Trapped in Another World

"Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore."
Dorothy Gale, The Wizard of Oz

A standard plot/Myth Arc for Speculative Fiction: The Ordinary High-School Student, frequently his friends, and sometimes his enemies are all transported (often summoned) to another world — distant planet, a Magical Land, Alternate Universe, the past, The Future — where they find they have an important role to play in Events of Significance that are occurring at the same time as (or sometimes because of) their arrival. Usually there is no hope of their finding a means to return home until after the great threat facing them has been defeated; occasionally, they will then question whether they even WANT to leave (they typically do).

This type of plot device is extremely popular in Crossover Fanfiction.

A blend of Fish out of Water and Failure Is the Only Option, with a large dash of heroism. The inverse of Alien Among Us. Often overlaps with Down the Rabbit Hole and You Can't Go Home Again. If it's the hero's job to bring back the trapped person, it's an Orphean Rescue, if someone else turns up to bring back the hero it's Weirdness Search and Rescue. May involve Fantastic Romance. In Literature this is often referred to as a Portal Fantasy.

For specific worlds to travel to see Another Dimension and Otherworld Tropes.


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    Anime & Manga 

  • Abenobashi Mahou Shoutengai: After the first episode, the heroes fall from world to world, each one based on one of the main characters' geekish hobbies.
  • The main premise of Arata Kangatari; Arata of the Himezoku is transported to modern-day Japan, while Arata Hinohara is trapped in the world of Amawakuni.
  • Aura Battler Dunbine, but then it twists it by having all the people from the other world get sent to Earth.
  • Blood Lad: Not only is Fuyumi Yanagi a human girl trapped in Hell, she dies in it. And the story is then focused on bringing her back to life.
  • Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure
  • El-Hazard: The Magnificent World: When Ifurita sends Makoto to El-Hazard, and accidentally sends along Fujisawa-sensei, Jinnai and Nanami as well.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, the first Homunculus is trapped in the human world and in a flask, which he admits sucks, but he's not that bothered about it. Later he tries to use the human world to "eat" the entity that controlled him in his world. Ironically, he ends up trapped in his own world, presumable tortured for eternity.
  • Fushigi Yuugi: Miaka and Yui get pulled into a mythical world inside a magical book. The same thing happened to their predecessors, Suzuno and Takiko.
  • Kyo Kara Maoh: Though Yuuri isn't really trapped, and can go back and forth between the two worlds with relative ease, he only considers himself trapped when he returns to his native world.
  • Jura Tripper sends no less than 15 people to a planet where humans and dinosaurs co-exist.
  • Magic Knight Rayearth does this to Hikaru, Fuu and Umi.
    • Rayearth OVA inverts this. Clef sends the rest of the people of Earth to another plane to keep more people from being killed.
  • Monster Rancher has this as its plot.
  • The Twelve Kingdoms: Youko Nakajima and her friends Ikuya Asano and Yuuka Sugimoto get dropped in the middle of a mostly hostile fantasy world by a 'Mysterious Protector. Though, this is apparently common enough for the locals to coin terms ("Kaikyaku" for Japanese people, "sankyaku" for Chinese) and for the government to have a regular policy in dealing with them. For example, The Kingdom of En has a standard naturalization/citizenship process while Kou just tries to round them up and kill them.
    • And before they came in, a farm girl named Suzu was spirited away from the Meiji era and thrown in the same world. Only to go through much heartbreak.
    • Shoryu, the king of En, also was from Japan. In fact, he was a daimyo or feudal lord whose clan was wiped away in the feudal wars. Having become a Fallen Prince, he accepted to become the King of En.
  • Vision of Escaflowne: A rare example of the other world not being treated as another dimension of some sort — they get stuck on an invisible moon, just past the actual one.
  • Season 3 of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! also featured a couple of these in the anime-only Duel Monsters Quest and Virtual World Arcs. In both cases The Big Five trapped the protagonists in a video game as part of their plot to take over Kaiba Corp.
  • Now and Then, Here and There (aka Ima Soku Ni Iru Boku). This is an exceptional example of this trope because the creators threw out every convention associated with it from episode 1. Shu sees a strange young girl sitting on a smokestack on his way home from school and goes to meet her. As he is introducing himself he and the girl are attacked by people teleporting in from the distant future in pursuit of that girl. True to the genre Shu picks up a stick and fights to defend the girl. He immediately gets his ass handed to him and both he and the girl are dragged forward billions of years where Earth is a dying desert planet orbiting a sun in the early stages of nova. What follows is a relentless thirteen episode trip through the ninth ring of Hell.
  • Kagome from InuYasha in the first few episodes. Afterward she's able to go between the other world and her own at will. She willingly leaves her world behind, knowing she can never return home, to live with Inuyasha in his world in the series finale.
  • Subversion: Yukinari from Girls Bravo gets trapped on the planet Seirun in the first episode, but is returned to Earth in the same episode.
  • From Far Away
  • Spider Riders plays with this, Hunter never seems to feel like he's "trapped" in the Inner World. The reason he ended up there in the first place is because he went looking for it!
