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The Digimon V-Tamer manga showing all multiple versions of Taichi, including the anime one

Canon

Paraphrasing Wikipedia, canon is the material accepted as officially part of the story in an individual universe of that story. The alternative terms mythology, timeline, universe and continuity are often used, with the first of these being used especially to refer to a richly detailed fictional canon requiring a large degree of suspension of disbelief (e.g. an entire imaginary world and history), while the latter two typically refer to a single arc where all events are directly connected chronologically. Other times, the word can mean "to be acknowledged by the creator(s)". Due to this, what is and what isn't considered canonical is highly important for VS debating, as the feats coming from non-canonical sources could vastly alterate a character's rating.

Types of Canon

  • Mutually Exclusive Canon: Most if not all versions of the franchise are alternate continuities from each other in a mutually exclusive way that stops them from sharing canon. In rare occasions, these can later be tied together with the use of a multiverse.
    • Examples: Marvel and DC (Pretty much every single adaptation of Marvel and DC is unconnected from the last one, having the characters and events be impossible reconcile, and of course, don't match up what's on the comics, with the comics themselves offering many examples of this), Modern Godzilla (All recent versions of the King of the Monsters ignore everything that came before them and instead build their own world from scratch), Super Robot Wars (The Z series introduced a multiverse to explain its crossover, which completely contradicts everything shown on the Alpha series, where all the crossover series always shared the same universe)
  • Shared Pillar Canon: All versions of the franchise share a common instalment(s) that is canon to most if not all of them, but are otherwise Mutually Exclusive.
    • Examples: Star Wars (Both the Canon and Legends versions take the original 6 movies and The Clone Wars cartoon as canon but are otherwise filled with so many contradictions that they can't be the same continuity), Yu-Gi-Oh! (Both the anime and manga series use the card game as a shared basis for the Duel Monsters, but the plots and characters are otherwise very different), Classic Godzilla (Before Shin Godzilla, all Godzilla movies made by Toho kept the original Godzilla movie as its basis and followed up from there)
  • One-Sided Canon: When an instalment of a franchise considers another as canon, but the latter doesn't consider the former as canon.
    • Examples: Macross (Macross II is a sequel to the original Macross, but the original has a series of sequels on its own that ignores II), Yu-Gi-Oh! (Yu-Gi-Oh! R considers the original manga as canon, but all other manga series ignore it), Dragon Bal (Dragon Ball Heroes considers Dragon Ball Super as canon, but Super otherwise contains no relation to Heroes)
  • Secondary Canon: This when a franchise contains one "main" series which overrules all other material, and while other instalments outside of this "main" one are considered canon and thus usable for indexing, elements from these can be overwritten if the "main" instalment contradicts them.
    • Examples: Databooks and Word of God (Books and direct statements by authors outside the work, either in guide, interview or another direct source, are considered canonical unless the series itself shows otherwise), Doctor Who EU (EU material for Doctor Who is considered canonical under the lax policies of the BBC, but elements exclusive to it can't override the material shown on the TV show itself), Boruto anime and novels (Kodachi acts as direct writer of all novels related to the series and lists them as part of the manga's chronology, while overwatching the scripts for its anime adaptation, being able to freely modify and reject any story he deems unfitting for the manga's plans)
  • Multiple Incarnations Canon: This is when a franchise appears to follow Mutually Exclusive Canon, but all the different incarnations are connected in some way, either by Word of God or crossovers/references between different incarnations. Named after Bandai's description of Digimon canon, one of the most notable examples.
    • Examples: Digimon (Characters from the anime, manga and video games all interact in multiple occasions, and multiple references to events in other mediums also abound), Pokémon (Multiple elements introduced by the anime series are later added and referenced in the games, while Tajiri directly lists the Pokémon Special manga as the truest version of the Pokémon world he created), Nasuverse (Uses alternate timelines to explain the discrepancies between the events of Fate/stay night, Fate/Zero, Fate/Extra and Fate/Apocrypha, while all of its characters are reunited for Fate/Grand Order, where they make multiple references to the other series)

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the biggest video game crossover made by Nintendo

Crossovers

A crossover is the placement of two or more otherwise discrete fictional characters, settings, or universes into the context of a single story. Since the series that cross over can have highly different power levels, the canonicity of crossover could vastly alter the rating of the characters on it, and are thus a very important topic to treat when it comes to VS debating.

Types of Crossovers

  • Non-Canon Crossovers: Crossovers that aren't canonical for any of the series involved, which thusly doesn't affect their ratings and settings.
    • Examples: Dragon Ball x One Piece (The two series have had multiple crossovers that have had no bearing on either series' world and are never referenced), Fairy Tail x RAVE (The two series crossover in multiple ocassions, but their settings, despite being similar, are incompatible with each other), Steven Universe x Uncle Grandpa (Directly called non-canon within the crossover itself)
  • Canon Crossovers: Crossovers that are canonical for both series involved, which thus sets both in the same verse and makes the scaling between them possible.
    • Examples: The CW's Crisis on Infinite Earths (Confirmed to be canonical to the Superman Film Series and the Lucifer TV Show by its own cast members, approved by the Smallville writers, and its inclusion of the Batman Anthology and DCEU leads into the events of the Flash movie), Ben 10/Generator Rex: Heroes United (It reveals more about Rex's backstory and provided Ben with a new alien form that appears on Omniverse), Nippon Ichi crossovers (The company Nippon Ichi constantly has characters from one series appearing in different ones, with Laharl in particular having appeared in more than any other character)
  • One-Sided Canon Crossovers: Crossovers that are canonical for only one of series involved, meaning that only one of them is affected by the events of the crossover and its scaling.
    • Examples: Shin Megami Tensei featuring Dante from the Devil May Cry series (Dante appears for the first time in III, and over time has showed up in drama CDs, novels and even returned for Liberation Dx2 alongside other Devil Hunters, who are stablished as having always been part of the world's lore), Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe (Officially considered the 8th main game of the Mortal Kombat series, but the DC side isn't related to any previous incarnation), Tekken 7: Fated Retribution (Akuma from the Street Fighter series plays a major role in the story, but the game is otherwise unrelated to Street Fighter)
  • Crossover Settings: These are cases of where the entire series is a crossover which takes place on its own original world, unrelated to that of the canonical version of the characters, instead building itself as its own verse that happens to share its characters with other verses.
    • Examples: Super Smash Bros. (The Nintendo characters are shown as living trophies co-existing on the same world), Super Robot Wars (The mecha anime involved are shown to have always existed on the same universe(s) and to co-exist alongside the Original Generation), Kingdom Hearts (The Disney and Square-Enix characters are shown to exist on connected worlds visited by the original characters)
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