Willow: I feel like some part of me will always be waiting for you. Like, if I'm old and blue-haired and I turn the corner in Istanbul, and there you are, I won't be surprised. Because you're with me, you know?
: I know. But now is not that time, I guess.
So you're a film or TV show producer or the author of a book series, or the team behind a comic book, and you have a problem. You want a character out of the story, but you don't want to kill them off, you're not going to just flat out ignore them
, and you certainly wouldn't have them just disappear for no reason and with no mention of it
. However, there is a situation in which a character can be written out of a series in such a way that they can easily be returned later, if the creators so choose. They are Put On A Bus.
A staple of the Prime Time Soap
and particularly Soap Opera
where casts are large
and actor turnover is frequent
. Conveniently, when such a character is brought back and now played by a different actor, it can be a case of Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome
or The Other Darrin
If the character doesn't return from such a way that arranging a return would be simple, this becomes a Long Bus Trip
. If they return once, it's The Bus Came Back
. Should they start appearing infrequently, they're Commuting on a Bus
. If there's obvious malice involved in the character's departure, then they've been Put on a Bus to Hell
. There's also the chance of a Bus Crash
or dying on the bus
The bus in question may be a Convenient Coma
Opposite of Dropped a Bridge on Him
. Compare with Chuck Cunningham Syndrome
, where a character abruptly vanishes without mention. See also Absentee Actor
and Written-In Absence
, for when a character disappears for only an episode or two.
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Anime & Manga
- Mazinger Z: The Hero Kouji Kabuto himself and his Battle Couple, Sayaka, at the end of the series (to be exact, they were put on a plane and sent to America), and they were replaced by The Hero and the Action Girl from the next series, Great Mazinger (Tetsuya and Jun). In fact, all Mazinger Z characters but Shiro, Boss and his gang when Great Mazinger started, although a few of them returned in the last season for the Grand Finale (Kouji, Sayaka, Prof. Yumi and Dr. Hell). In UFO Robo Grendizer, Kouji was the only character from Mazinger Z and Great Mazinger was not (although Boss made a cameo appearance). Go Nagai intended Sayaka to return, too, but Executive Meddling prevented this from happening. In the manga versions, though, more characters and settings from the original series show up.
- YuYu Hakusho
- Hiei mysteriously disappears after the first few episodes in the Sensui arc, using the excuse that he doesn't care whether or not the human world is destroyed. He turns up several episodes to test Yusuke's strength. He goes on a temporary bus again when the team enters Sensui's hideout and battle Gamemaster. Hiei notes, "I know as much of games as I do hugs or puppies and care for them even less" and falls asleep. He remains like this for several episodes.
- A much more straight example would be Kuwabara in the final arc. While the other main characters travel to the demon realm he stays behind to focus on his studies and is only seen at the beginning and the end of the arc.
- Misty left the show five years in and has been stuck preventing her sisters from messing up the Cerulean Gym ever since. She was followed by May (and her brother Max), who in turn was followed by Dawn, with both getting four years before joining Misty on the bus. If an interview with the anime director is anything to go by, this will be the fate for every female main character who travels with Ash in the series every time a new generation of Pokémon comes out. Misty's departure has not been welcomed by fans, who claim that Pokémon has been ruined forever.
- Brock was also briefly put on a bus earlier in the show's run. Unfortunately, Tracey was generally poorly received so he was quickly put on a bus himself (though remaining a minor character in Ash's hometown) and Brock remained as a main character in the show for 11 years before he was put back on the bus, and replaced by Cilan. When X and Y rolled around, Cilan himself was replaced by Clemont (and his sister Bonnie). Should this pattern continue, the male companion slot now holds the same disposability that the female companion slot does.
- Brock was temporarily put on a bus so many times that his abrupt return was a running gag at every opportunity. His reappearances even go from awesome to laughable: During Hoenn he makes a Big Damn Heroes moment when the cast is attacked by wild Pokémon (which would be completely unexpected if not for his presence in the opening). The next time, when Ash and his group leave for the Battle Frontier, the narrator is about to close up the episode, but is promptly interrupted by Brock showing up to tag along.. Then in Diamond & Pearl, Brock just gets off a truck on the side of the road where Ash happens to be.
- This trope also applies to most of Ash's Pokémon. Some, like Squirtle and Charizard, are left with other trainers but will occasionally reappear, while others, like Pidgeot, Butterfree, Primeape, and Lapras, disappear entirely, although Lapras made one reappearance in late Johto. In fact, Ash has made it a habit to leave behind all of his Pokémon except Pikachu in Professor Oak's lab when he travels to each new region.
- One of the most egregious examples of this was with Heracross; in order to participate in a tournament, he sends Heracross back to get his Tauros. At the end of the episode, he sends Tauros back... but does not get Heracross. Heracross eventually returns for the Johto league.
- Also applies to many of Team Rocket's Pokémon, such as Weezing, Arbok, and Dustox.
- Notable is James's Victreebel, who was put on a bus, and replaced with a new one in the same episode....who was also put on a bus by the end of the episode.
- And in Best Wishes, they do this to all of their Pokemon.
- In one season, Ambipom is put on a bus.
- Though given the nature of the series, it's less being put on the bus as much as being let off.
- And all of the first 493 Pokemon except Pikachu and Meowth in Best Wishes at first.
- Sailor Moon did this to Chibiusa whenever they sent her back to the future, though after the first time the reasoning was dubious. Mamoru was put on a plane for the Stars season of the first anime, and his fate remained unknown until the final showdown with the Big Bad. The Outer Senshi themselves have a habit of showing up for arbitrarily specific dangers, mostly so the writers can prune down the cast manageably. Sailor Senshi Placeholder Naru was continuously put on a bus after the introduction of all the actual senshi, being brought back several times until she was just written out completely in the last season.
- Lots of bus rides in Dragon Ball:
- Goku was put on a bus temporarily after the Frieza saga, with his whereabouts unknown until he came back 12 episodes later. During his absence, Gohan assumed the role of the series' main character.
- Goku was put on another bus at the end of the Cell saga, with the focus returning to teenaged Gohan for a while before Goku returned once more.
- Tien and Chiaotzu were put on a permanent bus after the Cell arc. They got a few cameos each afterwards, but for the most part, this bus stayed out of town.
- Maron, Krillin's girlfriend during Goku's absence, was put on a bus after the Garlic Jr. saga. The bus briefly came back in the middle of the Android saga, but left again, never to return.
- Android 17 was put on a bus after being absorbed by Cell. The bus came back in GT when he merged with a clone and became the main villain. Afterwards, he was never seen again.
- All the villains in the series are put on busses after their defeats, but Cell and Frieza reappeared in hell afterwards in late DBZ and DBGT. The rest stay gone.
- Launch is put in a bus in the first saga of DBZ. She's last seem getting drunk a bar, but makes a very brief cameo appearance in the Kid Buu saga giving Goku energy with the other earthlings. In the manga, she was put on a bus after the DB portion, and remains absent for the rest of the series.
- Future Trunks was put on a bus when he went back to his timeline. The bus never came back, but the present-day Trunks remained in the show.
- In Slayers, Zelgadis was put on a bus after the first arc wrapped up. He reappeared 8 episodes later, and stayed a main character for the rest of the franchise. Sylphiel was also put on a bus in Slayers TRY (season 3), being replaced by the Golden Dragon Filia, and doesn't return until the end of season 4 (Slayers Revolution). Filia herself was also bussed off immediately after TRY ended, along with all of the other characters exclusive to that season.
- Amelia is randomly put on a bus at various points in the first arc of the novels (seasons 1 and 2 of the anime are based off of them), and she, Zelgadis, and Xellos are put on a bus after the first arc ended. They are replaced with Luke and Milina; unfortunately, the latter two weren't popular enough to appear in other media (other than the Hourglass of Falces manga).
- Finally, Zelgadis was absent without explanation in the Knight of the Aqualord manga; Lina, Gourry, and Amelia all have major roles in that story.
- Tenma went overseas and essentially out of the mainstream storyline of School Rumble.
- In Mai-HiME, this happens to Akane Higurashi after her boyfriend and MIP Kazuya is killed as a side-effect of Miyu destroying Akane's CHILD. She's shown twice afterwards in a particularly heartbreaking Heroic BSOD state, which she doesn't recover from until the end of the series... when Mashiro revives Kazuya and restores her powers just in time for her and the defeated HiMEs to join Mai and Mikoto in the last battle.