  • The Mahou Sensei Negima! manga has Negi and a group of his student get stuck in the Magic World after Fate destroys the gateway between worlds.
  • Those Who Hunt Elves do so because the elves hold the secret to the spell that will return them to Earth.
  • In Zero no Tsukaima, the male protagonist is "accidentally" summoned to another world by the female protagonist in a summoning ceremony. It is later revealed that many people have accidentally ventured into this world, including a soldier from the Vietnam War and Siesta's great-grandfather.
  • Long-running shoujo series Anatolia Story and Ouke no Monshou both feature this trope, a girl from modern day trapped in Ancient Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt respectively.
  • The Sorcerer's Curse arc of Mythic Quest revolves around everyone in the world being deposited in the dimension created by the MMORPG Mythic Quest with no way out and no extra lives.
  • This happens to Tsukasa from .hack//SIGN, with a computer game.
  • In There, Beyond the Beyond, protagonist Futaba is taken to a fantasy world due to a case of Mistaken Identity. In order to get back home, he needs to reunite the Amaranthine with her master.
  • Ginta of MÄR actually makes the willing decision to go to the other world (after wordlessly making sure his love interest is unable to follow him), and once there is overjoyed to find that getting back isn't going to be easy.
  • Kyon in The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya. Subverted in the fact that his world is changed.
  • Mujin Wakusei Survive involves 7 Ordinary High School Students and a robot cat getting stuck on another planet.
  • Melo Melo Melonpan has a short story about a gamer sucked into a Dragon Quest expy much like Genki, then (being that this is an H-Manga) he realizes the NPCs don't have Barbie Doll Anatomy and functionally robotic humans that repeat the same programmed lines ad nauseum he proceeds to have sex with EVERY woman in the kingdom including, but not limited to his in-game "mother," potential party member, a nun, a mother right in front of her son in the town square as she walks, and the queen and princess while completely ignoring the mission. Unfortunately or fortunately for him, his real-life mother thinks he merely left the game on again, turning it off and stranding him there forever.
  • Problem Children Are Coming from Another World, Aren't They?? shows the story of three problematic children that come to a different world or dimension, they manage to do it after receving a letter inviting them, but at the same time, warning them, they must leave everything behind to go there, family, friends, goods, and others. Once there they will not be able to go back to their original worlds, an even if they do it it will be in the same moment of time they were(Although this not explained in the letter they found out latter and they do not, apparently, regret it). But that does not appear to be a problem for our three problematic children as they wilingly come to the "Little Garden".
  • Naruto 6: Road to Ninja features the titular character and his teammate, Sakura, being sent to an Alternate Universe by Tobi.
  • Amatsuki.
  • Garzey's Wing.
  • Happens to Hideyoshi in Sengoku Otome.
  • The main plot of the (awful) hentai, Slave Warrior Maya, where a young woman is magically sent to another world and then tricked into undressing so she can be sold into slavery.
  • Occurs frequently in Digimon:
    • Digimon Adventure starts with seven kids being unwillingly transported to the "Digital World", a dimension full of sapient creatures somehow created from data in the real world. The kids initially have no idea how to get back.
    • Digimon Tamers has the protagonist kids purposefully travel to the Digital World in an attempt to rescue someone, but they are left uncertain of how to return to the real world.
    • Digimon Frontier, much like Adventure, starts with a group of kids being transported (somewhat willingly, there is a Call to Adventure beforehand) to the Digital World without knowing a way to get back.
    • Digimon XROS Wars begins with Taiki answering Shoutmon's plea for help from the Digital World, but he ends up dragging the unwilling Akari and Zenjirou with him, to their great displeasure. The three remain stuck in the Digital World until an enemy attack throws them back home in the middle of the series.
  • Legend Of Himiko.
  • In Dog Days, the people of Biscotti summon Cinque to help them, but then find that they don't know how to send him back to Earth. This no longer becomes an issue once they find the return spell.
  • In Deadline Summonner, Mamoru Onodera, an Otaku fond of RPGs finds himself sucked into a fantasy world filled with monster girls. For reasons unexplained in its first and only chapter, he somehow ends up the master of ten girls who could easily rip him to shreds with their affectionsor get him caught in the crossfire of their inevitable fights.
  • Same author as the above example, Eita Touga of 12 Beast becomes the saviour of Live-Earth by virtue of Aero dragging him through a portal against his will. While she can send him back, the power required is so absurd that if he actually wants to get back alive, he'll have to save the world first...
  • Final Fantasy: Unlimited begins with two Kid Hero siblings being trapped in the Inner World/Wonderland. Said other world is also continually expanding and consuming other worlds, leading to entire dimensions being trapped there as well.
  • Lampshaded, discussed, and ultimately defied in No Game No Life. While Sora and Shiro do find themselves in this situation, they were both quite disillusioned with society back home and have absolutely no desire to go back. They even thank the god that brought them there.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Capsule Monsters's main plot is Yugi and his friends being trapped in the Capsule Monster world and working to find a way home.

