Girl in a Box
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. Notice the phrase itself in Japan means a rich/noble girl that is usually over protected and knows little of the world and may even have little freedom. Compare with "a bird in a gilded cage". So Japanese works sometimes gives this metaphor a more physical meaning. There's even a movie in 1935 with the exact name, Hakoirimusume (literally, "girl in a box"). Possibly related to People Jars, although usually more benign. If the girl is dead, it may be a case of Stuffed into 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.
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- Generally speaking, rather common in Japanese media. It's fallen out of favor somewhat in recent times, however, largely due to over-use.
- Night, of Absolute Boyfriend (Zettai Kareshi) is a robot boy in a box.
- Melfina from Outlaw Star, in what is probably the example that most casual anime watchers will think of when you mention this trope.
- Code Geass:
- Rozen Maiden, which works perfectly. Where do you store porcelain dolls when they're not on the shelf?
- May in Hand Maid May.
- Nia from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.
- Male example: according to Word of God, Team Dai-Gurren found Attenborough in someone's luggage. No, really.
- Izumi from Martian Successor Nadesico, presented as a parody. "Where else? In the box."
- Hyatt, Ropponmatsu I, and Ropponmatsu II are introduced to ACROSS members this way in Excel Saga.
- This only applies to the anime, not the original manga.
- Lime, Cherry, and Bloodberry from Saber Marionette J are all introduced this way. They're also robot girls with their slavish devotion to the male protagonist preinstalled, so they hit this trope pretty hard.
- Yui from Koharu Biyori, being a robot maid. The Opening Theme specifically mentions this.
- An early example: Fyana from Armored Trooper VOTOMS.
- Mimi from I Dream of Mimi/Buttobi CPU.
- Weird example. Princess Snow from MÄR. The first we see her, she's encased in ice, only to be freed (and accidentally kissed by) Ginta. This freaks him out since she looks, sounds and acts exactly like his childhood friend Koyuki. Oddly enough, the second time she needs to be rescued, she's inside of an ACTUAL box in a fetal position. A Rubix Cube-like deathtrap to be precise, which will kill her if not solved correctly and even if it's solved correctly will kill whoever solved it instead. Putting a bit of a dark spin on this trope.
- Havoc in Darker Than Black.
- Also, in a later episode, the Doll that the Yakuza acquires and tries to sell as a sex slave.
- Ifurita in El-Hazard: The Magnificent World.
- Reverie in Elemental Gelade.
- In Soukou no Strain, the boxed loli is found by the villain, and becomes his replacement sister and Morality Pet. She doesn't do such a good job of the latter, since, as it turns out, he was already crazy to begin with.
- Chii in Chobits is a girl on a garbage can, all naked but for the bandages she's wrapped in.
- Byakki/Shiro in Wagaya No Oinari Sama, who was delivered in a box.
- Zoids: Chaotic Century starts like this.
- Given a Gender Flip in Axis Powers Hetalia, where Italy is found hiding in a tomato crate.
- Another boy version happens in Kimi Wa Petto (or Tramps Like Us in the translation) with Momo
- Misty in Vandread, she's rescued from an escape pod.
- Lacus Clyne in Gundam SEED has the same thing happen to her, albeit she's rescued by an enemy ship.
- And later in SEED, the same happens to Flay
- Lacus Clyne in Gundam SEED has the same thing happen to her, albeit she's rescued by an enemy ship.
- Ginga Nakajima in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha was stored in a metal suitcase to be transported to the Big Bad when she was defeated and captured.
- From The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya: Kyon's little sister hid in his duffel bag so he would take her on vacation with him. Spoofed in The Abridging of Haruhi Suzumiya:
Kyon: Why is my bag so... ohmygod, a loli in a bag!
- Chocotto Sister: While not a box (it's a bag), Choco comes delivered in a present by Santa.
- Lucille Lilliant from Gundam X was a Lady in a Capsule. For worse, she's been locked for 15 years inside of it, and the enemy now wants to get to her to use her considerable Psychic Powers. Poor Lucille is physically indefense, as her body is pretty much comatose, but her conscience finds a way around that.
- Parodied in Colorful with Connie the Consolation Prize, a deliberately two-dimensional girl delivered in a box to a salivating recipient.
- Hako-chan (literally "Box-chan"), from Sora Wo Kakeru Shoujo. Her appearance is still mostly unknown due to her not leaving the box yet, though we do learn that she has light skin. There was one point where she almost came out, but then Aleida convinced her that staying in the box was better because "being in the outside world is worse than being in the box". Admittedly, it does seem to be a pretty nice box: it has some sort of camera system allowing view outside, though not from outside in, and text can be displayed on the door of the box like it's a computer screen. Also, it apparently has some sort of hovering/movement device.