- It happened to her Mai-Otome counterpart, as well. She disappears after the midway point of the series to run off with her newfound lover, only to return for the final showdown.
- Mai's friends Chie and Aoi leave the school after it shuts down, and are thus absent for the climax.
- The military structure of the Space-Time Administration Bureau in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha makes this easy. Don't need someone for now? Just ship them off to a post that the current arc isn't focusing on. Need them back? Either reassign them to the main characters' branch or have their department help out on the current crisis.
- Happens quite a few times in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure.
- The most blatant example would be Fugo leaving Giorno's group in the middle of Part 5 (because he thought their mission was suicide) and never gets mentioned again. (The real life reason being that Araki made his Stand too cheap to write good fights for.)
- Joseph after leaving Morioh at the end of Part 4 is never so much as mentioned again. Now, seeing as he was about 80, it's safe to assume he's dead, but it's still pretty odd that it's never been brought up for a main character.
- Giorno is last shown at the end of Part 5 and was later stated by Word of God to be in Florida during Part 6 after Pucci gained the Joestar birthmark. He should have been drawn to Pucci by the bloodline connection, but still doesn't appear. If he did, his No Sell ability would've been very useful against the Gravity Sucks and later Ret Gone abilities of Pucci's Stand
- In Hitohira, Mugi's best friend Kayo announces out of the blue that she will be studying photography abroad—which is a bit strange, since she didn't even finish her high school education yet. No further details are given, not even where she will be going, and her disappearance is obviously used as a device to cause Mugi large amounts of angst.
- In the Cardcaptor Sakura anime, Meiling returns to Hong Kong just before the climax of the first arc. She makes guest appearances near the end of the second arc and in the movie epilogue.
- A great deal of minor characters in Yu-Gi-Oh! are frequently brought back after being sent off, including Duke Devlin, Mai Valentine, Serenity Wheeler, and countless others. But then, almost every season a new duel tournament begins, so they have a semi-genuine reason to bring back the old characters all at once.
- In Season 3, the Ishtars board a plane home to Egypt and return in the final season.
- Daichi/Bastion Misawa of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX got put on a bus partway through season 2, after freeing himself from the recruiting cult's brainwashing, done through a Shout-Out to the original Eureka Moment. At least the dub edited in a pair of underwear...
- He returned next season to give some Expo Speak and a little Techno Babble... and got put on a bus all over again. And he started out as a major character, too, before being Demoted to Extra. Poor guy practically had a bus pass.
- Chocotto Sister has Ayano written out so seamlessly that Haruma's heartbreak over her seems rather pointless in the end.
- MÄR. Snow is absent for 26 episodes straight in the anime after being captured. She was also captured in the manga but it was much shorter (only about 20 or so chapters, equivalent to maybe 8-10 episodes normally), the main reason is because various filler episodes delayed her rescue for some time. She only shows up in flashbacks/stock footage when Ginta occasionally angsts about how he wants to save her.
- In Neon Genesis Evangelion, when Pen-Pen gets put on a bus, you know that the show won't have any more comic relief.
- Yasuko from Aoi Hana conveniently starts studying in England, after she fulfilled her role of causing Fumi lots of heartbreak and teenage angst.
- Koromo from Saki simply doesn't attend the individual tournament, limiting her displays of Mahjong prowess to a few scenes in the team tournament arc.
- Noel and Chisato in the manga and anime versions of Star Ocean: The Second Story suffered this fate, as both the manga and the anime got interrupted before the Energy Nede arc. And as a result, the manga adaptation of Star Ocean: Blue Sphere, the direct sequel of Second Story does as if they never existed.
- And speaking of the Blue Sphere manga, Bowman was hit with this trope too, as by the beginning of it he's a father, and the team wanted him to stay with his family. After the first few chapters, he's never brought up again in the storyline. Oh, did we mention that Bowman joins the team no matter what in the original game?
- In Mahou Sensei Negima!, about half of Negi's class gets put on a bus when the magic world arc starts. Or rather, they're left behind when the main cast gets on the bus.
- Played straight with Magnificent Bastard Chao, when she returns to the future. Unlike many examples of this trope, she is still referenced often, and the likelihood of an eventual The Bus Came Back is especially good considering her...unique insight into who the main protagonist will eventually end up with.
- To Jack Rakan, being erased from existence is being put on a bus, and his bus came back.
- The entire cast of One Piece not so much gets put on a bus but earn frequent flyer miles as they are knocked to various locations. Though, everyone's location is given to you and it's assumed they will all return.
- Since every arc of One Piece takes place on a different island, and the story follows the journey of Straw Hats, everyone who is not a Straw Hat or a traveling companion of theirs more or less gets put on a bus when they leave an island. In case of most civilians who don't leave their island, they are still on the bus except for maybe a few cameos from time to time, but most pirates and marines also travel around their world so they often meet up with the Straw Hats again on another island or are implied to do it in the future.
- In Bakuman。 Nakai, after in the course of a few days, alienating Aoki by asking her to be his girlfriend in order for him to draw for her, losing his job as assistant when the manga he's working on gets canceled, alienating his fellow assistant when his proposal for Aoki comes to light, and upsetting quite a few of his friends as a result, decides that he used his art skills for the wrong reasons, and leaves for home. Takagi considers having him come back and work for them as an assistant, but Mashiro suggests that if he comes back, it should be as a mangaka, before the scene cuts to Nakai discontent with his life and looking a some manga volumes. It's also worth noting that Fukuda asked him if he was willing to let things end the way they did as he left, which is some indication that he may not.
- The bus came back, and he's just as bad as when he left.
- Student council president and local Casanova Touga Kiryuu of Revolutionary Girl Utena, after he loses his rematch with Utena, is absent until the penultimate episode of the Black Rose Arc. From what's shown after the match, he spent over ten episodes sitting in a chair in his home and not moving. This happens with many of the series' characters (especially the classmates that become Black Rose duelists), but Touga is the most notable example.
- At the end of the Lost Agent Arc, the Fullbringers are written out of the story. Riruka departs alone after a plea for people to forget her. Shishigawara, Jackie and Yukio go their own separates, although Yukio does comment that in three years time, he'll reform the group. Ginjou, Tsukishima and Giriko die, but since the dead go to the afterlife where most of the story takes place, they aren't written out so much as gain a change of address.
- Tensa Zangetsu's sword form was shattered and Mayuri says there's no coming back from that for a zanpakutou's bankai, so Ichigo had to get his zanpakutou completely remade. What his new bankai will be, and the consequences for Tensa Zangetsu, have not been revealed.
- Being exclusive to the Anime, the Bounts (Also known as Vampires) as a whole were put on a bus, despite one surviving.
- CLANNAD has a curious variety, in that Fuko gets written out of the story by having people completely forget about her.
- Additionally, due to the Visual Novel Origin of the series, characters will often be put on short bus trips for the story arcs that don't concern them. Examples include Sunohara's whereabouts in the Kotomi arc, Nagisa at several points in the story, Kotomi, Ryou, and Kyou in the Miyazawa arc, and Miyazawa in almost every arc besides her own and the "Absent Nagisa" storylines.
- A lot of characters in Bakugan have been loaded onto buses.
- Star Driver has done this twice so far, both with characters that happen to be Maidens. After the seals of both Sakana and Mizuno are broken and their respective arcs end, they leave Southern Cross Isle and go to the mainland.
- THE iDOLM@STER - The Producer on the Live For You OVA
- Robotech: In the comic Prelude to Shadow Chronicles, Max Sterling (Max Jenius of Macross) is referred to but never seen. He was apparently operating in another sector. He is ordered to return to SDF-3 after supervising weapon tests in the Omicron sector. We don't see him return and if he did, he's presumably missing with the SDF-3, Rick Hunter (Hikaru Ichijo) and all the other Macross era characters that need to be phased out due to licensing restrictions.
- Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ: The epilogue shows Judau Ashta leaving the AEUG, and going on a trip to Jupiter with Roux Louka aboard a Jupitris-class cruiser - where he is reunited with his sister Leina.
- In Amanchu, Ai and her twin brother Makoto are suspiciously absent during the "visitors from Tokyo" arc.
