Sealed Evil In A Six Pack
So, you've just managed to defeat the evil overlord, wizard, demon, dragon, whatever. Unfortunately, the bad guy is effectively immortal, and even though he won't be able to fight right now, it will just be a matter of time before he comes back. Worse, he's so strong that just sealing his power in some container won't do the job, nor will sealing him away inside an object. What to do? Let's take him apart, and seal him in multiple containers! As the description implies, some evils are just too dangerous to leave in just one package, hoping it never gets opened. Instead, you should split it up and hide it in a dozen different containers to prevent it from ever becoming a threat again. Of course, if one piece does ever escape, it will definitely try to gather the rest of itself to regain its full power, so it can once again become the Big Bad it once was, but if its power is diminished enough, it's rarely a threat to anyone. Occasionally, the reverse can happen, where the heroes have to free parts of a good entity, perhaps reuniting the Pieces of God (if God Is Good/it's a God of Good). Compare Sealed Cast in a Multipack and Sealed Army in a Can, for when the separate "cans" contain individuals rather than parts of one person. A subtrope to Sealed Evil in a Can, naturally (or to Sealed Good in a Can, depending on which link brought you here).
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Anime and Manga
- In Ronin Warriors, when the Big Bad was defeated in ancient times, his armor, the seat of most of his power, was converted into a set of 10 armors, so that if the Big Bad returned, he'd have a hard time getting them back together. Unfortunately, even without the armors, he was still absurdly powerful.
- The Kishin Asura in Soul Eater probably counts; he was sealed in a bag made of his own skin and his blood was drained and taken elsewhere to weaken him. Injecting the bag with black blood unseals him.
- Shabranigdo and his seven parts in Slayers.
- One Dragon Ball movie villain called Hildegarne (or Hirudegarn) was a giant monster split in half and sealed inside two siblings, Tapion and Minosha. The heroes spent a part of the movie fighting the bottom half, until the top half appeared and joined the other half.
- In Umi Monogatari, Sedna has half of her in the sea and half on land.
- In Naruto, the Sage of Six Paths sealed the body of the Ten-Tailed Beast in the Moon, and divided its power into nine tailed beasts that were subsequently sealed individually.
- Similar to the Millennium Puzzle below, Hidan was dismembered via explosives and then buried in a single grave. He can't pull himself together and though somebody could theoretically put him back together, they'd need to find the completely unmarked and obscure location which is on protected ground of the Nara clan.
- The title character in AKIRA was dissected and placed in a series of vials. He came back in a more ethereal form.
- An in-universe fictional example is Exodia, a Yu-Gi-Oh! monster so powerful it takes multiple cards (stone tablets in ancient Egypt) to contain him. The individual pieces are worthless, but a player who reassembles Exodia by getting all five parts in play wins immediately.
- And The Pharaoh was trapped in the Millennium Pendant, which was then broken up into pieces. They were all kept in one place, but putting it back together was a complicated process (which is why it was then renamed the Millennium Puzzle).
- Chronicles of the Cursed Sword: A two-pack: Rey Yan and Jaryoon, who each contain half of the god Ban-Go, who created the world, and will destroy it when released
- The four Forbidden Boxes in Kyo Kara Maoh are actually this, in addition to being powerful weapons in their own right.
- In Green Lantern: Sinestro Corps War, the fear entity Parallax is captured by the Guardians of the Universe and split into four pieces, each stored in the power batteries of the four Earth Lanterns.
- At one point, Superman and the Justice League of America trapped Doomsday within four teleporters on the moon, being unable to fully think enough to attempt an escape.
- Imhotep in The Mummy. He rises as soon as the spell on the sarcophagus is broken, but in order to recover beyond a walking mummy needs to absorb the flesh from whoever opened the box that goes with his sarcophagus.
- In Mistborn: The Original Trilogy, there's a rather complicated version of this with Ruin and Preservation.
- In Black Company, some legends claim that Kina is sealed in this way.
- Harry Potter, Voldemort had separated his soul several times and placed them in horcruxes so that he could be resurrected if he is killed.
Live Action TV
- The Judge in Buffy the Vampire Slayer could not be killed in ancient times, so instead he was cut into pieces and scattered in a number of boxes around the world. Cue modern times and Spike and Drusilla reassembling them. Buffy ends up blasting him into much smaller pieces with a rocket launcher, making any future reassembly rather harder.
