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Anime and Manga
- Bleach: Shuuhei Hisagi was saved as a child by Kensei, a shinigami from the Ninth Division. After seeing his rescuer (and the "69" tattoo he sported), Shuuhei later endeavored to not only becoming a shinigami (taking the exam three times before finally succeeding) but join the same division as his savior, even sporting his own "69" tattoo. By the time he'd joined, however, Kensei had been exiled for circumstances beyond his control. After a later Time Skip, however, Shuuhei finally achieved his goal and served as Kensei's Lieutenant.
- Played with for Clare from Claymore. She was saved from a Yoma by Teresa and she does become a Claymore herself. However, it's because Teresa was killed by an Awakened Priscilla and Clare is mostly motivated by vengeance.
- Kyu from Detective School Q wants to be a detective after he was rescued from being kidnapped when he was younger.
- The first chapter of Letter Bee has a Letter Bee named Gauche Suede protecting and delivering a young Lag Seeing as a letter. The next chapter starts the main plot, with an older Lag becoming a Bee and hoping to meet Gauche again.
- Library War's premise has Kasahara being rescued from the Betterment Committee by an unknown agent of the Library Defense Force. She was so awestruck by the event, that it inspired her to become just like him and perhaps learn the identity of "her prince". Thus, she becomes the first woman to ever join their division.
- Played With in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, where Subaru Nakajima is saved from a burning building by the title character and resolves to join the Administration Bureau's elite search-and-rescue team, falsely assuming that only one of their ranks could have pulled off such a Heroic Fire Rescue. Even when she later learns that Nanoha is actually a magical combat instructor who volunteered for rescue duties on that fateful day, she continues to pursue a career in disaster relief operations, anyway.
- After being saved from drowning by a mysterious prince, Utena of Revolutionary Girl Utena attempts to pursue the "career" of prince, although she seems to be interpreting "prince" as "general hero", more like a classic knight.
- In Tiger & Bunny, Kotetsu Kaburagi was a hostage in a bank robbery before being rescued by Mr. Legend. Not only that, Mr. Legend also helped Kotetsu realize that his powers weren't a burden and was instead a gift. This made Kotetsu decide to be a superhero just like Mr. Legend. Unfortunately, Kotetsu learns that Mr. Legend was staging his crime after losing his powers.
- A flashback in the eighth volume of Saga shows that as children, badass "Freelancers" The Will and The Brand were saved from their Abusive Father (who was abusive in more than one way) by their uncle, who was a Freelancer. The two evidently were inspired to follow in their uncle's footsteps, with The Brand even copying her uncle's clothing style.
- Downplayed with John Henry Irons of Steel. He was already a brilliant engineer before Superman saved his life. He then became a superhero in honor of Superman after his fatal battle against Doomsday.
- Batman: Batman and Robin once travel to an Alternate Universe where time is behind their universe, and it's the night Bruce's parents are murdered. Batman doesn't hesitate to save them, even though Robin wonders if this means Gotham will be without its greatest hero. Instead this Bruce decides to grow up to be just like the mysterious hero that saved him and his parents one day.
- It's established in the Honorverse that many people have joined the Manticoran military after having been rescued by Manticoran forces. Specific examples include Paulo d'Arezzo ("born" a Mesan genetic slave, rescued by the Manticoran navy, joined the Navy as a result) and Tomas Ramirez (family fled the Peep invasion of San Martin, took asylum in Manticore, joined the Marines as a result).
Live Action Film
- In Pacific Rim, protagonist Mako Mori was rescued as a child by Jaeger pilot Stacker Pentecost. As an an adult, she too became a Jaeger pilot.
Live Action TV
- Sgt. Terence Jeffords from Brooklyn Nine-Nine wanted to be a superhero as a kid. When he tried to stand up to some bullies, he was saved by a police officer. He then decided to become a cop since they were the closest a person can get to being a superhero.
- Chicago P.D.:
- Detective Upton was inspired to become a police officer after her family's diner was robbed and a officer came to comfort them during the investigation. When she came to work for the Intelligence Unit, she found herself reunited with the officer who comforted her: Trudy Pratt.
