Side story

Side story

A side story in fiction is a form of narrative that occurs alongside established stories set within a fictional universe. As opposed to a prequel, sequel, or interquel, a side story takes place within the same time frame as an existing work.

Side stories are common in epic type series, especially war oriented series where it is possible to tell many stories from many different points of view. It is typical for side stories to be self contained, small scale events, insignificant in the bigger picture. They tend to be one shot stories with a beginning, middle, and end and focus heavily on character drama while the major action occurs mostly in the background.

A side story is not quite the same as a spin-off. A spin-off takes already known characters, usually supporting or background characters and involves them in a story or series which highlights them and further develops their character. The series' true main characters may make cameo appearances or be referred to in dialogue. Side stories, rather, focus on a completely new set of characters who have no history and typically no connections to the existing main characters. The settings for side stories are intentionally away from the major events that the main characters are known to be participating in.


Early examples of a side story are found in the ancient Indian epics "Mahabharata" and "Ramayana", which contained numerous side stories which were loosely related to the main story of those epics.

A modern example of a side story occurs in the Gundam series. In the Universal Century timeline, the OVAs ' and ' are stories set within the same time period of "Mobile Suit Gundam"'s One Year War but have nothing to do with the characters or situations in "Mobile Suit Gundam". Similarly in the timeline, the manga series "Gundam 00F" is a side story to the anime series "Gundam 00" in much the same way.

The term "side story" seems to have come out of anime fandom, and most side stories are anime-related. It is a direct translation of the Japanese word "gaiden" which is often used to describe such stories. But the term could be loosely applied to some non-anime works.

The "Doctor Who" universe includes many short stories in which the Doctor has no part but are clearly intended to depict events in the fictional universe he inhabits. Examples include the BBV video Auton Trilogy series and Dalek stories such as the Big Finish Productions audio series "Dalek Empire".

The Videogame Enter The Matrix takes place in the same universe as the Matrix trilogy around the same time as most of The Matrix Reloaded and part of The Matrix Revolutions but focuses on minor characters.

ee also

* Gaiden

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