- Grandia II gave us Valmar, the Big Bad demon that was defeated in ancient times, and the pieces of it's body spread around the world and sealed away. Interestingly, each of the pieces has a mind of its own - none lay claim to being the original. The Church of Granas sends Elena on a quest to gather the pieces so they may be destroyed, though it turns out that Pope Zera, who has discovered that God Is Dead and believes that life has no meaning without him, actually wants to become the new Valmar himself so he can destroy the world. Zera chose Elena for this task despite her inexperience because she's one of the people with a piece of Valmar sealed in her.
- The infamous Kangaxx in Baldur's Gate II.
- Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time: The protagonists spend the game collecting several shards of the Cobalt Star. Only when they collect and put the pieces together do they realize that the star actually contained the leader of the invading aliens who was trapped inside by Princess Peach, and that by putting the star together, they release her.
- Castlevania II Simons Quest: After the first game, Dracula was defeated and his body was divided into five parts, which Simon Belmont must put together, to resurrect Dracula and kill him again in order to break his curse.
- In Baten Kaitos, Malpercio would only be revived if the End Magnus of Ar, Le, He, Che and Bo were brought together. There's a bit of a hint when Bo is pronounced like Bah that there's something going on, and its later revealed that the names are short for Arms, Legs, Head, Chest and Body respectively.
- It's actually a subversion, though. Origins reveals the 5 are actually 5 separate, benevolent, people who, as a group, were known as Malpercio (after their childhood home). Connecting the 5 in Eternal Wings does make a nice vessel for the Dark Brethren who now own their bodies by way of Deal with the Devil.
- In Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure, Barbaros was split into many pieces of treasure; he is restored if every piece is gathered together. He was a near deity-level pirate captain; each treasure held one of his Combo Platter Powers.
- The Bowerstone residents of Fable II sealed the body parts of their evil, ex-mayor Lady Gray in various locations around Albion. As an optional quest, the Hero can gather them in order to resurrect her. How evil her reanimated corpse really is, is up for debate though.
- The Big Bad in Dragon Quest VIII. His soul is sealed inside the Sceptre of Trodain, and requires the death of seven people to break. His body is sealed in the statue of the Goddess in Neos.
- A variant in Shin Megami Tensei Devil Survivor: Bel, the ruler of the demons, was sundered by God, but not technically "sealed" as such. Instead, the individual demons he was broken up into - all easily recognized by the syllable "Bel" in their names - have been fighting each other for supremacy, consuming each other in the process in the hopes of reconstituting the original Bel's power and ascending to the Throne of Bel. The Shomonkai exists to help Belberith, who they worship as "His Majesty," complete this goal so that he can destroy God and spare the world from His ordeal, not realizing that Belberith plans to slaughter humankind once he's done. The protagonist himself ends up a contender for the Throne of Bel when he defeats Beldr and inadvertently absorbs his powers - but then, it only makes sense, as he turns out to be the reincarnation of Abel.
- Slightly more complicated. Other sources claim that 'Abel' exists within humanity. By defeating Beldur...the protagonist awakened that power.
- In Diablo III, Zoltan Kulle was killed and his head, body, and blood sealed in different location to ensure he never returned. Thanks to Adria, Leah and the Nephalem, he did, but only for long enough to complete his masterpiece, the Black Soulstone, before being rekilled.
Lyndon: People say I'm bad, but no one's ever had to imprison me and dismantle my body parts. A little context would be nice.
- In Shin Megami Tensei II, Taira Masakado, the protector of Tokyo, was torn apart by the Yamato gods, and each part (arms, legs, head and torso) hidden away. Once you reassemble him, it turns out his soul was taken away as well (although for safekeeping rather than anything else). There is also Satan, YHVH's greatest weapon who was split into two entities until his destructive power was needed.
- Played with in Fallout 3. The biggest unmarked quest (i.e., not accompanied with help from the HUD) has the player tracking down five audio tapes that open the door to a sealed bunker that was supposed to be the refuge of the scattered Keller family. If all the tapes are assembled at the door to the bunker, the door opens. Inside is the Experimental MIRV, the most damaging (and expensive. And inaccurate) weapon in the game.
- Shadow of the Colossus The colossi.
- In Jackie Chan Adventures, the Demon Sorcerer Shendu was defeated the first time by wizards taking pieces of his powers, including the power to move, and placing them in 12 stones, each decorated with the image of one of the animals of the Chinese Zodiac. This is where the Talismans came from. Holding one gives you that power.
- In the Whateley Universe story Silent Nacht, this is cited as the reason for stories involving chasing the pieces of the Macguffin. Apparently the trope is based on the practice of splitting up powerful artifacts into component parts, since that much power in one place is a huge trouble magnet.