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  • In Amanchu!, Ai and her twin brother Makoto are suspiciously absent during the "visitors from Tokyo" arc.
  • Yasuko from Aoi Hana conveniently starts studying in England, after she fulfilled her role of causing Fumi lots of heartbreak and teenage angst.
  • Attack on Titan does this with the four Titan Shifters.
    • Annie seems to be suffering from this when she joins the Military Police Brigade, but she spends the next storyline as the primary antagonist in her Titan form. Once revealed and cornered, though, she puts herself in a Crystal Prison and has been in custody offscreen since.
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    • Reiner, Bertolt, and Ymir all flee human territory in the aftermath of the climatic battle with the multi-branch force. Ymir has yet to reappear (though a letter from her to Krista/Historia has appeared), but Reiner and Bertolt returned in the "Return to Shinganshina" arc, during which Reiner was badly injured and Bertolt was eaten by Titan!Armin to save Armin's life by making him a Titan Shifter.
  • In Bakugan all the Haos, Subterra and Darkus users are put on a bus the next season, along with their bakugans.
  • In Bakuman。 Nakai, after in the course of a few days, alienating Aoki by asking her to be his girlfriend in order for him to draw for her, losing his job as assistant when the manga he's working on gets canceled, alienating his fellow assistant when his proposal for Aoki comes to light, and upsetting quite a few of his friends as a result, decides that he used his art skills for the wrong reasons, and leaves for home. Takagi considers having him come back and work for them as an assistant, but Mashiro suggests that if he comes back, it should be as a mangaka, before the scene cuts to Nakai discontent with his life and looking a some manga volumes. It's also worth noting that Fukuda asked him if he was willing to let things end the way they did as he left, which is some indication that he may not.
    • The bus came back, and he's just as bad as when he left.
  • In Beyblade, all teams who weren't the Bladebreakers in season 1 were put on a bus in season 2. most of them come back in season 3, but mostly imcomplete and Demoted to Extra. The teams introduced in season 2 disappeared before season 3.
    • The Metal series takes this up a notch due to having a LOT of major characters. Hell, if a character played a major role in season one, they are most likely Demotedto Extra in season 2 and especially season 3. There are only two characters to never be put on a bus doing this series any they are Ginga and Madoka.
  • Bleach:
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    • At the end of the Lost Agent Arc, the Fullbringers are written out of the story. Riruka departs alone after a plea for people to forget her. Shishigawara, Jackie and Yukio go their own separates, although Yukio does comment that in three years time, he'll reform the group. Ginjou, Tsukishima and Giriko die, but since the dead go to the afterlife where most of the story takes place, they aren't written out so much as gain a change of address.
    • Tensa Zangetsu's sword form was shattered and Mayuri says there's no coming back from that for a zanpakutou's bankai, so Ichigo had to get his zanpakutou completely remade. What his new bankai will be, and the consequences for Tensa Zangetsu, have not been revealed.
    • Being exclusive to the Anime, the Bounts (Also known as Vampires) as a whole were put on a bus, despite one surviving.
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    • This happens quite a lot, with many characters (Ganju, Kukaku, Hanataro, Nel, etc.) being all but dropped after the end of a story arc.
  • In the Cardcaptor Sakura anime, Meiling returns to Hong Kong just before the climax of the first arc. She makes guest appearances near the end of the second arc and in the movie epilogue.
  • Chocotto Sister has Ayano written out so seamlessly that Haruma's heartbreak over her seems rather pointless in the end.
  • CLANNAD has a curious variety, in that Fuko gets written out of the story by having people completely forget about her.
    • Additionally, due to the Visual Novel Origin of the series, characters will often be put on short bus trips for the story arcs that don't concern them. Examples include Sunohara's whereabouts in the Kotomi arc, Nagisa at several points in the story (which actually was displayed and had a visible impact on Tomoya, as he was hounded by the rest of the harem in that timeframe), Kotomi, Ryou, and Kyou in the Miyazawa arc, and Miyazawa in almost every arc besides her own and the "Absent Nagisa" storylines.
  • In D Grayman main character Lavi was put on a bus for two story arcs. He was kidnapped by the Noah and his fate is still unknown at this date. This is especially bad with the hiatus and infrequent releases with which Lavi has been missing for six real world years.
  • In DNA², Kotomi ends up written out of the story, and out of the Love Dodecahedron, by having her win a scholarship for rhythmic gymnastics that takes her to Germany.
  • Lots of bus rides in Dragon Ball:
    • Goku was put on a bus temporarily after the Frieza saga, with his whereabouts unknown until he came back 12 episodes later. During his absence, Gohan assumed the role of the series' main character.
      • Goku was put on another bus at the end of the Cell saga, with the focus returning to teenaged Gohan for a while before Goku returned once more.
    • Tien and Chiaotzu were put on a permanent bus after the Cell arc. They got a few cameos each afterwards, but for the most part, this bus stayed out of town. They came back for Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, but only Tien returned for Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’. The same remained true for the Dragon Ball Super adaptations, with the two disappearing for the Future Trunks Saga, then returning for the Universe Survival Saga, though with Tien more than Chiaotzu.