- In Hunter × Hunter Leorio and Kurapika, two of the main characters we're put in a bus for years! Fortunately, they both have been seen in later chapters.
- Ironically, it looks like Killua has been put on a bus since he's off to travel with his sister Alluka for a bit.
- The most prominent example in Naruto is Yamato who is put on a bus since the beginning of the Fourth Shinobi World War. He doesn't show up again until Chapter 677.
- During the Sasuke's Rescure arc, most jonin and chunin and some genin (Shino) were send to other missions, so Tsunade was forced to send a team of a fresh chunin (Shikamaru) and four genins (Naruto, Neji, Choji and Kiba). Shino lampshaded that he's still ashamed from being put on a pus at that time and he wanted to part of the rescue team. And Sakura was put on a bus because she was too bad for the team.
- Sasuke disappeared for three years in the story and wasn't there during the Gaara's Rescue arc.
- Kakashi was put on a bus for one arc after Gaara was rescued, due to exhaustion of his last battle.
- Kakashi is currently put on a bus again since his fight against Obito and he's sitting in the world of Kamui where he sews his cut wounds. However, he can apparently see what Obito can see.
- During the Pain arc, Team Guy and Hiashi Hyuga were send to other missions. The Team Guy showed up later, but they couldn't do anything.
- In the manga, Anko appeared only in the Chunin Exam arc and the Fourth Shinobi World War where she's recently put on a bus again.
- Iruka, the first teacher and an important character for Naruto, is so barely seen that you can count all of his appearances by hand.
- Attack on Titan does this with the four Titan Shifters.
- Annie seems to be suffering from this when she joins the Military Police Brigade, but she spends the next storyline as the primary antagonist in her Titan form. Once revealed and cornered, though, she puts herself in a Crystal Prison and has been in custody offscreen since.
- Reiner, Bertolt, and Ymir all flee human territory in the aftermath of the climatic battle with the multi-branch force, leaving when or if they'll reappear again anyone's guess.
- In Beyblade, all teams who weren't the Bladebreakers in season 1 were put on a bus in season 2. most of them come back in season 3, but mostly imcomplete and Demoted to Extra. The teams introduced in season 2 disappeared before season 3.
- Between the late 1960s and his return in the early '80s, J'onn J'onnz, the Martian Manhunter of the Justice League, went off to find "New Mars" with the rest of the Martian people. This has since been retconned — along with the existence of other Martians in general.
- Most of the Justice League members added to the team under Dwayne Mc Duffie's tenure ended up being written out in this manner once James Robinson took over and decided he wanted to write his own characters. Zatanna seemingly had an emotional breakdown and quit offscreen, Vixen took a "leave of absence" to heal from some recent injuries and then was never seen or mentioned again in that series, Green Lantern left without an explanation, and Firestorm also quit offscreen after the death of his girlfriend. Each of those characters save for Green Lantern would later return in subsequent volumes of the franchise. Ironically enough, this happened to the majority of Robinson's new characters, who quit offscreen after his first three issues.
- Two female human pilots left Rogue Squadron. Elscol, a guerrilla leader before Wedge recruited her, left because of command issues and because she believed she could do better working on the ground. Plourr, a Boisterous Bruiser who turned out to be a princess, left because revolutions had torn up her homeworld and she needed to rule and bring it back under control. Oddly, it's Plourr who was written back in, and very quickly. A drop-in commando character recurred, but Elscol did not. Well, not in the comics. She did have a role in one of the novels.
- This was originally Asajj Ventress's fate in the Star Wars Expanded Universe comic series Obsession. Having been betrayed by Count Dooku, Ventress decides she's had enough of the Clone Wars, hijacks a Republic medical shuttle and flies off into parts unknown never to be seen again. Well, then Star Wars: The Clone Wars came along and decided that none of that happened.
- Karolina was put on a spaceship right after the "True Believers" arc of Runaways. To make a very long story short, she had to go back to her home planet with Xavin in order to help end a war. However, they returned before the end of that volume.
- A Scooby-Doo comic features a subplot where Scrappy goes to a gambling table and begins winning hotels. At the end, he declares that he has won hotels and vanishes from the Mystery Machine, where the gang discovers he was using the solid hologram device from that story. The last panel has Scooby leave the van to go back to Las Vegas to get him, but by the next comic, Scrappy isn't anywhere to be seen, so presumably the gang left him there to run his hotels.
- Calvin and Hobbes has this in the form of Uncle Max. Watterson introduced him into the strip but quickly realized he hadn't put enough thought into the character, and wasn't quite sure what to do with him. After visiting once, Max goes back home and is never seen or mentioned again.
- Word of God says that another problem with Max was that his dialog was really hard to write: Watterson had a policy that Calvin's parents never be given names beyond "mom" and "dad," but this made their conversations with Max incredibly awkward. Thanks to Max, Watterson developed a personal rule that none of the supporting characters should be given outside friends or interests.
- In the Denny O'Neil / Neal Adams run of Green Lantern, Guy Gardner was hit by a bus to make way for John Stewart. After enduring several circumstances (having Hal's Power Battery explode, trapping him in the Phantom Zone, rescued from it, and rendered catatonic), he would then play a greater role in the Green Lantern comics following the Crisis on Infinite Earths.
- Did you know that Catwoman had a daughter in the One Year Later storyline of Infinite Crisis? No? Good, because DC would prefer you forget that ever happened.
- The Justice Society of America following Crisis on Infinite Earths, when they decided to disband after the merging of the Earths but were called to alter the outcome of the Norse gods' Ragnarok in order to prevent Adolf Hitler from retroactively destroying the universe in 1945, which caused the team to remain trapped in a never-ending fight cycle until several years later in Armageddon: Inferno.
- Zap Zodiac a comic strip in The Beano ended in a way so that the strip was left open to return in the future. But as of 2011 bus has not yet returned to Beanotown.
- Practically every character gets put on a bus at some point in Scott Pilgrim. Kim even gets put on a literal bus at the end of volume five and doesn't return till halfway through six.
- In the X-Wing Series comics, Plourr Illo had an arc which showed her to be a Badass expy of Anastasia, the last princess of a line that had died in revolution. She returned to her homeworld and waded into the teeth of a new revolution that was even more violent than the last. At the end of it, she chose to stay and rule her planet while the Rogues left. They left her her X-Wing and Wedge told her "You've saved your world. When you're ready, come back and save the rest of us." And she and a squadron of fighters from her homeworld did have a Big Damn Heroes moment at the end of the very next arc, and she complained about how boring politics was. But the very next issue after that had her serving full-time with the Rogues again, flying into combat and getting into fistfights. Weird.
- Subverted in Transformers: Robots In Disguise. Wheelie, Garnak, and Hardhead are not seen for several issues despite having been semi-important characters and then in issue #5 Ironhide makes an offhand comment about Wheelie having left Cybertron. With all of this it seems as if the characters have been put on the bus. Then in very next issue we leave Cybertron and pick up with the three of them and see where they went, why they left, and what kind of adventures they're getting into right now.
- When Geoff Johns took over Green Lantern, he started bringing back characters from the mythos. There was some fan interest in a giant canine GL named G'Nort. Johns insisted that G'Nort was dead. Then, during Blackest Night, when dead people started coming back, people asked about G'Nort... and were told that G'Nort was not coming. The implication being that G'Nort was on a bus, under a bridge which was itself on fire.
- Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog
- Legal matters resulted in every Echidna except Knuckles and Finitevus, as well as Charmy's girlfriend Saffron, being tossed through a warp ring by Thrash. What makes this funnier is that they disappear between issues: one issue ends with Sonic fighting Lien-Da, the next has Sonic coming to after being knocked out and finding the battlefield deserted!
- Earlier, Sleuth Dawg decided he was done and walked out, promising not to be seen again. In a Q&A, Ian Flynn admitted it was because he simply found him too boring a character.
- And before him was Dulcy the Dragon, who hasn't been seen since #107
- Too many characters to list in The Tainted Grimoire. This is because Clan Gully and many of the people they meet do a lot of traveling.
- The Bus Came Back: Some characters are rather important to the story so they get A Day in the Limelight to show us what they have been up to. Either that or meet up with Clan Gully again.
- Commuting on a Bus: Micaiah and Francesca both have long periods of absence between their multiple re-appearances.
