scourge talks about how the author wanted to take a character born with the same gifts as Firestar and give him a more negative upbringing).
  • In Jim Butcher's Dresden Files novel Death Masks, Ortega offers to turn Dresden into a vampire rather than kill him in a duel, claiming they are not so different. Dresden fishes until he establishes that Ortega preys on children and cites it as a difference.
    • At one point another villain, Nicodemus, actually says "We are not so very different, you and I..." to Harry. That said, Harry's response on how they aren't is pretty accurate.
    • In relation to his family this is Thomas' greatest fear. One short story shows exactly why, overexertion causes him to rape his enemy to death in order to quiet his Hunger.
  • In John le Carr? Smiley's People, the ostensibly retired British spy George Smiley finally gets a chance to beat the Soviet spymaster Karla, using the knowledge of a mentally ill daughter hidden in an institution in Switzerland against him. He succeeds, forcing Karla to defect and tell everything he knows to the Brits. But he gains no satisfaction in the end, because he feels he has finally gone over the line and become as ruthless as Karla to beat him.
  • In the X Wing Series, Kirtan Loor is left behind on Coruscant when the Empire leaves it, recently infected with a nasty plague, to the New Republic. He's instructed to make things difficult for the New Republic, and he does this with gusto, using agents and explosives to make people balance dying of the Krytos virus with being blown up at a health center. Vorru is sent to hunt him down, but instead of bringing him to justice he uses Loor to further his own ends, giving him targets to take out. One of them is a school. When Loor protests, Vorru mocks him. Loor is already preventing children from being treated; just because it's the Krytos virus and not him who is killing them makes no difference. Loor agrees because Vorru will kill him otherwise, but thinks, We are not as far apart as I would like to think, but neither are we as close as Vorru thinks.
  • In CS Lewis' The Screwtape Letters, Screwtape occasionally discusses this with a Perspective Flip: Because great villains need great virtues to be effective villains, there's Hell to pay if their Tempter accidentally has one end up in the Enemy's camp.
  • In C.S. Goto's Blood Ravens trilogy, Ahriman says this to Gabriel, who looks at the corpses and declares they are nothing alike because he searches for knowledge only in the Emperor's service.
  • Thursday Next, and her Evil Twin Thursday1-4 in First Amongst Sequels.

 Thursday: I'm going to erase you and, what's more, enjoy it.

Thursday1-4: Then I was wrong. We are alike.

 Simon: I have hated too. We are the same, he and I. "I'm sorry. You should not have suffered so."

  • Magic: The Gathering novels: the second book of the Invasion cycle, Planeshift, has Urza and Yawgmoth, Gerrard Capashen and Crovax, and Phyrxians and Metathran.
  • In John C. Wright's The Golden Transcendence, the Silent Oecume agents try this on Phaethon who sees through it. (They complain that AI's don't obey orders. Phaethon wonders why they didn't just fire them and hire new ones -- and knows it's because they enslaved them.) Both Phaethon and Helion have this reaction more than once to Atkins, which neither finds entirely pleasant, but they have to admit it's accurate.
  • In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "The Slithering Shadow", Thalis tries this on Conan: letting Thog wander and take people is not so different from Human Sacrifice. Since neither Conan's nor his companion Natala's people practice human sacrifice, they are not convinced.
  • In Allison Croggon's fantasy series The Books of Pellinor, the main character Mearad is constantly wondering whether she is good or evil at heart because of the similarities between her and the Big Bad, Sharma- The Nameless One.
  • The whole point of Animal Farm. In the story, the farm animals kick the humans out and take over their farm. They establish a set of rules to keep them from associating with humans. (among the rules were no sleeping in beds, no wearing clothes, no drinking, no walking on hind legs, etc.) Napoleon, a pig, is more concerned about the welfare of himself and his fellow pigs than the other animals. Over time, the pigs start indulging in more and more human luxuries, and mannerisms, all while continuing to exploit the other animals, until the famous end scene where Benjamin the donkey sees the pigs drinking and hanging out with men, and he's unable to tell the difference between the pigs and the men. The whole story was symbolism for how author George Orwell interpreted Communist Russia: the leaders just exploited the workers for their own gain, effectively making them the same as the aristocratic upper class communism sought to overthrow.
  • In The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara The Morgawr hits his former apprentice, the Isle Witch with this, noting that she is every bit as dark, twisted and ruthless as he is. The Isle Witch acknowledges his point, admitting the only difference between them is that she regrets what she is and would change it if she could, while The Morgawr regrets nothing.
  • In Aquasilva Trilogy, the main character Cathan and his arch enemy Sarhaddon end in the same side of the trench. They were both trying to avoid a bloody war, albeit with different motivations. Cathan wanted to destroy the Domain altogether and Sarhaddon, being a part of said Domain, fears that a new war would be the downfall for his organization. In the end, Sarhaddon was right.


Live Action TV Edit

  • Friends in "The One With the Morning After", in an effort to cover up his trail from Chloe (with whom he'd had an affair) to Rachel, Ross speaks with Chloe's co-worker, Issac, who is more than eager to help Ross.

 Ross: Listen, can you keep this information to yourself?

Issac: Aw, no problem dude. Y'know we got to look out for each other. We’re the same, you and me.

Ross: Actually, no, we’re not.

Issac: Yeah, we are.

Ross: No, we’re not.

Issac: Yeah, we are.

Ross: No, we’re not!!

Issac: Okay, we’re not.

Ross: Right.

Issac: But, we are.

Ross: Fine.

  • A subversion in Glee, where everyone in the glee club is subject to the rest of the members' criticism and bullying despite the fact that the club is meant to be a kind of refuge for the school's oddballs from the rest of the student body's harrasment.
    • Rachel gets the worst of it. Although she's completely obnoxious and egotistical, she's always trying to motivate the glee club to do better: For her own gain. But she does genuinely care about the well being of her club's members.

 Rachel: Can I ask you guys something?

Santana: Yes, you should move to Israel.

    • But also played straight - Kurt is bullied by homophobes, but is himself a biphobe.
  • In Heroes Sylar tries to prove this to Claire...using a score-card.
    • It Makes Sense in Context. Well, actually, not really. Sort of...
    • Almost every character on the show can be or has been compared to Sylar or another Big Bad in some way, shape, or form.
      • Sylar compared Matt to himself multiple times.
      • Peter and Sylar had this a few times as well. It usually ends with them punching each other's lights out.
      • Sylar and Angela Petrelli: he said that he now had a new level of evil to aspire to. No, really.
      • HGR is usually compared to a villain -- most often Sylar, but it depends on his current location on the Sliding Scale of Graytones. (We should have one of those.)
      • Hiro Nakamura and Adam Monroe/Takezo Kensei: See the Volume 5 episode which shows Hiro in a symbolic courtroom with his father (whom he failed to save from an unhappy end at the hands of Kensei himself) as the judge and Monroe/Takezo as the prosecutor and would-be executioner. Sylar, amusingly enough, was a witness.
      • Nathan by Sylar.
    • Claire and Elle as well, which has been noted by Word of God. They are both superhuman with fathers involved in the Company, but whereas Claire's father did everything to protect her and shield her from it, Elle's father raised her in it.
  • On Andromeda, whenever Dylan does something underhanded to accomplish his goals, a nearby Nietzschean will point out that he "would have made a good Nietzschean".
  • Recurring element of Lex's relationship with his father in Smallville.
    • A rare heroic variation takes place in the Season 10 episode "Homecoming" when Brainiac 5 (fresh from his Heel Face Turn), encourages Clark not to abandon his destiny as a hero:

 "The problem is Kal-El, you and I aren't very different. We were both created in one way or another by Jor-El, both intended to save civilizations, to bring peace to a brutal world. But neither was immune to corruption to darkness."

