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
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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.
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.
- 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.