- In the Pony POV Series, Trixie leaves Ponyville after the conclusion of the Princess Gaia arc and returns home to her family. She makes a cameo appearance in the "Retcon-Struction Blues" special episode, but it doesn't become a full The Bus Came Back example until the Wedding Arc.
- In the Star Wars/Mass Effect crossover universe created in Fractured this ends up happening due to Loads and Loads of Characters—the sequel suffers from it even more (combined with Out of Focus) as 200+ named characters crop up. Some don't last.
- They Shook Hands by Dethryl. When first written, after Goblet of Fire, the character of Blaise Zabini was written as female. When the canon was complete, Dethryl revised the series and renamed the character Tracy Davis. The real Blaise was given a cameo appearance and then taken out of school after the troll incident.
- Keena the Defendants of Constan Magic Academy goes for this, to make sure Keena gets notable focus and even bring up the Student Council Club from minor to main characters.
- By the end of chapter 16, Akuto and Junko make a cameo.
- Chapter 17 has Korone returning.
- My Little Pony fanfic "The New Six" is set in an alternate universe where all of the Mane 6 members are gone. This trope applies to all of the six except Twilight (who died) and Applejack (who still lives in Ponyville). Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie moved to the alternate version of Appleloosa, Rainbow Dash left to travel the world, and we don't know what happened to Rarity yet.
- Fallen King has Yami Yugi, who is made to leave by Joey and the others. Pegasus lampshades that it was a dumb move soon after he disappears.
- Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race has Vickers, Erickson, and Ferguson leave at the end of episode 7.
- Cookie Dough only makes one appearance in the third "season" of My Little Unicorn.
- In the Back to the Future sequels, Marty's girlfriend Jennifer is passed out asleep quickly and (except for an incident where she discovers something important about Marty's future and promptly passes out again from encountering her future self) stays there until the end of the third movie. In the DVD commentary, the writers admit that if they'd known they were actually going to do a sequel, they wouldn't have had Jennifer get in the DeLorean at the end of the original movie, because they didn't know what to do with her.
- The Dark Knight Saga
- The exit of Scarecrow in Batman Begins was putting him on a bus until the director could find out if he was reusable for the next installment. He's reduced to a cameo for the Batman Cold Open in The Dark Knight, and then sent straight to jail. Then he's freed by Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, and becomes a Hanging Judge, until disappearing offscreen.
- Commissioner Gordon's entire family was put on a bus to Cleveland (explained by his wife leaving him and taking the kids with her). This conveniently removed his daughter Barbara from the story, who might have been just old enough to begin being Batgirl.
- In the film Coal Miners Daughter Lorretta and Doolittle leave their four kids with a relative to pursue her musical career. They were not seen for the rest of the film and were only mentioned once in a handwave.
- An offhand line in Hellboy II mentions that Myers, The Watson in the first film, has been reassigned to Antarctica.
- In The Truman Show, Truman's father was quite literally and forcefully put on a bus immediately when Truman recognized him for who he was. As in, FORCED onto a moving bus by other people as Truman chased him and was blocked by a passing bicycle mob.
- In The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, the hyenas suffered this, although they did appear from time to time in the TV series.
- X-Men: The Last Stand: Nightcrawler didn't appear with no explanation given. (The in-universe reason appears in the X-Men: The Official Game where Nightcrawler leaves due to the X-Men's missions clashing with his peaceful nature. The real life one was that Alan Cumming had refused to return without Bryan Singer, especially since he was not fond of the torturous makeup sessions. In one of the behind-the-scenes featurettes, he readily admits that he doesn't think he could come back and go through it again.)
- Originally, Nightcrawler was to appear in X-Men: Days of Future Past, but it was cut out because Singer felt there were too many mutants already.
- X-Men: Days of Future Past:
- His role in the first act concluded, Quicksilver is promptly told to go his own way, only making a brief cameo at the end at his house, away from the action.
- Moira MacTaggert, who was last seen in X-Men: First Class, doesn't appear in this movie, but she returns in X-Men: Apocalypse.
- This happens in A Series of Unfortunate Events to Hector with Duncan and Isadora Quagmire; Fernald and Fiona were Put on a Bus offscreen, no less.
- This happens to many different characters in War and Peace, as there are so many of them, but the one who stands out most is Dolokhov, who is put on one after crushing Nikolai Rostov and stripping him of nearly forty thousand roubles, only to return later after having taken a level in Badass.
- Bean at the end of Shadow of the Giant is put on a relativistic spaceship with his genetically modified children so that they can live until the development of a cure.
- Witkacy in Dora Wilk Series. After starring in book one as one of side characters and then appearing briefly in book two, he was sent out for basic magical training out of town and, despite being mentioned several times as Dora's trainee off-screen, hasn't reappeared yet.
- Father Callahan from the Stephen King novel 'Salem's Lot went off on a literal bus near the end of the book, and rather unexpectedly reappeared years later in the loosely related The Dark Tower series as a church pastor in another dimension. It is explained he spent a lot of the intervening time killing vampires.
- In A Song of Ice and Fire, the character Rickon gets put on a bus — or sent off with a wildling woman of dubious allegiance — at the end of Book 2 and hasn't been heard from since, mainly because the author found writing for a four-year-old difficult. It is anticipated he will return, possibly badassed up, with his psychotic direwolf, in later installments.
- Benjen Stark has been MIA since early in the first book after going on a scouting mission north of the Wall.
- The Sword of Truth series does this with alarming regularity, with Chase, Rachel, Scarlet, Chandalen, Gratch, Jennsen, and several others abruptly vanishing for several books at a time. The final book, however, brought back or mentioned all of them.
- Hard-drinking amateur detective Gideon Fell is married to a rabid teetotaler. Once the first novel was finished, John Dickson Carr didn't so much put Mrs. Fell on a bus as he renovated the bus into a nice RV for her and sent her off for most of the series.
- The cast from the series Percy Jackson and the Olympians got put on a bus in the sequel, The Heroes of Olympus. Thalia Grace is AWOL from the fourth book, after joining the goddess Artemis's hunt.
- In Star Trek: The Battle of Betazed, Lwaxana Troi features heavily. However, Mr. Homn (her valet), is strangely absent, and indeed isn't even mentioned. This despite usually appearing whenever and wherever she does (or being specifically mentioned as travelling elsewhere if not). A later novel went and transformed this into a Bus Crash; Star Trek: A Time to... revealed that he died during the initial invasion, so explaining his absence. The death is eventually shown in a short story, part of the Tales of the Dominion War anthology.
- Happens in the sixth Septimus Heap book, where Snorri's mother comes to take her home.
- Even the second book put Simon and Merrin on a bus, for them to return in the fourth.
- Sisterhood Series by Fern Michaels: Charles Martin was essentially put on this in the book Under the Radar. He comes back to stay by the book Vanishing Act.
- The Riftwar Cycle character Owyn Beleforte was key to the plot of Betrayal at Krondor and its novelization, Krondor: The Betrayal. Then he was put on a bus and never heard from again (Save for a one page reference in the next book stating where the bus is going). Strangely, the bus heads in different directions in each media: In the game, he gets a crown-paid scholarship to Stardock and potentially becomes a great wizard. In the books, he goes home and spends the rest of his life in a part of the Kingdom that is generally irrelevant to the plot of the series.
- Before the end of the first book, the Starling triplets in The 39 Clues are caught in an explosion rigged by the Holts and end up in the hospital with serious injuries. They barely garner a mention in any of the next nine books, but return in the tenth book in time for the series' conclusion.
- In the first six books of Galaxy of Fear, Hoole is distant and irritable and doesn't relate too well to his adoptive niece and nephew, so has his droid assistant DV-9 give them lessons and do most of the interaction with them. After Army of Terror the droid finally objects to how much danger he's been taken into, so Hoole sets him free and the droid starts working somewhere safe. By that time Hoole's relationship with Tash and Zak has warmed considerably, so the droid isn't needed anymore. He does briefly appear at the end of the series, but likes the safety too much to go with them again.
- In Michael Grant's GONE series, Justin has his own story arc in LIES and is set up to be a prominent character. Then he randomly disappears in the adjacent book PLAGUE, only to suddenly resurface as a side-character in FEAR.
Live Action TV
- Whenever a wrestler gets injured, (Kayfabe or not) they will be put on a bus.