  • Supernatural:
    • Michael and Lucifer lecture Dean and Sam about this, who are their respective vessels. Michael tell Dean that he is dutifully obedient to his father (God), that he cast Lucifer down because he defied him, and that he practically raised his younger brother, taking care of him "in a way most people could never understand". Lucifer tells Sam that he loved and idolized his older brother and begged him to stand alongside him in refusing to bow down to humanity, but that Michael instead called him a "freak" and a "monster", casting him down because he was different and had a mind of his own.
    • Eve gives this speech about herself and their mother in "Mommy Dearest".
  • Done both ways in Gilmore Girls, even though it's an unusual trope for that genre. Paris and Rory move for the first time away from being rivals after a "good" Not So Different moment. Lorelai is occasionally unhinged after experiencing a "bad" Not So Different moment with her controlling mother.
  • The first two appearances of the Daleks in the new Doctor Who series are Chock Full O' Not So Different moments.
    • In "Dalek", the Metaltron initially points out that, being the last of their respective races, it and the Doctor are "the same." The Doctor's reaction starts out in the usual way, but then veers suddenly and shockingly into the Dark Side:

 The Doctor: We're not the same! I'm not--no. Wait. Maybe we are. You're right, yeah, okay. You've got a point. Because I know what to do. I know what should happen. I know what you deserve.

He moves toward the torture machine's control panel and gives the Dalek a big smile.

The Doctor: Exterminate!

    • Near the end of the episode, it again notes that "You would make a good Dalek," which this time has the usual effect of making the Doctor realize how close he's come to crossing the line.
    • In "The Parting of the Ways", the Emperor Dalek repeatedly taunts the Doctor by describing him as "The Great Exterminator", after the Doctor threatens to use a machine to destroy the Daleks along with all life on Earth. And then later, once Rose has absorbed the heart of the TARDIS and uses it to, well, exterminate the Daleks, the Emperor says, "I will not die!" Fully five years later, none other than Rassilon himself, the Lord President and very architect of Time Lord society, now turned into a vengeful Omnicidal Maniac, says the exact same thing. Under similar duress, too!
    • In "Journey's End", Davros notes how the Doctor turns his companions into weapons, and wonders how many have "died in his name" (cue flashback) before proclaiming he has shown the Doctor "himself".

 Davros: I made the Daleks, Doctor. You made this.

    • And The God Complex

 The Doctor: [The prison] drift through space. Snatches people with belief systems. It converts the peoples fate into food for the creature. Acording to the info-recorder, the program developed glitches, got stuck on the same setting.

Amy: What is it saying?

The Doctor: [Translating the Minatour] An ancient creature, drenched in the blood of the innocent. Drifting in space through an ever-shifting maze. Such a creature... Death would be a gift. [To the Minatour] Then accept it. And sleep well. [The Miatour grunts its final words, stopping the Doctor cold in his track] ... I wasn't talking about myself.

  • Parodied in the Red Dwarf episode "Angels and Demons" in which Cat and Rimmer refuse to believe they are like their sandal-wearing-hippie-mystic Good Twins while Lister insists that his Evil Twin is no part of him.

 High Rimmer: philosophy, poetry, music, and study. That is how we spend our time. Trying to expand our minds and unlock our full potential in the service of humankind.

Rimmer: What a pair of losers!

    • Also, in Red Dwarf, the last episode in season one called "Me2" involves Rimmer (a holographic projection) having a duplicate copy of himself. They are exactly alike (same disk), but they eventually get into intense arguments and claim the other one is mentally ill and ugly among other things, even dragging their mother into it. Lister finds this quite humourous.
    • Inverted in the novelization, where the new copy makes a point that they are different, despite coming from the same disc; namely, original Rimmer has changed since originally revived and became soft.
    • The episode "Epideme" has the Epideme virus point out that, in killing Lister to prolong his life, he's not so different from how Lister is willing to have a chicken killed to provide the food which will prolong his life. Lister's rebuttal is along the lines that as a human, he likes to think he has certain qualities that elevate him above poultry.
    • "Balance of Power" from Series 1 has Lister starting to act like Rimmer because Lister is trying to pass an exam to elevate him above Rimmer in the ranking system on board ship.

 Rimmer: You always become the thing you hate the most. Look at you Lister! Obnoxious, ruthless, single minded, insensitive... you're more like me than I am.

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: This comes up often between Buffy and Faith (and Buffy and Angelus, and Buffy and Dracula for that matter)...
    • And, one that's sadly never pointed out, Willow and Faith. Both had pretty shitty lives (although Faith's is implied to be far worse), gained new, amazing abilities which they began to abuse, causing problems. After a great trauma they turned evil, trying to kill Buffy and end the world (or, in Faith's case, do whatever the Mayor was trying to do). They were both brought down by someone showing compassion when they really didn't deserve it, leaving everyone they knew for a while and then returning in Season 7 with more control over themselves, but distrusted, both getting a new romantic interest that was hated by everyone. One wonders what they talked about during that car ride.
    • Spike is constantly telling Buffy this in Season 6, and while Buffy always angrily denies the idea it's clear she also secretly believes him, fueling her decision to have a torrid affair with Spike. However it turns out there are differences between them, and this is a major reason why their relationship never works.
  • ... and between Xena and Callisto, and Xena and Ares as well, of Xena: Warrior Princess.
  • The fourth season episode of The 4400 "No exit" shows several of the main characters locked up in the NTAC building, including Jordan Collier and Tom Baldwin. After it is revealed that the lockup is only the result of one of the NTAC agents having an ability due to a previous injection of promicin, and was created as a collective dream in order to promote cooperation between the Collier followers and NTAC, Collier and Baldwin are forced to work together and the ordeal convince both of them that there is common ground between them. However, Baldwin still keeps his stance against Collier and vows to catch him.
  • In one episode of Star Trek Voyager, "Scientific Method", one of the alien scientists using the ship's crew as guinea pigs tells Janeway that they are very similar in their need to protect their people. Needless to say, Janeway disagrees. In "Nothing Human", The Doctor creates a holographic program of famous Cardassian Doctor Crell Moset (with all of his memories and skills) to save B'Elanna's life. It turns out this doctor was a horrific war criminal. Regardless, The Doctor still uses him and his knowledge to save B'Elanna' life. Later he decided to erase the program, unable to justify keeping it. Leading to this exchange:

 Crell Moset: "You can erase my program Doctor, but you can never change the fact that you've already used some of my research. Where was your conscience when B'Elanna was dying on that table? Ethics, Morality, conscience; funny how they all go out the airlock when we need something. Are you and I really so different?"

The Doctor: "Computer, delete medical consultant program and all related files."

    • In the original series episode "Balance of Terror", the defeated Romulan Commander says that he and Kirk "are of a kind", just before blowing himself up.
    • In continuation of DS9's look at the Federation, one character begins to compare the federation with the borg as they (at least according to him) are both assimilating other cultures so they can grow and learn.
  • In American Gothic, one hero (The Chosen One, of sorts) has to tell another (his Spirit Advisor) that she is Not So Different: in "The Plague Sower", having gone too far in her desire for vengeance and justice, Merlyn uses her angelic powers to curse Trinity with an almost Biblical plague, only relenting when she is made to see how her either-or mentality and harsh, murderous methods make her no better than Buck.
  • Dr. Foreman and Dr. House -- Foreman eventually quits House's team to save himself from becoming like House, unaware that he already is like him and always has been. In season 4, he proves once and for all that it is irrevocable:

 Cuddy: You're House Lite now. The only administrator that will touch you is the one who hired House Classic. [indicates self]

