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A Birthday, Not a Break

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Whether or not you want the cake, you're getting a slice.
"It really wouldn't be my birthday without a Vent attack."
Sweetheart, Glitter and Guilt

Something awful happens. The lovers finally break up, the heroes get captured, a beloved character dies, The Bad Guy Wins... and after the smoke clears, one of the characters suddenly remembers that today is their birthday.

Used to heighten the dramatic irony of something so tragic happening on what is supposed to be a happy day, and symbolizing how the character(s) will never be the same.

Alternately the character is aware it is their birthday, in fact, there's a party just for them. But during the party there is an attack, a conversation between two characters, a revelation, etc. that disturbs (and often ends) the party. Basically the party is used as a reason to have all the characters be in the same place. That way they are conveniently together when the supervillain attacks instead of needing to be called, especially crucial if the characters are adults with day jobs or secret identities and wouldn't naturally be spending time together without a cause. This party is why the people who have been avoiding each other will finally have to talk. This gathering of people is how the secret comes out (someone reveals it not knowing it is a secret or someone being drunk both common causes) and the revelation has more of an impact because now everyone knows not just the few people it effects.

Died on Their Birthday is a specific Sub-Trope where people die on the anniversary of the day they were born; Dangerous 16th Birthday is a Sub-Trope for when a youth turning 16 years old is put into danger.

Compare Ironic Birthday, where a character walks in on a surprise birthday party in their honor, but they don’t have any reason to feel very happy.

Not to be confused with Birthday Party Goes Wrong, where it is the party itself that goes south rather than that something unrelated to the party causes trouble.

Related to Worst Wedding Ever (when Played for Drama) and Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday (when the horrific events happen because it's a special day, birthdays included). The latter could also overlap with Special Occasions Are Magic.

See Shoddy Shindig for boring parties and Perennially Overshadowed Birthday for when a character expresses frustration, anger, and/or sadness at having a birthday on the same day as a holiday or annual event and it being consistently overlooked or downplayed.


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  • There's a Public Service Announcement showing a little girl's birthday party. The girl and her mother are both excitedly waiting for her father to get back with the birthday cake. They run out to the driveway when they hear a car door slam, only to find a police officer instead of the father. The mother bursts into tears while the girl struggles to understand what's happening. The now grown-up girl explains that her father was killed by a Drunk Driver and she now spends her birthdays visiting his grave.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Black Butler: Ciel's tenth birthday was the day his house burned down with both of his parents inside. He was also kidnapped and taken off to be a slave and, oh sure why not? A human sacrifice to a satanist cult.
  • The climax of Part 1 of Chainsaw Man starts on Denji's 17th birthday. It begins with Makima killing Power, then revealing to him that he killed his father, and everything he had ever known and loved was set up by her to be destroyed at the end.
  • The 2005-era Doraemon episode "Shizuka-chan Disappeared?!" is about Shizuka celebrating a birthday that gets cut short when she drinks one of the Transformation Drinks that Nobita gave her by accident, gets turned into a cat, is mistaken for a stray, and is kicked out of the house, forcing Doraemon and friends to go find her.
  • Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods: The entire fight with Beerus takes place in the midst of Bulma's birthday party. When all is said and done, however, Beerus does have the decency to apologize to the Z Fighters for ruining the party before taking his leave.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: When Ed and Al have just gone through a traumatic experience at Laboratory 5 and are both still injured, Ed remembers that it's his birthday.
  • InuYasha: Kagome was dragged into the whole mess with the Shikon Jewel and the Feudal Era on her fifteenth birthday.
  • Jujutsu Kaisen: Played With. Mahito mockingly asks Yuji to wish him happy birthday when he discovers the true essence of his soul and evolves into his true form during the Shibuya Incident. It turns out to be a pretty shitty birthday, as Mahito is defeated by Yuji only a few minutes after attaining his transformation and cowardly tries to run for his life when it's clear he's unequivocally screwed. To further rub salt on his many wounds, Kenjaku turns up and promptly absorbs Mahito at his lowest point, before unleashing him in an Uzumaki attack that seemingly kills him.
  • Maria no Danzai: The first chapter alone shows us the torment Kiritaka regularly goes through at the hands of his bullies: from getting kicked hard in the stomach since they stuck a target on his shirt, to force-feeding him with his mother’s bento but with cockroaches mixed in. When Kiritaka comes home, his mother Mari greets him with a cake and wishes him a happy 14th birthday. Later that night, the bullies text Kiritaka an edited sex video of his mother and demand they all meet up somewhere. They then blackmail Kiritaka into jumping off a cliff or else the video gets put online. He survives the fall, but not the truck. And to make things worse, Mari followed him and arrived at the scene just in time to watch her son get smeared across the road.
  • In the prologue episode of Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury, Ericht's fourth birthday is a tragedy when her home colony is attacked leading to the deaths of her father and the colonists. Though she doesn't remember it much given that she was four at that time. However, the event drove her mother on a path of revenge.
  • In My-HiME, a relatively light-hearted example happens when Mai has to take part in a make-up cooking exam and fight an Orphan on her birthday, and in a sound CD, Nao ends up getting everyone at Mai's room drunk. She briefly notes that this might be the worst birthday for her ever, having no idea how bad things will get for her before the end of the series.
  • Starting from episode 35, the titular characer of Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water attempts suicide, has to surrender to Neo Atlantis and is brainwashed all on her 15th anniversary. Best quinceañera ever. Made worse in that she discovered after her suicide her birth date and her posse arranged her first birthday ever.
  • Naruto spends his 17th fighting for his life against Sasuke at the conclusion of the Fourth Great Ninja War, which ends up costing him his right arm.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Kaji's death happens a day before Misato's birthday, December 8th, which is only revealed in All There in the Manual. Toji's 15th birthday, December 26th, is the same day End of Evangelion starts.
  • In Pokémon Adventures, Green misses out on her 17th birthday during the Emerald arc because she happened to be Taken for Granite at the time.
  • Pretty Cure:
    • The Movie for Yes! Pretty Cure 5 kicks off when Bunbee drops in on Nozomi's party, starts a fight and steals her birthday cake, leading to the Cures going to the Land of Sweets, where the Dessert Queen has been taken over by Mushiban.
    • Likewise, the climax of the story of KiraKira★Pretty Cure à la Mode takes place upon Ichika's birthday. The girls fight Noir, who is then betrayed by Elisio, who rids the world of happiness. Eventually, the Cures break out of his brainwashing and defeat him.
    • The plot of Hirogaru Sky! Pretty Cure kicks off when Ellee is kidnapped on her first birthday.
  • Star Driver reveals early in episode 6 that it's Sugata's birthday. Then the episode turns out to be a Wham Episode. And then Takuto's narration at the end of it reveals that it's his birthday too. While his friend cries over a seemingly dead Sugata, but he got better.
  • Tokyo Ghoul:
    • Tokyo Ghoul has a very subtle example, for those paying attention. December 20th is the date given for the day Kaneki broke under torture and decided to give up on his humanity, embracing his Ghoul nature and gaining several dramatic physical changes in the process. It also happened to be his 19th birthday, adding to the symbolism of his "rebirth".
    • In the sequel, Kuramoto Itou spends his birthday taking part in a high-risk combat operation, fighting a Cute and Psycho Monster Clown. He makes no mention of it in-series, leaving this fact to be noticed by readers that are paying attention.
    • The sequel strikes again, with the climatic battle between Kaneki and Arima taking place on the eve of their shared birthday. It concludes with Arima dying in Kaneki's arms, having committed suicide on his 33rd birthday.
  • Yatterman Night: Leopard's 9th birthday was absolutely normal until her mother started succumbing to her illness. Then she discovers the truth about her lineage, goes looking for help by sneaking into Yatter Kingdom, gets shot at by her heroes, and ends up watching her mother die in the end. And that's just the beginning of her troubles.

    Asian Animation 
  • Happy Heroes: In Season 7's two-part finale, a complication leads to the Supermen evacuating Planet Xing at the request of several of its inhabitants, with their non-biological mechanic father Doctor H. watching over preparations for a party that the citizens are preparing for their birthday for when they get back. The Supermen would rather be on the planet celebrating their birthday.

