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Sealed Evil in a Six Pack

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So, you've just managed to defeat the evil overlord, wizard, demon, dragon, whatever. Unfortunately, the bad guy is effectively immortal, and even though he won't be able to fight right now, it will just be a matter of time before he comes back. Worse, he's so strong that just sealing his power in some container won't do the job, nor will sealing him away inside an object. What to do? Let's take him apart, and seal him in multiple containers!

As the description implies, some evils are just too dangerous to leave in just one package, hoping it never gets opened. Instead, you should split it up and hide it in a dozen different containers to prevent it from ever becoming a threat again. Of course, if one piece does ever escape, it will definitely try to gather the rest of itself to regain its full power, so it can once again become the Big Bad it once was, but if its power is diminished enough, it's rarely a threat to anyone.

Occasionally, the reverse can happen, where the heroes have to free parts of a good entity, perhaps reuniting the Pieces of God (if God Is Good/it's a God of Good).

No, it doesn't necessarily mean the villain inside has six-pack muscles, or if the villain is sealed within someone who just happens to have six-pack muscles. If you're hoping for the latter, you'll have to see Sealed Inside a Person-Shaped Can.

Compare Sealed Cast in a Multipack and Sealed Army in a Can, for when the separate "cans" contain individuals rather than parts of one person.

A subtrope to Sealed Evil in a Can, naturally (or to Sealed Good in a Can, depending on which link brought you here).


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The title character in AKIRA was dissected and placed in a series of vials. He came back in a more ethereal form.
  • In Chainsaw Man, about a third of the Gun Devil's mass has been split off and consumed by various other devils to gain more power. The rest had been divided up between human governments, the overwhelming majority between the Soviet Union, US, and China. Late in Part 1, the US's share is destroyed when it becomes the Gun Fiend and is slain, though Makima was able to use its powers thanks to a posthumous contract with its host. Most governments are looking to obtain more pieces for themselves to increase their global influence.
  • In Dragon Ball Z: Wrath of the Dragon, Hildegarne (or Hirudegarn) was a giant monster split in half and sealed inside two siblings, Tapion and Minosha (who were themselves placed in magic music boxes kept whole solar systems apart). The heroes spent a part of the movie fighting the bottom half, until the top half appeared and joined the other half.
  • Jujutsu Kaisen has Sukuna, the King of Curses, who was sealed away a thousand years ago. Due to being too powerful to contain or even kill, they were forced to infuse all of his power into his 20 fingers. The plot of the story kicks off when the main character, Itadori Yuji, eats one of the fingers, and is dragged into the Jujutsu world in order to eat the rest so Sukuna can be permanently killed, as he's a one-in-a-million type of person actually capable of hosting Sukuna without dying of poison. Of course, it would later be revealed that neither of these were an accident...
  • The four Forbidden Boxes in Kyo Kara Maoh! are actually this, in addition to being powerful weapons in their own right.
  • Naruto:
    • The Sage of Six Paths sealed the body of the Ten-Tailed Beast in the Moon, and divided its power into nine tailed beasts that were subsequently sealed individually. It's the goal of the Akatsuki (spearheaded by Madara Uchiha both the real one and the fake one who took up his name) to capture and seal the lesser tailed beasts into the Demonic Statue of the Outer Path (the chakra-less husk of the Ten-Tails) in order to revive the Ten-Tails and become its master. And for Black Zetsu specifically to then turn the real Madara into a vessel for Kaguya (the true will of the Ten-Tails) for her proper revival.
    • Similar to the Millennium Puzzle below, Hidan was dismembered via explosives and then buried in a single grave. He can't pull himself together and though somebody could theoretically do it for him, they'd need to find the completely unmarked and obscure location which is on protected ground of the Nara clan.
  • In Ronin Warriors, when the Big Bad Talpa was defeated in ancient times, his armor, the seat of most of his power, was converted into a set of 10 armors, so that if the Big Bad returned, he'd have a hard time getting them back together. Unfortunately, even without the armors, he was still absurdly powerful.
  • The Demon King Shabranigdo in Slayers, prior to the series, was split into seven pieces and sealed into human souls by his draconic counterpart Cephied. Aside from preventing an apocalypse in the short term, the intent was to degrade their power gradually over multiple reincarnations. Thanks to Lina and company, there's at least one less piece of him these daysnote .
  • The Kishin Asura in Soul Eater probably counts; he was sealed in a bag made of his own skin and his blood was drained and taken elsewhere to weaken him. Injecting the bag with black blood unseals him.
  • In Umi Monogatari, Sedna has half of her in the sea and half on land.
  • An in-universe fictional example is Exodia, a Yu-Gi-Oh! monster so powerful it takes multiple cards (stone tablets in ancient Egypt) to contain him. The individual pieces are worthless, but a player who reassembles Exodia by getting all five parts in play wins immediately.
    • And The Pharaoh was trapped in the Millennium Pendant, which was then broken up into pieces. They were all kept in one place, but putting it back together was a complicated process (which is why it was then renamed the Millennium Puzzle).
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V has a good example and an evil example in Ray and Zarc respectively. The good example deliberately invoked this trope on both ends as part of a Heroic Sacrifice; first breaking the evil into several pieces, then breaking her own soul up so she could guard all of the fragments.