    Comic Books 
  • The tag line of the late Steve Gerber's Marvel comic Howard the Duck was "Trapped in a world he never made!" A native of a Talking Animal world of anthropomorphic ducks, Howard fell through a portal and wound up in Another Dimension—namely, the Marvel Universe version of Cleveland, Ohio.
  • CrossGen's Negation featured a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits trapped in an alternate universe that did not obey the laws of physics. At least one character started out convinced that it was All Just a Dream.
  • This is the raison d'etre for the Marvel comic series The Exiles. Superpowered beings lost from their dimension, world hop until they get to go home.
  • This was Adam Strange's origin in DC Comics. An archeologist who accidentally discovered an alien transport system, Adam became the number one hero of the planet Rann. His problem was that the Zeta beams which teleport him are only temporary and he has started a family on Rann. He has since been able to stay there permanently, but on occasion where he finds himself on Earth and this trope applies there.
  • Mike Grell's DCU comic The Warlord, a deliberate homage to Pellucidar (in setting) and John Carter of Mars (in tone).
  • Happens to Donald Duck, his nephews and Uncle Scrooge in Dragonlords.
  • Sonic is trapped in the Special Zone for about fifteen issuses in Sonic the Comic.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Slightly Damned fanfiction Blizzard Storm this is what kicks off the ENTIRE plot of the story. Of course, its subverted starting from Chapter 17.
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami features this prominantly- with something of a twist. The Light Gods are capable of sending Ami back at any time, and Ami is aware of this fairly early. However, due to Ami's unfortunate bonding with a Dungeon Heart, they refuse to do so. Rightly so- if she returned to her world with a Dungeon Heart, she would inadvertently draw the Dark Gods after her. The story evolves around her attempts to discover a way around this.
  • An excellent example of this trope in fanfic is With Strings Attached. The four are scooped up and dropped on the planet C'hou with nothing except the clothes on their backs and some musical instruments; they're terrified out of their minds and have absolutely no idea why they're there. The reader knows they're there as the subjects of an alien undergraduate psychology experiment (at least initially, until the experiment breaks down), but the four don't learn anything for around a month, when they're told that they've been brought over and equipped to fetch the three pieces of a statue to end a continent-sized curse. The quest is legitimate in context, but was assigned to them after they were equipped.
  • Fans of The Lord of the Rings often write about girls falling into Middle-earth. These girls, and some boys, come from our modern world. With the film adaptation, there appeared a veritable storm of such stories.

    These fanfics tend to be mediocre to terrible. Nearly every single one of these girls is a Mary Sue in the guise of an Ordinary High-School Student, who is more often that not a self-insert that falls in love with Legolas or, less commonly, Aragorn, as Wish Fulfillment for her author. A common trick is to transform the girl into an elf or a hobbit, to match her love interest. The inserted girl is usually a fan of the movies, and has foreknowledge of events; she might also recognize characters on sight, implying that they look exactly like their actors in the movies.