- Scary, scary version with Number 28 in Elfen Lied.
- Zia in The Mysterious Cities of Gold, in the "smuggled aboard a ship" variety.
- While not a girl, Ein of Cowboy Bebop originally came packaged in a metal briefcase. Ed did this to herself in the episode Mushroom Samba, when she stowed away in the trunk of a bounty hunter's car, causing a lot of trouble for said bounty hunter when a cop pulled her over.
- Revolutionary Girl Utena: Utena's coffin scene. And the scene in the final battle.
- Male example: Ciel in a suitcase in the first episode of the second season of the Black Butler anime.
- In the Millennium World arc of Yu-Gi-Oh!, we first meet Mana hiding in a large ceramic pot.
- In the third season of Robotech, Marlene is found in an alien egg.
- Rose from Dragon Crisis!.
- Chisaya from Onikirisama no Hakoirimusume
- To be expected "Hakoiri musume" ("boxed daughter") is a Japanese term for a sheltered young lady.
- In Cube×Cursed×Curious the girl doesn't so much come in a box, she IS the box.
- At least one erotic manga has a woman try smuggle herself into Japan by disguising herself as a sex doll. Customs has a lot of fun with her.
- Michiru from Kono Kanojo wa Fiction desu first appeared naked in a large bag instead of a box.
- The titular character from Ayako is a Deconstruction and an especially disturbing example since she spend more then twenty years locked up in a basement and now hides in a box whenever she gets scared. Which is often.
- During a dream sequence in Eureka Seven, Anemone appears naked and in the fetal position in a refrigerator.
- The contents of the bag that Akatsuki was carrying throughout the first half of the first episode of Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero was revealed to be Miu, fully naked.
- Sgt. Frog Keroro first met Angol Mois after finding her inside a closet that landed on Keron.
- 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.
Films — Animated
- In Heavy Metal, the villain of the "Den" sequence does this to Den's girlfriend to get him to cooperate.
Films — Live-Action
- 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.
George: Next time, George get bigger box.
- Another male example; at the climax of The Man with the Golden Gun, Bond subdues Nick-Nack by shutting him up inside a suitcase. (A normal suitcase; Nick-Nack is a midget and small enough to fit.)
- 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.
- Der Wixxer sees the Earl of Cockwood smuggling entire girl bands in suitably large wooden crates (at least judging by the one example revealed on screen).
- 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.
- The Long Ships: viking Toke smuggles a girl on a longship in a large chest.
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.
- Later on in the episode The Emissary, K'Ehleyr, Worf's Love Interest, arrives at Enterprise in what is essentially a torpedo casing. (Getting there fast was imperative, so they really had to improvise.)
- And in Enterprise, Trip meets a cargo girl from the same planet as the Next Generation example above, only to find out she's a Well, Excuse Me, Princess!. (Naturally, they make out a lot eventually after the hilarity starts ensuing.)
- 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 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: 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.
- In Killer is Dead, this is how Juliet (the heroine from Lollipop Chainsaw) makes a cameo. In Episode 51, a DLC chapter, if the player breaks open a barrel on a ledge that's shaking, Juliet leaps out and jumps away to the sound made in her own game when she uses her Big Jump move.
- 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
- In the Updated Re Release Ultra Street Fighter IV, Decapre is shown breaking her capsule before joining the cast. And in her ending, both she and Cammy are now capsuled, after Cammy returns to Shadaloo after Bison tells her it's the only way to save the dying Decapre.
- 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.
- In Suguri you meet the final boss Hime sealed in a glass chamber in the final stage. Shifu awakens her and blackmails her to fight you.
- Sarah, the protagonist in the white chamber, awakens in a boxy coffin and is seen hiding in one on the page image.
- Neko Para: TWO catgirls in two boxes! They're the protagonist's stepsisters.
- In RuneScape quest "The Tourist Trap", you rescue a kidnapped girl from slavery by smuggling her away in a barrel. She's not happy about it.
- During the rescue operation in Grisaia No Rakuen the Thanatos system's autonomous behavior is finally noticed by Ichigaya, who begin shutting out its systems. In response, it fights back as well as it can as well as sending JB to remove its core: Kazuki Kazami, who has been in a tube for years. When she gets out, she's so weak she can barely even stand, let alone walk, requiring JB to carry her out.
- 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...
- The true-crime story of Colleen Stan.