"A young man stands in his bedroom. It just so happens that today, the 13th of April, is this young man's birthday. Though it was thirteen years ago he was given life, it is only today he will be given a name!"
Good Morning, Crono
! Happy birthday! Come downstairs and open your presents!
This trope is when the story more or less begins with the announcement that it's the main character's birthday. Often it isn't just any birthday, either; it's the day the hero finally reaches adulthood.
Why is this? Well... birthdays represent the start of a new chapter in one's life, which is suitably fitting for the beginning of the story itself. And it's a convenient way to establish how old a character is.
This can let the story start off with people deciding that it's time for the hero to learn an important secret about themselves. Or a mysterious character giving a bizarre, plot -related birthday present, amongst other things.
Tends to overlap with some of the other Birthday Tropes
, especially Dangerous Sixteenth Birthday
. Doubles as Easing Into the Adventure
. Contrast with A Birthday, Not a Break
, where we only learn it's the hero's birthday after the event. For the literal day of the hero's birth, see A Hero Is Born
- The Ruby/Sapphire saga of Pokémon Special begins on Ruby's 11th birthday, when he and his mother move to Hoenn and he runs away from home.
- Also inverted: The same saga ends 80 days later, on Sapphire's 11th birthday.
- Pokémon: Trainers are able to get their license and begin their journey on their tenth birthday.
- Nurse Angel Ririka SOS begins on the heroine's 10th birthday - which is also the beginning of her career as a Magical Girl Warrior. It's a good day for her.
- In the Marvel Universe, most mutants gain their powers during puberty. In a surprising number of cases, this happens specifically on their fourteenth or fifteenth birthday.
- Scion kicks off with Ethan's eighteenth birthday wherein he is thrust into combat against Bron.
- Wolverine had a pretty rotten birthday when he was young, long before the experiment that gave him his adamantium skeleton and claws; it was his birthday when his first true confrontation with Sabertooth occurred, right after the villain murdered his lover Silver Fox. (Or so he thought at the time; her death was actually a hoax and would cause him even more trouble in the future.)
- The Empath: The Luckiest Smurf novel begins on the main character's 150th birthday, which turns out to be the day when he is finally released from being in Psychelia, and most of the Smurfs in the village are preparing for his birthday and his arrival home. 150 years for a Smurf (particularly a male Smurf) is basically the age of entering adulthood, as in The Smurfs cartoon show.
- In "Days Of Future Smurfed", Empath celebrates his 1,150th birthday with his great-grandson, which ends up being the day that he dies, and his great-grandson becomes Traveler Smurf.
Live Action TV
- Lord of the Rings begins with (well, slightly before, but the Birthday-Party is the first major event in the story) Frodo's 33rd (and Bilbo's Eleventy-first) birthday. Since hobbits are long-lived, 33 is their coming-of-age year. (Although, Bilbo was still very old for a hobbit and showing his age well; he would eventually live to be the oldest hobbit in history, a side effect of owning the One Ring.)
- In the YA novel The Silver Crown, the heroine gets the titular crown for her birthday.
- The events of Susan Cooper's novel The Dark Is Rising start shortly before Will Stanton's 11th birthday.
- Harry Potter learned he was a wizard at more or less the hour he turned 11, and most of the other books started on or near his birthday.
- Lirael opens on Lirael's fourteenth birthday. To her it's a humiliation because she has not yet had the Sight, or been Seen with the Sight, and is therefore still a child among the Clayr. However, the events of the day do change her life dramatically.
- Once Upon a Time opens on Emma's twenty-eight birthday.
- Breaking Bad: Walter White turns 50 in the first episode. His 51st and 52nd birthdays are also significant.
- The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, where it also justifies Link's classic green tunic: He would normally be wearing something else, but village tradition dictates that on their birthday all boys must dress like the hero of legend.
- Skyward Sword downplays this, as it is the 25th anniversary of the Knights' Academy that Link is attending, but it is also the day he graduates to the Senior class. Much like the Sonic Generations example below, it is also the 25th anniversary of the Legend of Zelda series.
- Zelda II: The Adventure of Link takes place on his sixteenth birthday, when the mark of the Triforce suddenly appears on his hand.
- Fallout 3 starts with the hero's birth, and continues through several more birthdays before it really gets going.
- Loom starts with Bobbin's seventeenth birthday.
- Dragon Quest III begins on the hero/heroine's sixteenth birthday, and their being summoned for an audience with the King. The King basically tells them "Okay, you're old enough now to pick up where your father left off and Save The World."
- Played with in Portal 2 - GLaDOS claims the day Chell woke up was her birthday, but this may just be a lie made up to hurt Chell, and give GLaDOS an excuse to give her a "surprise".
GLaDOS: I made it all up...surprise!
- Players of The Neverhood learn that the game begins at Klaymen's birth (well, seeding) through Willie Trombone's video confession.
- Sonic Generations' plot starts with a party for Sonic's birthday (and meta-wise, the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise's 20th Anniversary).
- Car Battler Joe starts on Joe's sixteenth birthday.
- In Assassins Creed II, we are introduced to Ezio as his mother is finished giving birth to him. The sequence is fittingly titled "Birth of an Assassin".
- Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze starts on Donkey's birthday, and much like the Sonic Generations and Skyward Sword examples it also signifies the 20th anniversary of Donkey Kong Country.
- Crusader of Centy starts on the Player Character's fourteenth birthday. He is given his dead father's sword and shield, as fourteen is the age children are expected to begin training as warriors.
- Homestuck. See the page quote above.
- Likewise, the Trolls' session started on Karkat's birthday – or rather, "Wriggling Day". The date of John's birthday, 4/13, is also plot-relevant.
- This makes it surprising when the Alpha session doesn't start on a birthday.
- In El Goonish Shive, the Before The Party arc starts with the announcement that Grace's birthday is coming up which is followed by the Grace's Birthday Party arc.
- At the start of the Underdog story "Pain Strikes Underdog", Sweet Polly Purebred told Underdog that she was planning a party for his birthday the next day.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) has a variation, with the first episode taking place on the Turtles' 15th Mutation Day, as in the anniversary of the day they got splashed with Mutagen.
- Rankin/Bass's The Return of the King opens with an elderly Bilbo's birthday party, where a minstrel relates the story with the ballad "Frodo of the Nine Fingers."