    Comic Books 
  • Ghostbusters: In the fourth issue of the "Happy Horror Days" arc, the Ghostbusters used multiple traps to contain the Bogeyman. The entity couldn't be permanently contained like a normal ghost because Egon was worried that their presence would contaminate other specimens in storage and potentially allow for a breach. The traps were put in large individual crates that were then filled with cement and sent to a watery grave "until [the Ghostbusters could] find a better solution."
  • In Green Lantern: Sinestro Corps War, the fear entity Parallax is captured by the Guardians of the Universe and split into four pieces, each stored in the power batteries of the four Earth Lanterns.
  • At one point, Superman and the Justice League of America trapped Doomsday within four teleporters on the moon, being unable to fully think enough to attempt an escape.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Imhotep in The Mummy. He rises as soon as the spell on the sarcophagus is broken, but in order to recover beyond a walking mummy needs to absorb the flesh from whoever opened the box that goes with his sarcophagus. Incidentally, those people happen to possess the canopic jars containing his lover's mummified organs and which he needs to resurrect her.
  • In Ghostbusters: Afterlife, this is Egon's plan for Gozer. Having traced the next place where Gozer will try to enter to a rural town where Ivo Shandor had mined the selenium for his portal building in New York, Egon buried hundreds of traps in the field around a farmhouse. However, the transformers used to power the whole array weren't up to the task. Eventually, all the heroes work together to hold Gozer in place in the trap field, give the transformers enough kick to power the traps, and finally tear Gozer apart as all the traps draw it in when finally triggered. When it's all done, Gozer is still on the Earthly plane of existence... but split up between a hundred Ghost Traps.

  • In The Black Company, some legends claim that Kina is sealed in this way. She isn't.
  • Coffin Princess Chaika has the corpse of Magic Emperor Arthur Gaz, which was divided into several pieces by the eight heroes who slew him and put an end to his attempt at world conquest. The title character is on a quest to gather the pieces in order to "give Father funeral." Several of her sisters, all named Chaika, are also trying to gather them for their own ends. Near the end it's revealed that the questing Chaikas were part of Arthur Gaz's scheme to resurrect himself in a rebuilt body.
  • In Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Giant Monster, the Heart of Vermiel is split into four pieces. Each piece conveys a part of the dragon's power, and drives the wearer to gather more pieces, but when all four are present on one person, Vermiel begins to overwrite them.
  • Harry Potter, Voldemort had separated his soul several times and placed them in horcruxes so that he could be resurrected if he is killed. Unlike most examples, this process is instigated by the villain himself in order to benefit from the effects of the split.
  • In Mistborn: The Original Trilogy, there's a rather complicated version of this with Ruin and Preservation.
  • The Old Kingdom trilogy has a downplayed example - the Ninth Bright Shiner, Orannis, was broken into two parts, and each part was buried miles apart and sealed under seven wards, including a ward of bone. The reason he was only sealed in two is because he was separated by one cleave of a sword.
  • The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires: This is how the women eventually defeat James Harris. They dismember him, sink some of the pieces in the sea, and bury the rest in Grace's family crypt.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Judge in Buffy the Vampire Slayer could not be killed in ancient times, so instead he was cut into pieces and scattered in a number of boxes around the world. Cue modern times and Spike and Drusilla reassembling them. Buffy ends up blasting him into much smaller pieces with a rocket launcher, making any future reassembly rather harder.
  • In Charmed (2018), this is what happens to the Source of All Evil. It winds up contained in three separate segments of a necklace, so the sisters each hide one and have Harry erase their memories, so that no one knows where to find them.
  • Doctor Who: In "Resolution", a Dalek recon scout which landed on Earth in the 9th century is, after being defeated and removed from its casing, cut up into three pieces, each of which were entrusted to a custodian, scattered around the world, and buried, with the hereditary custodians watching over the pieces for 1200 years. The problems start when the third custodian is killed by bandits before his journey even gets started, and his piece of the creature is dug up by archaeologists in the present day...