    Most authors use the same three conveniences. First, the inserted girl lands conveniently near major characters. She often lands near the Council of Elrond, because that is the first scene with Boromir or Legolas. Second, she can chat in English, because the author forgot that the Common Tongue is a different language. Third, she never tries to return home, because she likes living in Middle-earth.
  • The plot of Heta Quest.
  • In Tales Of Hetalia, the Allies and the Axis are sucked into the world of Rukassia by a magic book.
  • My Little Wesker, in which the spectacularly evil Big Bad of the Resident Evil games becomes trapped in Equestria. He does not approve.
  • Slipping Between Worlds, in which through the agency of the mysterious Mrs Tachyon and her old-bag-lady shopping trolley - which is not what it seems - a group of British soldiers evade death on Roundworld only to end up in Ankh-Morpork on the Discworld.
  • Let us just say that Fan Fic writers LOVE this trope when they do crossovers, self-inserts, etc. It's a very common trope for Fan Fiction. So much so that it has its own Fan Nickname: "Bamfing".

    Film - Animation 

    Film - Live Action 

  • L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Most of the first six-odd "Oz" books fell under this trope, with Dorothy finding her way back to Oz only to get back to Kansas by the last page, though eventually Baum just had Dorothy (along with Uncle Henry, Aunt Em, and Toto) move to Oz full-time and continue her adventures there. Whenever another human came to Oz from the outside world after that point, they generally ended up staying (Oz after the wicked witches died and Ozma took the throne being a much more utopian place to live, occasional monsters and baddies notwithstanding). It's implied even pre-Ozma that Oz was a much better place to live than Kansas; and Dorothy only kept going back home because she didn't want to ditch her family. That certainly is her only reason after meeting Ozma, whom she has a very close relationship with.
  • The John Carter of Mars series and the Pellucidar series, by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
  • Older Than Radio: Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland: One of the earliest and most famous versions of this trope and a template for many later stories.
  • Stephen R. Donaldson is fond of this one. It's the premise of:
  • Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman.
  • In Diana Wynne Jones's Charmed Life this is what happens to Janet and her eight analogues in the other worlds in Series Twelve - when Gwendolen escapes from World 12A, she pulls Janet in from World 12B, and so on all around the circuit. Janet is the only one who doesn't find the change to be an improvement, and when she realises this, decides to stay in 12A for the sake of the others. Janet's parents don't notice the change.
  • Guy Gavriel Kay's The Fionavar Tapestry. The five main characters are transported to Fionavar at the beginning of the first book, The Summer Tree and return to their own world at the end of it; then they go back near the beginning of the second book, The Wandering Fire, and stay there through to the end of the third, The Longest Road, when their various fates are resolved. At the end of the trilogy the score stands with two going back to our world, one choosing to stay in Fionavar, one dead in a Heroic Sacrifice, and one sailing off to eternity with Lancelot and King Arthur as she is, in fact, Guinevere. The books are somewhat eclectic.
  • In Stephen King's The Dark Tower, Roland draws his ka-tet from New York City at various points in time to his own world.
  • C. S. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; a slight twist here is that the characters age significantly during their stay in Narnia, then are returned to their original ages when they leave. The other Narnia books tend to follow this pattern as well, except for The Horse and His Boy.
  • Un Lun Dun by China Miéville
  • In Alan Dean Foster's Spellsinger series, the main character is summoned by a powerful wizard looking for another powerful wizard. Apparently, an engineer would be the closest thing to the alternate world's wizards. Unfortunately, the summoning spell latched on to the main character's job title...sanitation engineer. Fortunately, he does turn out to have magical abilities in that world.
  • Similarly, in L. E. Modesitt Jr's Spellsong Cycle, the main character is summoned because of her skills as a singer. The author seems to like this trope, since in his Saga of Recluce series this combined with Lost Colony is used in two books.
  • The Merchant Princes Series, by Charles Stross features "worldwalkers" who regularly do this to others.
  • Actually inverted with The Princess 99, where an alien biker chick from the future finds herself stuck in the human world in the 1920s.
  • Barbara Hambly's Darwath series: Ingold could bring Gil and Rudy back to Earth any time, at the risk of the Dark learning how it's done and coming to eat Los Angeles. By the time the threat of the Dark goes away, so does our heroes' desire to go 'home'.