  • While they are sometimes great guys, if a little arrogant and condescending (and having proved useless at stopping their cousins), the Tok'ra of Stargate SG-1 are occasionally accused of not being that different from the Goa'uld. Given that their progenitor was a good Goa'uld it would appear it is possible for Goa'uld to not be inherently evil, and some are far less grandiose and insane than the others. On the other side of things the Tok'ra are different as they take hosts only with permission and live in a symbiosis with those hosts. At least that's the idea. A couple of instances where a Tok'ra took a host unwillingly (although that was possibly a misunderstanding) and dominated their host and took action without their permission (deliberate) suggest there might be some truth to the accusations. Really the Tok'ra are like when a government claims it is introducing extraordinarily harsh measures which 'shall only very rarely be used' in that they still have the potential to Kick the Dog like the Goa'uld and sometimes do so. Despite this the Tok'ra get very upset if someone should make the comparison, as if someone should be able to tell the good snake parasites from the bad ones on sight, even though Goa'uld can fake being in true symbiosis with their hosts as well.
  • The Road Not Taken: Lt. Colonel Samantha Carter went into a disposable alternate universe. Since Anubis' attack on Earth, this alternate universe is a cruel unmasked world. Considering that the "original" universe's Stargate Program was a large black budget expense in a "republic", expect We Can Rule Together and Not So Different speeches. Samantha Carter saves alternate Area 51 from the Ori. There is no indication about the Character Alignment of the Ori in the disposable alternate universe. Then, Samantha Carter got home.
  • In the Stargate Atlantis episode "Common Ground", the newly-introduced Todd comments that Sheppard is more like a Wraith than he thinks, but it's strongly implied that this was meant to be a compliment.
    • Makes sense that it would be a compliment. The Wraith are villains mostly because they happened to evolve so that sentient life is their only food source. True, they don't make much effort to amend that, but most of their evil is necessary if they don't want to die out. Todd points this out later on, in fact. Even though they do kill, it's to survive. Also, Wraith are smarter than humans and have better technology. (Atlantis is Ancient, it doesn't count.) So what Todd is saying is probably either that Sheppard is good at surviving, smart for a human, or both. What he probably meant is that Sheppard is smart enough to figure out what's going to help him survive, and escape even if it means killing the guards.
    • The Wraith Michael also says this to Teyla and Ronon. Similarly he doesn't seem to be insulting them, just telling them the facts. Teyla insists they are nothing alike, but is unable to prove why. Ronon on the other hand seems to be aware of it, and hates Michael anyway.
  • Character Development and Backstory have combined to make this the case between Humanity and the Cylons in the new Battlestar Galactica Reimagined. Many of the Cylons have come to realize they are no better than humanity, and are in fact very human indeed. Humanity had slowly come around to the point where most of the main cast acknowledge the Cylons are people too, though the process on their end is hampered by the Cylons whole killed 20 billion people thing which makes it easier for people to deny the similarities- admittedly, they may have a point. This leads to a great deal of trouble when most of the main group are forced to acknowledge this trope, they needed to or they would both die essentially, but a great many cannot get past the aforementioned stumbling block for obvious reasons.
  • In the Thirty Rock episode "Generalissimo," Jack Donaghy confronts a Mexican soap-opera actor who's on-screen evil is biasing Jack's Puerto Rican girlfriend's grandmother against him. The actor, Hector Moreda, looks exactly like him (and is played by none other than Alec Baldwin). As they discuss the fate of El Generalissimo, the swarthy, mustachio'd Hector points out to Jack that "We're not so different, you and I".
  • The Twilight Zone probably had a lot of these considering it aired just after World War II and The Korean War during the Cold War. One featured a WW 2 Pacific Theater Sociopathic Soldier who was eager for Japanese blood, to the disgust of his battle-weary comrades. One of them points out that the enemy is just as sick of battle as they are (if not more so), but it takes the soldier becoming a Japanese soldier and having his bloodthirsty words parroted back to him for him to get it.
  • A great example of the "That's why I can beat you" outcome is a scene in Blood Ties where the cornered freaked-out vampire (abandoned by its sire) tells Henry that he too is a monster and Henry answers "But I am the monster who is coming out of this alive."
  • Malcolm in the Middle: Francis' wife Piama and his mother Lois hate each other, though they are almost exactly the same. Both are demanding, controlling and semi-abusive women, and Francis loves Piama with the same passion and single-minded devotion Hal has for Lois.
  • In Firefly, Mal and Simon are more alike than they seem. Both have a tender side though Mal's is buried far deeper. Both can be protective and loyal to the point of fanaticism. And both have an awesome Death Glare(which looks really cool when they are glaring at each other).
    • Its easy to make a case that part of the reason Mal allows Simon and River to stay on the ship at all is because of their similarities. Both Mal and Simon have causes they are willing to fight and die for (freedom in Mal's case, River in Simon's case) and both suffered heavy personal loss for those causes (Mal suffered a complete loss of his ideals and beliefs, while Simon lost his personal fortune and career). And at the end of Serenity, both Mal and Simon have traded their burdens, with Mal willing to fight and die to protect River, and Simon willing to fight and die for justice and to oppose the Alliance's reign.
  • On The Wire, Omar Little, professional drug-dealer-sticker-upper, is cross-examined in court by Amoral Attorney Maury Levy, who defends drug traffickers. When Levy accuses Omar of being a parasite on the illegal drug trade, Omar responds brilliantly:

 Levy: You are amoral. Are you not? You are feeding off the violence and the despair of the drug trade. You are stealing from those who themselves are stealing from the lifeblood of this city. You are a parasite who leaches off....

Omar: Just like you

Levy: Excuse me?

Omar: I got the shotgun. You got the briefcase. It's all in the game, right?

    • In a later scene though, Omar gets this handed to him by the Bunk, telling him that for all his affectations of being a man rebelling against a violent system (the drug lords) he's not very different than them (he mostly robs relatively unimportant teens and young men at gunpoint for money/drugs) and has made the area worse by stirring up a hornet's nest every-time he tries to raid a stash-house or get revenge on them.
  • One of the recurring themes of The Sarah Connor Chronicles is how the tactics of the human resistance have come to resemble those of SkyNet and its terminators as their battle gets more and more desperate. One of the most chilling scenes has Sarah repeating Kyle's warning from the first movie, about how the machines will never rest until their target is dead. Meanwhile, the events onscreen show Derek murdering Andy Goode in cold blood.
    • How much the machines are coming to resemble humans in their quest to infiltrate them. Sarah makes note of this at the end of another episode, saying that if machines ever learn to create art or appreciate emotion, then "they won't need to destroy us. They'll be us." While this is happening, we see Cameron doing ballet for no readily apparent reason, while Derek watches, unsure of what to think.
  • Comes up from time to time in Criminal Minds between unsubs and protagonists, reasonably - typically, any of the B.A.U. troubled any time it does are pointed to the fact that they couldn't very well do their job if they couldn't understand or let themselves think like the people they chase.
  • In the stellar 7th season of 24, both Jonas Hodges and Tony Almeida try to tell Jack Bauer that they're dastardly deeds are very similar to the things Jack has done in his career. That it's true makes it hit home harder.
  • Farscape has a few examples:
    • John and Crais have a moment together in the episode "Family Ties" where they acknowledge that they have come more or less full circle, with Crais in a cell and realizing how much damage he has done to the protagonists and finally admitting his true motivations for hunting them for so long. It doesn't hurt that they also look like the same species.
    • In the final episode, "Bad Timing", Scorpius forces John to acknowledge that they both use, manipulate, and betray each other, making John admit that he has become much more like Scorpius than he would like to admit. Scorpius has a bad habit of claiming that they both want the same thing and trying to play on John's sympathies to get his help throughout the last two seasons but John is (quite understandably) reticent to accept Scorpius's claims of similarity.
    • In a non-villainous example in the Season 3 episode "Wait For The Wheel". Zhaan (priestess and healer) says to Aeryn (former stormtrooper)

  Don't be afraid to understand yourself. We're not so different as you assume. Violent past, no faith in the future, and then a transformative experience aboard this very ship.

  • Wesley mentions this in regards to Lilah in Angel:

 We were fighting on opposite sides, but it was the same war.

    • In the Season 4 finale:

 Angel: Oh yeah, you eat people!

Jasmine: Like you never have?

  • Hilariously invoked on an episode of Todd and the Book of Pure Evil, when one bully's wish to enlarge his manhood results in him growing a giant, talking penis that can turn people to stone. When the Jerkass main character, Todd, confronts the monster penis, it says that they are both connected to the book, though it is merely a servant while Todd could be its master.

 Monster Penis: You and I, we are not so different.

Todd: Yeah? Well, I'm not a giant dick.

Monster Penis: Well, some might disagree with that, but that's beside the point.

  • Played with on Dexter, when FBI Agent Lundy notes how his psychological profile of the Trinity Killer describes himself as well. Not only is this an example of a heroic character comparing himself to a villain, Dexter (who himself relates to Trinity) is impressed as well.
  • Burns pulls this on MASH when Trapper and Hawkeye trick Burns into thinking Trapper is taking Burns' side in outing a homosexual patient. Burns says he and Trapper were a lot alike.
  • In Babylon 5 the meeting between "King Arthur" and Delenn in "A Late Delivery From Avalon".
    • It also happens in one episode when Bester and Garibaldi are forced to work together.
  • On May 9th, 2011's The Daily Show, Jon Stewart says that he and Osama Bin Laden, of all people, are Not So Different less than three minutes into the show.
  • In Community episode Basic Genealogy Pierce gives a speech to Jeff about them both trying to avoid loneliness.
  • On Home Improvement, a few moments in the later seasons showed that Jill is not so different from Tim. One recurring plotline involved Jill meddling in other people's business in an effort to solve their problems with disastrous results, which set up this exchange in one episode:

 Jill: "You know what my problem is, I am the kind of person who is so eager to fix things that I don't take my time and they just blow up in my face."