    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons: The Elder Evil Pandorym is a deicidal Eldritch Abomination whose mind and body were separated and trapped, respectively, in a Crystal Prison and an isolated Pocket Dimension. Said mind is vast enough that even the fragments that escape from its Leaking Can of Evil have Epic-level Psychic Powers, while the body is a mass of non-reality that annihilates anything it touches, so even allowing the mind to escape is assumed to be the Bad Ending.
  • Pathfinder has Kazavon, the ancient blue dragon warlord and champion of the god Zon-Kuthon. While he was killed centuries ago by a band of adventurers, the evil power granted to him by Zon-Kuthon was so strong that they couldn't completely destroy his body. The heroes divided up Kazavon's remaining pieces (his horns, fangs, claws, wings, ribs, skull, and tailbones) with the intention of keeping them separated as far from each other as possible to ensure that he would never be resurrected; while the pieces have been kept apart so far, they still remain (now in the form of various powerful artifacts), and one sect of Zon-Kuthon's worshipers are devoted to gathering the "Relics of Kazavon" in order to revive the dragon.

  • Nexo Knights: The Book of Monsters instructs Jestro to find a set of evil magical books scattered around, and feed them to it. It turns out this is because back when the book used to be Monstrux, the wizard Merlock split him into those books.

    Video Games 
  • The lich Kangaxx in Baldur's Gate II has been split into three parts, a skull, arms and legs, and torso, golden bones that emit a feeling of intense evil. The skull can talk, and asks you to reassemble him. If your character is dumb enough to fall for this he will immediately try to kill you, and is one of the toughest fights in the game.
  • In Baten Kaitos, Malpercio would only be revived if the End Magnus of Ar, Le, He, Che and Bo were brought together. There's a bit of a hint when Bo is pronounced like Bah that there's something going on, and its later revealed that the names are short for Arms, Legs, Head, Chest and Body respectively.
    • It's actually a subversion, though. Origins reveals the 5 are actually 5 separate, benevolent, people who, as a group, were known as Malpercio (after their childhood home). Connecting the 5 in Eternal Wings does make a nice vessel for the Dark Brethren who now own their bodies by way of Deal with the Devil.
  • In Chapter 7 of BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm, we’re told the tale of Legion – an ancient draconic abomination made from all the ambient hatred and cruelty of humanity, who could only be stopped by a group of mages splitting it into thousands of smaller, weaker forms. In the present day, those pieces are known as Anonymous, and are mainly seen as annoying-yet-harmless tricksters. They don’t even remember being Legion, so the beast itself is more or less gone for good… until the True Ending, when the Big Bad unwittingly restores their memories as a side-effect of his plan, and gives them the means to recombine…
  • Castlevania II: Simon's Quest: After the first game, Dracula was defeated and his body was divided into five parts, which Simon Belmont must put together, to resurrect Dracula and kill him again in order to break his curse.
  • Diablo:
    • Khalim from Diablo II is an uncommon benevolent victim of the trope. Mephisto had him killed and had his brain, heart, eye, and flail scattered across Kurast to make sure his influence would not cause issues to the Lord of Hatred and his plans. A significant part of Act III involves the player collecting all four parts, merging them with the Horadric Cube, and use the resulting Khalim's Will to open a way to defeat Mephisto.
    • In Diablo III, Zoltan Kulle was killed and his head, body, and blood sealed in different location to ensure he never returned. Thanks to Adria, Leah and the Nephalem, he did, but only for long enough to complete his masterpiece, the Black Soulstone, before being rekilled.
    Lyndon: People say I'm bad, but no one's ever had to imprison me and dismantle my body parts. A little context would be nice.
  • The Big Bad in Dragon Quest VIII. His soul is sealed inside the Sceptre of Trodain, and requires the death of seven people to break. His body is sealed in the statue of the Goddess in Neos.
  • The Bowerstone residents of Fable II sealed the body parts of their evil, ex-mayor Lady Gray in various locations around Albion. As an optional quest, the Hero can gather them in order to resurrect her. How evil her reanimated corpse really is, is up for debate though.
  • Played with in Fallout 3. The biggest unmarked quest (i.e., not accompanied with help from the HUD) has the player tracking down five audio tapes that open the door to a sealed bunker that was supposed to be the refuge of the scattered Keller family. If all the tapes are assembled at the door to the bunker, the door opens. Inside is the Experimental MIRV, the most damaging (and expensive. And inaccurate) weapon in the game.