- The ending of Have Gun — Will Travel has Paladin inheriting a small fortune and heading back East to handle the estate, though he does promise to be back for Hey Boy's wedding.
- The character of Trillian got a one-sentence send-off at the start of the second series of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Thanks to a Reset Button, she was brought back for the three much-belated series made after Douglas Adams' death.
- One regular team member of BBC Radio 1's Scott Mills Show, Mark Chapman, went to the toilet on Christmas Eve 2009 and hasn't been heard from since.
- He got given his own show on Radio 5.
- The Squats in Warhammer 40,000 were an unpopular Dwarf knockoff from older editions of 40k. They have disappeared from the game and the fluff, without much explanation. When pressed, GW will say they were eaten by a Tyranid Hive Fleet.
- As of 6th edition, the bus seems to have come back.
- In Warhammer Fantasy, the Dogs of War and Chaos Dwarves are former armies, with people even having the option of hiring Dogs of War units as rare choices. GW presumably realized what a Game Breaker that could be (essentially allowing you to hire units to get around your armies designated balancing weaknesses) and completely cut them from the fluff and army books. Chaos Dwarves are a little more complicated as the army is remembered fondly by veteran players and often sought after by new players, and they remain in the fluff (primarily due to the proximity of the newer Ogre Kingdoms army). Lately models and rules have begun popping up on Forge World, leading people to hope that the army might be due for a revival.
- On a hilariously meta-example, the card Shared Ride from Yu-Gi-Oh! depicts characters from cards that has since no longer been able to be played due to Forbidden List rules (itself an example of cards being put on a bus due to how overpowered they are). The artwork of that card? Those characters literally sharing a bus ride. The card Tour Bus To Forbidden Realms also depict this.
- In the end of Half-Life: Opposing Force, G-Man stores the main character, Adrian Sheppard away for an undisclosed period of time. This allows for reinstating the character in any future story, even if it is in a completely different era.
- Similarly, Gordon Freeman, the hero of the original Half-Life, is put away in the end of Half-Life, and in the end of Half-Life 2.
- One could almost say the player is put on a bus at the end of the first game, as a great many significant events occur in the game's narrative between the first and second game, but events in the Half-Life universe are only ever viewed through Gordon's eyes (well, mostly.)
- At the end of Half-Life 2: Episode 1, Gordon's security guard-buddy Barney Calhoun is put on a train at the end of the game. He does not appear in Episode 2, nor is he mentioned.
- In the Crash Bandicoot series, Crash's girlfriend Tawna never appeared in any of the main games after the first one, her only reappearance being in a side-game titled Crash Boom Bang. Her disappearance was never explained in-game, but in the now-defunct official website of Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, as well as in the manual for the Japanese version of the same, Tawna left Crash to be with Pinstripe Potoroo. There were also rumors of Moral Guardians not liking Tawna's character design having an influence on children (mostly due to her cleavage and body type), thus the developers made a new character to be more kid friendly; Crash's sister, Coco, who is a genius with technology.
- Riku in Kingdom Hearts, who is constantly appearing and re-appearing throughout the series, and changes his outfit and role almost every time.
- Aqua in regards to the rest of the series after prequel Birth by Sleep. Eraqus and Vanitas are killed, and Braig is still around as Xigbar. Terra and Master Xehanort are still around as Xehanort/Xemnas (sort of, it's Terra's body and both their hearts, but amnesiac) and Ven is still sort of around as Roxas. However Aqua was trapped in the Dark Realm and has no alternate form so she's completely cut out of the story. Everything hints that she'll be making a return though once the series get back on track.
- This also happened to Sora in 358/2 Days. It's justified due to the story, though.
- Tennenbaum in BioShock 2
- However in the DLC "Minerva's Den, she makes a return, explaining her absence in the second game as her working to get the Thinker out of Rapture.
- In Mitsumete Knight R : Daibouken Hen, all characters of the original Mitsumete Knight game save for Sophia, Raizze, Leslie, Hanna, Linda, and Carneau are reduced to mere cameos. Which is really baffling in Priscilla and Anne's cases, as both were poster girls in the original game and vital characters for its plot, as well as being well-liked by the fandom.
- Angela Cross from the Ratchet & Clank series. She only appears in Going Commando and is briefly mentioned on a radio broadcast in A Crack In Time. As the only female Lombax in the series, some fans have wondered why she was written out, especially considering the series' focus on Ratchet trying to find out what happened to the rest of his race.
- Drachma, Gilder, and Enrique in Skies of Arcadia. The Valuan Generals as well.
- It has been confirmed that Bosco will not appear in Sam and Max season 3. The ingame explanation is that Bosco has gone on a road trip to Las Vegas. It is later revealed he has a large gambling debt, and is forced to be a male stripper.
- Dr. Madison Li in Fallout 3 gets this treatment in the Broken Steel expansion. Once you turn on the purifier, Dr. Li leaves the Capital Wasteland for the Commonwealth, even though she just witnessed a major breakthrough in her work.
- During the Time Skip between the first two Golden Sun games and the third, six of the original eight heroes mysteriously vanish from the plot. Ivan, Mia and Jenna are seemingly just offscreen, given that their children are the new protagonists, but Piers and Felix have gone travelling and Sheba's whereabouts are not even mentioned. Since the game ends with yet another Sequel Hook, we hopefully haven't heard the last of them.
- In the Super Mario Bros. series Bowser's children, The Koopalings, were gone for nearly 10 years before they reappeared in the first Mario & Luigi game. They then disappeared another six years before their next role in New Super Mario Bros. Wii.
- Diddy Kong, Toadette, Dry Bones, King Boo, Baby Mario and Baby Luigi share the trope in the Mario Kart series (so far).
- In Toadette's case it seems worse. She hasn't been seen since Mario Super Sluggers... And that's from 2008! Giving the fact that after her introduction in Mario Kart: Double Dash!!!! she appeared in almost every Mario game until Super Sluggers, it seems a little odd. Six year later, and she's back for Mario Kart 8.
- Fahrenheit has Tyler leaving to Florida with his fiancee, Sam. Even if you choose to let him stay in New York, he wouldn't appear in the next chapter.
- Elora was an important character in Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage!. She's missing for most of the third game, despite other characters from her game getting larger roles then before, and only appears in an ending cutscene. She hasn't appeared in any other games since the original trilogy, especially odd since she was Spyro's love interest. Though, it's probably a good thing since the new guys aren't so swell when it comes to keeping the original personalities.
- Several Animal Crossing characters have disappeared over time, never making it past their first game. It's most apparent in the first installment of the series, both the Nintendo 64 and Nintendo GameCube one.
- Actually it seems they were put into storage, so the developers would have extras on hand for later installments. As a couple villagers in Animal Crossing New Leaf haven't been seen since the original, while others from earlier games have been removed. (Whom we'll likely see again in next game or so)
- In the first .Hack:// games for PS2, in volume 2 Mistral admits she is nearing the end of her pregnancy and can't do anything stressful so she has to log off for a while. She is not seen or heard from again until she magically reappears in the 4th volume. Aura pulls this as well, appearing frequently in volumes 1 and several times in 2, but seems to have forgotten to aid you in your quest in 3 and only appears a couple times in 4.
- .Hack://GU does this with the majority of the characters in the game who are not Morganna factors or turned into Lost Ones. Although all of the characters are still selectable and can be adventured with at any time, none of the majority of them, for example Matsu, will ever have importance in the story again until the end of the 3rd game, and then it's optional.
- Grant DaNasty from Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse and the DaNasty family line beside brief mentions and a doppelganger boss of him through out the series no one ever talks of him or his family before or after Dracula's Curse. No character has tried to take his place and in other games where Alucard and family members of the other two meet. One of the saddest video game examples as this is now over 20 years since the release of Dracula's Curse.
- The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion does this with most of the prominent figures from Morrowind, despite only taking place 6 years later. Although you couldn't possibly expect to see so many major characters when they were in a whole different province, you only hear of vague rumors that Vivec "disappeared" and the Nerevarine left on an expedition to Akavir. A former living god and a previous hero sound like exactly the kind of people you'd want to have around to help repel a demonic invasion.
- Furthermore, halfway through Morrowind, your first quest giver Caius Cosades gets reassigned... to Cyrodiil (for those who haven't played an Elder Scrolls game, the latter is where Oblivion takes place). You would think he would be in the game, considering he was a Blade that was known to be around the Emperor. Even a cameo as the Red Shirt Blade that gets cut down in your first battle would have been nice.
