Follow TV Tropes


Adventure Rebuff

Go To

"Chun Li, go home, I got this under control
This ain't your beef; it's a matter for Interpol."
Man Factory, "E. Honda's Concern"

The protagonist is going along in their everyday life, when they happen to stumble upon another character, interacting with the fantastic or magical world. The protagonist continues running into this character, either by design or by chance, and attempts to help them with whatever conflict is driving today's plot. However, the other character pushes them away, citing the danger and personal risk of what they do. This cycle will usually repeat more than once; in the end, the other character will accept the protagonist, usually after the latter solves the conflict somehow, and will become their Mentor.

Compare to Refusal of the Call; this is what happens in Soviet Russia. Contrast Missed the Call, where the adventure would have gone to the person that wanted and deserved it, but it went to some clueless protagonist by mistake.

See also Competence Zone. Most of these characters are rebuffed because of their age.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • A Certain Magical Index: Touma Kamijou is always butting into other people's problems. It happens so much that a lesser catchphrase of Index is scolding him for fighting again (and eventually she just gives up trying). Notably, at the end of the first season, he's temporarily detained by Anti-Skill because of his interference with the recent Sherry Cromwell incident in an awkward season-ending scene.
  • In Corpse Princess, Ouri is apparently attracted to death (non-sexually), which explains why he's always unintentionally showing up around Makina (a Shikabane Hime is similar to Bleach's shinigami) and getting involved in her fights. As you might expect from the trope description, Makina gets pissed at him every time he shows up, though he later becomes her new Contracted Monk.
  • Godannar: The resident Loli Lou Roux is always eager to get into battle, to satisfy her hatred towards the Mimetic Beasts that killed her father. But since she's Just a Kid, they never let her get into battle, not even train for it, even though she's a naturally talented pilot. Eventually, she rebelled, trained under the loner Ken, and struck out on her own. In the end, she's already a full-fledged pilot capable of fighting Mimetic Beasts on her own.
  • In episode 1 of Grenadier, the samurai Yatchan tries more than once to get The Ditz with the large breasts to leave and get away from what is a warzone. Then she saves his life (more than once) and takes out an entire castle full of armed soldiers with a six-shooter, an Unorthodox Reload, and some serious Gun Kata.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha:
    • After a few adventures, Yuuno tried to tell Nanoha that she wasn't needed anymore and that her adventuring was too dangerous for a regular grade three girl. She had none of it, even before she learned that he was really a boy the same age as her anyway.
    • And then Admiral Harlaown of the TSAB told Nanoha the same thing. It didn't stick. Instead, Nanoha demonstrates that she is a Person of Mass Destruction.
  • In MÄR, the main character jumps at the call, but is rebuffed twice by Alviss, who ends up being his strongest ally after proper training, while Alan, immediately takes him under his wing and brings him up to the level he needs to be at to start off the journey. Probably because Alan went through the process previously, with Ginta's father, and knows how it will play out.
  • During the first episode of Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn when it appears the girl he rescued is about to get involved in some dangerous stuff, Banager Links pleads with her to allow him to become involved, asking her if she needs him. She promptly says "No."
  • Negi Springfield of Negima! Magister Negi Magi tries to do this, but is one of the worst at keeping Muggles away from having adventures with him, as his students will easily strongarm their way into whatever is going on.
  • Speed Racer: Spritle and Chim Chim regularly worked around this by hiding in the trunk of the Mach 5.
  • Mew Ichigo of Tokyo Mew Mew tried to ward off the insatiably curious Hwang Bu-ling, who was put in danger by trying to imitate her; this, of course, stops once Bu-ling becomes Mew Pudding.
  • In Yes! Pretty Cure 5, Karen Minazuki had a hard time believing that four students, including her best friend Komachi Akimoto, were the legendary warriors Pretty Cures, until the Nightmare attacked. Karen wanted to help, finally believing the story, as she thought she needed to do these things on her own to get it right, and the butterfly landed on her wrists... and promptly vanished, not letting her to become a Pretty Cure and forced her to helplessly watch as the Cures failed their mission of the episode. It wasn't until the next episode that Karen revised her purpose not to get things done herself, but wanting to protect her friends that she didn't receive any more rebuffs.
    • Being the 15th Anniversary of the Pretty Cure franchise and dropping in ten years after said event, it's replayed somewhat with Homare Kagayaki of HuGtto! Pretty Cure as she finds herself drawn into Hana and Saaya's world as Cures and confronts the Monster of the Week. However, as her Mirai Crystal appears and she makes the jump for it, she has a panic attack as she's reminded of her failure as a skater years ago and whiffs the jump, causing the crystal to disappear and drop to her knees in despair. Of course, like Karen, she overcomes this block and prevents this rebuff from happening again.