    Comic Books 
  • Allergic starts on Maggie's tenth birthday when she's finally allowed to pick out a new puppy. She breaks out in hives, sneezing, and itching before they can even get the puppy home—and she learns she's severely allergic to animals.
  • Batman: Black and White: In "Good Evening, Midnight", the Bat-Signal summons Bruce to deal with a bus hijacking just as he was about to sit down to dinner; the presence of a cake with a candle indicates that it's his birthday.
  • This is part of the premise behind the DC classic For the Man Who Has Everything. Superman is attacked with a fake birthday present sent by Mongul, and when Batman, Robinnote  and Wonder Woman unsuspectingly come for the party, they are forced to fight him to save Superman.
  • The Girl from the Sea: Serena's birthday party goes less than smooth. Her parents let her rent their massive cruise liner, but a rogue selkie's attempt to crash the ship sends Serena overboard, where she nearly drowns. For extra irony, her screams for help can't be heard over the sound of guests singing Happy Birthday.
  • The pulp Turkish comic strip Hilal straddles the line between this trope and Perennially Overshadowed Birthday. While the titular protagonist was not born on a particularly special day, she mentions all her birthdays coincided with some sort of calamity or disaster, preventing anyone from attenting her parties on the rare occasions her horrifically-abusive mother actually allowed her to hold a birthday party. She has an Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap! moment when she realises that Satan - who is something of a Stalker with a Crush to Hilal after a rather one-sided Deal with the Devil - had been orchestrating the calamities so that Hilal would grow up lonely and easier to manipulate. She does not take the reveal well that "the goat" has been messing with her life for at least a decade before they even met.
  • Icon: The "Blood Reign" arc has Rocket forced to walk away from the surprise party her loved ones are throwing for her 16th birthday to stop Bubbasaur, who threatened to cause serious devastation if Rocket didn't show up.
  • Legion of Super-Heroes: A two-part story in issues 378-379 of Adventure Comics had Brainiac 5's birthday go south when he and fellow Legionnaires Karate Kid, Princess Projectra, Superboy and Duo Damsel are poisoned while the five attempted to fulfill the Coluan birthday tradition of drinking kono juice in ivory cups, leaving them twelve hours to live. Brainiac 5 narrowly avoids dying on his birthday with the other four Legionnaires when Ultra Boy uses the Miracle Machine to revive them just before their twelve hours are up.
  • In Persepolis, Marjane finds out her boyfriend is cheating on her, is falsely accused of stealing a brooch, and runs away from the only place she had to stay, effectively rendering herself homeless, on her eighteenth birthday.
  • Superboy (1994): Superboy learns that Cadmus' previous twelve failed attempts to clone Superman had been secretly preserved in stasis chambers, has to fight S-01 when he gets accidentally released and misunderstands the situation due to his Bizarro-like imperfect state, has to watch S-01 degenerate and die after starting to get to like him and then returns home to a surprise birthday party as it is the first anniversary of the day he escaped from his Uterine Replicator and he is therefore now one year old.
  • For seemingly no reason other than for the fun of it, Thanos has dedicated a single day every year to messing with a regular guy named David on his birthday. On David's first birthday, Thanos steals his baby blanket. On his fifth, Thanos murders David's father while he was on his way home with David's birthday cake. On his sixteenth, he causes David's breakup with his girlfriend. On his twenty-first, he poisons the punch at David's party and murders everyone there (sans David himself, of course). On his twenty-fifth, he burns down the Grad School David had managed to get into. On his twenty-seventh, he murders David's cat (David also gets fired from his job, but Thanos admits that one was just bad luck). On his thirtieth, Thanos actually misses David's birthday due to being busy fighting the Avengers at the time. He makes up for it on David's thirty-first by destroying the neighborhood surrounding David's house. The last year the reader is shown is on David's forty-fifth, in which Thanos breaks a pipe to flood David's apartment.
  • In Trese, it is only after a major battle with an old war demon that the heroine, Alexandra Trese, and her companions remember that it is her birthday. By this time, a lot of damage has been done to the city, Trese herself is recovering from some battle wounds, and her two sidekicks have very nearly been murdered by their own father.
  • In Ultimate Fantastic Four, Victor Van Damme, aged 11, had his father drop his entire family history on him, and then leaves him alone in the parlor. Several hours later, Victor realizes that it's his birthday.
  • Wolverine's nemesis Sabretooth makes it a point to track down the former on the day of his birthday, no matter where he is, and fight him.

