Fantasy is a genre in which events take place that are impossible according to the natural laws of reality as they are currently understood. When set in a known world, fantasy tales are about beings, places, and events that cannot exist. When placed in a realm not of this earth, the settings themselves may be impossible, functioning in a way contrary to the real world's physical laws. Science fiction, by contrast, describes events, places, and things which might be possible, though not at the present time or with known technology.
Fantasy in Daria Canon
While most of Daria stayed more or less true to real life aside from a few standard cartoon conventions, there were still instances of fantastic elements. In "A Tree Grows in Lawndale", for example, a flower is shown growing out of Kevin's arm crutch after it is planted in place of Tommy Sherman's memorial tree. In other cases, the fantasy elements are contained with a story within the story, such as the three tales told in "Legends of the Mall".
Two episodes stand above the rest in fantastic content, however. The first is "Depth Takes a Holiday" in which teenagers who represent various holidays such as Valentine's Day and Halloween come to Lawndale through a dimensional wormhole behind the Good Time Chinese restaurant, and these beings are shown to have fantastic powers and abilities relating to their respective holidays. The second is "Daria!", an episode which takes the form of a musical, though the fantasy element - that being the inexplicable song-and-dance numbers - can also be explained by the Characters as Actors trope.
In Beavis and Butt-head, the fantasy episode "It's a Miserable Life" makes explicit the existence of God and guardian angels, and shows us Daria in a canonical alternate universe.
In the episode "Write Where It Hurts", Daria writes a medieval story about a knight (variously Mack, Jake, or Helen) asking a seer (variously Jodie, Helen or Jake) about the future.
Fantasy in Daria Fanworks
Like science fiction, fantasy works can be divided into several subgenres, though many Daria fantasy fics and art have their own particular fantasy types that do not always match up with the broader field. Notable subgenres are given below, with examples of each. Crossovers are included under the appropriate headings.
Non-Daria examples: The Divine Comedy, What Dreams May Come
One more more Daria characters discover the hard way what existence is like after death occurs. This category can cross over into the ghost story and horror territories if it also involves the dead interacting in some way with those still living.
- Always Beside You by The Angst Guy
- Death Rowe by bgryphon
- Reaped Out by Pinkminx (Daria/Dead Like Me)
- Unseen Phenomenon by Wildgoose
- What You Reap by Thea Zara
- Wristcutters: A Daria Story," by Charliefox2012 (Daria/Wristcutters: A Love Story)
Non-Daria examples: I Dream of Jeannie, the Xanth series
A mix of fantasy and comedy that may take the form of silly bedtime stories told to children that one or more Daria characters are babysitting, twisted fairy tales, and other off-the-wall fics written purely for the reader's amusement. Squirrel stories in which the squirrels act in fantastic ways belong in this category.
- Barely Tales series by Kemical Reaxion
- Cynical Symphonies by Ranger Thorne
- I Never Metamorphosis I Didn't Like by The Angst Guy (Daria/Metamorphosis)
- The Idiocy by Kristen Bealer
- The Original Underground Government-Suppressed Version of Brother Grimace's Classic "Daria" Fanfic, "The Sun Will Come Out, Tomorrow" by The Angst Guy
- Quinnderella by Mike Xeno (Daria/Cinderella)
Non-Daria examples: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise
Dream worlds are surreal environments that do not strictly obey the laws of reality and are often - but not always - accessed through sleep or other unconscious states. Characters are typically inserted into these settings from elsewhere, be it the waking world or another dimension. Alice stories are nearly always set in dream worlds.
- #10 Dream by Rey Fox
- Air Bed by Brother Grimace
- If You Only Walk Long Enough by The Angst Guy (Daria/Alice in Wonderland)
Non-Daria examples: The Brothers Grimm tales, The Hobbit
Fairy tales are stories that make use of classic folklore, including beings such as giants, elves, wizards, dragons, and others. They typically take place in settings that resemble Dark Ages Europe, and many Daria fairy tales are crossovers with Arthurian legends as well as role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons.
- Daria of the Drow by Dervish
- Darialance by The Angst Guy (Daria/Dragonlance)
- Le Morte d’Angela by Decelaraptor
- Daria In Morrowind by WellTemperedClavier
Non-Daria examples: The Chronicles of Narnia, the Ultima series
One or more of the Daria cast discover a passage to a new world or universe that operates under magical laws or impossible conditions. Entry into this new realm might gift the travelers with new powers for the duration. Please Note: If the means to enter the other universe or universes involves the Good Time Chinese restaurant or Holiday Island, the story goes into the next category below.