  • Joel Rosenberg's Guardians of the Flame series depicts a small group of college students who get magically transported to the world of their fantasy roleplaying campaign. They struggle to escape but decide by the end of the first book to stay in their new home to wipe out slavery.
  • The Summoning series by fantasy/romance author Robin D. Owens focuses on a group of Colorado women who are called, one by one, to be champions of the world of Amee. Unique in that any Earth-native brought to Amee will eventually face the Snap ... a point where Earth tries to call the person back, and will unless she has made a stronger commitment to Amee.
  • The premise of The Inverted World is that a city has somehow become transported to a bizarre alternate world, one where they must constantly move forwards in order to survive.
  • Land of Oblivion has its Kid Hero protagonists transported to a place where dead children have their afterlife. The place is not all rosy, though, and they have to save the girl's brother from becoming Deader Than Dead.
  • Coraline is somewhat a Deconstruction of this concept, as the other world literally is a Trap for her (and others) - and nothing more. Unlike most examples, The heroine is very glad to leave it behind.
  • Dave Duncan's The Great Game explains why characters in this situation tend to become heroes—anyone who's in a different dimension than the one they were born in can absorb Mana. At low levels, this just makes them really, really charismatic. If they convince other people to make sacrifices to them (usually of blood), they can become Physical Gods. All "godly" beings are actually humans from other worlds, many "gods" of Vales are actually from our world. There are hazards to this, however...
  • In Warrior Cats, Jayfeather is stuck in the past until he can turn the Ancients into the Tribe of Rushing Water by teaching them tribe customs.
  • In Daughter of the Falcon, Jessie, a girl from our world is trapped in Mysteria, a Magical Land. This is then Deconstructed as she needs insulin injections and there is nothing comparable in Mysteria, so unless she can return home, she will die when her supply runs out.
  • The Rifter: John, Laurie, and Bill have (without intending to) passed through the Great Gates from Earth to Basawar, a strange, brutal land; the gates are shut (maybe destroyed). Getting home will not be easy at all.
  • In Sergey Lukyanenko's The Boy and the Darkness, the protagonist is a teenager named Danny who travels to another world covered in perpetual darkness. His way home is almost immediately destroyed. The other two portals get destroyed later. At the end, Danny gets the chance to go home by wishing for one thing from a godlike being. He uses the wish to save a friend rather than return home.
  • H. Beam Piper's Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen was once a Pennsylvania state policeman named Calvin Morrison, who was accidentally dropped off in a parallel universe where the Aryans went east instead of west, and conquered North America. As it happens, he lands in a small kingdom that's about to be wiped out by the Corrupt Church that holds a monopoly on the secret of gunpowder manufacture...and he knows how to make gunpowder.
  • Grand Central Arena: The experimental starship Holy Grail and its crew find themselves stuck in The Arena, a vast extrauniversal construct, and can't get back home unless they learn how the rules of The Arena work. Unlike most of the other examples, this one is SF, not fantasy, although there is Sufficiently Advanced tech involved.
  • In Teresa Frohock's Miserere: An Autumn Tale, going through the Veil to the Woerld means you can never return to Earth.
  • Enchantment by Orson Scott Card.
  • A Wizard in Rhyme.
  • In Dirge for Prester John, getting into or out of Pentexore is impossible most of the year, effectively trapping anyone who isn't keeping a strict eye on the Rimal.
  • The titular Id finds himself trapped in a world he has absolutely no knowledge about and has no idea how he got there - but where he comes from is another mystery.
  • Once you have entered Palimpsest once, you will go there whenever you have sex, whether you want to or not.
  • The Holiday House in The Thief of Always.
  • In Greystone Vallye, the 12 years old girl Sarah finds herself transported into the titular valley.
  • The Divide: Within the first five pages, Felix passes out above the eponymous Divide and finds himself stuck in a world where humans and science are mythical but magic and elves are real. Unusually, for most of it getting home is only his secondary objective; his primary is finding some kind of treatment for his terminal heart condition. Crossing the boundary gets a lot easier as the series goes on. At the end of the series, the Divide is closed and leaves copies of Felix and his elfin friend Betony on each side, meaning that you've got one Felix trapped in the fantasy world and one Betony trapped in the human one.
  • The main premise of the Across The Universe series. The main character is travelling in a spaceship to land on a new planet while cryogenically frozen, and she is woken up fifty years before the ship is set to land. She is trapped on a tiny ship filled with people who don't understand her and are extremely confused at how she looks (since everyone on the ship is monoethnic, and she's not).