    Comic Books 
  • In Kick-Ass, Big Daddy and Hit Girl confront Kick-Ass after his first "adventure", and tell him that he should cut the heroics out because a) he's an amateur, b) he's way too exposed and c) he's simply pathetic. He ignores them, naturally enough.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: Ainchent turns away Bobby Strong and Glamora Treat when they offer to aid him in recovering a missing professor, since they are young ladies. He evidently was not aware that at least one-hundred of the "young ladies" at Holliday were spies/commandos used by the US military and the girls and Etta end up commandeering a plane and being far more useful rescuers than Ainchent, who'd been hired to go fetch the missing professor but ends up fleeing for his life.

    Film - Animated 

    Film - Live-Action 
  • In Fight Club, Robert Paulson wants to join Project Mayhem, but is rebuffed by Tyler Durden several times. In fact, all potential initiates are systematically rebuffed several times before they're accepted.
  • Gleahan and the Knaves of Industry: Mangled. Mark (the protagonist) actively tries to avoid Gleahan, but when they run into each other Mark still helps him out. Gleahan then seeks out Mark, and Mark keeps avoiding Gleahan until Nathaniel Johnson forces Mark to team up with Gleahan for... unsavory reasons.
  • A variation occurs in Star Wars. In this version, Yoda is not saying Luke can't fight in the Rebellion, but rather he is refusing to teach him skills that will help. On top of that, the age-related rebuff is reversed; Yoda initially refuses to train Luke because he's too old. (Much the same thing happens with Anakin in the prequel trilogy; it's explained in the backstory that most Jedi are brought to the Temple as infants—before Anakin, the oldest in recent memory was Ki-Adi Mundi, who was three.) note 

  • In the Discworld novels:
    • The best way to get Susan, Death's adoptive granddaughter, involved is to tell her not to get involved. Doubled, in that she often complains loudly that any adventure that concerns an animated skeleton - or, if you prefer, an Anthropomorphic Personification - is of its nature ridiculous and illogical and something no intelligent person should involve herself in. Yet, oddly enough, Death always makes sure she knows something is going on with which she had better not bother involving herself in - and it never works. The film adaptation of Hogfather implies that Death does this because he knows that this will cause Susan to involve herself.
    • This is the best way to get Vimes involved, as well. The Patrician resorts to it quite often. (It did backfire once, though.)
  • Reversed in The Elenium books by David Eddings, where it was the protagonist who tried to rebuff a few different characters. In particular, he attempted to leave the foundling child Flute at a convent, to be looked after by the nuns, only to have her show up a short time later. This made a lot more sense once it was revealed that Flute was actually the Child-Goddess Aphrael. He also tried to rebuff the young thief Talen once or twice, because he felt the adventure was too dangerous for him, only to have Talen show up anyway - once by his own doing, once coerced by Aphrael, who wanted him there.

    Live Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Giles initially rebuffs Xander and Willow.
  • Chuck: The title character's Intersect ability is used to help solve cases, but when it's time for the action, his handlers Sarah and Casey always tell him to "stay in the car". He never does.
    • He does try to stay in the car for the first few episodes, then it becomes clear that it is not safe in the car, ever.
      Chuck: Technically, I've still got one foot in the car.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The First Doctor kept trying to ditch Ian and Barbara at every opportunity, at first, because he didn't want to travel with primitive humans.
    • The Fourth Doctor originally rebuffed Leela; the last words we hear in the episode that introduced her are the Doctor shouting at Leela not to touch that button after she's slipped inside the TARDIS.
    • "State of Decay" from later in the Doctor's fourth incarnation ends with the Doctor telling Adric he's "going straight back to the Starliner". By the third onscreen adventure in E-Space, however, Adric has become a full-fledged member of the TARDIS crew.
    • Rose and Mickey are refused by the Ninth Doctor before they're allowed to travel with him.
  • The Sarah Jane Adventures: happens three times, with Maria, then Clyde, then Rani.
  • In Torchwood, Gwen is refused at first by the Torchwood team, and in the episode "Fragments", we learn that Jack initially refused to let Ianto join his team.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The solo adventure that came with the mid-eighties RPG book Maelstrom was designed for assassin characters. Just in case someone was silly enough to run it with a different character, the first paragraph ends with "Are you an assassin?" If you turns to the page for "no", it tells you you'd arrived home safely and turned in for the night. The end.