  • In Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, the Demon King Fomortiis was destroyed by the Five Heroes who founded five of the six major nations in the game, sealing his soul and strength within the Sacred Stones which they each took to secure separately across the continent. The destruction of four of the five stones, including the one that houses his soul proper, is enough to free enough of Fomortiis to pose a serious threat, but the fifth alone is still enough to completely seal him away again.
  • Grandia II gave us Valmar, the Big Bad demon that was defeated in ancient times, and the pieces of it's body spread around the world and sealed away. Interestingly, each of the pieces has a mind of its own - none lay claim to being the original. The Church of Granas sends Elena on a quest to gather the pieces so they may be destroyed, though it turns out that Pope Zera, who has discovered that God Is Dead and believes that life has no meaning without him, actually wants to become the new Valmar himself so he can destroy the world. Zera chose Elena for this task despite her inexperience because she's one of the people with a piece of Valmar sealed in her.
  • At some point in the backstory of Hyrule Warriors, one of history's many Links attempted to finish off Ganondorf by sealing fractions of his soul across points in the series' timeline, namely in the Sealed Grounds, the Water Temple and the Palace of Twilight, with the final fragment being sealed by the Master Sword. Seemed to be working until Cia the Time Witch interfered.
  • Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time: The protagonists spend the game collecting several shards of the Cobalt Star. Only when they collect and put the pieces together do they realize that the star actually contained the leader of the invading aliens who was trapped inside by Princess Peach, and that by putting the star together, they release her.
  • At the end of the Mega Man Zero series, Ragnarok is destroyed, along with the madman controlling it, Dr. Weil. Later it's revealed that Biometal Model W, the central Artifact of Doom in the Sequel Series Mega Man ZX, is created from the fragments of Ragnarok; still containing Dr. Weil's consciousness, it is now the newest cause of Maverick uprisings. There are also two types of the Model W fragments; the first is a miniature Transformation Trinket like other Biometals, and the second are giant mechanical abominations. ZX Advent centers around a race between both heroes and villains to collect and/or destroy the latter. At the end of the game the various Model Ws got reassembled into something that loosely resembles the Ragnarok satellite, although this time its called Ouroboros, the "Ultimate Biometal".
  • Shadow of the Colossus: Wander wants to make a Deal With Dormin to bring back Mono. When he reaches the Temple of Worship, he discovers that Dormin's power has been sealed inside sixteen idols. In order to break a given piece out of the idols, he has to kill the colossus that represents it. Cue Boss Game.
  • In Shin Megami Tensei II, Taira Masakado, the protector of Tokyo, was torn apart by the Yamato gods, and each part (arms, legs, head and torso) hidden away. Once you reassemble him, it turns out his soul was taken away as well (although for safekeeping rather than anything else). There is also Satan, YHVH's greatest weapon who was split into two entities until his destructive power was needed.
  • A variant in Shin Megami Tensei Devil Survivor: Bel, the ruler of the demons, was sundered by God, but not technically "sealed" as such. Instead, the individual demons he was broken up into - all easily recognized by the syllable "Bel" in their names - have been fighting each other for supremacy, consuming each other in the process in the hopes of reconstituting the original Bel's power and ascending to the Throne of Bel. The Shomonkai exists to help Belberith, who they worship as "His Majesty," complete this goal so that he can destroy God and spare the world from His ordeal, not realizing that Belberith plans to slaughter humankind once he's done. The protagonist himself ends up a contender for the Throne of Bel when he defeats Beldr and inadvertently absorbs his powers - but then, it only makes sense, as he turns out to be the reincarnation of Abel.
    • Slightly more complicated. Other sources claim that 'Abel' exists within humanity. By defeating Beldur...the protagonist awakened that power.
  • In White Knight Chronicles, the Big Bad Emperor Madoras' soul was split apart and sealed within each of the five Knights. The "main" part of his soul lies within the White Knight, but all five Knights have to be reunited for him to be reborn. This happens at the end of the second game, leading to Madoras possessing Leonard.
  • In Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure, Barbaros was split into many pieces of treasure; he is restored if every piece is gathered together. He was a near deity-level pirate captain; each treasure held one of his Combo Platter Powers.