- Jiub was originally going to appear, as a priest in Kvatch before it was destroyed, though that canon is still present, Word of God states that he died in the Kvatch attack right before you arrived. Though you do meet his ghost in Skyrim.
- Almost the entire cast of main characters from the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney series was put on a bus by the events of Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney. Phoenix appears as usual and the only other returning characters (where they only appear once for a flashback event) are Gumshoe and Mike Meekins. Maya, Pearl, mentions of Mia and Edgeworth, and several other recurring characters are completely ignored and Phoenix makes no mention of them at all except a slight nod to Maya with his collection of The Steel Samurai discs.
- Edgeworth and Pearl, however, return in the next game, Dual Destinies.
- A good majority of the characters who had appeared since before Soulcalibur IV have suddenly either vanished without a trace or have successors put in their stead come Soulcalibur V. What drives the knife even further here is that most of the characters that even did make it back get shafted in the story department, and play little to no role in the Story Mode. As one can see, SCV has become something of a Contested Sequel because of this.
- A rare literal example occurs in Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception. Charlie Cutter, established as a ass-kicking Brit, has his last scene on a tour guide bus. Chloe Frasier gets put on the same bus. Neither of them appear again in the game. Chloe ends up replaced with Elena Fischer (just like in the second game). Sure, Charlie's leg was broken, but they could have at least shown him in an epilogue, or something.
- This is also an example of Real Life Writes the Plot, as Cutter's actor, Graham McTavish, was to be cast in The Hobbit, meaning that he couldn't be around to voice Cutter for the last third of the game, since he was intended to be a part of the whole game.
- Super Robot Wars UX:
- Unlike the other cases where Gundam SEED Destiny was included, Lacus Clyne is conspicuously absent for the majority of UX's plot, though she appears past chapter 40 (and she did help Arthun behind the scenes as shown in Scenario 22). Justified as she's now PLANT's chairlady.
- Grandma Virginia and Teacher Collins also never appear after chapter 2.
- Also Captain Shinobu Igarashi from Kurogane no Linebarrel only makes one appearance in chapter 40 against Rouri and Kanamoto.
- Rouri and Kanamoto also, we can presume Rouri died when Asap shot him down, and it's not certain did Kanamoto return to Byston Well too with his Shinden after The Wings of Rean finale.
- In Dark Cloud 2 / Dark Chronicle, Flotsam serves as an early villain, although he's quickly put on a bus early on, not to return until the post-game dungeon.
- Later MechWarrior games have left Clan mechs out; the creators probably don't want them to be gamebreakers to Inner Sphere mechs.
- As Bright Noa deliberates during Scenario 20 of the Space Route in Shin Super Robot Wars, Bright gets an unexpected transmission from someone he's never met before: Chief Oka of the Federation Far East Base. He asks if Bright is planning to heed the order he just got to return, and Bright says that he doesn't see any alternative. Oka is adamant that Bright do no such thing, saying that as Bright is well aware, Staff HQ is anything but sane these days. There's no call for Bright to be punished for the whims of a few lunatics, especially since he and his men are one of the few glimmers of hope mankind has left. Bright briefly protests that disobeying would get all his men branded as traitors, but Oka firmly points out that fighting the aliens comes first. He tells Bright to leave things to him and his friends at Staff HQ, though the Reinforce Jr. itself will have to be relinquished.
Amuro is impressed with Oka, and after all the transfer is complete, Londo Bell decides to go to the Moon. This will fulfill the League Militare's needs and let Amuro pick up the Nu Gundam from its commissioned builders at Anaheim Electronics. Usso Evin is a little sad to see Gomez go, but most of the rest of the crew are still with the Londo Bell.
- Donkey Kong Country EVERYONE who isn't Donkey Kong, Diddy, Cranky, Funky or Dixie (And almost all the animal friends). Candy, Swanky, Kiddie, Chunky, Lanky, Tiny, and Wrinkly note , even King K. Rool is long replaced. All just vanished. Contrary to popular belief, Nintendo still owns the characters; they just stopped appearing outside of collectible trophies in Super Smash Bros..
- Rose Guns Days as this as a pattern: at the end of each year, one of the characters has to leave Japan for a reason or another. In 1947 Leo goes back to southern Asia to fight with former comrades who try to get their independence; in 1948 Rapunzel must leave Japan with her father and take refuge in South America, since the latter is still under arrest from the Chinese army for war crimes and in 1949 Alan is wanted by Primavera for betrayal and goes to China where his dead girlfriend Meixue must be burried. All of them are Back for the Finale in 1950.
- Spoofed on Homestar Runner with the Show Within a Show Cheat Commandos. In the short "The Next Epi-snowed", voice actor Crack Stuntman gets bossy and uncooperative while recording an episode of Cheat Commandos, and director A. Chimendez eventually gives up and has Gunhaver sent "on a secret mission to the moon for an undisclosed period of time", replacing him with Author Avatar Agent Chimendez. It's also mentioned that "when [Gunhaver] gets back, his voice might have changed."
- Red vs. Blue has done this several times in their later seasons, most notably after the time skip between Blood Gulch Chronicles and Reconstruction, where Tucker and Donut are put on a bus for the entirety of Reconstruction, coming back for Recreation. Tex also tends to come and go throughout the story.
- Lampshaded in Bittersweet Candy Bowl several times. This◊ was commissioned by a fan from the artist in anticipation of that character's ultimate fate, due to her importance to the story primarily as Paulo's girlfriend - a status she is unlikely to enjoy much longer. This was drawn after Kizuna's original creator threw a hissy fit, resulting in Taeshi removing the character from the comic, and all of the fancharacters save Tess and McCain have been retconned out of the comic.
- Nearly happens to the main character of Furmentation. More accurately, everybody else took a bus to Disneyland and left him all alone... in the enemy camp. Poor guy. Yes, that IS the main character.
- Happens a lot in Sluggy Freelance due to the sheer number of characters it's introduced over its long run. Characters very rarely stay on the bus, however. Even if it takes over a decade, it seems like every character who isn't explicitly killed off is bound to make a second appearance. Sasha, who had moved away seven years ago, made a return to the comic.
- Kevin & Kell has done this with several of its supporting characters over time. Candice and her family were once nearly as important to the strip as Kevin and Kell themselves, but eventually she was outsourced to New Zealand and hasn't been heard from since. The Ursuls, of whom Marjorie was Kell's best friend for the early years of the strip, moved to Florida and new best friend Aby moved into their house — they've also not been seen since. Lindesfarne's best friend Tammy Tussock and her husband Ray moved to a lighthouse, and while they were important to one more storyline after the move, they have been MIA since. Then again, longtime readers of Bill Holbrook's two syndicated strips should be well aware of his tendency to rotate the cast - both of those strips have managed almost a complete cast turnover, including their main characters.
- Done to every character at the end of Boy Meets Boy, to make room for two side characters who got their own spinoff in Friendly Hostility.
- In 8-Bit Theater, Dragoon was teleported to the Moon and has not been seen since.
- He comes back in The Epilogue.
- Which is hilarious if you think about a 'Dragoon coming back from the Moon' in terms of Final Fantasy IV, the game the character's appearance came from.
- In Questionable Content, it looked like this was going to happen to Steve. Turns out, he's back. However, the side characters Dave and Meena caught that bus. Also, Sarah, Ellen, Amir, and Natasha. Looks like Raven is on that bus too.
- Actually, it seems like the bus dropped Raven off just in time for her college physics class. Amir got off the bus for a cameo as well, but has probably caught another one at this point. Also, since Sarah was apparently "eaten by an Allosaurus," this may be more of a Bus Crash scenario.
- Lampshaded here in Books Don't Work Here when the Main character and her room mate head to the mall at the same time as the author has to move and get a new job. The author's avatar also makes an appearance getting on the bus as they get off. Which gives Robin an opportunity to punch him in the face.
- In Darths & Droids, one of the players, Sally, wants her character Jar Jar to be hit by a bus. In the next strip she is playing Guitar Hero, and has mostly been playing bit part NPCs.
- In episode 4, Ben disappears for an unspecified reason.
- Done in Girly when Officer Policeguy gets fed up with Detective Clampjaw.
- More like strapped to the bus!