    Fan Works 
  • Weiss' birthday in Boop the Snoot for Critical Damage! consists of her being forced on the run, losing her planet, her family's company, her father getting captured and tortured, not knowing if her mother and brother survived or what not, getting hunted by Hyperion, and just to end a shitty day, getting run over by Ruby. Yeah, this easily qualifies as the worst birthday ever.
  • In Fate of the Clans Reisi gets killed...right on Yuujirou's birthday. That kinda sours the celebration that was soon to happen.
  • J-WITCH Series: The Season 2 chapter "Black and White Chi All Over" adapts the Jackie Chan Adventures episode of the same name. Like in that episode, attempts to celebrate Jade's birthday are derailed by first the Earth Demon and then the Moon Demon chi activating, and the heroes needing to fight Drago and the Knights of Vengeance to retrieving them. Unlike canon, however, Will comes up with the idea to throw Jade a surprise party the next day to make up for it.
  • Life Ore Death has the traditional mission on Wally's birthday, but averts this for the other two birthdays that occur on-screen. M'gann's birthday celebration in October is spread over several days, but is uninterrupted by missions. Even before either of those, Ferris turns 20 in August, and Kaldur takes her to Atlantis as a present while the others prepare a surprise, with no criminal activity occurring at any time.
  • Nine's Birthdays Bash plays with this trope. It first starts with 2B and 9S investigating a signal at an old arcade, with the two getting invested in the various games. 9S doesn't even realize it was his birthday until 2B reminds him. Then the story takes a turn when 2B quickly kills him after she wishes him a happy birthday, having been ordered by YoRHa to do so as he was close to finding out about the organization's dark secrets. 2B wanted to give her fellow Android a nice birthday before taking his life and he gets replaced by a new 9S that doesn't remember her.
  • Persona EG has Zodiac Shadows that target victims on their birthdays and pull them into Zodiac to be attacked. Anyone who will be attacked will receive a birthday horoscope on the Canterbook app that will read "You are going to die today." Then they are pulled into Zodiac to be attacked by their zodiac. Victims can only escape by being rescued or killing the zodiac with a persona. All of the main characters are attacked on their birthdays and awaken their own personas to fight back against the shadows.
  • On Alice's 20th birthday in WonderShock, Sander Cohen leaves her and all the attending guests of his play trapped in Fort Frolic, causing ensuing riots and killings while Alice is caught in the middle. She even mentally notes that, considering her luck, of course something like this would happen on her birthday.
  • In How I Became Yours, Katara miscarries her unborn son Kuzon a day before her birthday. Unfortunately, her choice of emphasizing the timing makes her come off as unsympathetic.
  • Another example with Katara is The Stalking Zuko Series, in which the events of "The Southern Raiders," as well as the murder of Katara's mother, took place on Katara's birthday. Luckily, the Gaang later has a proper birthday celebration for her.
  • The Encanto fic Past & Future exaggerates this trope. It starts on Camilo's 16th birthday, but he experiences an increasingly worse Trauma Conga Line: he steps on broken glass barefoot, gets mistaken for another kid while temporarily stuck in Shapeshifter Mode Lock, eats some cake before realizing he was allergic to it, gets his shoes and socks soaked, and is made to believe that his uncle Bruno didn't get him a present. And that's all before he gets kidnapped by Victoria.
  • In Change of Fate the guild is celebrating Lucy's fifteenth birthday, everyone is being cheerful for her. That is until Mirajane and Elfman return to the guild bruised and in tears. They inform the guild that Lisanna is dead. This brings a halt to Lucy's birthday party. For her part, Lucy doesn't care about the party. She is more upset that one of her closest friends is gone.
  • The Spirit Doll: when Nashi's 7th birthday comes up she has a breakdown because it's the first time it would be without her mother who is currently missing and has been for weeks.
  • One Step Ahead builds off of how the episode "I Only Have Surprise for You" established that Bloo has made a tradition out of pranking and humiliating Mac on his birthday. After Bloo roped practically everyone at Fosters into participating in his prank that year, Mac decides enough is enough and stops visiting.
  • In Spectator, Radi, District Three's Tribute for the 74th Games, starts out with a particularly bleak example of this, as the 74th Games began on her birthday and she gets killed in the opening bloodbath.
  • In Pokémpanions both of Mimikyu's parents were murdered on his fifth birthday by Serperior.
  • In Beyond Tomorrow, chapter 7 reveals that Arina's Start of Darkness occurred on her eleventh birthday. Her mother walked in on her father having an affair with one of the female servants, and in the ensuing argument, Arina's father attacked her mother and brutally beat her on the spot; when Arina witnessed this, she ran for her life.
  • In A Month of Sundays, it's revealed that the day that the story takes place (April 29th), what with all the madness regarding Foundation X, Gamou, Damballa and the crazy Kamen Rider Mannequins, was Jun Shigeno's birthday. It's subverted because she knew it was her birthday — she just didn't tell anyone about it.
  • In Blind Courage, Princess Zelda hates her birthday because her mother died on her seventh birthday.
  • In chapter 24 of I Was Kagami Hiiragi, Dr. Nagisa Kishimoto explains to Kagami how her sister, Yuka Miyakawa, became the way she is. When Yuka turned nine, she was brought on a "vacation" by her uncle to a cabin in the woods. Upon reaching their destination, said uncle proceeded to rape and torture her for two days until a pair of hikers heard her screaming, came in, and saw what was really going on. Long story short, things only went downhill from there.
  • Marinette Dupain-Cheng's Spite Playlist sees Adrien officially emancipate himself from the Agreste family on his eighteenth birthday. He has to remind his mother of the significance of the date before leaving the manor for the last time.
  • The One to Make It Stay: In There's a Horror in My Head, Adrien and Felix are holding a shared birthday party at the Agreste Manor. Marinette and the rest of the Miraculous Team are Genre Savvy enough to expect trouble, and Rose notes that Hawkmoth has made a habit of hijacking all of the other parties and celebrations they've recently attended.
  • A Growing Fire In My Heart: In chapter 6-8, Ember and her friends Aquafire and Blitz are invited to Ponyville to celebrate Spike's birthday. Despite a few rough spots, everyone has a fun time and Spike especially loves Ember's gift to him. Unfortunately, the good times soon come to an end when a dragon messenger interrupts the party to inform Ember that her father has died in his sleep.
  • Pinkie Pie, and Nothing More explains her behavior in "Party of One" this way. Basically, her parents decided to send her away from the farm to pursue her dreams, without giving her any choice in the matter. When she asks why they sprung this on her birthday, she receives a blank stare and realizes they forgot.
  • In the Junior Officers chapter "Margaret's Story", the last straw that gets Margaret to disown her father occurs on her birthday.
  • In An Emperor's birthday, the prequel to Sleuthing Trickster of Crafts, Kanji Tatsumi was looking forward to his birthday, especially spending time with his teammates, his wife Naoto who was returning from a case, and his son Ren. But that night while Ren volunteered to head out and get more coffee, Kanji received a phone call that his son had been arrested for "assaulting" a man.
  • Ashes of the Past reveals this to be the case for the events of Pokémon Heroes, as it took place on Ash's 13th Birthday. As a result of Latios' sacrifice in the original timeline, Ash didn't do anything for his later birthdays.
  • In Common Sense, mainly due to constant attacks from the competent Rocket trio, Ash's birthday passed by without him realizing it.
  • We Are All Pokémon Trainers:
    • DS and Mezzo's 20th and 16th birthdays, respectively, occur during the time they're stuck in the mindscapes.
    • PEFeDOS during the PMD-R arc is awakened and begins her sadistic testing once again on Tagg's 21st birthday.
    • It repeats with Tagg ending up in Ransei 600 years in the past due to concentrated April Fools shenanigans on his 22nd birthday. Herbert, also in the same situation, has his 16th birthday the next day.
    • Straw gets attacked by Shadow Crewe on his 18th birthday, which was purposely invoked by Aelia For the Evulz.
    • Sarah was accidentally kidnapped, and subsequently held captive for several days, on her 17th Birthday alongside Ren's Treeko by an Illusion grunt.
  • Luke's birthday in Power Rangers Take Flight coincides with the Rangers taking the Project: Jetman space station back from the villains.
  • Shining and Sweet; Katrina's father falls ill with Moondew's Curse on her fifteenth birthday. The following chapter shows him to be extremely remorseful for ruining her day.
  • Connie Swap: In "Daddy's Little Girl", Doug takes a rare day off in order to celebrate Connie's birthday with her. Since Doug fails to recognize how much his daughter has grown up, Connie's age gradually reverts to reflect his impression of her, until the Gems come together to remind her of all her recent accomplishments and reassure her how proud they are of how she's grown.
  • Coincidence and Misunderstandings: Raven's nineteenth birthday is marked by battling Dr. Light, struggling with her demonic heritage, and getting into a public fight with the other Titans before quitting the team.
  • With This Ring: September 17, OL's birthday is celebrated with the Team stopping a break-out at Belle Reve. To fair, he didn't tell anyone that it was his birthday.
  • In The Unforgiven, this trope gradually unfolds through Miranda Balowski's journals and memorial service: she spent her sixteenth birthday giving birth to Vyvyan, and her parents threw them both out of the house shortly afterward.
  • In Hunters of Justice, Ruby's first birthday on Earth gets derailed as Brother Blood's efforts bear fruit and Raven ends up possessed by her father Trigon, nearly bring about The End of the World as We Know It.
  • While the bulk of it happens in the following days, a shared 25th birthday between the protagonist and his friends marks the day where things first begin going wrong in Five Score, Divided by Four, beginning with all of them receiving a mysterious tattoo overnight.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Barbie and the Magic of Pegasus, Princess Annika's older sister Brietta was turned into a pegasus by the sorcerer Wenlock on her sixteenth birthday, just because she turned down his marriage proposal.
  • Best Friend: The short takes place on Arthur's 30th birthday. The festivities screech to a halt when he accidentally steps on his remaining stash of batteries for Best Friend, and goes outside to the recharging station. When he asks Cami for the nearest empty charging station, things really go pear-shaped for him when he gets mugged by a street addict and makes off with his Best Friend after violently extracting it from him.
  • In the prologue of Brave, on Merida's sixth birthday she and her parents are attacked by the monstrous bear Mor'du and her father ends up losing a leg.
  • The Emperor's New Groove
    • Virtually the entire film-in which Kuzco almost dies numerous times, undergoes a Forced Transformation, is days long distance away from home, has his worldview questioned for the first time in his life, and passes Despair Event Horizon-happens on his eighteenth birthday and the days before and after.
    • Also parodied. After discovering that the villain Yzma and her Dumb Muscle sidekick Kronk have coincidentally showed up at the same diner he and Kuzco have stopped at, Pacha buys her a surprise birthday cake and song from the wait staff so that he can use the distraction to make a break for it. When Yzma and Kronk leave the diner, this exchange happens:
      Yzma: Oh, this entire mess is all your fault!
      Kronk: What'd I do?
      Yzma: If you hadn't mixed up those poisons, Kuzco would be dead now! There'll be no more diversions until we track that llama down and kill him!
      Kronk: Said I was sorry. Can't just let it go... not even on your birthday?
  • Encanto: For the children of the Madrigal family, their fifth birthday is a celebration, since that's when they get their Gift (a superpower). For Mirabel, however, her birthday is quite the opposite, since she's the only child who didn't get a Gift for her birthday. Instead it became one of fear and confusion, with the villagers considering it to be a "disappointment", and Alma Madrigal worrying that Mirabel would endanger the Miracle somehow.
  • The Little Mermaid (1989): Eric's boat is sunk in a tempest (and he himself nearly drowns)on his birthday.
  • My Sweet Monster: Barbara's dad and their servants won't cut her some slack even in her sixteenth birthday. He has a fit when he learns she is reading romances, forbids her from receiving anything from mail (so she won't get more books) and has her dolled up for a party obviously thrown to impress the public. And then he announces her marriage to the same repellent post clerk that tried to blackmail her into kissing him minutes ago. To be fair, her father was being blackmailed by the forementioned clerk and felt terrible for doing that to his daughter, but no one can blame Barbara for thinking he was just screwing up with her again. That's the last straw for the girl: she rides away, pursued by her suitor, falls from her horse, hits her head and wakes up into a a sack and in a cave with two hairy, filthy strangers who want to take her back to the castle for a ransom.
  • Sleeping Beauty: The main conflict of the movie begins when Maleficent casts a curse on Aurora that on her 16th birthday, she will prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and die. Merryweather alters the curse so that Aurora doesn't die, she just falls into a Forced Sleep which can be broken with True Love's Kiss.
  • Storks: Nearly happens to Tulip, who thinks Junior was coming to wish her a happy birthday when he was actually coming to fire her. Junior can't bring himself to do it, so instead, she's Kicked Upstairs to the (defunct) letters department.
  • In Turning Red, assuming Tyler's birthday party is happening on the same date as his actual birthday, it's when he gets attacked by Mei in panda form after he insults her mother and family temple.
  • The Wallace & Gromit featurette The Wrong Trousers opens on Gromit's birthday. Not only does he get lousy gifts, it's the day Wallace advertises he's renting out the spare room and Feathers McGraw moves in, kicking off a series of events that leads to Gromit moving out.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Batman Begins, Bruce Wayne has a party on his birthday. Before that he has to save Rachel from the baddies and demolish half the city escaping from police. Nevertheless, he makes it home in time for his celebration party... only for the League of Shadows to set Wayne Manor on fire and nearly destroy the city with Scarecrow's fear toxin.
  • In Big Game, most of the second and entire third act take place on Oskari's thirteenth birthday. His family even made it into tradition - to become a man, you have to hunt down a "big game" the day you turn 13.
  • The Big Night: On the night of his 17th birthday, George La Main goes gunning for the man who savagely beat his father: undergoing a traumatic passage into manhood in the process.
  • The Hong Kong film, Burning Ambition have a mob boss being attacked by enemy mooks while he's celebrating his daughter's birthday, where both his daughters and younger son who's having the birthday celebration with him have to fight off the mooks to protect their father. By the end of the fight, the son and the younger daughter, the birthday girl, dies trying to save their father.
  • In Derailed (2002), NATO operative Jacques Kristoff is called back from his vacation, on his birthday, to locate Classy Cat-Burglar Galina Konstantin, who has stolen an extremely valuable and dangerous container from the Slovak Government, and extract her to Munich by train.
  • Eternals: On Dane's birthday, after celebrating with friends and receiving a ring with his family crest from Sersi, Sersi and Sprite are attacked by the Deviant Kro while walking home at night. Sersi has to spill the beans to Dane about the Eternals and their mission, and she and Sprite leave him to join up with the other Eternals.
  • In Godzilla (2014), the Janjira incident that resulted in the death of Joe Brody’s wife occurred on his birthday.
  • Happy Death Day has the protagonist Tree being killed on her birthday by someone in a mask. Over and over and over again, until she can figure out who's behind it.
  • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Hermione remembers that it's Harry's birthday after the trio has escaped a Death Eater attack.
  • Happens in Mrs. Doubtfire - twice!
    • Early on in the film, Daniel Hillard (Robin Williams) throws a big party for his son Chris's twelfth birthday, despite his wife Miranda (Sally Field) saying Chris can't have a party due to his bad grades. The party ends up becoming a wild mess, with farm animals roaming around thanks to a traveling petting zoo, and loud music leading to the police coming to respond to a noise ordinance violation. Their neighbor Gloria calls Miranda to come home from work early, leading to the party ending early and Daniel and Miranda getting into a big fight over it, leading to her wanting a divorce, setting the film's plot underway.
    • Later on, it's Miranda's birthday, and she's invited her kids, her new boyfriend Stu, and their housekeeper Mrs. Doubtfire (unbeknownst to her that she's actually her ex-husband Daniel Disguised in Drag). As a prank, Mrs. Doubtfire laces Stu's jambalaya dish with the pepper he's allergic to. But among seeing Stu choking from the pepper, Mrs. Doubtfire has a change of heart and performs the Heimlich maneuver on Stu, dislodging the piece of tainted shrimp from Stu's throat and saving him... but gets his Latex Perfection mask as part of his "Doubtfire" disguise dislodged. Miranda is absolutely horrified by this revelation that she gets very angry and upset, so she grabs the kids and leaves the restaurant in a fury.
  • In The People Under the Stairs, on the day of Fool's 13th birthday, he and two grown-ups break into the house of two greedy landlords to get money to pay their rent and his mother's operation. They find something much more disturbing instead.