    Web Original 
  • Dreamscape: The Overlord of Evil's Sealed Evil in a Can had to be upgraded to this by Drake and Keedran in 'Over and Under', due to it becoming a Leaking Can of Evil.
    • Melinda's final fate as Ghost Melinda is being encased in an orb of energy created by Eleenin, Kai, and Melissa, which is trapped within the pocket dimension contained within Keedran's chest.
  • In the Whateley Universe story Silent Nacht, this is cited as the reason for stories involving chasing the pieces of the Macguffin. Apparently the trope is based on the practice of splitting up powerful artifacts into component parts, since that much power in one place is a huge trouble magnet.

    Western Animation 
  • Jackie Chan Adventures: When ancient Chinese immortals sealed the Demon Sorcerer Shendu into a statue, they were able to suppress Shendu's own powers but not those he had stolen from other beings. Instead they were forced to split off 12 of these powers, taken from the animals of the Eastern Zodiac, turning them into talismans which grant their power to the holder. Placing all 12 talismans back into their slots in Shendu's statue restores him to life... but despite appearances, his new body is really just a transformed version of the statue, and he can be defeated by removing the Rat Talisman he's using to animate it.
  • The Real Ghostbusters episode "Moaning Stones" has a 6000 year-old African demon trapped in three different crafted stones. When place together in a New York museum they release the demon that conveniently was originally trapped by Winston's ancestor.
  • Mala Mala Jong from Xiaolin Showdown is an evil entity that is composed of various Shen Gong Wu. The most important Wu needed to revive it are the appropriately-named Mask of Jong and Heart of Jong.
  • Maltruant, the final villain of Ben 10: Omniverse is a Chronosapien (a mechanical alien species) whose own parts are scattered throughout time and space.
  • Fangbone!'s Big Bad Venomous Drool was dismembered many years ago when the Skullbanians originally defeated him, with different warrior being assigned to protect different parts of his body. Over the centuries though, his servants collected all the parts and out him back together, leaving only his big toe (which is the source of his magic power after he dipped it in a pool of concentrated evil), which is under the protection of Bill and Fangbone. Drool seeks to get his big toe back so he can be restored to full power and thus conquer both Skullbania and Earth.
  • Young Justice: One mission had the Team escorting two trucks carrying the pieces of a dismantled Amazo android. The trucks (and a few decoys) went through different routes, but Professor Ivo managed to track them down and steal the parts back and rebuild Amazo.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Sealed Good In A Six Pack


Elder Princess Shroob

Elder Princess Shroob was sealed away inside the Cobalt Star by Peach, which she then split into six to prevent her energies from escaping. Unfortunately, the Bros gathered the shards unaware of what would happen.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / SealedEvilInASixPack

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