Randy: "You married the right guy."

  • Person of Interest has the variation where the good guy points out how he is not so much different from a bad guy. If he needed to murder a family, he would have made it look like murder-suicide the same way the hit man did.
  • Slightly played in Warehouse 13 between H.G. Wells and Myka after H.G. has tried to destroy the world

 H.G. "We became friends because we are alike in many ways"

Myka "Except I didn't want to destroy the world and kill everyone in it"

  • A One Foot in the Grave episode opens with Victor's Sitcom Arch Nemesis Patrick writing a long, vitriolic letter to the Reader's Digest Prize Draw, while his wife asks him if he realises who else they know does things like that. He doesn't. Over the course of the series, it becomes clear that Victor and Patrick have very similar attitudes to the irrational and bizarre things sent to try them. It's just that Patrick considers living next door to Victor to be one of those things.
  • In Psych, Alice Bundy, who attempted to murder all the members of a sorority after a hazing gone wrong resulted in her best friend Doreen's death invokes this to Shawn twice in one episode. In the first, Shawn is trying to sympathize with her, and is unable to even imagine what he would do if Gus ever died. At the end of the episode, she throws this back in Shawn's face, asking him to finish his earlier words and daring him to say that he would've done anything different had it been Gus instead of Doreen. He determinedly avoids the subject.
  • Morgana from Merlin has spent the last three seasons of the show fighting tooth and nail against the tyrannical King Uther. As of season four, would-be ally Queen Annis has told her: "I fear you're more like Uther than you realize."
  • Played up to the extreme in the series two finale of Sherlock. During Moriarty and Sherlock's final confrontation at the top of St. Bart's, Sherlock points out that he's more like Moriarty than anyone else in the world, though he admits to being on the "good side" rather than the "bad."

 Sherlock: "I may be on the side of the angels, but don't believe for one second that I am one of them.

  • Hawaii Five-O (the original) had a first season episode involving differences among people protesting for peace that so lived this trope it was even called "Not That Much Different."
  • Walter and Gus in Breaking Bad. To the point where Walter echoes several of Gus' lines over Season 4. The shot of Walt casually discarding his gun in the lab at the end of the season is also similar to the way Gus dropped the bloodied box cutter in the season premiere.


Music Edit

  • The Sonata Arctica song Abandoned, Pleased, Brainwashed, Exploited has the line "You aim for a common goal, you are one with your foe" repeated frequently as part of the chorus.
  • "Becoming The Bull" by Atreyu Back and forth the struggle consumes us all. / Trying to keep a level head. / In the most unsettling of times. / Today I'll become the bull. / There is so much to stake. / I stumble I lose my place. / Pride and arrogance surrounded by sin. / Destiny takes its hold. / Fight it or let it go. / But I choose how the day will end.
  • "Figure 0.9" by Linkin Park I took what I hated / and made it a part of me / now you've become a part of me / you'll always be right here / you've become a part of me / you'll always be my fear / I can't separate / myself from what I've done / giving up a part of me / I let myself become you
  • "Outside" by Staind I can see through you / see your True Colors / because inside your ugly / your ugly like me / I can see through you / see to the real you
  • Part of "Open Your Heart" says "You [Eggman] and I [Sonic] are the same in a way that we have our own styles that we won't change".
  • Country Music singer Miranda Lambert's song "Only Prettier" uses this trope. The song is told in the point of view of a Cool Loser talking to the Alpha Bitch: We might think a little differently/ But we got a lot in common you will see/We're just like you/Only prettier
  • "Minstrel In The Gallery" by Jethro Tull has the titular minstrel critiquing on the people in his audience only to encounter this trope: The minstrel in the gallery / looked down on the rabbit-run / and he threw away his looking glass / saw his face in everyone
  • Linkin Park also provides what COULD be considered a protagonist-to-"antagonist" version of this trope in "Numb":

  "And I know - I may end up failing too... / But I know... / That you were just like me with someone disappointed in you!"

  • Collin Raye's "Not That Different" explores the similarities between two lovers after the woman in the relationship complains that they're too different.
  • Ronnie Dunn, formerly of Brooks and Dunn, released a solo single titled "Bleed Red". The song is similar in storyline to the Collin Raye song above.
  • Vocaloid's Daughter of Revenge has Meiko disposing the evil princess who executed anyone who dared speak against her, but after figuring the Twin Switch with the princess's execution, she decides to continue the execution, essentially sentencing a comparatively innocent person to death, just so that the princess could feel the pain of losing everything she ever loved. She explicitly states that "even if I am called a heroine, I, too, am a Daughter of Evil".
  • The Blake Shelton-Trace Adkins duet "Hillbilly Bone" and Brantley Gilbert's "Country Must Be Country Wide" both have similar themes: namely, it breaks down the "us vs. them" mindset sometimes present in country music fanbases, and states that Southerners and the rest of the country are not so different.
  • Kira and Garek in Deep Space Nine as leaders of the Cardassian La Résistance. Both find that their past backgrounds make them similar to each other and effective in that role.


Tabletop Games Edit

  • In Hunter: The Vigil, the Loyalists of Thule are a group of monster hunters who strive to atone for the fact that some of their old ideals influenced the Third Reich, and that some of their people even participated in the Holocaust. They've maintained this as their sole and driving purpose for sixty years, and completely avoided any rise of Neo-Nazi sympathies within their ranks. How? By brutally murdering any member who so much as suggests that the group might not need to obsess over the whole Nazi thing quite so much.
  • In Magic: The Gathering, colors across from each other on the color wheel are philosophically opposed, but there are often surprising similarities. A card which made all creatures unblockable would be blue while a card that made all creatures unable to block would be red, despite those two having the same mechanical effect.
    • White and Black tend to be the most egregious examples. Both handle lifelink, both have a similar keyword pool, both deal in religion, albeit through different lenses. Needless to say, the most blatant mirror cards (White and Black Knight anyone?) tend to cross this pairing.
    • Black also has some interesting things in common with its other rival, Green. They're the most common places to find the abilities of Regeneration (recovering from lethal wounds) and Deathtouch (venom that can prove lethal even with a scratch).
    • Just so the other three enemy color pairs don't feel left out: Both blue and red mess around a lot with instants and sorceries, redirecting them, copying them, you name it. Both red and white work on the premise that the ideal tactic is to take a large army and give them a common goal, and tend to be aggressive. Blue and green are probably the least alike, but both like to take creatures and make them better - although blue changes them For Science! and green changes them as a form of natural evolution.


Theater Edit

  Cyrano (clapping him on the shoulder): Friend, I like you right well!...


Toys Edit

  • When Toa Matoro from Bionicle found himself forced to team up with Big Bad Makuta, Makuta was amused at the way Matoro got out of a certain situation: After using his Mask of Reanimation to use sea creature corpses to fight off Pridak's army of sharks, he was convinced he should have thrown away the mask and never used it. Makuta's response?

 Makuta: Why so quiet? We have seen death and destruction today with the promise of much more to come. We have seen heroes behaving like villains. You yourself have done things even I would be reluctant to do. It is a time for celebration.

Matoro: Shut up! I'm doing only what I have to do to save the life of Mata Nui, a life you put in jeopardy.

Makuta: Think what you like, little Toa, and try to avoid admitting to yourself that you are one bad day, one moment of cruelty, one fit of rage away from being me.

    • Boy, did Matoro prove him wrong in the end though.


Video Games Edit

 Pixy: You and I are opposite sides of the same coin. When we face each other, we can finally see our true selves. There may be a resemblance, but we'll never face the same direction.