  • Are You Alone on Purpose?: Harry Roth's mom died of uterine cancer the day before his eleventh birthday. His father, a rabbi, refused to delay the funeral, so it was held on his birthday.
  • Book of Brownies begins with the princess of Fairyland getting kidnapped on her birthday.
  • The Cloak Society:
    • The game begins in protagonist Alex's twelfth birthday, as he's undergoing his first mission for the titular supervillain team. Kind of an Inversion, though, because if anything his parents probably meant this as a way to make the milestone more significant.
    • In the sequel, Villains Rising, Mallory mentions in the middle of their activity that it's her birthday. At least Alex gets some cupcakes to celebrate.
  • David Copperfield: Little David Copperfield, already a half orphan sent away from home to school, is told his beloved mother is dead on his birthday.
  • In Dresden Files, Dresden's birthday (Halloween) is a night of magic and the supernatural. Naturally, this means that he spends his birthdays trying to save the world. In one story, he's stopping necromancers from achieving godhood when his brother wishes him a happy birthday and Dresden's surprised anyone remembered.
  • In the short story Eleven, on Rachel's 11th birthday, Mrs. Price finds an ugly, worn-out sweater in the coatroom and asks who it belongs to. When Sylvia says that she thinks it's Rachel's, Mrs. Price forces Rachel to take it even when she says it's not hers, and then forces her to put it on, which humiliates her and makes her cry in front of the whole class. Then Phyllis remembers it's hers, but Mrs. Price doesn't even apologize to Rachel and she feels her birthday is already ruined.
  • Enola Holmes: Enola is horrified by the day her mother chose to ran off on. Slightly subverted, in that her mother had her reasons...
  • In the Fairy Oak series:
    • Tomelilla's birthday party marks the eve of the first attack of the Terrible 21st.
    • When Titch turns nine, he learns the truth about the Captain's past, has to deal with Adelaide Spleenworth and almost drowns and is electrocuted while trying to save Nibbler.
  • Tessa winds up having the absolute worst birthday in Full Metal Panic!: Dancing a very Merry Christmas. First she has to cancel her planned birthday party for a mission. Then the mission goes horribly wrong, partly because of her, and she winds up kidnapped by the antagonists. The ensuing romantic rescue by her crush, Sousuke, almost makes up for it... Until he bluntly confirms her worst fears—he's in love with Kaname, not her. It's at that point that Tessa breaks down in tears.
  • In The Great Gatsby, after Tom, Jay, and Daisy have their big confrontation, Nick Carraway recalls that he just turned thirty today.
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: Ron ends up poisoned by a Love Potion, after eating chocolates Harry offered him for his birthday. After being cured by Slughorn, he drank a poisoned drink and nearly died. Lampshaded by Fred and Georges stating it might not be among his best birthdays.
  • Mid-way through the book Holes. On Zigzag's Birthday, everyone is in on Stanley and Zero's "agreement" of digging holes in exchange for Reading Lessons. Zigzag, being the type of camper he is, doesn't take no for an answer when he offers to dig Stanley's hole for him, and when push came to shove, got rather vicious on Stanley for not taking a cookie he had offered him in exchange. Zero however would not have any of it and nearly strangles Zigzag to death for hurting Stanley.
  • The Last Adventure of Constance Verity: Connie had to kill a giant snake that crashed her seventh birthday using its own cake allergy against it.
  • A Little Princess: The news that Sara's father died penniless after a bad investment arrives on her birthday. Among all the things that are taken away by the owner of Sara's boarding school to compensate for the loss of money she has retroactively become, Sara's birthday presents are the first to go beacause the school's owner had paid for them expecting to get the money back on the next payment for Sara's upkeep.
  • Lost Voices: At the beginning of the first book, Luce's uncle drunkenly tries to rape her on her fourteenth birthday. The trauma is what triggers her transformation into a mermaid.
  • The Many Half-Lived Lives of Sam Sylvester: On Sam's eighteenth birthday, they were the victim of a Queerphobic Hate Crime in which classmates almost strangled them to death with a zip tie. Both the teachers and the police dismissed it as a prank, and the attackers suffered no consequences. It's the reason Sam and their dad moved from Montana to Oregon.
  • Used to heighten the emotion of the final confrontation in The Malloreon when the characters realize that the captured prince will be turning two years old on the day of the EVENT.
  • Near the beginning of The Impossible Virgin, a Modesty Blaise novel, Sir Gerald Tarrant is facing the prospect of being given the boot as a scapegoat for a foul-up by an incompetent colleague. The day on which the axe is expected to fall is his birthday, but with everything that's on his mind he doesn't notice until someone points it out. Fortunately, Modesty decides to save his career as a birthday present.
  • In book 5 of the Nintendo Adventure Books series, it's Peach's 99th birthday (in fungus years). She puts on some enchanted sneakers, which make her run off, and the Mario Bros have to track her down and rescue her.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians:
  • In The Saga of Tanya the Evil, on Tanya's "on paper" birthday, the Duchy of Dacia invades The Empire, requiring Tanya and her newly-formed Rapid Response Mage Battalion to launch a counterattack on them, forced into a lopsided battle of her 48 aerial mages versus a staggering 50,000 infantry. Tanya herself, however, considers the attack a surprise gift from Dacia, because it means she gets a chance to get a "live-fire exercise" for her newly-formed and untested battalion.
  • In Shock Point, Cassie turns sixteen two weeks into her stay at Peaceful Cove, an abusive reform school. That day, her class watches a PSA about drug abuse. When the protagonist of the video blows out candles on a cake, Cassie starts to cry. She explains that it's her birthday, but as punishment for talking without permission, she's sent to Observation Placement, in which she's forced to lie face-down on the floor all day.
  • Tempest (2011): Tempest's mom walked out on her eleventh birthday. Six years later, she has a very stressful seventeenth birthday on which she gets attacked by Tiamat and almost kills Kona by accident with her Weather Manipulation powers.
  • In The Terror, Crozier’s loyal steward Jopson dies on his 31st birthday, his body so ruined by scurvy that he has lost most of his teeth and hair, watching himself be abandoned by the rest of his crew to die, and believing Crozier to be among them.
  • In A Series of Unfortunate Events, when the Baudelaires are in jail for allegedly killing Jacques in The Vile Village, Klaus suddenly remembers that it's his 13th birthday.
    • Violet goes through the same thing in The Grim Grotto when they return to the abandoned submarine.
  • The Tale Of Magic:
  • Happens a couple of time in the Tortall Universe by Tamora Pierce:
    • In Song of the Lioness, Alanna notes how she and her fellow squires are going to be fighting in the Tusaine war before her sixteenth birthday. It comes during a summer filled with fighting and death.
    • In the second book of Protector of the Small, Kel is out training to become a knight, and rather focused on not freaking out about climbing tall trees, and covering her tracks. She then realizes it's her birthday.
  • In Two Little Girls in Blue, the Frawley twins are kidnapped on the night of their third birthday. This has some significance to the plot, in relation to Margaret having bought dresses for the twins' birthday party at the same store one of the kidnappers visited, also looking for twin outfits.
  • PK Pinkerton in The Western Mysteries comes home to find his parents scalped, his father dead and his mother dying. He doesn't remember it's his birthday until he sees his favorite kind of cake on the table. Red licorice strings spell out "HAPPY 12th BIRTHDAY PINKY".
  • Wild Orchid: Taylor has Asperger's and hated loud, chaotic, unpredictable birthday parties when she was a kid. On her eighth birthday, she hid under her bed, and her dad dragged her downstairs by her ankles. The other kids called her the Freaker. That night her parents got into one of their worst arguments yet, and then her dad left. On the plus side, she didn't have to have any more birthday parties after that.
  • In Wintersmith, Tiffany only realizes that the day Miss Treason dies is also her birthday once it's all over and she realises Death called her Tiffany Aching, aged thirteen.
  • In The Witchlands, Vaness doesn't get to kick back and relax on her birthday, since she's an Empress and it's the most important public event of the year - not to mention the ever-rising threat of assassins.
  • Worm:
    • Taylor just can't catch a break.
      Kurt: [chuckling] I'd offer you a drink, but that'd be against the law. How old are you, anyways?
      Taylor: Fifteen.
      Danny: Sixteen.
      [Taylor turns to look at her dad]
      Danny: It's the nineteenth. Your birthday was a week ago.
      Taylor: [remembering she was fighting the Slaughterhouse Nine then] Oh.
      Kurt: That's the saddest goddamn thing I ever heard.*
    • Later, Taylor is celebrating another birthday when Jack Slash begins his attack, heralding the end of the world.
  • Yours Truly: Truly was looking forward to her birthday at the start of the book. She expected to receive a breakfast of sourdough waffles with butter and syrup, only to be informed that she'll be spending the day helping to volunteer at the Freeman Family Farm with the sap harvest.

