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A large-scale version of Not So Different.

The Federation has been at war with The Empire for decades. At some point, the heroes are called upon to infiltrate the forces of the Empire to gather intelligence or perform some act of sabotage. But during their mission, they discover that the enemy aren't the baby-eating monsters that Federation propaganda has always said the enemy was. The longer the heroes interact with the enemy, the more they come to realize that the enemy is just like them. The possibility of friendship, and even possibly romance, starts becoming more and more evident. The heroes might even find they have counterparts... likeable counterparts, among the enemy troops.

This trope also happens when the objective camera starts spending more time with the enemy than in the past. Often, in the end, the heroes will find they must fight those enemies they've come to like and respect.

Sometimes the result of an Enemy Mine plot. Related to Punch Clock Villain. See also Capulet Counterpart and Sympathetic POV. Most likely not related to One of Us.

Examples of Just Like Us include:

Anime and Manga


  • This trope makes up most of the plot of Enemy Mine.
    • The movie hit the audience over the head with this trope.
      • The shortstory it's based on went more in depth into the aliens' culture, but the message was generally the same.
        • Although, in the text, both the human main character and the descendents and family of his alien partner find they are no longer able to live amongst their own peoples because of the others are not willing to accept them and their alien-loving ways (even after the war has ended, political and racial tensions divide the two species). They end up forming their own colony on the planet they had been marooned on, with a tradition of sending their children to live with the human man in his hermitage for several seasons at a time, in order to honor the bond he shared with their ancestor

Live Action TV

  • One of the Aesops of the Star Trek episode "Balance of Terror" is that the Romulans aren't all that different from the Federation. This Aesop was, of course, ignored later.
    • Also touched open and ultimately ignored in the TNG episode, The Chase when it was discovered humans, Cardassians, Klingons, and Romulans all have a common ancestry. Picard and a Romulan captain remark on how they're Not So Different after all, but nothing comes of it.
  • During the first half of Battlestar Galactica's third season, the point of view was frequently with the Cylons just as often as with the Colonials. As such, many ended up becoming sympathetic characters.
  • Fringe. While the alternate universe was initially portrayed as an unspecified threat, the end of the second season gave us the (rather understandable) reasons why and showed that "our" side wasn't so good after all. And finally, according to producers/actors, the whole point of season 3 was to make the alternate characters sympathetic to us.

Newspaper Comics

  • In Doonesbury, B.D. becomes friends with Viet Cong member Phred. This comes as quite a shock to his fellow Americans, since B.D. was violently anti-Communist and had actually volunteered to fight in Vietnam.
    • Actually he volunteered to get out of having to take a test (he WAS enjoying R.O.T.C. quite a bit).

Video Games

  • Done, kind of, in the PlayStation 3 game Lair in which the hero ends up joining his once-enemies mostly out of necessity, only to see that they are not the monsters his old kingdom made them out as.
  • Vanguard Bandits with its multiple branches can have Bastion learn that there's good people in the Empire which he's been raised to despise since birth.

Western Animation

  • In Land Before Time II, the gang raises a young sharptooth. True to form, they have a song about it.

  "We're a family and you're one of us now!"

    • Most of Land Before Time has something like this, thanks to Cera's dad's bigotry. He comes around by the end of the story, but reverts as soon as new danger shows up.
  • Anvilicious in the case of ~Avatar: The Last Airbender~. Aang attended a Fire Nation school, and in the process learned that the Fire Nation isn't completely evil. This message was present since the first season, but the third season kept pounding the message into the audience as if it was a new concept.
    • The first two seasons took places solely in territories the Fire Nation was invading, and thus both the Gaang and the audience only ever saw invading soldiers doing what invading soldiers do to territories they are invading. The third had to show what a hundred years of warfare do to a nation's resources and culture - reduce it to a Crapsack World. Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped.
    • Not to mention the fact that it's a realistic depiction; there are good and bad people on both sides, as one comes to understand after studying history.
  • My Life as a Teenage Robot, when Jenny was trapped on the Cluster homeworld.
  • Happened on Teen Titans, when Cyborg was infiltrating Brother Blood's academy (of EVIL)... he actually liked it there, made some friends, had a brief romance with Jinx (She's got pink hair, though, so that's understandable), and actually looked like he was going to become the mask for a while...
  • In The Lion King 2:

 Kiara: A wise king once told me, we are one. I didn't understand him then. Now I do.

Simba: But they...

Kiara: Them? Us. Look at them, they are us. What differences do you see?


Real Life

  • During World War I, British and German soldiers resisted a return to combat operations after fraternizing with each other during a Christmas cease-fire.
    • Dramatised in the rather excellent film Joyeux Noel.
      • During all wars, the accuracy of soldiers in combat is far lower than their training would predict. It was found that when soldiers were close enough to see their enemies as human beings, they find it very hard to aim at them. (In WWII 10,000 bullets were expended for every death. In the US-Iraq war, it was closer to 250,000)