    Video Games 
  • A variation in Baldur's Gate: a mercenary you encounter early on doesn't quite advise you not to become an adventurer, but to get a lot of friends and don't go looking for trouble.
    • Later played with in the sequel, where your now-veteran party is begged by some local kids for help finding adventure. The player may either berate them for being much too young, or go and buy them swords and booze. If helped, they are later seen fleeing in mortal terror from a lone gibberling.
  • Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening: A seasoned warrior named Mhairi shows up at Vigil’s Keep to become a Grey Warden. She has begun to idolize the Grey Wardens ever since they ended the Fifth Blight. She even helps you reclaim Vigil’s Keep from the Darkspawn. But when it comes to the all-important Joining ritual where every recruit must drink a concoction containing tainted darkspawn blood, in order to gain the Grey Wardens’ special abilities, Mhairi is fatally poisoned and immediately collapses and dies.
  • Variation in Guilty Gear. After losing his parents, a child Ky Kiske goes to Kliff Undrsen and asks to join the Holy Order. Kliff refuses him, but instead of just telling Ky to go home, he basically says "come back in five years and I'll think about it". Ky leaves, returns in five years, and Kliff keeps his promise.
  • Played with in Shantae and the Seven Sirens. Towards the end of the game, it turns out that one of the other half-genies is really a cosplaying Rottytops, who got to the island by hiding in Shantae's luggage. She did so under the belief that Shantae would refuse to let her come on the trip... only for a frustrated Shantae to explain that she did plan on inviting the zombie, but couldn't find her. Presumably because she was already hiding. This ends up being for the best however, because believing this trope was in play caused them to become a Spanner in the Works that helped save the day.
  • At the beginning of Tales of Symphonia, Lloyd wants to join Colette on the journey for world regeneration. All the adults think he will just get in the way, and Colette eventually tricks him into missing their leaving. It isn't until the destruction of Iselia, and later his escape from the Sylvarant Base, that he rejoins the others, who naturally expected that he'd show up.


    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: In the episode "The Deserter", Aang encounters an old Firebending Master named Jeong Jeong who, as a deserter from the Fire Nation, is one of the few people in the world who may be willing to teach him how to firebend. However, while Jeong Jeong is not opposed to the idea of teaching Aang eventually, he feels that Aang lacks the emotional maturity necessary to handle fire safely and needs to master the other elements first. He is eventually persuaded by the spirit of Avatar Roku to teach Aang anyway, but this turns out disastrously when Jeong Jeong's concerns are proven to be accurate and Aang accidentally burns his friend Katara. This causes Aang to swear off firebending altogether and when he does eventually learn it for real, it's not from Jeong Jeong.
  • Batman: The Animated Series: Batgirl was rebuffed by Batman and Robin a couple times, but she eventually became Batman's partner and stayed even after Robin had left. In Batman Beyond Bruce Wayne refuses to help Terry at first. Once Terry steals the batsuit, Bruce shuts it down remotely, but eventually decides to let him become the next Batman.
    • It is very common for Batman to initially rebuff Barbara Gordon as Batgirl, meaning she has to fight tooth and nail for his respect, at least initially. He might show a similar sentiment to his various Robins as well.
      Barbara: I hear you wrangled yourself a new errand boy.
      Bruce: I never wrangled anyone. You all came to me.
      Barbara: Maybe for once you should try to talk someone out of it.
      Bruce: Would it have worked for you?
      (Barbara smiles)
  • Darkwing Duck always tried unsuccessfully to keep his adopted daughter Gosalyn away from trouble.
    D.W.: I'm serious, Gos. If anything happened to you, I'd...I don't know what I'd do.
  • Inspector Gadget acted like this toward his niece Penny. However, she was actually far more competent than he was.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures: Jackie is constantly telling Jade to stay out of the adventuring. Jade never listens and manages to tag along anyway. Jackie is somehow always surprised despite this happening Once per Episode. Section 13 even considers her a security risk precisely because of how good her infiltration skills are. How much of a detriment she can be varies from making everything worse and barely managing to help fix things by the end, to actually being the exact person needed to give them that day's victory.
  • In French animated series Nanook's Great Hunt the inuit tribal council is opposed to Nanook's intent to go search for his father hunting the great polar bear Suaq Nanok, because Nanook is only 12. He sets out nevertheless and even proves he's quite capable on his own.
  • Sam & Max: Freelance Police, the TV show: Lorne is their Friend For Life, but is rebuffed every time he tries to help. "Tries" being the key word.
  • In both Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012), Splinter constantly forbids his sons from going to the surface. To his annoyance, they usually sneak out anyway.
  • In the Thunder Cats 2011 episode "The Duelist and the Drifter", young King Lion-O travels to his first Adventure Town in search of supplies, only to encounter an eccentric "drifter" who repeatedly delivers several suspiciously ambivalent warnings against participating in an adventure there, or expecting the Drifter's help during one.
    The Drifter: This is a Swordsmans' town, stranger, and they duel for keeps. Leave, before it's too late. Or don't, I don't care.

Alternative Title(s): The Call Refuses You