  • The ending of Advance Wars: Dual Strike consists primarily of a Not So Different speech by the defeated Big Bad, complete with If You Kill Him You Will Be Just Like Him. The player is then given the choice of how to deal with the defeated and now helpless Big Bad.
    • Similarly in the Darker and Edgier Advance Wars: Days of Ruin, the defeated Admiral Greyfield tells Lin she'll be just as bad as him if she kills him, although in this case, he's just deliberately invoking the trope in a panicked and desperate (yet strangely Genre Savvy) attempt to save his own life. She admits that he's completely right, then shoots him anyway.
  • In Advance Wars 2, Mad Scientist Lash taunts Smart Girl Sonja by accusing Sonja of enjoying warfare just as much as she does.
  • In Mega Man Zero 4, Dr. Weil desperately bluffs Zero and tries to convince him that killing Weil would be stooping to his level of villainy. In an unorthodox move, Zero kills him anyway, making note at how he never considered himself a hero to begin with.
    • Though never conversed, a much sadder example involving White and Grey Morality exists with Zero and Harpuia, given how both are fighting for the same goal.
  • Done rather sadly in Mega Man 2: The Power Fighters, where Mega Man's solo ending had Dr. Wily pointing out Mega Man's senseless destruction of robots in the act of peace for humans and robots. This puts Mega Man in guilt long enough for Wily to escape by the time he is cheered up by his friends.
  • Inverted Trope in Mega Man Star Force, with Mega Man Geo-Omega (the protagonist, and a good guy) telling Harp Note that he is just like her, in an effort to get her to join forces with him. Not only does it work, but it is actually true as both of them have previously lost a parent.
  • Metal Gear has Big Boss, an antagonist whose ideology of perpetual, honorable warfare lingers on through his unkillable son, Liquid Snake. It all seems the usual completely bonkers nonsense, until you're put into his shoes at the start of the third game and get to see what he went through before he formed the Foxhound unit and started trying to create a military nation to leave soldiers free to do battle. He suffers through the same betrayals and manipulation that the series protagonist, Solid Snake, has gone through, and at the end is just as alienated and bitter. It leaves a potent, unstated message about how someone's past experiences don't control their future.
    • A clearer example is towards the end of the first Metal Gear Solid. Liquid is talking about bringing about his father's vision of a return to warfare. When Snake claims that he doesn't want that kind of a world, Liquid's response is a CMOA.

 Liquid: So why are you here then? Why do you continue to follow your orders while you superiors betray you? Why did you come here?

Snake: ...

Liquid: Well... I'll tell you then. You enjoy all the killing, that's why.

    • Psycho Mantis does give a similar statement to Solid Snake. Well, sort of. He states that he saw true evil, that being Solid Snake, and initially pegs him as being just as bad as Liquid Snake, before he corrects himself and reveals that Snake was actually worse than Liquid.

 Psycho Mantis: I've seen true evil. You, Snake. You're just like the Boss... no, you're worse.

    • A more direct use of this was shortly after Psycho Mantis revealed what he did to the village:

 Solid Snake: Are you saying you burned your village down to bury your past?

Psycho Mantis: I see that you have suffered the same trauma. (Mantis laughs feebly.) We are truly the same, you and I... The world is a more interesting place with people like you in it... I never agreed with the Boss's revolution. His dreams of world conquest do not interest me. I just wanted an excuse to kill as many people as I could.

 Mukade: Does your blood burn when you kill? Mine does.

Konoko: Stop it...

Mukade: We writhe inside as we are torn apart to make way for what we will become. Surrender to it... Let the bliss of oblivion free you all your doubts and fears!

Konoko: You're one of Muro's thugs, nothing more!

Mukade: (laughs) We shall see...

(Konoko beats the crap out of Mukade)

Konoko: (thinking) Griffin encouraged me not to look too deeply into my past. Seems like there was a lot he didn't want me to know... I could feel the ninja and I know he could feel me. Why? What am I becoming? Are we the same...? NO, I have nothing in common with him. (kills Mukade) (aloud) Nothing!

  • Sly Cooper has this exchange right before the boss fight with Panda King:

 Panda King: Why should you care if I bury a few worthless villages in snow? You are a thief, just like me.

Sly: No that's only half true. I am a thief- from a long line of master thieves. While you... You're just a frustrated fireworks artist turned homicidal pyromaniac.

    • In the third game, Big Bad Dr. M uses this with Bentley because they were/are the smart guys of their group, with Dr. M stating that Sly's talks of Friendship is just an inherent Cooper lie. Near the end, Dr. M grudgingly admits that Sly's and Bentley's friendship might be real after all.
  • Pretty much the first three parts of Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn was to show that the court of Crimea was Not So Different from Daein or even Begnion, which earlier was shown as to be Not So Different than Begnion.
  • He has a mask which is never removed, he is shrouded in mystery, needs to sneak around lest he get shredded, and punishes enemies who let him get behind them. Now which Team Fortress 2 class are we talking about, the Spy or the Pyro with a Backburner?
    • The RED and BLU Teams are also Not So Different. To the point that they're both identical aside from their colors.
  • In The Suffering, Horace compares himself to the protagonist Torque in several scenes, though he often encourages him against becoming too much like him:

 You had a wife, right? Didja love her? How far would you go to make sure she stayed yours? When you get mad, you feel you could kill a man, rip him apart with your bare hands. You ever feel that way? Maybe you're not like me, it's hard to say. Ya gotta fight it. Don't let this place do to you what it did to me.

  • In Grand Theft Auto IV, Niko is driven for revenge against the guy who sold out him and his friends for $1,000. When he finally confronts the guy, Darko Brevic, he is asked how much he charges to kill someone. It seems that Niko knows that Darko is right as it shows in his choices: if he pulls the trigger on the guy, he feels empty and unsettled; if he doesn't and lets Darko go, Niko still feels angry but also a little bit better at the same time, since Darko is in a very, very sorry state and will continue to live on in suffering.
    • Darko also resembles Niko very much physically. Pretty unsettling...
  • In Fallout 3, if you confront the murdering, inbred, cannibal residents of the town of Andale about their unsavory habits, their leader demands to know how many people you've killed. And throws 'judge not lest ye be judged' in your face, to boot.
    • He is a civilian with nice clothes. You are a guy with super powered armor and a personal laser minigun (no seriously). Unless you're playing an evil character, every kill you'd have made was defending yourself from someone or something that attacked you without provocation.
  • In Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, the final battle includes Raziel confronting Kain about raising his vampire lieutenants from the corpses of prominent Sarafan (vampire hunters):

 Raziel: The Sarafan were saviours, defending Nosgoth from the corruption that we represent! My eyes are open Kain... I find no nobility in the unlife you rudely forced on my unwilling corpse!

Kain: You may have uncovered your past, but you know nothing of it... You think the Sarafan were noble? altruistic? (laughs) Oh, don't be simple. Their agenda was the same as ours!

    • This is shown to be true in the ending of Soul Reaver 2, when it is shown that the Sarafan were controlled by Moebius, The Dragon of the series, and thus are bigoted and self-righteous. Raziel and his past, human self share this dialogue:

 Human Raziel: "You're a righteous fiend, aren't you?"

Wraith Raziel: "Apparently, I am."

 Raziel: We both know what you truly are. you're no better than the vampires you so despise. A voracious parasite, masking its hunger within shrouds of rightiousness!

