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Call Reception Area

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"As with many of fate's mysteries, it begins with but a small act... of disobedience."

Our story begins with our hero, and his best friend and/or Unlucky Childhood Friend living peacefully in their quaint, little town. One day, they decide to have a little adventure. Not too far from the town there is a place the village elder has told them they better not get close to. Our heroes decide to go there, maybe looking for some rumored treasure, maybe because Nothing Exciting Ever Happens Here, maybe just to screw the rules.

Bad idea. Stepping out of that protective bubble of childhood obedience and parental responsibility puts them in the optimal signal zone to receive the Call to Adventure.

Their little adventure may begin without much excitement, but soon takes a turn for the worse, and the ancient Sealed Evil in a Can is free to terrorize the world once again, the Unlucky Childhood Friend is kidnapped into another dimension, and the hero is now Cursed with Awesome. When they return home they find out that removing the ancient Cosmic Keystone from its pedestal just put the Doom into Doomed Hometown.

Anyway, the point is the hero just screwed up royally, and now he (and he alone) must solve it. This may be the part where the Call to Adventure is finally made explicit, usually dispensed by the village elder who only now decides to reveal the background of the Call Reception Area. Generally, it happens that The Only One who can destroy the Sealed Evil in a Can is the one who freed it, or the fact that he was capable of destroying the seal in the first place indicates he actually was The Chosen One all along. Or perhaps only he can wield the Cosmic Keystone he removed, or he considers saving his Unlucky Childhood Friend personal.

Compare with Forbidden Zone, which contains no call but usually has ancient dangerous stuff lying around too.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Tenchi Muyo! (the OVA version): For all his life, Tenchi Masaki was curious about that cave near his grandfather's shrine where a demon was sealed...
    • Which turns out to have been all part of the plan. His grandfather told Tenchi just enough about the cave and the demon to keep him insatiably curious about it, then forbid him to ever go inside. The final play was letting Tenchi steal the key from him during their sparring match, then pretending he hadn't noticed.
  • The plot of Cardcaptor Sakura begins with the protagonist poking around in her archaeologist father's basement library, and ending up unsealing the Clow Cards and a magical Weasel Mascot who gives her the Call to Adventure. (In fact, their conversation contains the same point made in the Scooby-Doo example below.) She, too, was all by herself during these events.
  • Yes! Pretty Cure 5 uses this almost humorously. Nozomi, the protagonist, is implied to be ADHD; fittingly, while running to school, she gets distracted by a pretty butterfly and runs after it instead. This one event is what later allows her — and, by association, the rest of the main cast save for the residents of the Magical Land — to gain powers and fight the Nightmare Corporation.
  • A slightly unconventional example in Fullmetal Alchemist. Although the catalyst for their trek for the Philosopher's Stone is something as deadly serious as the promise of bringing their mother back from the dead, one who watches the series gets the feeling that the whole prospect is more of a "Fun little adventure that we get to have now that mom's not breathing down our neck anymore!". It becomes suddenly and cruelly apparent that what they were getting themselves into was far, far more complex and dangerous than they'd ever imagined when the body parts were alchemically-flying, and while they don't exactly release any Sealed Evil in a Can, both the figurative and literal monsters they encounter (the new lives they must now live, and... well, the Homunculi) are plenty terrifying.

    Fairy Tales 
  • In The Jezinkas, the jezinkas threaten only a certain hill. Johnny heads for it, quickly.

    Films — Animated 
  • In The Lion King (1994) Simba and Nala go into the Elephant's Graveyard after they were told not to. A fight breaks out between the resident hyenas and Simba's heroic father, and later that fight escalates a bit... and then let's just say that Simba has to learn how to fight his own battles after that.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Thor, Thor and Loki go to Jotunheim against Odin's wishes and get themselves into a knock-down-drag-out superbrawl with the giants, which gets Thor banished from Asgard into the mortal realm.

  • Inverted in Joan Vinge's The Snow Queen Series where the two protagonists, Moon and Sparks, venture to a "choosing place" to determine if they will become "sibyls" (something that means a lot more than they realize). They had previously had an agreement that they would either both be chosen or neither, so that they would stay together, but The Call Didn't Care — Moon was chosen and Sparks wasn't, she broke their agreement, and ...the rest of the story followed.
  • For the Grace twins and their sister in The Spiderwick Chronicles, the Call Reception Area was the sealed off attic of the house they'd just moved into, and the Great Big Book of Everything locked away up there.
  • The titular wardrobe in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is a portal to the magical world of Narnia. Lucy Pevency kickstarts the plot by hiding inside it during a game of hide and seek, at which point she is transported to Narnia.
  • A wardrobe also fulfils this function in His Dark Materials. Here Lyra hides in a wardrobe and overhears a meeting between scholars about Dust, which is one of the forces of the story.
  • In Eragon, the titular boy goes off hunting in the Spine, a haunted place with a reputation for bad luck, where he finds a dragon egg and brings doom down upon his home.
    • It's later revealed that the egg was sent to him by the free Eldunari, so it's more of a subversion.
  • In Louise Cooper's Indigo series, the one place people are forbidden to go is the Tower of Regrets. The Princess Anghara, naturally, is dying to know what the tower contains that makes it so taboo...turns out the tower physically contains nothing...but acted as a spiritual trap for seven demons that personified the evil of humanity. Oops.
  • Mermaids of Eriana Kwai: No one on the island of Eriana Kwai is allowed on the beach alone because mermaids have been known to snatch people. When Meela was nine, she disobeyed her parents by playing on the beach alone, which is how she befriended Lysi, a mermaid her age. Both their families put a stop to the friendship, but when they met again at eighteen, the memory of their childhood friendship stopped them from killing each other and allowed them to eventually fall in love.
  • Song of the Dolphin Boy: Finn's father has always strictly forbidden him from going in water, even a bathtub. When he and his classmate Charlie get in a fight, Charlie chases him to the harbour, and Finn accidentally falls in. That's how Finn discovers that he can swim as quickly and easily as a dolphin, and leads to him learning that his mother was a selkie.
  • The Mermaid: Amelia, the titular mermaid, is Intrigued by Humanity and swims close to the surface, ignoring the other merfolk's warnings that she risks being spotted by a human, in order to watch for boats. One day she sees a ship and tries to follow it. By the time she loses sight of the ship, she's far from home and doesn't know how to find her way back. She never sees her family again. Instead she finds her way to land, where she falls in love with a human fisherman.

    Video Games 

    Western Animation 
  • Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go! is a tweaked example. Chiro ended up in the Call Reception Area all on his own.
    Chiro, opening narrative: While exploring the outskirts of the city, I discovered an abandoned Super Robot. It was then that my life was transformed by the mysterious Power Primate...
  • This is the basic plot of The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo, as explained in the opening theme:
    Vincent van Ghoul: Only YOU can return the demons to the chest!
    Scooby-Doo and Shaggy: Why us?
    Vincent:: Because YOU let them out!
    • More specifically, they were tricked into opening the chest by Bogel and Weerd, who made them think it was a mystery prize in a game show. So not exactly their fault.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power has the Whispering Woods, a strange magical Genius Loci that Horde cadets are warned against entering. Naturally, the first episode has Adora and Catra going on a joyride straight into its depths, where Adora gets the call and inadvertently sets off the primary conflict of the show.

Alternative Title(s): Call Receival Area