The heroes will occasionally discover a girl who, for whatever reason, has been placed in a box, usually in suspended animation
(or failing that, a box with airholes). Most of the time, this is part of the introduction of a new major character. Sometimes she could simply come in a box
in mint condition.
Possibly related to People Jars
, although usually more benign. If the girl is dead, it may be a case of Stuffed In The Fridge
or Dead Man's Chest
. See also Punk in the Trunk
. Often, as in the page image, she'll have been stored in the fetal position
, possibly naked
Usually the female counterpart of a Sealed Badass in a Can
but they can overlap. Another neutral version of Sealed Evil in a Can
or Sealed Good in a Can
Not to be confused with Dick in a Box, a song by The Lonely Island
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Anime & Manga
- Ms. Marvel once featured a plot arc where The Puppetmaster was collecting superheroines, mind-controlling them and then selling them. He had teams out catching the women, and they would be shipped to his South American headquarters inside wooden crates.
- The first issue of Jack Kirby's OMAC has the title character learning to his horror that the girl he likes is actually an android, built as part of an evil conspiracy. He learns this by finding her disassembled in a box.
- Junior in Secret Six, due to a severe aversion to being seen, runs a criminal empire from inside a wooden crate, and travels inside a burlap sack.
- In one of the Paperinik continuities, the android Lyla Lay is found deactivated in a box in an old factory. Luckily, the janitor who found her happens to be versed in super-science, and can "revive" her.
- In the Meet Cute of Just You and Me, Kid, George Burns finds a naked Brooke Shields hiding in the trunk on his car.
- Bloodsucking Freaks: In this low-budget gorefest, one of the villain's many bad habits is stuffing young, blond women into wooden boxes to be sold to men overseas.
- Boxing Helena: Jennifer Lynch note made a movie about a trauma surgeon who keeps his bitchy ex-girlfriend in a box... but only after he trimmed her to fit.
- In Sweet Movie, Miss Canada gets stuffed in a suitcase and shipped to Paris from North America.
- The mermaid in the glass case in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
- Male version: in George of the Jungle, George ships himself back to Africa in a giant UPS carton.
- Ultraviolet: Another male case, a young boy is kept in a suitcase (using space-warping technology).
- In The Cell, Carl Stargher puts his female victims in a glass box and leaves them there to be retrieved later, after they are dead.
- In Shuttle after the protagonist is sold into sex slavery, she's trapped in a box and loaded onto a ship so she can be sent to her new owners abroad.
- Liz in Live Animals is found in a small box, having apparently been kept for some time as a "toy" by the antagonists.
- Tri Couleurs Blanc: A male example is used for comic and dramatic effect simultaneously.
- In The Transporter, this turns out to be what is being transported.
- Bianca in Lars and the Real Girl quite literally comes in a box (although, despite the title, she's not a real girl).
- In the film version of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Dawn Treader, Gael is discovered in a supply barrel after stowing away aboard the Dawn Treader.
- Django Unchained: The first time that Django's wife Broomhilda is seen outside of flashbacks and fantasy sequences, she's naked in the "hot box" as punishment for trying to run away from Candieland, however the circumstances make it very much Fan Disservice.
- Oblivion (2013): Julia Rusakova later Harper kicks things off when her escape capsule lands on Earth and Jack investigates.
- In Heavy Metal, the villain of the "Den" sequence does this to Den's girlfriend to get him to cooperate.
- The Girl in the Box: Jackie, the protagonist of the teen novel. In this case, the "box" in question is a cramped basement, where she's being held after being kidnapped for unknown reasons.
- Wheel of Time: A male example; Rand is captured by Aes Sedai, forced into a trunk and tortured on his way to the White Tower. He's rescued at Dumai Well's.
- E.Veltistov wrote a series of books about the adventures of Electronic, a Ridiculously Human Robot in shape of a boy. The first book is titled "Electronic - a boy from the box"
- Discworld: A scene late in Pyramids evokes the Cleopatra legend below.
- Eva Luna:A bunch of girls who were about to be sold to a prostitution ring are kept in a locked crate with limited air inside. Their ship got stuck due to bureaucracy and the girls suffocate to death.
- Across the Universe: Amy and the other passengers from old Earth are frozen into compartments, resembling boxes. Well, Amy is until Elder unplugs her.
Live Action TV
- Firefly, Trope Namer:
- River Tam. The phrase "girl in a box" was used in the trailer.