    Live-Action TV 
  • All in the Family: "Edith's Fiftieth Birthday" is marked by a visit by a rapist. Chilling words when the rapist tells her "Happy birthday!" upon learning of what that day is, seemingly more determined to give her his "present".
  • One series 3 episode of Ambulance (2016) features a girl having a potentially fatal fit on her sixteenth birthday. What's more, her mother is one of the paramedics being filmed. When she receives the call from her daughter's school, she's understandably distraught. (Fortunately, the girl pulls through.)
  • The final episode of The Bite takes place on Rachel's birthday and has her desperately searching for a cure for the zombie virus after she's infected with it.
  • The Brittas Empire: An epic Trauma Conga Line (including temporary blindness, death of an aunt, death of a pet, loss of life savings) for Colin is revealed halfway through to have took place on his birthday.
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Played for Laughs. The events of the Season 7 premiere are revealed to have taken place on Officer Debbie Fogler's birthday — including the part where she and Captain Holt were held at gunpoint by a would-be political assassin. (Just to make things worse, it's also presumably the birthday of her murdered twin sister.) Despite this, she declares it her "best birthday ever", due to the fact that she actually helped to crack the case and then got assigned her favourite task (collecting traffic cones) at the end of it.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Virtually every time Buffy's birthday is celebrated on-screen, it's followed by a supernatural tragedy or crisis she has to deal with. In season 6, Spike lampshades it and remarks that since bad things always seem to happen on Buffy's birthday, she should just stop celebrating it.
  • Rossi on Criminal Minds doesn't celebrate his birthday because a serial killer will give up the name and location of one of his victims to Rossi in person on his birthday.
  • In the CSI episode "Appendicitement", Henry's surprise birthday dinner at Harry's Hog Hideout is disrupted by a car accident, the restaurant having been closed by the health department, and the discovery of the corpses of restaurant personnel. Those last two things turn out to be related.
  • CSI: NY: "Murder Sings the Blues" occurs on Mac's birthday. His M.E. girlfriend, Peyton, takes him out to the opera, but he gets called to a case during the ovation, spoiling her surprise plans for the rest of the evening. And before the night is over, the two get in a big fight at work over a misunderstanding with a colleague.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Death in Heaven": It's revealed that the evil plot of the day and all its traumatic events are, in fact, the Master's idea of a Surprise Party for her arch nemesis, the Doctor. The day ends with Osgood and the Master dead, the Doctor breaking down in tears after his hopes of finding his missing native planet were crushed once again and his parting with Clara, who has been his closest friend for years. Made worse by how he was completely unaware that it's his birthday until the Master pointed it out.
    • "Fugitive of the Judoon" takes place on tour guide Ruth Clayton's birthday, when the thuggish Judoon invade her home of Gloucester searching for a fugitive. Not only is Ruth's husband Lee killed, she turns out to be the titular fugitive and is forced back into her true identity.
  • The Electric Company (1971): The "Spidey Super Stories" short "The Birthday Bandit" was one who was determined to ruin children's birthday parties. Dressed in a gaudy lime green outfit, the Bandit breaks into a home and steals the cake, ice cream decorations and presents, all while telling what he's doing a la Dr. Seuss. (A radio news show later reveals that the boy was completely heartbroken when the party was literally stolen from him, thereby fitting the trope.) Spidey stops the Bandit while attempting another heist, but not before the Bandit erroneously concludes that an extra-large cake for the party is a trap.
  • Firefly: In "Out of Gas", the crew is celebrating Simon's birthday when a mechanical error injures Zoe and temporarily disables Serenity.
  • In an episode of Friends, Phoebe has to break the news to Precious, the woman whom Mike was in a relationship with while he and Phoebe were separated, that not only are they getting back together (thus ending his relationship with Precious) but he also proposed to her. Precious then remarks "This is the worst birthday ever!"
  • Henry Danger has had a few of these.
    • The pilot episode "The Danger Begins" has Henry having to postpone attending Jasper's sad birthday party because he has to save Captain Man from the Toddler. In fact, Captain Man was only in trouble because he went alone to try to stop the bad guys when Henry told him it was Jasper's birthday and couldn't just abandon Jasper.
    • In the episode "Car Trek", it was Charlotte's birthday and on their way to the Boo Man Group theatrical production (their gift to her), Ray and Henry had to try to handle a crime while Henry also had to find Piper and her father to give them his key to the house as their father swallowed Piper's.
    • "Henry's Birthday" had Henry stuck waiting for the police to arrest Jeff, who committed a crime, as everyone else at the house was waiting for him to be able to eat the cake.
  • In Hotel del Luna, misfortune tends to happen on Chan-sung's birthday. When he was young, on his birthday, his father almost died and was forced to give up Chan-Sung to the titular hotel manager Man-wol within twenty years so he could work for her. Twenty years later, he meets Man-wol on his birthday and she gives him the sight to see ghosts, traumatizing him and essentially forcing him to work for her.
  • How I Met Your Mother:
    • Ted is guilty of causing this twice with his ex-girlfriend Natalie, both times not even being aware that it was her birthday. The first time he breaks up with her, he does it by leaving a message on her answering machine, which is played in front of everyone at her surprise birthday party. The second time, he does it publicly in a restaurant, again not even being aware that it was her birthday. Understandably upset he did it twice and didn't even consider it was her birthday both times, Natalie uses her Krav Maga skills to beat him up.
    • Tracy's (i.e. the titular's mother's) boyfriend Max, her first big love, dies on her 21st birthday. She's devastated.
    • The final season (except for the last two episodes) takes place entirely over Robin and Barney's wedding weekend, so many of the plots involve all the characters being together for the wedding (or, in Marshall's case, trying to get to the wedding). However, this means that what is usually a year's worth of episode-worthy events occurs in the span of a little over 72 hours. This includes multiple sets of cold feet on behalf of both the bride and groom (with both attempting to escape at least once), Robin's reunion with her rarely mentioned, never seen mother, Marshall's journey from Minnesota to the wedding in New York by car, bus, foot, and eventually car again, Barney escaping and teaching two teenagers how to "be awesome" and subsequently getting the hangover of a lifetime, an argument that nearly ends Marshall and Lily's marriage, and - most notably - Ted finally meeting the Mother (who had already met Marshall, Lily, Robin, and Barney before that). Ted notes that it was the longest weekend of his life.
  • In an episode of Malcolm in the Middle, Malcolm gets sick of being repeatedly bullied by a big kid at school and gives him a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown. Not only does it turn out that the kid is much younger than he looks (so he claims, at least, but none of the school staff deny it), making Malcolm feel incredibly guilty for beating him up, he follows up with "THIS IS THE WORST BIRTHDAY EVER!"
  • In The Orville, Kelly and Bortus have their birthdays within days of one another. They receive a signal from a pre-space flight world and engage in First Contact. Unfortunately, the locals are obsessed with astrology and consider anyone to be born on the same month as Kelly and Bortus to be dangerous criminals. Kelly and Bortus spend their birthdays (and that entire month) in an internment camp for individuals like them. The crew does, however, throw them a party after they come back.
  • Our House: In the second-season opener of the 1986-1988 NBC domestic drama, 13-year-old David and his class go on a field trip on his birthday and stop at a rural church for a picnic; there, David makes friends with the janitor and are inside the church when a massive earthquake strikes. In the aftermath, the janitor is gravely injured after a gas line blows up inside the church and is blown outside. David goes to the hospital and holds a bedside vigil by the man's bedside, but he ultimately dies from his injuries. (Two classmates are also badly hurt when they are caught in the church's tower during the explosion, but both of them survive and recover from their injuries.)
  • Towards the end of the second season of Rome, Cassius and Brutus offhandedly remember that it is Cassius' birthday in the immediate lead-up to a battle. They both remark that the battle will interfere with any kind of celebration that day, and promise to have a big event the next year. Both Cassius and Brutus know this is little more than a hopeful lie they are telling themselves, since they fully expect to die during the battle, and do.
  • Murray the cop in Pizza is willing to arrest anyone for any reason, so in one episode, after confronting Habib for apparently setting off fireworks (which Habib doesn't do a good job of denying, on account of being deaf and having soot-stained hands), he then gets into a shouting match with Habib's Hot-Blooded cousin Rocky, before furiously stating that "Today's me FUCKIN' BIRTHDAY!!! I DON'T NEED THIS SHIIIIIIT!!!" He then arrests Rocky and throws him in the car, where he's already detaining DJBJ and Davo Dinkum.
  • In Star Trek:
  • Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms: Bai Qian is kidnapped and almost drowned on her birthday.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959):
    • In "The Shelter", Dr. Bill Stockton's birthday party is interrupted by a nuclear alert, followed by all the guests desperately trying to break into his fallout shelter, which has only enough room for Stockton's family. The alert turns out to be a false alarm, but the relationships between Stockton and his friends are damaged, perhaps irreparably.
    • In "It's a Good Life", being unable to relax and do what he wants on his birthday for fear of provoking the local six-year-old Reality Warper is the final straw that pushes Dan Hollis into a meltdown that winds up getting him killed by said reality warper.
    • In "Hocus-Pocus and Frisby", Somerset Frisby is abducted by aliens on his 63rd birthday. They plan to bring Frisby back to their own planet as the most impressive specimen that humanity has to offer. As they have no concept of lying, the aliens believe all of his outrageous tall tales about his past accomplishments.
    • In "The Incredible World of Horace Ford", the title character is fired from the toy company by Mr. Judson on his 38th birthday after he refuses to take a leave of absence because of his increasingly erratic behavior. That night, Horace returns to Randolph Street where he turns into a 10-year-old boy. His childhood friends then beat him up for not inviting them to his birthday party.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985):
    • In "If She Dies", Paul Marano gets into a car accident on his birthday. He is uninjured but his young daughter Cathy ends up in a coma.
    • In "Grace Note", Rosemarie Miletti's beloved younger sister Mary dies of leukemia several days before Rosemarie's birthday. The last thing that she does before she dies is give Rosemarie her birthday present: a locket with Mary's picture.
  • Ultraman Leo: MAC gets utterly annihilated on a team member's birthday.
  • In Victorious, in one of her stories about her brother, Cat implies this happened at her last birthday. She was expecting to get a bike as a present, but when she got home her brother had shaved his head. This resulted in her parents spending the rest of the day shouting at him.

