Created By: lalalei2001 on June 4, 2011 Last Edited By: lalalei2001 on June 7, 2011

Arc Evolution

The protagonists' main goal changes over time.

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So you've started at the beginning of a show or book, and by the end of the first episode the characters' main objective seems pretty well-defined. But if you skip ahead, you find their goals have been altered or changed.

There are several reasons this can happen.

1: The characters have undergone Character Development, their goals changing to reflect this.

2: They've learned more details about their quest and the changes reflect the new information.

3: They realize that they're part of something bigger, and must rise to the challenge. Common when a story turns into a Saving The World Plot.

4: They complete their initial goal and must now find something else to do.

Compare and contrast Halfway Plot Switch, where this happens in the course of one episode.


  • In the Monster Rancher anime, at first Holly and Suezo were unlocking Mystery Disks in the hopes of finding the Phoenix. When The Hero Genki shows up, they begin to actively fight the forces of evil. Later, as they learn more about the Phoenix, their goals change from randomly finding a disc that holds the Phoenix into searching for its body and soul to revive it.
Community Feedback Replies: 10
  • June 5, 2011
    At first, John Crichton just wanted to get home. Over time he realized that if he ever did get home, his enemies would follow him and that would put Earth in danger. Eventually he did get home and discovered that he had adapted so well to life in the uncharted territories that he didn't fit in there anymore. Finally, he had to destroy the wormhole leading to Earth in order to save Earth from the Scarrans in the last episode.
  • June 5, 2011
    Almost every JRPG starts off with a minor quest (like a pilgrimage in Tales Of Symphonia and Final Fantasy X or stopping an evil company in Final Fantasy VII) that changes about a third into the game into a quest to save the world.
  • June 5, 2011
    The Time Wars novels began with the heroes hunting down and stopping one rengede trime traveller. Then they uncovered a conspiracy of time travellers. And stopping that conspiracy led to them being dragged into a war with another dimension.
  • June 5, 2011
    The Babylon Project was our last, best hope for peace.

    It failed.

    But in the year of the Shadow War, it became something greater: our last, best hope - for victory.
  • June 6, 2011
    Could apply to villain s as well-- again, in the Monster Rancher anime, Moo's goals changed from defeating the Searchers to using the Magic Stone to find his original body, and then defeat the Searchers. Then he realized his body was imperfect, so his final plan was to use the Magic Stone to fully power up, and defeat the Searchers and/or the Phoenix before they could free it.
  • June 6, 2011
    Without a description of any kind, my instinct is to call this People Sit On Chairs. It's a given that not every story ends exactly the way it begins. I'm sure you could shoehorn any work of fiction into this.
  • June 6, 2011
    I agree. Unless we have a fleshed out description of what would constitute this trope, I'm gonna say this is just Dynamic Character, which is how characters goals change based on how the character changes.
  • June 7, 2011
    Added a description. XD
  • June 7, 2011
    Oops, thought it hadn't sent.
  • June 7, 2011
    It's harder to say what doesn't fit this.