- In General Protection Fault, Trish goes into a coma after being attacked by her impostor, who proceeds to impersonate her until she is unmasked.
- Half the cast of Concession is on a bus and will potentially return some day. But they're Out of Focus.
- Happened to a lot of the cast in N Fans The Series. At some point, characters were either put in confinement, captured, in a coma (in the case of Ran Cossack), or simply Out of Focus. Van for example was put in jail for a majority of the comic's arc, only appearing to mention his beloved "Goth girl", while the rest of the mettaurs and a giant robot went through a portal. Christopher Blair was also fighting Ganondorf for a very long while. Team Lalala was once stranded on the exact same screen for about a year of real-time. Eventually though, some characters were written out of the comic. (Van went home, Piney had simply chosen to return home due to having a fallout with the author at the time)
- In El Goonish Shive, the Demonic Duck is put on a bus after his appearance at the birthday party - he travels to Australia to learn about his roots, presumably the Demon Duck of Doom. He returned in 2010, although it's unknown if he'll be sticking around.
- In Sam and Fuzzy the titular character Sam vanishes for like 10 months. Even though he is in plain sight.
- Done again later when almost the entire cast of Noosehead has not been mentioned that much. But it is very likely that they will come back.
- In A Modest Destiny two of the main characters go bye-bye for essentially a whole arc.
- Conversed in Shortpacked!, when Robin mentions that Jacob had been put on a bus.
- Tepoz from Wapsi Square is put on a bus to Utah shortly after his introduction. He returned later and played an important role in the plot.
- The now decidedly unnecessary "human characters" in Comic Shorts: Spriteoverse are removed in episode 26 possibly the least subtle way imaginable: by interrupting the comic's dialog to announce that they're going to blink out of existence. They may or may not come back if it's convenient enough to the plot.
- In Schlock Mercenary, this happens most notably to Der Thris, who resigns to help out the police on Mahuitalotu.
- The author calls this practice "retiring characters", and it typically happens when people leave the Toughs or when the Toughs leave them. They usually come back with at least a follow-up arc a few years later or a bonus story.
- Sonichu has a number of characters be tossed on the bus, due to the author's ever-shifting focus. Saramah Rosechu, who was supposed to be part of a big prophecy, is married off not even two issues after her appearance and the prophecy ignored; Meg-chan (aka Sailor Megtune) disappeared without a trace another two issues later; Metal Sonichu makes an appearance and is launched to the Moon, never to be seen again (he was supposed to return, but so far, no show).
- Brawl in the Family puts Waluigi on an Assist Trophy? in an Assist Trophy? whatever, the point is that he ends up one at the end of the 2014 April Fools' Day event.
- Happens sometimes in Girl Genius; Master Payne's traveling show decamps to England to escape the wrath of the Wulfenbach empire, while Baron Wulfenbach's second-in-command Boris disappears without explanation during protagonist Agatha's two-and-a-half year Time Skip.
- Stanley Brown's mother in Assignment 2. She is committed to a mental asylum and then never even mentioned again.
- Emo 5 in Mighty Moshin Emo Rangers Season Two. Captain Emohead brings up that he had to sell him on eBay to pay the phone bill, which Ross had exhausted with phone sex.
- It's not like he did anything anyway.
- In Darwin's Soldiers: Disruptive Selection, Hans, Werner and Cpl. Stern encounter an old friend of Cpl. Stern in a bar in New Mexico. The friend then offers to bring them back to Nevada where the terrorists from first RP are trying to put their lives back together. The three then accept the offer.
- A temporary example in the second RP. Shelton is deported to Austria after the events of the first RP.
- For episode 100 of the video game music podcast Nitro Game Injection, Audun "Akumu Hau" Sorlie joined the show as a new co-host. The show went on a lengthy hiatus after episode 112, and when it came back, nary a mention of Akumu was made and he was replaced by Larry Oji of OverClocked ReMix. Akumu has returned as a guest a few times, however.
- In the fourth year of The Questport Chronicles, the elf Gawain—one of the eight main characters—has been called away on "mysterious business" and is absent for the entire quest. None of the other characters comment on it.
- Pegs, Kelly, Datu, and Hope were all put on a plane for a safe zone in Boulder, CO in We're Alive. The Bus Came Back for Datu and Hope. No word yet on Pegs and Kelly.
- Greg the Spider from Arby 'n' the Chief, TWICE. The first time was towards Season 5's finale after overhearing some hurtful comments about him from Arbiter. This late paid off when he returns during Season 6's finale, bringing Cortana with him to help Arbiter feel better.
- Halfway into Season 7 after Chief murders Cortana. Greg leaves again, this time for good after feeling unfairly resented by Arbiter for a lie he was forced to tell.
- When The Sharkasm Crew's Cephalo the Pod left for his first year of university, his mom moved to Waterford and his Dad had left town a few years ago. Even when Kason and Sauxuas come back to town for the summer, Cephalo will be living in Waterford.
- In The Nostalgia Critic, Ma-ti and Douchy Mc Nitpick have both been put on a bus. Interestingly both their departures are loosely connected. Though Ask That Guy and Videogame Confessions have been so long since they were updated, one could say the same for Ask That Guy (the host) and Dominic.
- Firelight in Fallout Is Dragons spent some time in Skyfall when his player wasn't available.
- Happens regularly in Avatar: The Last Airbender. Minor characters such as Haru, Jet and his Freedom Fighters, Suki, the Mechanist and others are introduced in one episode, never mentioned or seen again until half a season or more later, pop up for one more episode, and disappear again. The series finale managed to bring back everyone (who hadn't died) in a group shot, except for the handful that were put on a Long Bus Trip.
- Justice League features a perfect example of this trope in its second season finale when Hawkgirl resigns from the Justice League and flies off to go soul searching. Sure enough, she returns at the end of season three when she discovers Solomon Grundy may have come back from the dead.
- More permanently done with A.M.A.Z.O, who's still out on the edge of the universe trying to figure out how to beat Solomon Grundy. Word of God was he would return in the last episode as a Brick Joke, but they forgot about him.
- Brick Flagg from Kim Possible, and Miss Go did one on Kim too.
- Ant-Man quits the team off-screen just before the start of season two of The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes. He returns a few episodes later, but only so he can Pass The Torch to Scott Lang. He returns near the very end of the series, now using the Darker and Edgier identity of Yellowjacket.
- Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law takes this to the extreme by having the character, Phil Sebben, not only be put on a bus, but be hit by one as well.
- Only to return driving the bus himself BACKWARDS, across North America and under water no less, then runs over Harvey with it thus putting the entire show on the bus. "HA HA HAAAA! Final episode stunt casting!"
- Code Lyoko
- William Dunbar gets put on a very interesting (and painful) sort of bus. After being attacked and possessed by XANA on his first mission as a Lyoko Warrior, he's effectively put out of commission for the entire season. He does return, but only just in time for the series to end two episodes later. There's no real explanation as to why this happened, though he was disliked a bit. He returned for Code Lyoko: Evolution.
- Kiwi, on the other hand, got on the bus for Code Lyoko: Evolution, likely because of the difficulties involved in training and handling a live-action dog, but it is said that his disappearance will be explained later in the series.
- "Duck Tales" had both Doofus and Bubba disappear without ever mentioning them again.
- Transformers Animated has a rather weird use of the bus. At the end of the third season opener "Transwarped" Sari is shut down by Ratchet in a desperate attempt to keep her over-upgraded body from destroying both herself and the city. Not only did she not appear for the next four episodes, no one even seemed to think about her — including her own father.
- As of "Human Error" she's back off the bus, now taller, more mature, and able to make blue balls of floating electric... stuff. The coma hasn't been mentioned again.
- Ultra Magnus was also put on the bus in season 3. If by 'bus' we mean the ICU.
- And in perhaps the most terrifying way to be sent packing on the bus, Shockwave stuffs Blurr into a bus by force. More specifically, Blurr is crushed into a cube and shipped to oblivion. And it is implied that Blurr survived.
- Transformers Prime has Airachnid, who after one of many rivalry battles with Arcee is accidentally trapped in a stasis pod. Team Prime decide it's a good idea to bring her back to base, but now 6 episodes later is never mentioned again. Considering the fandom's huge hatred of her it's clear to see why.
- Considering that in Darkest Hour, the Decepticons destroy the Autobot base, this now looks like a case of a Bus Crash.