  • In "It's My Party", sung by Lesley Gore, the singer's boyfriend steps out during her birthday party to propose to someone else.
  • Taylor Swift discusses this in two tracks off of Red (2012).
    • "The Moment I Knew" is about the narrator's boyfriend blowing off her birthday party even though he promised he'd be there, which is the final nail in the coffin for their relationship.
      What do you say,
      when tears are streaming down your face
      in front of everyone you know?
      And what do you do when the one who means the most to you
      is the one who didn't show?
      You should've been here,
      and I would've been so happy.
    • The 10-minute version of "All Too Well" mentions the same incident, revealing it was specifically her twenty-first birthday, and that her father could only watch sadly while she kept hoping he'd show up.
      He watched me watch the front door all night,
      willing you to come.
      And he said, "It's supposed to be fun...
      turning twenty-one."
  • Ween: One of the tracks on GodWeenSatan: The Oneness was about Gene's girlfriend breaking up with him on his birthday, which really happened to him a short time before the album was published.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • A running gag is to have a wrestler take an especially harsh thrashing if a show happens to fall on their birthday, bonus points if the thrashed are a baby face and even more it is also in their hometown.

  • "See, I'm Smiling" is one of the most depressing songs in The Last Five Years, which itself is basically Love Hurts: The Musical. It's here that Cathy has a massive fight with her husband, realizing their marriage is damaged beyond all hope of repair, and she finally voices her (correct) fears that he's cheating. The fact that this is all happening on her birthday is just the cherry on top.

    Video Games 
  • Ace Combat:
    • In Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies, the AWACS SkyEye tells the pilots it's his birthday in the Back from the Brink opening mission, implicitly asking them to give him victory for a present. Happens again exactly one In-Universe year later, during the decisive battle for Farbanti, where SkyEye tells Mobius 1 that an end to the war would be a good birthday present.
    • In Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War, Grimm reveals that his birthday is coming up next week during a quiet break between the two final battles.
    • AWACS Sky-Eye in Ace Combat Infinity, like his Strangereal counterpart, notes that the date of Operation Bunker Shot is his birthday (the mission is even set on September 19th, the same as the first and penultimate missions of 04) and urges the UNF forces to score a decisive victory due to the occasion.
  • Among the Sleep takes place on the protagonist's second birthday. The game also has them traveling through a nightmare world armed with only a teddy bear companion, and is caught in the middle of a custody battle between their divorced parents, one of which is an abusive alcoholic.
  • In CLANNAD, Kotomi Ichinose's parents died in a plane crash on her birthday.
  • In Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze the Snomads invade Donkey Kong Island on DK's birthday.
  • Final Fantasy XIII: Serah and Snow broke the news that Serah had become a l'Cie to Lightning during Lightning's birthday party. Lightning, not believing their story, drove Snow and Serah from the house in disdain, openly declaring it to be the "worst birthday ever." By the time Lightning realized that Serah was telling her the truth, it was too late: the Purge of Bodhum had begun, and Serah had been taken captive by the fal'Cie that branded her.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's:
    • Five Nights at Freddy's 2 confirms that the Bite of '87 happened during a birthday party. It involved an animatronic biting off someone's frontal lobe and the victim surviving. While it's unknown if the Birthday Boy/Girl was the victim, even if they weren't, it's likely they were traumatized.
    • Five Nights at Freddy's 4 is even worse. Ultimately, the penultimate minigame shows the birthday of the Child we were playing as in the previous four minigames. After days, if not weeks of torturing the child by scaring him with a Foxy mask, the Big Brother Bully and his jerkass friends decide to pull a prank that ends really badly. Said prank involved the four stuffing the Child into the mouth of Fredbear, the robotic star of Fredbear's Family Diner. Mere seconds afterwards, Fredbear malfunctions and crushes the boy's head. The Child later dies in the hospital, but not before his brother apologizes for his actions.
    • It's implied by both the Daycare Attendant and Roxy that Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach's Ruin DLC takes place either on or close to the protagonist Cassie's birthday (which they would know since she had celebrated a previous one there). Considering said DLC is about Cassie breaking into a now ruined PizzaPlex, trying to find Gregory, and being chased by feral animatronics, the previous one was better (even considering no one came to her party). And no matter which ending the player gets, Cassie is stuck underneath the Pizzaplex with no way out and (in two endings) the murderous Mimic about to kill her. Happy birthday!
  • Kingdom Hearts:
  • The Last of Us: The Cordyceps outbreak hits Joel's hometown and his daughter dies mere hours after his birthday.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • At the beginning of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker Link's sister is kidnapped on his birthday.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, on Zelda's seventeenth birthday, she spends her birthday praying at the Spring of Wisdom to awaken her divine power to no avail. But as she comes down from Mount Lanayru, Calamity Ganon attacks, resulting in Hyrule being ravaged, her father and her friends killed, Link ending up in a century-long coma, and Zelda sealing herself and Ganon inside Hyrule Castle to keep him at bay.
  • The opening cutscene of New Super Mario Bros. Wii mentions that it's Princess Peach's birthday...right before she gets kidnapped (again). It never comes back up.
  • In No Umbrellas Allowed, Wonsu gets arrested and Fixed on his birthday, just before Jane can give him his gift. It's possible to see him arrested inside your shop, with Jane trying but failing to stop it.
  • Pac-Man World takes place on Pac-Man's birthday, and involves his family and friends being kidnapped while organizing his surprise party, leaving Pac-Man to rescue them himself. The game itself celebrates the 20th anniversary of the original Pac-Man. Pac-Man World 3 similarly takes place on Pac-Man's 25th birthday, and he even comments on it, mentioning "at least this birthday is better than my 20th".
  • RimWorld: When colonists receive age-related maladies, it always happens on the exact day their age ticks up by one. Happy birthday,and enjoy your new crooked spine! To add insult to injury, colonists' birthdays are only mentioned in the feed if it results in this.
  • Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell starts off with the Saints celebrating Kinzie's birthday on their Zin ship, playing with a Ouija board. Sadly for the Saints, that cursed Ouija board enables Satan to kidnap the Boss so he can force them to marry his daughter Jezebel. When Johnny Gat decides to follow the Boss into Hell and rescue them, Kinzie cites the fact that it's her birthday to justify going with him. Johnny respects her wishes.
  • SCP – Containment Breach: As if dealing with the titular containment breach that makes this a horror game on any day wasn't bad enough, it happened on the player character's birthday, as indicated by SCP-983 (the Birthday Monkey) activating to sing its birthday song.
  • In Shinrai: Broken Beyond Despair, it is revealed in the good ending and post-game content that her older sister Reiko died on Raiko's tenth birthday, a traumatic event that made Raiko into the person she is when the game begins.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Sonic Generations opens up with Sonic and his friends celebrating Sonic's Birthday. Just as it's getting started, Sonic is attacked and all of his friends are captured by the Time Eater.
    • The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog takes place on Amy's birthday, where she invited Sonic and friends on-board a train to celebrate. Surprisingly, what makes her birthday go wrong isn't the titular murder; she's hosting a murder mystery party and thinks it's all part of the game. What does go wrong is that the train they're on is actually a sentient Badnik that tries to personally deliver the gang to Doctor Eggman's base.
  • In Tales of the Abyss Guy's family was killed on his fifth birthday by Luke's father. Also the entire island they lived on was destroyed shortly after.
  • In The Fruit of Grisaia, Sachi Komine's parents were run over by a truck in front of her on her birthday, killing her father and leaving her mother in a coma.