- Erin Lindsay is a police officer just like Hank Voight, who took her in when she was a teenager. Before that, Erin was stuck at the whim of her flighty, criminalistic, drug abusing mother.
- Emu Hojo from Kamen Rider Ex-Aid became a doctor because he was saved as kid by Doctor Kyotaro Hinata. It wasn't limited to just the physical healing, as Kyotaro also gave Emu emotional support after the surgery. It was that experience that made Emu want to not only heal the physical symptoms of his patients, but connect with them on an emotional level.
- Person of Interest:
- Zoe Morgan was inspired to become a fixer when a fixer helped get the press off her family's backs after her father's arrest.
- Some of the people Team Machine helped out end up working for the Machine themselves. Sameen Shaw joined the team in the third season, and Joey Durban, Logan Pierce, and Harper Rose formed a second team in a different city.
- Carter Grayson from Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue was saved as a child from a burning building by a fireman. As an adult, he became a firefighter, but then stepped it up by becoming a Power Ranger. Later on, it turns out the firefighter who rescued Carter was Captain William Mitchell, the commander of Lightspeed Rescue.
- A variant of this occurs in Scrubs: After Dr. Cox finds out that his paramedic partner Denise's son died in an automobile accident, she tells him she became a paramedic after seeing how the EMTs were on the scene.
Denise: But the paramedics were amazing. That's actually why I became one.
- The Supernatural season 12 episode "Celebrating The Life of Asa Fox" focuses on the eponymous legendary hunter who was inspired to become a hunter after being saved as a small boy by Mary Winchester.
- Street of S.W.A.T. (2017) is a police officer. He was inspired by Buck, who took him under his wing after arresting Street's mom.
- This is how the Demon Hunters generally recruit in Diablo III. If they find a survivor of a demonic massacre during their travels, odds are they'll give the new recruit a choice of being "hunted or hunter". More often than not, the new recruit chooses to be a hunter.
- Ghost Trick Lynne decided to follow detective Jowd's example after he rescued her from a hostage situation When It All Began.
- Ulala of Space Channel 5 decided to work for the eponymous channel after being rescued from dying in space by one of their reporters, when she was the Sole Survivor of a spaceship explosion. Ironically, said reporter, Jaguar, went rogue and became a pirate broadcaster after growing disillusioned with corruption at the station (or fired for asking too many questions, depending on which region's version of the game you consider canon).
- Knights of the Old Republic has an interesting take on it. Juhani was enslaved to pay off her mother's debts and was freed when Revan's forces stormed the place and freed the slaves. note Juhani was instantly awestruck and swore she would become a Jedi herself to pay Revan back for the kindness. What makes this interesting was that, at that point, Revan was considered a renegade at that point, though hadn't yet fallen. This makes her determination to follow Jedi ideals, steer the Player Character to do the same, and pride at your Light Side actions all the more heartwarming as you are Revan, the one who freed her and set her on the Jedi path in the first place. Playing Light Sided proves you to be The Paragon she always saw in you.
- In the Visual Novel series Ace Attorney, Phoenix Wright decides to become a defense attorney because his friend defended him during a class trial when nearly everyone else presumed him to be guilty.
- This was Emiya Shirou's reason for becoming a Hero in Fate/stay night. Part of his core issue is that he has no idea of what kind of person his predecessor, father and rescuer, Kiritsugu, actually was, or the misery that the ideals he held led to.
- Gil Marverde of Ava's Demon has a life ambition of becoming a Titan medic, because medic followers of Titan once saved his life.
- In one episode of Family Guy, Peter decides to pursue his dream of being a knight, citing an incident where he took acid at Quahog Renaissance Fayre and tried to leap off a building, and the Fayre's resident Black Knight saved his life. Peter later meets the knight again and tries to tell him what an inspiration he is, only to learn that the Knight is actually a Jerkass when he's out of character.
- In Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers, the trio of friends decide to become musketeers, after they are rescued by The Three Musketeers from the original work.