  • In Warcraft 3, Mannoroth taunts Grom Hellscream, saying that they are the same. Grom responds by screaming defiance and charging forward to kill him.
    • In the World of Warcraft quest chain required to forge Shadowmourne, the Lich King includes this argument in his Break Them by Talking to you as you steal the souls of your fallen Scourge enemies. Darion Mograine, however, challenges you to kill without being consumed by its power.
    • In a Duskwood quest, when you learn that Stalvan Mistmantle killed his student and her lover when his feelings for her were not reciprocated, his brother Tobias is horrified at this and confronts the now undead Stalvan, who confirms this. Stalvan then suggests that Tobias is feeling what he did- enough rage to kill someone- and Tobias transforms into a Worgen and fights him alongside the player. After Stalvan is defeated, Tobias has a My God, What Have I Done? moment, but when you turn in the quest, he's calmed down and has concluded that it's up to him whether he truly becomes a monster.
  • In Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Complete Monster Lazaravic calls out Nathan Drake on all the mooks he's killed, saying that it makes Drake no different than he is. In context, the scene is a huge mashup of this trope, Moral Dissonance and Selective Condemnation.
    • Lazaravic also kills one of his own men in this scene to prove a point, and considers genocide to be a good way to build character, even exclaiming that Hitler was a great man because he had the strength to do what others would not.
  • In a non-villain example, in Deus Ex, Paul Denton mentions to the player the irony of how in order to defeat the one-worlders, the resistance forces, who support sovereignty and independence for the different peoples throughout the world, have to become a global organization.
  • When Arakune and Hakumen meet in the Arcade mode of Blaz Blue, the latter tells the former that they are quite similar down inside.
    • In Teach Me, Ms. Litchi!, Litchi notes that "[Kokonoe and Taokaka]'re more alike than they seem. There's only a thin line between genius and... Tao".
  • Lightning and Fang in Final Fantasy XIII have a 'not so different' moment, and the Datalog entry actually uses the phrase.
  • By the end of Mass Effect 2, Shepard and the Reapers are Not So Different. In the first game, Shepard and Sovereign are equally dismissive of the other. Shepard doesn't believe Sovereign is really "alive" -- it's just a machine that can be broken. Sovereign considers organic life to be an insignificant aberration in the universe. When the second game begins, Shepard is revived and rebuilt with cybernetic implants to repair his/her skeleton, skin reconstruction, and synthetic fluids to restart his/her organs and blood flow. Then in the endgame it's revealed that Reapers are also cyborgs in a way. New Reapers are created by pumping the liquefied organic material of millions into a mechanical Reaper superstructure. The new Reaper's form is based on the species used to create it. The partially grown Reaper encountered in the end is a Human Reaper, which makes it even more eerily similar to Shepard.
    • In the DLC, Lair of the Shadow Broker, the Spectre Tela Vasir, in her dying breath, will call Shepard out for condemning her for being a Shadow Broker hitman, when Shepard works for the terrorist organization Cerberus. She'll even point out that Cerberus did experiments on Sole Survivor Shepard's own squad.
    • Shepard and the Illusive Man are not so different; depending on certain decisions, Shepard is perfectly willing to let innocent people die to achieve his/her goals, and in The Arrival DLC the player has no choice but to sacrifice 300,000 innocent people to slow down the Reapers' invasion of the Milky Way. Couple this with the "Bring Down The Sky" DLC from the first game, where Balak asks "Who's the real terrorist here?" if you decide to capture him at the expense of the hostages he'd taken, makes the conclusion of Arrival a lot more depressing.
    • There's also Nassana Dantius, an amoral asari politician who's been targeted by Thane Krios for assassination. To secure her building, she hired dozens of Eclipse mercenaries and, when things got desperate, ordered the many salarian construction workers captured or killed, resulting in a massacre of unarmed workers who posed no threat. When Shepard finally makes it to Dantius' office, the asari bitterly claims that the Commander has killed countless people and is no better than her. A Paragon dialogue option from Shepard can refute this by telling Dantius that she kills people because she thinks they are beneath her, whereas Shepard kills people who give him/her no choice.
  • You'll get this at times in Iji if you kill too many enemies throughout the game.
  • In Dirge of Cerberus when Vincent impales Azul the Cerulean on his own cannon by hurling it through his torso, Azul comments that Vincent is an even more of a beast than he is.
    • Actually, Vincent was possessed by Chaos when during that cutscene, so it's somewhat averted.
  • Big Bad Eve in Parasite Eve claims that Aya, the main character, is no different from her and that over time, her powers will help her evolve and grow stronger just like her. She also mixes this up with a few We Can Rule Together speeches, but Aya isn't buying any of it.
  • Explored during the Elder Wars of Lusternia. The Elder Gods face off against the Soulless Ones, and a splinter faction of Elders decides to employ the Soulless' own tactics against them: namely, eating their fallen foes to imbibe their strength. They become addicted to the rush of power and begin devouring other Elders, too. By the time of the game itself, one of these cannibalistic Elder Gods - Morgfyre - is indistinguishable from a Soulless One himself.
  • This is one of the main points in the plot of Tales of Symphonia. The hero of the game, Lloyd Irving, is outright compared to the Big Bad Mithos more than once. Mithos' final words drive the point home too. "Farewell, my shadow, you who stand at the end of the path I chose not to follow. I wanted my own world, so I don't regret my choice. I would make the same choice all over again. I will continue to choose this path!" It really makes you think on how close Lloyd would have come to being like Mithos if Colette had actually become Martel's vessel in the end.
    • Also in the same game, Zelos and Colette, while they're both considered protagonists, are often compared to each other due them both having status as Chosen, but are considered to be quite different from each other: Colette is a cheery if clumsy girl who always tries to help other people and look on the positive side of things, while Zelos is a loudmouthed, perverted cynic who isn't afraid to be blunt. However if you really look at their situations you see that they both try to hide their pains and insecurities beneath their smiles and pretend like nothing's wrong, which in both cases lead to negative consequences.
  • The main plot of Nie R loves this trope too. Particularly when you find out that The Dark Lord you've been trying to find so you can rescue Nier's daughter or sister (depending on the game version) Yonah turns out to be the "real" Nier. The character you've been playing the whole game? Just a fake made to house the real Nier's soul. And both of them have the same goal - saving their daughter/sister Yonah.
  • In Radiant Historia, Stocke realizes that he likely would have turned out like Heiss if he had not found friends to give him hope in the future.
  • Malefor starts his Break Them by Talking like this at the end of The Legend of Spyro Trilogy trilogy. Given he's the original Purple Dragon and is heavily implied to be a Fallen Hero, his argument may be valid.

  Malefor: Such determination to get here. It seems we share other qualities besides our color.

  • The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim has a very subtle one when the player is talking to Paarthurnax, a dragon who has overcome his inherent nature to kill and conquer and destroy through thousands of years of meditation and self control. He points out that all dragons have an inherent desire to be essentially destructive bastards - and then comments that you, the player, being Dragonborn and thus possessing the soul of a dragon, likely have the same urges to kill and steal and destroy, just like all the dragons you've been killing along the way.
    • From the same game, there's also the songs "Age of Aggression" and "Age of Oppression", sung by bards in pro-Imperial or pro-Stormcloak holds, respectively. The song tunes are identical and both songs have parts where the lyrics are the same.
  • In Asura's Wrath, Augus claims this is true with him and Asura during the fight against him. Defied by Asura, they couldn't be more different since Asura is actually fighting for someone he loves rather than for its own sake and that is what gives him the strength to defeat Augus in the end.
  • Used as a Crowning Moment of Funny in Star Wars Bounty Hunter. When Jango Fett and his archnemesis Montross face down for the final time, Montross says "We are the same, you and I," to which Fett replies "Now you're just being mean."
  • Big Bad Natla in the Anniversary edition of Tomb Raider pulls this trope on Lara Croft during the final boss fight. She tries to mess with Lara's mind saying how Lara is obsessive and selfish like she is and that trying to save the world is just an attempt to redeem herself and that in reality, her heart is as black as Natla's. Lara doesn't fall for it and proceeds to kick her ass.