    Web Animation 
  • Parodied in DEATH BATTLE!. Deadpool and Pinkie Pie were made to fight each other on the former's birthday, much to his annoyance. After Pinkie finds out, she throws him a birthday party in Ponyville, abruptly ending the fight much to Wiz and Boomstick's confusion.
  • In GoAnimate "Grounded" videos, Caillou will have this happen to him. Sometimes he'll do something bad and wreck his chances, but most of the time, groundings are his presents.
  • Helluva Boss: Season 2 begins showing Stolas's birthday, when he's given the grimoire and therefore considered a full-fledged member of the Goetia. That means he now has to study astronomy and astrology (despite having more interest in animals and plants) and get thrown into an Arranged Marriage without his knowledge, consent or input.
  • Hello Kitty and Friends Supercute Adventures: Kuromi loves her birthday, but she loves that it's Halloween more, as she runs the town's Halloween store and her Haunted House attraction is noted for winning awards and drawing large crowds.
  • When JaidenAnimations was streaming her Pokémon Platinum Nuzlocke, she lost her entire run to the Elite Four, which prompted her chat to reassure her to start over and actually beat the Elite Four and Cynthia, which she managed to do on her second try. However, she saw this as a Pyrrhic Victory, and that she didn't deserve to win the Nuzlocke, which she incorporated into the animation as her being split in half by Giratina and the half of her that falls into the Distortion World having to endure the Nuzlocke loss, while her other half has to endure the guilt of not feeling she deserves the victory. The kicker? ...The stream where she ended up losing the Nuzlocke happened on her birthday, and her chat told her to restart the fight because they didn't want to see her suffer on her birthday.
  • RWBY: In Volume 5, Yang assumes that Weiss doesn't understand loneliness because she comes from a large family with a lot of shared activities; Weiss tells her what the Schnee family is really like to live with by using her tenth birthday as an example. Her mother called out her father for missing Weiss's birthday dinner, leading to Jacques snapping and admitting he only married her for the family name. Willow was so devastated that she turned to drink, eventually becoming a drunkard who can never be relied on to attend social events, support her children's activities, or even be a parent at all.

  • Inverted in chapter four of Angel Down, which is a slower placed Slice of Life collection of vignetes covering Ariel's birthday, setting it apart for the comics usual action heavy tone.
  • This Channelate strip plays this for laughs, with someone deciding that it's best to break bad news to someone in a good mood...
  • Although not quite in the trope's order, Grace of El Goonish Shive learns that her 18th birthday is the next Saturday while she's being held captive by Damien, from another captive. Prior to that, she didn't even know how old she was.
  • Chapter 1 of Glitter and Guilt sees a Vent attack on Sweetheart's 21st birthday, and she briefly lampshades that the day wouldn't be complete without something going pear-shaped.
  • Homestuck: On John's 13th birthday, he talks to his friends, gets the videogame he's always wanted... and human society is destroyed in a hail of meteors. Becomes History Repeats Itself, as an alien equivalent of a birthday began Karkat's session, and Nana died on her 88th birthday.
  • Neko: The Cat: Everything in Michiko's life started going wrong on her 10th birthday, when her mother killed herself in front of her.
  • In Unsounded, Duane Adelier and his daughter were heading home on her birthday, when they were both brutally murdered by a group of muggers. One of the last things Daune saw before his eyes were gouged out was his daughter's lifeless corpse lying in front of him.
  • Sluggy Freelance: In "Stick Figure Tales of Cotton", Dr. Ironologue is squashed by a giant gorilla and then remarks that it was ironic because it's his birthday, but the others don't buy it. It's a lot less subtle than the usual example.
  • In The Young Protectors, Kyle ends up having to deal with a crisis on his birthday, because turning 18 makes him fair game for supervillains, which the Annihilator exploits to spring a Honey Trap, use Kyle's power to communicate with a Demon Lord, and open a Hellgate.