    Light Novels 

    Live Action TV 
  • Life On Mars: Though we are Left Hanging as to the true nature of the world; is it Time Travel, an alternate reality, or All Just a Dream?
    • And the sequel Ashes to Ashes, which resolves the mystery: note  the world is a purgatory for select dead police officers
    • The American version was much less ambiguous. note 
  • Doctor Who: Rose is trapped in a parallel world, but returns with knowledge of "the Darkness" threatening to destroy the multiverse (as her universe is ahead of ours). She is then forced to remain in her parallel world to take care of the clone-Doctor, despite wanting to stay with the real one. Former boyfriend Mickey, however, decides to leave the parallel world for his old one.
  • Sliders: The Sliders have a device that can take them between worlds, but it malfunctions, and they're stuck going between worlds without any control in the hope of eventually finding home.
  • A staple premise of series by Sid and Marty Krofft such as The Lost Saucer, Lidsville, Dr Shrinker, Land of the Lost and H.R. Pufnstuf.
  • Farscape, where Crichton travels through a wormhole to another part of the universe. His overriding goal for most of the series is to get back to Earth...but when he finally does, he leaves very shortly to go back to the other side of the universe. He later returns and makes it impossible for himself to ever go back in order to protect Earth from the bad guys. John, being John, makes many a reference to The Wizard of Oz in relation to his situation. Title of the episode when they really go to Earth: Kansas.
  • The Time Tunnel - two guys trapped in the past (or occasionally the future).
  • Likewise Quantum Leap
  • The Sterling family in the short-lived series Otherworld.
  • Fat Guy Stuck in Internet is about...a fat computer programer trapped in a surreal cyberspace world.
  • Season 1 of Stargate Atlantis — trapped in the Pegasus Galaxy. This is a variation, because the expedition went to Atlantis knowing full well that they might be stranded there.
  • Stargate Infinity — generally trapped away from Earth and the rest of polite galactic society since their iris codes had been revoked.
  • According to early reports, Stargate Universe is taking this tack as well, stranding the heroes on a space ship headed away from known space
    • They are billions of lightyears away from home and if they could control the ship, the journey would take millions of years. They don't have enough power to dial home and dialing IN from the Milky Way needs a special kind of planet but even then, a small mistake in the calculations WILL cut off the supply line permanently via an Earth-Shattering Kaboom. This happened in the first episode. Later on, it was revealed that the Lucian Alliance found another planet which the SGC attempted to capture; the Alliance however activated the gate prematurely and this planet blew up as well.
  • Star Trek: Voyager — Trapped in the Delta Quadrant.
  • The island of LOST is sufficiently weird that a case could be made.
  • This happens a lot in the Polish/Australian children's series Spellbinder. Paul gets trapped in the Spellbinder universe, Kathy's family gets trapped in the Land of the Dragon Lord, and Mek and Kathy end up trapped in first the Land of the Immortals and then the Land of the Moloch.
  • In Kyle XY, Josh frequently suggests that Kyle is an alien from another world (although this is later subverted when Kyle's true origins are revealled).
  • In season 3 of Fringe, Olivia is trapped a good deal of the time in another universe, an alternate universe. Peter has been trapped in another universe since he was seven years old.
  • Angel, where Cordelia was trapped in Pylea and ended up becoming queen and overthrowing the priests. Fred was stuck there too, though she didn't do nearly as much as Cordy.
  • In the first episode of MythQuest, Matt Bellows gets trapped inside a mythical world with a trickster god. His children accidentally (and later deliberately) get trapped in myths when they go to look for him.
  • Once Upon a Time is an Inversion - the fairy tale folks were dumped in our world by a curse
    • O Ua T loves this trope. Different people keep getting stranded in different worlds and have to find a way out.
  • The premise of the series Pirate Island is that three children are trapped in a video game.


  • At a book signing, Sam from ElvenQuest is dragged into LowerEarth when a group of heroes kidnap The Chosen One, aka. Sam's dog, and he wouldn't get them go. Naturally the only way to get back is to go on their quest to get the Sword of Asnagar, which will (a) defeat the Lord Of Darkness and (b) let Sam go back home).