Visual Novels Edit

  • Damon Gant accuses Miles Edgeworth of this in Ace Attorney. He says that they both have the same hatred of crime, and that eventually, Edgeworth will cross the line from Dark Is Not Evil to Knight Templar. Edgeworth responds to this with a few months of soul searching, and then comes back as possibly even more a good guy than Phoenix Wright!
    • Justice For All hints at this between Phoenix and Franziska von Karma. Acro, in the third case, remarks that the two are remarkably similar, that they both see the world through the same rose-colored glasses. Phoenix vilifies her for manipulating evidence in her favor, telling witnesses not to discuss things that don't make sense with her theories. However, Phoenix willingly defends a client he knows to be guilty, even accusing an innocent woman and using the evidence against her, albeit under threat of his friend Maya being killed.
    • In Investigations 2, Franziska comes to sympathize with Yumihiko after seeing how terribly his father is treating him, and in the ending, expresses concern for him, as he will have to live up to his father just like she will have to live up to hers.
  • This pops up a lot in Fate/stay night and the prequel Fate/Zero as well. To name just a few examples;
    • Fate/Zero's Kiritsugu and Saber get along very badly despite being Master and Servant, and there is repeated emphasis on how much they're at odds because of their differences, but they are fundamentally very similar deep down; Kiritsugu is very much Saber's Shadow Archetype. Kotomine and Kirisugu subvert and then invert this; Kotomine initally thought Kiritsugu, who was an enemy master that has nothing in common with him at first glance, was the same type of person as him, but it turned out that he was his Foil in all respects.
    • Fate/stay night, taking place ten years later, has the main character Shirou and Big Bad Kotomine again, playing it perfectly straight this time, and with the character in question being Shirou's Shadow Archetype / Evil Counterpart to boot. And, as if to complete the cycle, Saber and Shirou are this too. Although they get along for most of the series, there's conflict between them early on in the series which is caused by this.
  • A few cases come up in Katawa Shoujo
    • Hisao notes that, like Hanako, he has allowed his disability to define him, preventing him from opening up to others or thinking about his future.
    • Shizune and Lilly, may be at odds over how to run the Student Council, but at heart, Lilly is almost as competitive as Shizune. This is particularly evident in the fishing scene in Shizune's route, and when after they reconcile in Lilly's route, Shizune lightheartedly challenges Lilly to do better at her new school, a challenge Lilly accepts.

 Hisao: Competitive until the last. Maybe Lilly and Shizune aren't so different, after all.


Web Comics Edit

 Gil: ...Oh. Oh, no. This must be how my father feels -- all the time!

  Tarvek: I'm guessing you might be just as much of a sneaky, manipulative weasel as me. Probably even for a lot of the same reasons.

 Torg: We're her family, Riff. This is her home now. She's not going to destroy it anymore than you would ... with your various nuclear isotopes and biological pathogens ... OK, bad example. Actually, it's not! Riff, with all your dangerous scientific experiments, I put it to you that Aylee is less likely to threaten humanity than you!

 Lightbringer: It's the same damn speech I keep hearing. "You're just like me." "We both want the same thing." 'why are you fighting against me?" The Gentleman told me it. The Smiling Man said he used to be just like me. Werres told me we fought the same fight. And now Darkbringer is using the tired old bit.(...) I'm sick of evil people telling me I'm like them.

    • Also, one interesting example was when Police Chief Eddie Crane tried to arrest Bruiser, former cop turned into Vigilante Man after death of his kids. Bruiser said he knows what Crane did to murderers of his own family, making Crane left him go.
  • Sarah from Weregeek recently met a pack of non-geek girls and proceeded to make a rather disturbing discovery.
  • In Goblins Forgath tries to invoke this to persuade his specist partner Minmax that their new snake-girl companion is in fact a perfectly normal and sound being and thus shouldn't be slaughtered for XP as Minmax is eager to do. Hilarity ensues.
  • In Slightly Damned Angels and Demons appear to superficially follow their associated tropes of good and evil, but the more that is learned about the angels, their magic, talismans and how they interact with demons, the more doubt is thrown onto the binary assumption.
  • Sinfest had a lot of such moments between Slick and Monique.
    • And gives us a strange variation in this strip, where Fuchsia, formerly a Depraved Bisexual succubus and Torture Technician for The Devil, in the midst of a Villainous Crush and a High Heel Face Turn, listens to her love interest, Criminy, relate a story that could very easily be about Sinfest's main character, Slick, and comes to realize that she has a lot in common with the Damned Souls that she formerly took delight in tormenting. Her response, in a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming, is to sit with the Damned and hold their hands, offering them comfort.
    • Seymour was rather distressed when he "met the enemy".
  • In Drowtales, despite being a Superior Species the drow in particular are not actually that different from the goblin races. Just take a look at how the drow consider the goblin races. Now take a closer look at the drow. Ironic that the ones who consider halmes akin to locusts almost destroyed their own planet for mana-based life a millenia ago, isn't it?
  • In Advance Wars, there are three main missions in which Black Hole calls this; the most significant is Sonia's A Mirror Darkly, in which she and Lash play a game of chess (with artillery and neotanks, natch), but both of Grit's missions in the Blue Moon campaign section show Lash and Grit invoking this trope, too.
  • Kirby and King Dedede in Brawl in the Family. It's King Dedede who's called out on it, stating that for all his faults Kirby still has the differences that make him good.
  • El Goonish Shive as a throwaway gag pointed out the important difference between traditional corsets and modern faux-corsets. Though it's still not clear whether a good exorcism can fix this.
  • Homestuck: Jade is so frustrated with her newly resurrected dream self that she begins verbally and physically beating her. Then Karkat comes pestering with a "friendly" reminder that this behavior isn't unlike his own...which she had gotten quite pissed off at him about not much earlier.
    • Vriska attempts this with Terezi, but given that Vriska is arguably a Complete Monster who has greviously injured other trolls just for fun while Terezi only ever murdered 'bad' trolls or to seek revenge, and given that Alternia is a Crapsack World anyway, it falls flat.

  AG: Cause even though you got all these highfalutin morals and fancy reserv8tions, you know as well as me that a killer is a killer is a killer!

 Reporter: Mr. Annihilator, how would you reconcile the fact that Professional Wrestling is fake while political office is very, very real?


Web Original Edit

  "You are wondering why I have given you this task. Why I trust you. My reasoning is not so difficult to understand, after all, we are similar. Your father is pushing you into a life you don't want, and my father... well... Let's just say I sympathize."

  • In Greek Ninja Sasha and Daichi are like this. After their fight, she tells him:

  'You have no purpose. Life is mundane to you. Each day is just another day you have to get through with. You are surrounded by nothing that’s really important to you. So why should you fight to protect it? I understand cause that’s the way I was.'

  • Dragon Age Redemption gives us the lead character Tallis and her first ally, Cairn, who serve two opposing masters. Over the story, it is revealed that the two of them actually have very similar moral theologies. Both of them have defied their superiors and went renegade to deliver their own brand of justice. Tallis killed an Orlesian when she discovered he raped slave girls, and Cairn attempted to kill the Saarebas when they slaughtered his family.


Western Animation Edit

  • Family Guy: Stewie realizes he's not so different from one of his "potential siblings" when one of them mentions that he too hates Lois.
  • American Dad: Subverted in "Weiner of Our Discontent" when Roger and Stan find that they both like to feel important:

 Roger: We're not so different, you and I.

Stan: Yes we are. We're night and day. Except for in this specific instance.

    • Also Stan belittles Steve for being nerdy and unpopular, while flashbacks reveal that he was just as nerdy and more unpopular. Indeed, a major facet of Stan's character is how he wants Steve to be cool and popular like he never got to be (not becoming athletic until college), and Stan gets very upset whenever he discovers he is not liked by people, and is desperate to be accepted among his colleagues at times because of his past.
    • Played straight when Stan kidnaps the children of a lesbian couple. When he hears them fighting in the backseat, he realizes that they are no different from his own kids.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Parallel plots frequently point out that the hero, Aang, and Worthy Opponent, Prince Zuko, are not so different, but any stress spent over the situation pre-Heel Face Turn was on the dark Anti-Villain prince's part, not the hero's. Zuko and Sokka also get their Not So Different episode in "The Boiling Rock".
  • After Matt and Trey of South Park turned Cartman and Kyle into Sitcom Arch Nemesises, the two have been on-ends for season after season, mostly with Cartman doing something morally questionable and Kyle trying to stop him. However, in more recent episodes, it's shown that Kyle will go to extreme lengths that could be considered immoral just to put Cartman in danger to get rid of him.
    • Cartman isn't the only person Kyle puts in danger. He almost had HIS OWN BEST FRIEND killed by Puff Daddy so he can get Stan's vote for his candidate and then he got even madder at Stan for voting for Cartman's Candidate. He was also willing to send Cartman's entire Pirate crew to their death in Somolia (which included classmates such as Butters and Clyde). This is something Cartman is expected to do, not Kyle. What the Hell, Hero? indeed.
    • Both Stan and Kyle were far more callous and self serving in earlier episodes. They often joined Cartman in bullying or exploiting other kids such as Butters and Pip and were equally unempathetic to the abuse Kenny suffered. It is vaguely hinted it was their bullying of Cartman that embittered him into the Comedic Sociopath he is today, much in a similar manner that Cartman is grating on Kyle's morals and standards as of recently. These aspects are less prominent in later episodes though are still evident at times.
      • In a later episode, Cartman pulls the Not So Different speech on Cthulhu. Think about that for a second....
  • In the finale of the second season of Justice League Unlimited, the heroes face Alternate Universe evil twins of themselves. Superman's evil twin taunts him as being Not So Different from him: "Power corrupts, after all, and who has more power than Superman?" This is followed by Superman following the trope exactly by shouting: "I'm not like you! I'm nothing like you!"
  • Vlad Plasmius, being Danny Phantom's Evil Counterpart, loves messing with him this way:

 Plasmius: Sneak attack -- very good, Daniel. You're getting more like me with every battle.