    Web Videos 
  • In Atop the Fourth Wall: The Movie, Linkara just wants to spend his birthday watching bad movies with his friends, but is sent on a mission to Jupiter that puts everyone's lives at risk and gets Allen (temporarily) killed, and is forced to confront the trauma being a comic book reviewer who has to fight for his life on a constant basis.
  • Whenever it's a birthday for a member of Hat Films, a special video goes up of the other two planning a "special treat" for the birthday boy. Recent birthday videos have essentially been the other two members physically and psychologically torturing the third with "birthday quizzes", where wrong answers end in destroyed gifts and having to eat food with a new ingredient that makes it taste disgusting. Ironically, their previous birthday videos just involved opening fanmail.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time: "Seventeen" takes place on Finn's seventeenth birthday. There are relatively few guests at the party, because the Candy Kingdom has gone on lockdown in response to the looming threat of Gumbald. Said party is then crashed by a mysterious Green Knight who tries to kill Finn and turns out to be a resurrected Fern, as well as Lolly and Gumbald himself. Gumbald tries to attack and brainwash Princess Bubblegum before being scared off by Marceline. After Gumbald leaves with Lolly and the Green Knight in tow, Finn declares the day to have been his worst birthday ever.
  • Amphibia: On Anne Boonchuy's 13th birthday, Sasha pressured Anne into stealing a music box Marcy had seen in a thrift shop. The music box turned out to be magical, and transported Anne, Sasha, and Marcy to Amphibia.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Played for Laughs. The series finale takes place on the day of Sozin's Comet, the most important day of the war since it started one hundred years ago. When Sokka infiltrates an airship, he gathers the staff in one place by posing as their captain and claiming they have an important birthday to celebrate. It turns out that it actually is one of the officer's birthday, and he's touched "the captain" remembered. So not only did he have to serve on this crucial military operation on his birthday (though he probably considered it an honor), he gets dumped into the sea with the rest of the staff.
    Engine worker: Happy birthday?
  • Avengers Assemble: "The House of Zemo" takes place on Captain America's birthday. Already suffering a touch of artist's block and angst about being unable to remember his father's face, Steve heads out for a burst of crime fighting, only to stumble on Baron Zemo having cobbled together a time machine to bring his father into the 21st century to kill Steve. (The other Avengers had planned a party for Steve, but he was in too much of a funk to recognize Hawkeye's attempts to lure him to it.)
  • Bob's Burgers: In the episode "Eat, Spray, Linda", it's Linda Belcher's birthday and she's having a rough day. While her family works hard to make a perfect spa day, she's sent out to fetch groceries so she doesn't peek and ruin the surprise. She ends up stuck behind a woman at the counter who takes forever to buy her items (and stole her place in line!), has the family car pinned between two giant vehicles in the parking lot, locks her keys and phone in the car by accident and herself out of the vehicle as a result, gets gum in her hair, no one will give her the time of day to use their phone to call home, she rips her pants and ends up wearing a plastic grocery bag as a diaper, ends up on a bus going to the wrong wharf and ends up hours away, walks home for miles on end, gets sprayed by a skunk (twice), breaks her glasses, has to ride in the back of a horse trailer to get close to home, and runs into the same snooty woman at the grocery store, refusing to let her have passage through a street blocked off for a chalk festival all because she hadn’t been "nicer" in line, and is called a hag not two minutes later. It gets better at the end after her family, who have spent hours looking for her, come home to find her crawling through the kitchen window she just broke in through and finally is able to have her spa day. And Bob learned more about her in the hours he spent searching for her from various places and people, partially thanks to the kids Gene, Louise, and Tina.
  • BoJack Horseman: In "Say Anything", the story follows Princess Carolyn for a day, during which she loses a client and a movie deal, gets excited for a relationship only to have it crumble, and ends with her staring out her office window and her phone ringing to reminder today is her birthday. And she's 40.
  • The Critic: The very first couch gag has Jay waking up to his mother calling him and telling him that she and his father have decided to leave him out of their will feeling that he already has enough money. She then adds "Oh yes, and happy birthday".
  • Dexter's Laboratory: In the "Dial M for Monkey" banned episode "Barbequor", Barbequor and his herald the Silver Spooner attacked the Earth while Monkey is having a birthday party thrown for him by the other heroes, who keep trying to stop Monkey from fighting them so he can enjoy his birthday while they try (and fail) to handle it themselves. Even after saving the day, Monkey doesn't get to enjoy his birthday because he then has to give the Infraggable Krunk a ride home and is having a hard time accomplishing the task because Krunk can't remember where he lives.
  • DuckTales (2017): The Grand Finale happens on Webby Vanderquack's birthday. Her party is actually a cover to raid F.O.W.L., which she's downright thrilled by due to her fondness for adventuring. But then things take a turn for the worse and she's kidnapped, she discovers two clones of herself named May and June (who she's told to stay away from), she herself turns out to be a clone of Scrooge McDuck, and she nearly sees her family destroyed by a megalomaniac determined to rid the world of adventure.
  • Elena of Avalor: The series finale, "Coronation Day", takes place on Elena's coronation, which is also her birthday. Team Ash picks this day to attack Avalor.
  • Family Guy: Though it's not really commented upon, Peter's father, Francis, dies during Meg's 17th birthday party in the episode "Peter's Two Dads".
  • Freakazoid!: In the episode "The Freakazoid", Freakazoid learns from a Superhero Code Book that all superheroes have to grant any request made to them on their birthdays, which prevents him from stopping The Lobe's latest crime spree, as he requested that Freakazoid leave him alone. This turns out to be a trick by The Lobe, who not only wrote the Code Book, but arranged for a superhero conference so that Freakazoid couldn't ask his colleagues if any of this was true or not. The plan would've worked too… if he hadn't put his own name as the publisher.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures: The Season 5 episode "Black And White Chi All Over" features Jade's birthday, which she's unable to celebrate because first the Earth Demon then the Moon Demon chi activate, leading to the Chans having to fight Drago and his minions all day.
  • Johnny Bravo: Johnny's birthday fittingly lands on Valentine's Day, considering his constant womanizing. When he finally meets the girl of his dreams, it turns out she’s a secret agent spy, and in order to protect him, she erases all his memories he ever had of her.
  • Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts: In "Ratland", on her thirteenth birthday, Kipo's friends try to make it a fun day, but Scarlemagne's henchmen make even a day at an amusement park a fight for their lives. It's also the day Kipo notices the odd changes her body is having, which began the episode prior.
  • Lilo & Stitch: The Series: The episode "Amnesio" is set on Lilo's birthday. Even though it's her birthday, she and Stitch still need to capture and reform experiments when they are activated before Gantu gets to them first. She complains about this (providing the former page quote) when she and Stitch notice Gantu chasing down Experiment 303 while she and Stitch are in Kokaua Town trying to invite mostly random locals to her birthday party.
  • Mighty Max's two-part series finale sees Max celebrating his birthday...which is also the day Skullmaster kicks his apocalyptic plan into action.
  • Miraculous Ladybug: Marinette's grandmother Gina and Adrien's best friend Nino were akumatized on, and in fact because of, the heroes' respective birthdays.note  Their classmates Alix and Nathaniel and teacher Miss Bustier were all akumatized on their own birthdays.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Secret of My Excess", Spike turns into a giant rampaging monster and nearly destroys Ponyville on his birthday. Justified in that this happens because it's his birthday: dragons in this setting grow larger and more feral if they get too greedy, and the large number of presents he's given accidentally sets that off.
  • Oscar's Orchestra episode "1812" is a rare example of this happening to a villain- it's Thadius Vent's Ageless Birthday Episode and, as always, his latest scheme to capture Oscar backfires and humiliates him.
  • The Owl House:
    • In the episode "Understanding Willow", it's revealed that on Amity Blight's birthday she was forced by her parents to break off her friendship with Willow, or else they would pull some strings so that Willow could never attend Hexside. And she was a child when this happened.
    • It's mentioned in the epilogue of "Watching and Dreaming" that, Luz Noceda didn't get to have a proper 15th, 16th, or 17th birthday party because she was so busy helping to rebuild the Boiling Isles. As a result, everyone gets together to throw her a giant surprise 18th birthday party as thanks, with it also serving as a belated Quincenera.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998): The episode "Birthday Bash" takes place on the girls' birthday, where Mojo Jojo, Princess Morbucks, the Amoeba Boys and HIM all try to destroy them with their "gifts" - all from within prison.
  • In the Regular Show episode "Free Cake", Mordecai and Rigby try to throw a surprise birthday party for Skips, but they unwillingly interrupt the ritual dance he performs for the Guardians of Eternal Youth on each birthday in order to stay immortal, which nearly kills him. Fortunately, the two of them give the guardians the chocolate cake that they got for Skips' birthday party and he gets spared.
  • Steven Universe celebrates his 14th birthday in "Steven's Birthday" and when Steven Quartz Universe comments on if the Crystal Gems should be celebrating despite having to deal with the Cluster, they all respond that they need a break. While there is no outside, antagonistic force, Steven goes through internal anguish throughout his birthday because he now realizes he hasn't physically aged since he was 8 and overhears his father and Connie discussing this. As such, he magically forces himself to be look physically older, but causes him constant strain until Connie reassures him that no matter what their age, she'll always be his friend.
  • Happens to Michelangelo in a third-season episode of the classic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, appropriately titled "Michaelangelo's Birthday", when Shredder and his mutant minions Bebop and Rocksteady make several attempts to undo the mutations of him and his brothers.
  • The Teen Titans (2003) Season 4 episode "Birthmark" has the rest of the Titans discovering it's Raven's birthday, only for her to want to completely avoid the day in general due to it being the day foretold that she is to become the portal for her father Trigon to arrive on Earth and turn it into his own personal domain. Due to the machinations of a Back from the Dead Slade, the first stage of this prophecy comes to pass, as she is covered with the markings that will enable her to become said portal and is given a nightmarish vision of Trigon's supposedly-inevitable victory.
  • The Wacky Adventures of Ronald McDonald: The fourth video "Birthday World" has Ronald McDonald and his friends get mixed up with a mad scientist named Professor Pinchworm's scheme of taking over the world by de-aging the rest of the population to infancy or toddlerhood on Ronald's birthday.
  • Young Justice (2010):
    • Wally's sixteenth birthday party is interrupted when four giant flying ice fortresses start trying to freeze the entire country. He initially regards this as a good birthday, since it will give him a chance for a team-up with the Justice League, but grows disappointed when the blizzards knock out all transportation services, resulting in him having to run a transplant heart from one coast to the other in time for a little girl's surgery. He barely manages it after being tricked by the girl's Evil Uncle, and collapses in exhaustion right afterward. To add insult to injury, at the party thrown for him earlier in the day, Artemis informs him that his crush, M’gann is already in a relationship with Superboy.
    • Dick's fourteenth and nineteenth birthdays are detailed in the show's tie-in comic. The first appears to be fine: his crush kisses him on the cheek because his best friend was kind enough to inform her, and he has a huge party at his house. His nineteenth, however, quickly devolves from a couple routine missions to recruit a new member and prevent a possible assassination to all of that, plus several high-profile Leaguers and Superboy going missing, the city of Metropolis being cut off from the rest of the world, and what appears to be an alien invasion.

    Real Life 
  • Former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly shared a birthday with his son, Hunter. On the day that Hunter died, it dawned on his grandmother that he died on his best friend's birthday.
  • Bob Weir's mother died on his father's birthday. A week later, his father died on his mother's birthday.
  • During the filming of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Julie Dawn Cole, who played Veruca Salt, had to record the "I Want It Now" musical number on her 13th birthday. The number ended with her going down the garbage chute.
  • Reginald Carr was sentenced to death on his birthday for committing the Wichita Horror with his brother. The brother of one of the victims wished him a "Happy Birthday".
  • Sally Field's mother, actress Margaret Field, died on Sally's 65th birthday (November 6, 2011).
  • John Wayne Gacy's final victim, 15-year-old Robert Piest, was kidnapped and murdered on his (Piest's) mother's birthday.
    • William Carroll, another Gacy victim, was also killed on one of his family members' birthday...his older brother's to be more precise.
  • Breck Bednar, a 14 year old British boy, was murdered by an online predator grooming him on his mother's birthday.
  • Roy Horn of Siegfried and Roy was attacked by one of his white tigers during a show at the Mirage in Paradise, Nevada on his own birthday on October 3, 2003.
  • While making True Lies, Jamie Lee Curtis filmed the scene where she dangles for her life from a helicopter on her 35th birthday.
  • Stevie Ray Vaughan collapsed on his birthday during his band's Live Alive tour in Germany, which was eventually determined to be due to the cumulative effects of heavy alcohol and cocaine use. On the plus side, this indicent would ultimately change his life for the better, as it proved to be the wake-up call he needed to go to rehab and get clean for good.
  • UCLA football coach Jim L. Mora was fired on his birthday in 2017.
  • While filming The World Is Not Enough, Robbie Coltrane spent his birthday submerged in a vat of caviar.
  • For the Doctor Who episode "Utopia", John Barrowman performed the stunt where Captain Jack runs and jumps onto the TARDIS on his birthday.
  • Kate Winslet gave Saoirse Ronan a birthday surprise during the filming of Ammonite by having the shooting schedule changed so that their sex scene would be filmed on said day.
  • Ozzie Nelson's father George died on Ozzie's 21st birthday.


Video Example(s):


Sonic Generations Intro

Taking place during Sonic the Hedgehog's birthday, what seems to be a cheerful celebration with his friends turns into a disaster when the Time Eater literally crashes the party; transporting all of Sonic's allies into various time portals it creates and ruining his birthday party overall.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / ABirthdayNotABreak

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