    Video Games 
  • In Dragon Quest III, the Hero falls into the world of Alefgard, the setting of the first two Dragon Quest games. Once they defeat Zoma, the hole between Alefgard and the Hero's world closes, sealing them in Alefgard forever where they become known as the hero "Erdrick"/"Loto".
  • Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. And its sequel.
  • Final Fantasy X. However, it's revealed that Tidus's world wasn't even real to start with.
  • Another World, where the story starts with the protagonist accidentally teleported to an alien world.
  • The Dig involves a group of astronauts who get transported to an alien world.
  • Outcast, with a lot of Time Travel causing the issue.
  • The Pokemon Mystery Dungeon games combine this your character being a human stranded in a world full of other talking Pokemon, transformed into a Pokemon themselves.
  • Nox, with the protagonist's character class affecting (among other things) whether or not he returns from the titular fantasy world back to present-day Earth, or stays there.
  • ZanZarah: The Hidden Portal is a subversion: its protagonist Amy is tricked into traveling to another world (which she is supposed to save) but among the first things she finds there is a magical rune that teleports her back to London. Not that she wants to, since her home is a very dull place, constituting one bleak location among hundreds found in the game.
  • This is the premise of Myst, in which the player stumbles across a mysterious series of worlds after accidentally using a Linking Book. Actually, even if you win the game, you don't get to go home. In the opening of the sequel, Riven, Atrus promises that, if all goes well, he might be able to send the player home. Subverted in Myst III and IV, where the player willfully returns to visit Atrus.
    • It's implied at the end of Riven that when Atrus drops his D'ni Linking Book into the Star Fissure, he's leaving the player with both a way home and a means to visit him. This was before D'ni turned out to be Earth All Along.
  • In Brütal Legend, roadie Eddie Riggs winds up in a world based on Heavy Metal album covers after injuring himself and spilling blood on his belt buckle. Turns out that it's a really important belt buckle.
  • The Avatar of the later games of the Ultima series (from IV onward) is explicitly stated to be a normal human from Earth before he or she is summoned over. According to Word of God, this is true of the first three games as well.
  • In Half-Life, Gordon Freeman is trapped in a hellish alien dimension until he can take down the Nihilanth.
  • In the first Persona game, the party ends up spending a good deal of the game in an alternate version of their city. It eventually becomes a non-subversion: they were actually trapped in Maki's mind (they've just defeated Kandori in the real world when they learn this). Now, Maki herself has been acting strangely since the whole crisis began, and told the group she was from the Alternate Universe they were in- oh, crap.
  • Harukanaru Toki No Naka De has the main character and her two friends summoned into a place that looks quite like Kyoto in the Heian period.
  • The expanded backstory of the Mario franchise indicates that Mario and Luigi are actually from Brooklyn, and accidentally ended up in the Mushroom Kingdom. It's unclear, however, whether they can't get home or just choose to stay.
  • The Hero of Albion ends up trapped on another planet, when losing contact with the factory ship he came with. After he saves the world from the ship's on-board supercomputer that was programmed to destroy it, he essentially traps the crew.
  • Jak and Daxter are sent through a rift gate to Haven City at the beginning of Jak 2 and lack any means to leave. Subverted in that it's actually the same place, just hundreds of years in the future, and Jak was originally from there anyway.
  • Brad, the player's character in Curse Of Enchantia, is boy from our dimension who has been kidnapped to a fantasy world ruled by an evil witch and now has find a way back.
  • The plot of The Longest Journey and it's sequel Dreamfall. The main character April Ryan ends up travelling between two worlds, Stark and Arcadia, and ends up as of the second game choosing to live permanently in Arcadia.
  • In Scaler, Scaler gets trapped in a world filled with Lizard Folk, when escaping from a torture session. We later learn that his father, Leon, is also is trapped there. The rest of game is then spent with Scaler trying to get his claws on a 'Portal Beacon', that can get him and Leon home.
  • Some of the supplemental material for Touhou states that people quite frequently fall into Gensokyo from our world. Apparently the Great Hakurei Border is not absolutely impermeable.
  • In Date Warp, Janet and Bradley are trapped in an alternate universe where The American Revolution never happened, and the country is called Atlanta. However, it turns out it's more complicated than that.
  • Heart No Kuni No Alice.
  • You help two people with this problem in The Trail Of Anguish. But it eventually turns out that they may not be the only ones trapped somewhere unknown...
  • Astyanax (NES version)
  • Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito (although in this case it's more like "trapped in several worlds").
  • Rule of Rose.
  • A recurring theme of Super Robot Wars since Super Robot Wars Alpha Gaiden, since it's the easiest way to put shows that have totally contrasting worlds and backgrounds together.
  • In Shin Megami Tensei IV, this is what happens once the Yamato Perpetual Reactor is turned on. The three Samurai are desperate to go home, but the only way back is turning on the Reactor again in the parallel worlds. This is a trap engineered by the White, to show the Crapsack Worlds that could arise from choosing pure Law or pure Chaos, in an effort to have The Hero Mercy Kill the multiverse by overloading the reactor and creating a massive black hole to "return all to nothing".
  • Luigi is accidentally summoned to the Bears' World in Something Else because they wanted his brother, Mario.
  • The main character from Out of This World has this happen to him, being transported to a distant planet, or possibly a different dimension when lightning strikes him in his lab one evening. As seen in the sequel, Heart Of the Alien, he never makes it back.
  • In Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals, Dekar is thrown into a hellish otherworld through a Heroic Sacrifice. He fights his way out, blows up the entire dimension behind him, and gets back to the party in time to save the day.