- FBCB by Wraith
- In Dreams by Scissors MacGillicutty
- The Island of Canceled Cartoons by Shallow 15 (a.k.a. Erin Mills)
- Snowball in Hell by The Angst Guy
Holiday Island Stories
Spawned from the fantasy-based episode "Depth Takes a Holiday", these tales involve the Daria characters interacting with characters from or actually going to Holiday Island via the wormhole behind the Good Time Chinese restaurant. If they go from Lawndale to the island, it also counts as a Fantastic Voyage.
- The Adventure of the Chinese Restaurant by MMan
- A Day (Un)Like Any Other by Angelinhel
- A Hard Days' Night by The Angst Guy
- Club Sandwich by Cypher
- Crossover by Nemo Blank
- Death Takes a Holliday by The Angst Guy
- Holiday Kombat by Richard Lobinske
- Luuuv Story by The Angst Guy
- Restrain Jane Lane! or, Stupid Cupid by Nemo Blank.
Non-Daria examples: Hellboy, Practical Magic
Also called contemporary fantasy, modern magic stories present supernatural beings, devices, wizardry, creatures, and places that turn up in the world of today (or the late-1990s world of the Daria show). Crossovers with other fantasy works set in modern times are very common. Instances where modern magic stories also include a science fiction element are a part of the science fantasy mixed genre.
The modern magic subgenre contains several sub-subgenres that appear with some frequency in Daria fanworks.
- Body Switchers, in which one or more pairs of characters trade bodies and discover how the other half lives, such as in Freaky Friday. Examples:
- Daria and Quinn Switch Bodies by Nada Rowls
- Eternity by Richard Lobinske (not entirely body switching as adult Daria and Tom must share their bodies with another couple)
- Live the Life of Quinn by Chris Mack
- The Switch by Brett Shearer
- The Way Things Ought to Be by Barry Eshkol Adelman
- Faerie Fics, in which one or more characters appear as miniature faerie beings and stir things up. Most of these were inspired by fan art showing faerie alter egos of certain characters. Examples:
- Harry Potter Crossovers, in which Daria characters go to wizarding schools like Hogwarts. This is by far the most popular fantasy crossover. Examples:
- Daria Morgendorffer and the Magic McGuffin by Ranger Thorne
- Daria Morgenpotter & The New Same-Old, Same-Old by Daniel Callahan
- Harry Potter and the Flack-Jacket Mafia by Canadibrit
- My Daria/Harry Potter (Fandom-Based) Crossover by Brother Grimace
- One Year Later by NightGoblyn
- Harry Butt-head by Deep Metal
- Secret Supernaturals, in which one or more Daria characters secretly possess vast magical or psychic powers that cannot be explained by science as it is currently known. Examples:
- An Adventure of Sandi, a Teenage Witch by Bacner
- Blood and Irony by J Osako
- Bringing the Angst by Jim North
- Crossing Over by The Angst Guy
- Daria: Demon Princess Quinn Book 1: Quinn Anwnn, by CDM
- Deus Jane by The Angst Guy
- The Morgendorffer Code by The Angst Guy
- The Other by The Angst Guy
- The Pact by Richard Lobinske
- Shadow of a Cynic by Ranger Thorne
- Suburban Legends, twisted urban legends in the same vein as the three stories told in "Legends of the Mall". Examples:
- Supernatural Intruder Tales, in which lone, powerful individuals with magic-like abilities (not superheroes and not the Daria cast) enter Lawndale and interact with the locals. Examples:
- An Angel Named Mary Sue by Angelinhel
- Anything by Brandon League
- The Chris Series by MFC
- Crossover by Nemo Blank
- Guardian by Mike Xeno
- Identity Crisis by Yui Daoren
- Illusions: The Unswerving Punctuality of— by CharlieGirl
- It's a Wonderful Life, Not by Thomas Mikkelsen
- Kitsune and Last Dance With Mary Jane by Rey Fox
- A Midsummer Nightmare's Daria by The Angst Guy
- Scarlett by The Angst Guy
- Smoking Mirror by The Angst Guy
- Stacy and the Lamp by The Angst Guy
- Trapped by Jim North
- Visitations series by Brother Grimace
Fantasy vs. Science Fantasy
Science fantasy is a genre that combines elements of fantasy with science fiction. Unlike fantasy, science fantasy works on rules that are better defined, striving to make the impossible elements in the story sound as if they have a plausible scientific basis. Some science fantasy may include straight fantasy, but also has straight science fiction elements such as nanotechnology featured alongside it. As it is difficult to quantify exactly how much infused science fiction causes the flip from one genre to the other, a hard line may never be drawn between the two genres.