As with many of fate's mysteries, it begins with but a small act... of disobedience.
, Jak and Daxter
Our story begins with our hero, and his best friend and/or Unlucky Childhood Friend
living peacefully in their quaint, little town
. One day, they decide to have a little adventure. Not too far from the town there is a place the village elder has told them they better not get close to. Our heroes decide to go there
, maybe looking for some rumored treasure, maybe because Nothing Exciting Ever Happens Here
, maybe just to screw the rules.
Their little adventure begins without much excitement, but soon takes a turn for the worse, and the ancient Sealed Evil in a Can
is free to terrorize the world once again, the Unlucky Childhood Friend is kidnapped into another dimension, and the hero is now Cursed with Awesome
Sometimes, it seems that, although some weird stuff happened at some point, there were not any serious consequences. It will be when they return when they will find out that removing the ancient Cosmic Keystone
from its pedestal just put the Doom into Doomed Hometown
Anyway, the point is the hero just screwed up royally
, and now he (and he alone
) must solve it. This is the part where the Call to Adventure
itself appears, usually dispensed by the village elder who only now decides to reveal the background of the Call Reception Area. Generally, it happens that The Only One
who can destroy the Sealed Evil in a Can
is the one who freed it, or the fact that he was capable of destroying the seal in the first place indicates he actually was The Chosen One
all along. Or perhaps only he can wield the Cosmic Keystone
he removed, or he considers saving his Unlucky Childhood Friend personal
Compare with Forbidden Zone
, which contains no call but usually has ancient dangerous stuff lying around too.
Anime and Manga
- Tenchi Muyo! (the OVA version): For all his life, Tenchi Masaki was curious about that cave near his grandfather's shrine where a demon was sealed...
- Which turns out to have been all part of the plan. His grandfather told Tenchi just enough about the cave and the demon to keep him insatiably curious about it, then forbid him to ever go inside. The final play was letting Tenchi steal the key from him during their sparring match, then pretending he hadn't noticed.
- The plot of Card Captor Sakura begins with the protagonist poking around in her archaeologist father's basement library, and ending up unsealing the Clow Cards (which are not evil) and a magical Weasel Mascot who gives her the Call to Adventure. (In fact, their conversation contains the same point made in the Scooby-Doo example below.) She, too, was all by herself during these events.
- Yes! Pretty Cure 5 uses this almost humorously. Nozomi, the protagonist, is implied to be ADHD; fittingly, while running to school, she gets distracted by a pretty butterfly and runs after it instead. This one event is what later allows her — and, by association, the rest of the main cast save for the residents of the Magical Land — to gain powers and fight the Nightmare Corporation.
- A slightly unconventional example in Fullmetal Alchemist. Although the catalyst for their trek off into alchemy-learning land is something as deadly serious as the promise of bringing their mother back from the dead, one watching gets the feeling that the whole prospect is more of a, "Fun little adventure that we get to have now that mom's not breathing down our neck anymore!". It becomes suddenly, cruelly apparent that what they were getting themselves into was far, far more complex and dangerous than they'd ever imagined when the body parts start alchemically-flying; and while they don't exactly release any Sealed Evil in a Can, both the figurative and literal monsters they unleash (the new lives they must now live, and... well, a monster) are plenty terrifying.
- In The Jezinkas, the jezinkas threaten only a certain hill. Johnny heads for it, quickly.
- In The Lion King Simba and Nala go into the Elephant's Graveyard after they were told not to. A fight breaks out between the resident hyenas and Simba's heroic father, and later that fight escalates a bit... and then let's just say that Simba has to learn how to fight his own battles after that.
- In Thor, Thor and Loki go to Jotunheim against Odin's wishes, which is what gets Thor banished.
- Inverted in Joan Vinge's The Snow Queen Series where the two protagonists, Moon and Sparks, venture to a "choosing place" to determine if they will become "sibyls" (something that means a lot more than they realize.) They had previously had an agreement that they would either both be chosen or neither, so that they would stay together, but The Call Didn't Care — Moon was chosen and Sparks wasn't, she broke their agreement, and ...the rest of the story followed.
- For the Grace twins and their sister in The Spiderwick Chronicles, the Call Receival Area was the sealed off attic of the house they'd just moved into, and the Great Big Book of Everything locked away up there.
- A wardrobe in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
- ...and in His Dark Materials.
- In Eragon, the titular boy goes off hunting in the Spine, a haunted place with a reputation for bad luck, where he finds a dragon egg and brings doom down upon his home.
- It's later revealed that the egg was sent to him by the free Eldunari, so it's more of a subversion.
- In Louise Cooper's Indigo series, the one place people are forbidden to go is the Tower of Regrets. The Princess Anghara, naturally, is dying to know what the tower contains that makes it so taboo...turns out the tower physically contains nothing...but acted as a spiritual trap for seven demons that personified the evil of humanity. Oops.
- Jak and Daxter, where the quote comes from.
- Secret of Mana, where the hero is simply kicked out of town because trouble is following close behind. Justified, in that absolutely nothing happens there for the rest of the game.
- Terranigma has a small subversion: The village elder manipulated the hero into going into the Call Receival Area as part of a Batman Gambit.
- Lufia II did this.
- In Dragon Quest VII, Prince Kiefer regularly defies his father to go explore the forbidden ruins with his best friend... who ends up kickstarting the plot upon making an important discovery there.
- Summon Night Swordcraft Story II. Aforementioned unlucky childhood friend turns out to be a demon associated with the Sealed Evil in a Can who's attempting to kill it off for real.
- The Dalish Elf origin in Dragon Age: Origins features one of these: a ruin which the Player Character and their Unlucky Childhood Friend explore.
- The Four Sword Shrine in The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures serves as one of these, slightly subverted in that Link was forced to release Vaati.
- The Forbidden Land from Shadow of the Colossus.
- This is exactly how the first Golden Sun starts. Forbidden sanctum, kidnapped childhood friend, unleashed power...
- In the web-based RPG MARDEK, the crashed spaceship where the title character becomes possessed by an alien intelligence.
- Tales of Graces f starts out as though Lhant Hill is going to be like this, but all that happens there is that Asbel and Hubert make a new friend. When they all go exploring the dungeon under Windor Castle though, things go very wrong very fast.
- Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go! is a tweaked example. Chiro ended up in the Call Receival Area all on his own.
Chiro, opening narrative: While exploring the outskirts of the city, I discovered an abandoned Super Robot. It was then that my life was transformed by the mysterious Power Primate...
- This is the basic plot of The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo, as explained in the opening theme:
Vincent van Ghoul: "Only YOU can return the demons to the chest!"
Scooby-Doo and Shaggy: "Why us?"
Vincent: "Because YOU let them out!!"
- More specifically, they were tricked into opening the chest by Those Two Bad Guys, who made them think it was a mystery prize in a game show. So not exactly their fault.