    Web Original 
  • While their trip to Creturia was intentional, the Dimensional Guardians from the web fiction serial Dimension Heroes find themselves trapped in the world until they can find the objects they need to both save the world and return home.
  • The serial web novel Elcenia starts out with protagonist Rhysel being summoned to the titular Magical Land. Unusual in that Rhysel is from a different Magical Land herself.
  • This happens in the gender bender The Finite Life of a Dating Sim Heroine to the main character Michio, which takes place in the titular dating sim.
  • This setting is currently the most popular for multifandom Journal Roleplay Games. The community has even coined a phrase for games based around this setting—"spooky jamjar". Which has now come full circle- meet Roleplayedingly. A roleplay where the characters are sent to a new world every week- and every world is an existing LiveJournal roleplay.
  • The heroes of The Dragon Wars Saga are examples, although it's insinuated they could leave if they knew how and really wanted to do so.
  • In Trinton Chronicles very first story (Fantasia) all of the characters end up in a portion of the Fairy Realm or something similar.
  • According to Robert Brockway of Cracked, the need for a "straight man" in a Magical Land story is one of the 4 Realizations That Will Ruin Science Fiction for You.
  • Engines of Creation features an entire town and its people from western Canada trapped in a world known as the Pactlands.
  • In Cradleland, a passenger airliner is transported by a portal to another planet.
  • The Travelers of Worm are eventually revealed to be an example of this trope seen from the other side. Initially a professional gamer group in the significantly less apocalyptic Earth Aleph, they were transported to Earth Bet by a freak accident and gained superpowers. In their search for a way home, they became supervillains, and cause a great many deaths, eventually culminating in Noelle going on a rampage that sees dozens of superheroes dead. In the end, only four of the original seven get to go home.
  • This is the central premise of The Lay of Paul Twister: the main character is from Earth, and he doesn't know how or why he ended up stuck in a Magical Land, but with technology just barely at early Renaissance levels, most of his modern skills aren't applicable to society, so he has to live by his wits as a rogue of sorts to get by...

    Western Animation 
  • Samurai Jack takes this to extremes, by placing a Samurai from feudal Japan in a far-future sci-fi world populated by countless alien races.
  • Dungeons & Dragons: One weird rollercoaster ride later, and the kids are in world resembling a D&D campaign setting.
  • Captain N: The Game Master involved the main character Kevin Keene being sucked into "Videoland", a world where Nintendo games were real (and often very misrepresented in comparison to their actual video game counterparts). Strangely Kevin seems to have no interest in going back to the real world and very rarely, if ever, expresses a desire to go home. What must his mother think...
  • In King Arthur & the Knights of Justice, Merlin needs replacements for King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, who have been captured by the series' Big Bad. His odd solution is to bring a contemporary American high school football team (whose quarterback happens to be named Arthur King) to Dark Age Europe to become Camelot's new defenders.
  • Kidd Video.
  • The Super Mario Bros. Super Show, where Mario and Luigi are from Brooklyn, but were transported to the Mushroom Kingdom through a warp pipe.
  • Fry from Futurama gets frozen in 1999 and wakes up 1000 years later. Somewhat subverted, in that even with the robots, aliens, mutants, and new technology, The Future isn't really all that different.
  • Goliath and the remains of his clan in Gargoyles are trapped in stone for 1000 years, thus arriving in 1994 New York from 994 Scotland.
  • An episode of Adventure Time had Finn get transported to another world made entirely out of pillows. (The landscape, the wildlife, the people, etc.) He ended up spending the rest of his life there, forming a family and dying of old age, then somehow got sent back to his world a few minutes after his disappearance, with no memory of his time there. It's left ambiguous as to whether or not this actually happened.
  • Over the Garden Wall is about teenage Wirt and his young brother Greg being trapped in a world called The Unknown.
  • The parents of the eponymous Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero are experienced heroes that are currently trapped in an extremely dangerous dimension and can only communicate with their son via the MUHU, a small hologram-projecting device that Penn keeps with him at all times.

Alternative Title(s):

Portal Fantasy