Danny: I am NOTHING like you!

Plasmius: Oh, you're not? Using your powers to get back at people you don't like? Throwing the first punch? You're more like me than you know.

 Ben: (under his breath) You don't care about anyone but yourself.

Kevin: You talking about me?

Ben: No. I'm talking about me!

    • In Secret Of The Omnitrix, Azmuth is shown to be immature, selfish, and kind of a jerk, but he's ultimately helpful when he really wants to be... Kinda like Ben, really, when he asked Ben if he wanted to learn about the Omnitrix like a "true hero" would, Ben said he didn't want to, Azmuth didn't tell him the code, but, he did say:

 Azmuth: Heh, I like that boy.

    • In the Grand Finale of Ultimate Alien, Vilgax of all people claims he and Ben aren't so different since they both use power to impose their will on the universe. Vilgax attempts to corrupt Ben into being a tyrant just like him and it almost works.
  • Kim and Shego of Kim Possible after the events of "Stop Team Go."
  • Teen Titans likes this a lot.
    • Slade is obsessively fond of doing this to Robin, because he wants to make Robin his apprentice. It always makes Robin go into a frenzy of rage, which is always fun for Slade, who just clearly enjoys messing with his head. This was the premise of the "Apprentice" episodes. Robin ponders near the end, "Focused, serious, determined...as much as I hate to admit it, he and I are kind of alike. But there's one big difference between me and Slade -- He doesn't have any friends." Slade even manages to do this when he's dead in "Haunted" by making Robin act crazy and violent through drugs. He later taunts him by referring to them as "friends" when they team up in "The End".("I'm NOT your friend!" - because he doesn't have any, remember?) Slade is not all that different from Robin's mentor Batman, with the key difference there being that, while they are both cold and meticulous, Slade is cruel and self serving while Batman is selfless and compassionate behind his ruthless exterior.
    • Trigon also does this to Raven, calling her "daddy's little girl," with the double whammy of Because Destiny Says So.
    • Brother Blood tries to do this to Cyborg, but it's not as effective as with Robin, because Cyborg is marginally sane. In fact, it's Brother Blood who takes this the most seriously, to the point that he makes himself into a cyborg to prove his point.
  • In The Batman, villains try this on Batman with increasing frequency as the series goes on. To his credit (and the misfortune of said villains), Batman proves quite capable of rationally explaining the key differences while he beats the snot out of them.
  • In Mighty Max, Norman confronts the semi-immortal that slaughtered his village centuries ago. Norman eventually defeats him and has him held over an effectively bottomless chasm when the villain, having a moment of Genre Savvy, triumphantly invokes this trope with the standard declaration of "If you kill me, you'll be just like me!" Norman just looks at him for a moment, before calmly stating, "I can live with that" and dropping him. Aversion from the typical in that Norman never evinces a single bit of guilt over doing so, but then, he was never exactly the touchy-feely hero type in the first place.
  • In an episode of The Venture Brothers, the Mighty Monarch deliberately invokes this trope, convincing the extremely naive Dean Venture that, if he reports the Monarch's actions, telling will make Dean JUST LIKE HIM!
    • Subverted in an episode of season 2 when Phantom Limb attempts a Not So Different speech on Brock Samson, only to have him interrupt it.

 Phantom Limb: We're not so different, you and I-

Brock Samson: Yeah, I don't need another "We're not so different" speech, I get those a lot.

    • Dr. Girlfriend mentions this trope once, remarking that the Monarch and Dr. Venture have a lot in common. She does want this whole rivalry thing to stop; at least once, The Monarch (having been too obsessed with Venture to get a proper anniversary present) tries to pass off his normal bring-Venture-to-his-knees thing as the anniversary present (Dr. Girlfriend was appropriately incredulous at the notion that The Monarch accomplishing goals that were utterly meaningless to her made a good anniversary present).
  • In The Fairly Odd Parents with Remy and Crocker. Timmy did Crocker's fairy spaz when he went back in time.

 Timmy: Fairy Godparents!!!

Cosmo and Wanda: (smack and hit him)

Timmy: Thanks for not using the oar.

    • When Timmy met Remy, Remy asked for him to wish his fairies away. Timmy said "You know what stinks about you, Remy? You're rich, you got godparents and you're still miserable. I know, at least, that I'm happier than you, Remy." Later, he says:

 Wanda: What's wrong, Timmy?

Timmy: (as a dragon) I felt sorry for Remy. I wish I could help him.

Wanda: We can do that.

Timmy: (as a dragon) I wish Remy could spend more time with his parents.

    • Also, Norm the Genie did it really subtly in 'Genie Meanie Menie Moe':

 Norm: I hate being out-jerked.

    • The Not So Different is in the choice of words. He chose to say 'out-jerked' instead of outwitted or something like that, which meant he acknowledged both he and Timmy were jerkasses.
    • Or perhaps he was talking about the Lawyer Timmy wished for.
  • The Dark Lord Chuckles the Silly Piggy tries this against Dave the Barbarian. It ends up as a spoof of this trope.

 Chuckles: We aren't so different, you and I. We are but twin sides of the same coin.

Dave: Uh, no we aren't.

Chuckles: ... You're right! What was I thinking?

 The Shredder: Two turtle teams from two turtle worlds, different in so many ways...but deep down, there are similarities.

 Doof-2: So you and I are exactly alike?

Doof-1: ... I suppose so...

  • In Transformers Animated Prowl often dislikes Bumblebee's childish and reckless antics. Yet Prowl was just like Bumblebee before becoming a cyber-ninja.
  • Elise in Dan Vs. is Dan's biggest critic but is also the one character who is just as ruthless when it comes to pursuing revenge. In the first episode, she shares Dan's grudge against New Mexico. In the childhood flashback explaining why she hates the state, she even let out a Skyward Scream just like Dan does every episode.
  • The resolution to the first Lenny and Sid video, "Love Thy Neighbor". Sid really wants to be Lenny's friend, but Lenny doesn't want it at first — but at the end, Sid stands up for Lenny, which helps him realize that he and Sid can be friends despite their differences.
  • The Daria Musical Episode has a song dedicated to how Helen and her daughter Quinn use their respective obsessions to bolster their self-esteem.


Real Life Edit

  • While 2000 years may separate ourselves and the people of Pompeii, a study comparing graffiti found the excavated Bathroom Stall Graffiti and the graffiti from contemporary 1960's (at the the time of the study) graffiti shows rather remarkable similarity. Well, good to know people were always like that.
  • See also Hypocritical Fandom
  • One person on Deviant ART pointed out that it seemed kind of weird when gay people would be so Pro-Gay-lesbian-Transgender-Bisexual rights, yet proclaim Het Is Ew.
  • Sometimes remarked upon as France and England. Both have Barbarian/Germanic origins for their cultures, with massive amounts of immigration. Both have had periods of complete military dominance. Both have seen their countries invaded and desolated, be it the Romans or the Nazis, and their languages have evolved so closely that words such as 'regard' and 'W.C' mean exactly the same thing. It's almost as if the two countries are so similar as to be defensive of each other to outsiders...
  • The "Communist Rules for Revolution" conspiracy theory in America and the "Dulles' Doctrine" conspiracy theory in Russia are almost mirror images of each other. Each side of the Cold War was thinking the other side is secretly corrupting their young, spreading sex and vanity and undermining the nation's salt-of-the-earth ruggedness.
  • We love to demonize certain companies for doing business practices...however, many other companies do the exact same things and regularly get away with it.
  • Victim mentality. Because we're the poor innocent victims, we use this as justification on doing whatever we want - even if it's Not So Different than the people we claim to be victimized by.

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