- Saffron, though it was less of an introduction and more of 'getting her on the ship without the other characters noticing'. Or possibly keeping her away from everyone long enough for them to work up a plan how to out-con her.
- They get rid of her the same way, when Inara traps her in a dumpster.
- A male variant, Tracey was introduced to the show in a coffin. Too bad the episode has Book Ends.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation in the episode The Perfect Mate had Picard meet, and have to give up, a woman initially being transported as "cargo" possessed of the power to become anyone's Magical Girlfriend.
- The Man Show had a skit where a midget woman in her early twenties was carried around in a suitcase, as a portable stripper.
- Jeannie from I Dream of Jeannie was a Girl in a Bottle, but close enough.
- In Pushing Daisies, Chuck is in a coffin when Ned revives her.
- One CSI: Crime Scene Investigation episode dealt with a body found in a desert where the death pose was in an unusual position; turns out the girl had been attempting to smuggle herself into the country in a suitcase and died in it.
- Another episode dealt with deaths at a circus, including one man who could contort his body into many shapes who was found in an extremely small box.
- Yet a third dealt with "claustrophila," a confined-space fetish: a female practitioner (played by a real-life contortionist) allowed herself to be folded up in a large packing crate and mailed cross-town. Because the UPS delivery man didn't "handle with care," she was knocked out, asphyxiated, and arrived DOA.
- Chuck has a male version when Bryce is found to be still alive... and in a box.
- Used by the protagonists several times, as well. Notably, Chuck hiding from an assassin in a coffin being transported by air, Casey and Sarah smuggling themselves aboard a train in coffins and subsequently imprisoning the Big Bad in one, (temporarily) and Sarah stowing away aboard an airplane having squeezed herself into a dufflebag.
- NCIS had a gruesome twist on this trope in one episode, where the killer was avenging the deaths of three girls in a box. A group of officers, when they learned they were being sent home, arranged to ship their Asian girlfriends back to the States in a locked crate in the storage hold. But when their orders were changed at the last minute, none of them ended up on the same ship with the girls, who starved to death. The killer was the fourth girl, the only one who survived.
- At the end of season three of 'Allo 'Allo! Maria ships herself in a box and gets lost.
- The series five opening of iCarly includes Sam in a suitcase.
- In The Breaker, the protagonist finds a girl in the trunk of a car.
- In Redrum327, Gahui was locked in a safe in the middle of a forest by the rest of the cast (minus Gihu) as a child and left to die. She's rescued six days later, after tearing her own finger nails off trying to escape and nearly freezing to death during the raining days.
- Another possible Trope Namer candidate is the Blake Babies' song of the same name. It came out in 1990, long before Firefly.
- Noodle is mailed to in a FedEx box. Talk about your Noodle Incidents....
- Male variation: 2D got shipped to Plastic Beach in a suitcase.
- Male example with a macabre twist: The Velvet Underground's "The Gift".
- Slipknot's song Purity
- The live version starts with "This song... Is about a girl in a box."
- From Greek Mythology, Princess Danae and her newborn son Perseus were shut into a box and thrown into the sea by Danae's dad Acrisios, who has been told that Danae's child would kill and overthrow him. With some help of Perseus's biological father, the god Zeus, they were eventually found by the fisherman Dictys in a beach and he took both of them in.
- The scene was reenacted in Clash of the Titans, but without the prophecy, Acrisios doing it simply out of jealousy; Zeus punishes Acrisios dearly for his act, killing him by crushing the clay model that contains his life force, and ordering Poseidon to release the Kraken to unleash its rage upon Argos, destroying it. However, he instructs the sea god to ensure that Danae and her child are taken by the currents to a safe place, the island of Seriphos, where Perseus grows to adulthood.
- According to Jewish tradition, this happened to Sarah from The Bible, because her husband was afraid she'd be taken by the Egyptians on account of her beauty.
- The (male) baby Moses escapes Pharoah's order to throw every male child in the Nile when his mother makes him a basket covered in water-repellent pitch before sending him down the river. He's also promptly found by the Pharoah's daughter and raised as her own child.
- Azel from (Azel:) Panzer Dragoon Saga.
- Sexy Parodius: Players who successfully complete mission 3 face a mission filled with girls in boxes.
- In Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, the Borginian singer Lamiroir hides in a contrabass case after being very nearly killed by someone who wants her silenced.
- This is how the Dragonborn first meets Serana in the Dawnguard expansion of Skyrim.