- Except it was revealed in a later episode that she survived. Apparently, the force field that she's trapped in is extremely powerful, so that Bus Crash was Subverted.
- In the original The Transformers, dozens of characters were put on the bus, a result of the writers and animators not having knowledge of the 1986 Movie (which hadn't yet aired in Japan).
- Jazz was technically put on a bus, because although the character survives the movie and makes 2 cameos, his voice actor, Scatman Crothers fell ill and later died.
- Many of Casey Kasem's characters were put on buses. (the supercomputer Teletran-I was Put on a Bus to Hell.) Autobot headquarters (the Autobots' stranded-on-Earth spacecraft and Teletran-I inside of it) were buried when Trypticon smashed the mountain it was lodged in. Cliffjumper, like Jazz, survived Unicron, but fell off the vocal map after 1 cameo by the character. Bluestreak was never seen after the 1986 movie's Battle of Autobot City. All of this stems from Kasem's displeasure with stories featuring a stereotypical Middle Eastern dictator and his country, "Carbombya".
- Many of the Season 1 and 2 characters were either killed off in storyboards (but not in the finished product) or never mentioned again, only to turn up as cameos late in Season 3, or in Japanese audience only spin-offs. Hound turns up in Transformers: Headmasters
- The Simpsons
- Their original other neighbours, The Winfields, relocated themselves to Florida in Season Four, to be replaced by the seldom-seen Powers (though Mrs. Winfield does show up again in a crowd scene in "Lisa the Iconoclast").
- Homer's half-brother Herb hasn't been seen since season three, after he regained his fortune with a baby translator. Homer even lampshades to Herb as "his seldomly seen half brother". Believe it or not but Herb has a line in a season 24 episode. Homer, suddenly concerned about the kids' requirement for a legal guardian in the event of his and Marge's untimely demise, calls up his brother, only for Herb to say, "I'm poor again." D'oh!
- Tigatron and Airazor went off to scout the extent of the Vok's damage to the planet at the start of the second series of Beast Wars to make room for the Fuzors. When they returned, they ended up being abducted by the Vok, and would not return until partway through series 3.
- Buster Baxter on Arthur went on a year long trip around the world with his dad whom he doesn't spend much time with since he and his mom are divorced; he returns in the season opener.
- The villain of An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, Cat R. Waul, is defeated by being put on a train. He comes back for the television series.
- South Park:
- Chef had a bridge dropped on him after his voice actor left, but the ending allowed for the possibility of a return by making him "Darth Chef" (although Isaac Haye's death would obviously require The Other Darrin).
- Officer Barbrady was put on a bus at the end of "Toilet Paper", announcing that after the ordeal of solving the toilet-papering of a teacher's house he needs to take a long vacation. By the next episode to involve police, "Li'l Crimestoppers", Barbrady has been replaced by an actual police department, though he has still shown up from time to time.
- Triana Orpheus from The Venture Bros. left the Venture Compound in order to study magic with her mother.
- Triana has been seen again - she was Dean's date to their home-school prom.
- Total Drama does this about every new season, leaving old characters behind and bringing back more popular ones or ones that were eliminated early on to give them a fresh start. But when Chris says that once a contestant is gone from a season, and they "can't come back, ev-er," he doesn't always mean it.
- With the exception of Izzy, Ezekiel, and Owen, All-Stars was the first season in which non-competing characters didn't appear at all even in cameos.
- Mike of the 2nd Generation cast suffered from this after All-Stars. According to Wordof God the controversy around how his MPD was portrayed in that season has lead to him not appearing in any future seasons.
- Happened to Rose in American Dragon Jake Long as a result of Executive Meddling after she lost her memory as a result of being rescued from an attempted Heroic Sacrifice. She was brought back in the series finale.
- Little Miss Calamity disappeared offscreen in Season 2 of The Mr. Men Show. The official explanation was that kids were becoming confused as to what "calamity" means. She did manage a cameo as a statue in the second season.
- Happened to Zhalia in the end of episode 17 of Huntik: Secrets & Seekers. She comes back in the next two episodes.
- Tak was a victim of a bus ride in Invader Zim. She was lost in space after the fight between her and Zim. However, in an unfinished episode, she would have returned and become Zim's secondary rival. Unfortunately, the series ended before that could happen.
- In X-Men: Evolution Spyke went to live with the Morlocks and was Rescued from the Scrappy Heap when he came back.
- The Spectacular Spider-Man did this with Harry for eight episodes. However, it wasn't so much a convenient way to get him out of the way as part of his personal Story Arc, as his father took him to Europe to get over his addiction to Globulin Green.
- Pearlie antagonist: Moe the daisy-cutting pixie.
- When Space Goofs returned for a second season, Stereo was absent, apart from a couple guest appearances. He's not even in the intro where they're shown crashing into Earth. This also contradicts the theme song, which states, "Five little monsters were riding through space..." as there are now four.
- Ed, Edd n Eddy: Jib was literally put on a bus by the end of the only episode he's "appeared" in.
- Jeff in American Dad! was accidentally kidnapped by aliens when he got shoved into their ship's tractor beam that was meant for Roger. He disappeared for the next several episodes until he was rescued from Roger's home planet in the 150th episode, "Lost in Space."
- The Homestar Runner-spoofed ostrich in the Regular Show episode, "Grilled Cheese Deluxe''.
- In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Princess Luna nearly suffered Chuck Cunningham Syndrome when she vanished after the second episode, and was never seen or even mentioned again in the season. However, she returns in the fourth episode of Season 2.
- The background pony Derpy vanished as well due to a scandal, also believed to have gotten Chuck Cunningham Syndrome, but returned at the end of Season 3 and has a role in an episode of season 4.
- Played more straight with Queen Chrysalis in "A Canterlot Wedding". Everything we know about the show's physics and the distance she fell suggests a Disney Villain Death, but given that the fall was staged in a similar style to Team Rocket, the show leaves it unclear whether or not she shares their Joker Immunity. However, the Expanded Universe comics DO depict such a survival.
- Gilda the Griffon stormed out of Ponyville after a falling-out with her childhood friend Rainbow Dash in early first season, and hasn't been seen since despite being popular among the fans. Trixie likewise left and didn't return until the third season.
- Twist was introduced in "Call of the Cutie", seen briefly in "The Cutie Pox", and hasn't been seen since. Her voice actress, Alexandra Carter, moved from Vancouver to Philadelphia around the time Season 2 was starting, so it's unlikely that she'll return.
- Most of the characters on Timon & Pumbaa who had reappeared over the course of the first two seasons (Speedy, the Vulture Police, and Timon's meerkat friend Fred) failed to appear in the 1999 season, on which the series is generally regarded to have jumped the shark.
- Characters have a nasty habit of this happening to them in Thomas And Friends, especially in the HIT Entertainment era (2002-present). Among the classic characters who have been gone for many seasons (not counting one-off characters like Billy and Bertram who were only created for marketing purposes, and Bulstrode, who was only intended to appear for one episode) include Duke, Boco, Daisy, Caroline, Terrence, Old Slow Coach, Duncan, Neville, Dennis, Molly, Hector, Bulgy, Arthur, Murdoch, Mighty Mac, "Fearless" Freddie, and The Pack (minus Jack).
- Fortunately, in Season 17 and the special King of The Railway, The Bus Came Back for several characters thanks to the new writing team, who have set out to save the show from the Seasonal Rot it has endured since 2004. King of the Railway saw the return of Jack the Front Loader (from the cancelled spin-off Jack and the Pack), while Season 17 brought back fan-favorites Duck and Bill & Ben, as well as Harvey. Season 18 will bring back Oliver and his brakevan Toad, as well as Duncan and the Scottish Twins Donald and Douglas. More characters that have been put on a bus are likely to come back.
- The Vehicle Voltron and everything to do with it seems to have been put on a bus. The only reason seems to be that it just wasn't as popular as the one with the lions. However, references to the Drule empire still pop up from time to time.
- Family Guy has had some. Connie D'Mico and Ollie Williams haven't been seen since season 10, and Meg's friends got this in "A Fistful of Meg" when they abandon Meg by retreating into the shadows, which, well, is where they've remained since.
- Nick and Cassie on American Dad! were put on a limo.
- Regular Show two part episode involving Thomas in "The Real Thomas".