- Final Fantasy VII: A male example is Vincent Valentine. Granted, you're replacing "box" with "coffin", but still.
- Pokémon Colosseum: The female character is first seen (er, heard) trapped in a bag.
- In To Heart 2: Another Days Silfa / HMX-17c makes her appearance being shipped in a box to Takaaki's house. She also uses the box as her hiding place.
- One of the fighters in Cyberbots is a girl in a jar, who hijacked a robot to escape from the government facility where she was stored. She beats up everyone she comes across due to fear and extreme misunderstandings.
- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: Ooccoo, the odd bird-like female, keeps getting herself stuck in crockery inside the various dungeons, and is only seen if Link finds and breaks the particular pot in which she's trapped.
- Sera from Digital Devil Saga.
- Gaia Online has the Sentinel, a demigoddess who accidentally cursed herself into a box to be tortured by demons for a thousand years... and was released by Gaians looking for rare items, crazier than ever. By the same token, we have her counterpart the Overseer, Boy in a Clam.
- Octavia in Tears to Tiara is found inside a box, tied up and helpless. Arawn decides he has enough women hanging around annoying him about how they're his wife or just being ditzy elves, so he decides to seal her back in and pretend he never saw her. Sadly, Arthur catches him and you recruit her instead.
- The bad ending for Haunting Ground has the main heroine trapped in a box at the end.
- Suzy in killer7. Granted, she's just a head...
- Rief in Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, a male example, is kidnapped, trapped in a crate, and abandoned near Harapa in order to force the heroes to rescue him instead of following their original mission to Morgal.
- Fatal Frame 2 had a ghost woman in a kimono box. She hid in the box to escape the Repentence, but died there.
- In one Warriors Orochi 3 side mission, Gracia gets trapped inside a box that is sealed shut by Zhang Jiao's magic, leading Sima Yi and Masamune Date to fight Jiao and his brothers in order to break the spell to free her.
- The Dolls (save for Cammy, Juni and Juli) are seen stashed inside capsules in Street Fighter IV's Juri OAV. This is because their Brain Washing process has damaged their bodies and minds almost beyond recognition, and their capsules either keep them frozen until they can be restored or are part of their medical treatment
- This is how Ibuki meets his first Cat Girl, Mikan, in Let's Meow Meow. She is curled up, naked, and sleeping in a cardboard box on the street which he happens to stumble upon on the way home. His response? "I was expecting to see a kitten. How disappointing." Let me remind you that this guy specifically wished on the Cat God to have his own catgirl and he has a catgirl fetish.
- To be fair, he initially assumes that was a dream and she a crazy homeless girl in a cosplay outfit.
- Aelita of Code Lyoko: Jérémie finds his virtual Magical Girlfriend in suspended animation in Cyberspace.
- In the DCAU, Superman first finds Supergirl as the last frozen survivor of her homeworld.
- In an episode of The Botsmaster, a few of hero Zid Zoolander's Ridiculously Human Robots note their creator's crush on villainess Lady Frenzy. So they kidnap her and present her unconscious body in a box to ZZ on his birthday.
- Lampshaded in one episode of The Simpsons where Marge is eavesdropping on a cellphone conversation between Moe and Carl. According to Moe, Groundskeeper Willie ordered a mail-order bride from some other country, but refused to pay a shipping fee, resulting in the girl stuck in the crate at the post office. (We have to take Moe's word on this here, but weirder things have happened on this show...)
- This is supposedly how Julius Caesar and Cleopatra met for the first time (she was hidden in a rolled-up carpet, rather than a box, though).
- Hugo de Groot, a Dutch writer in the 17th century was imprisoned in castle Loevestein. Every month the guards would replace his bookcase. Guess how he escaped.
- In the pre-Civil War United States, some slaves managed to escape bondage by mailing themselves northward. The most famous of these was Henry "Box" Brown (not to be confused with a different Henry Brown, inventor of the safe * ).
- Many refugees have tried to smuggle themselves in ship containers with various degrees of success.
- In 1961 a woman was smuggled from East to West Berlin in two suitcases. They were placed next to each other in the luggage rack with false sides making them one space, with her top half in one suitcase and legs in the other. She made it through.
- A rare male example: in 1957 an abandoned basinnet box was found off a footpath in rural Pennsylvania. inside was the body of a little boy, somewhere between the ages of four and six. That boy has never been identified even today.
- This soldier, who happened to be coming home from Afghanistan on his daughter's third birthday. Sorry, there's just something in my eye...