    • Maron, Krillin's girlfriend during Goku's absence, was put on a bus after the Garlic Jr. saga. The bus briefly came back in the middle of the Android saga, but left again, never to return.
    • Android 17 was put on a bus after being absorbed by Cell. The bus came back in GT when he merged with a clone and became the main villain. He returns in Dragon Ball Super's Universal Survival Saga, now as a main hero, funnily enough.
    • All the villains in the series are put on busses after their defeats, but Cell and Frieza reappeared in hell afterwards in late DBZ and DBGT. The rest stay gone.
    • Launch is put in a bus in the first saga of DBZ. She's last seen getting drunk a bar, but makes a very brief cameo appearance in the Kid Buu saga giving Goku energy with the other earthlings. In the manga, she was put on a bus after the DB portion, and remains absent for the rest of the series. Word of God states that Akira Toriyama had planned to bring Launch back for the Buu Saga ending, but forgot how to draw her, specifically asking Toei to toss her in for the animated adaptation.
    • Future Trunks was put on a bus when he went back to his timeline. His present-day counterpart became part of the cast from then on, but Future Trunks himself wouldn't return for twenty-three real-world years, when he got a new story arc in Dragon Ball Super.
  • Fairy Tail: Jellal and Laxus. The Bus Came Back for both of them, though Jellal comes back twice.
    • It also happens to Gildarts twice, though he has gotten two NoDialogueEpisodes showing what he has been up to.
  • In Hitohira, Mugi's best friend Kayo announces out of the blue that she will be studying photography abroad—which is a bit strange, since she didn't even finish her high school education yet. No further details are given, not even where she will be going, and her disappearance is obviously used as a device to cause Mugi large amounts of angst.
  • Hunter × Hunter:
    • Leorio and Kurapika, two of the main characters were put in a bus for years! Fortunately, they both have been seen in later chapters.
    • Ironically, it looks like Killua has been put on a bus since he's off to travel with his sister Alluka for a bit.
  • THE iDOLM@STER - The Producer on the Live For You OVA
  • Happens quite a few times in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure.
    • The most blatant example would be Fugo leaving Giorno's group in the middle of Part 5 (because he thought their mission was suicide) and never gets mentioned again. (The real life reason being that Araki decided against making him The Mole due to his depression at the time.)
    • After leaving Morioh at the end of Part 4, Joseph is never so much as mentioned again.
    • Subverted when Polnareff decides go back to France at the end of Part 3 but returns in Part 5.
    • Giorno is last shown at the end of Part 5 and was later stated by Word of God to be in Florida during Part 6 after Pucci gained the Joestar birthmark. There's a chance he should have been drawn to Pucci by the bloodline connection, but still doesn't appear.
  • The military structure of the Space-Time Administration Bureau in Lyrical Nanoha makes this easy. Don't need someone for now? Just ship them off to a post that the current arc isn't focusing on. Need them back? Either reassign them to the main characters' branch or have their department help out on the current crisis.
    • StrikerS Sound Stage X does this to all but one character introduced before StrikerS (Mariel), and ViVid Strike! does the same thing to all but four characters of the pre-ViVid cast (Vivio, Nove, Sein, and Ixpellia).
    • In fact, Nanoha does this so much that there are only three characters who have appeared in every season since their introduction (and even then, only if you include cameos): Nove, Vivio, and Einhart.
  • In Mahou Sensei Negima!, about half of Negi's class gets put on a bus when the magic world arc starts. Or rather, they're left behind when the main cast gets on the bus.
    • Played straight with Magnificent Bastard Chao, when she returns to the future. Unlike many examples of this trope, she is still referenced often, and the likelihood of an eventual The Bus Came Back is especially good considering her...unique insight into who the main protagonist will eventually end up with.
    • To Jack Rakan, being erased from existence is being put on a bus, and his bus came back.
  • Mai-HiME:
    • In Mai-HiME, this happens to Akane Higurashi after her boyfriend and MIP Kazuya is killed as a side-effect of Miyu destroying Akane's CHILD. She's shown twice afterwards in a particularly heartbreaking Heroic BSoD state, which she doesn't recover from until the end of the series... when Mashiro revives Kazuya and restores her powers just in time for her and the defeated HiMEs to join Mai and Mikoto in the last battle.
    • It happened to her Mai-Otome counterpart, as well. She disappears after the midway point of the series to run off with her newfound lover, only to return for the final showdown.
    • Mai's friends Chie and Aoi leave the school after it shuts down, and are thus absent for the climax.
  • MÄR. Snow is absent for 26 episodes straight in the anime after being captured. She was also captured in the manga but it was much shorter (only about 20 or so chapters, equivalent to maybe 8-10 episodes normally), the main reason is because various filler episodes delayed her rescue for some time. She only shows up in flashbacks/stock footage when Ginta occasionally angsts about how he wants to save her.
  • Mazinger Z: The Hero Kouji Kabuto himself and his Battle Couple, Sayaka, at the end of the series (to be exact, they were put on a plane and sent to America), and they were replaced by The Hero and the Action Girl from the next series, Great Mazinger (Tetsuya and Jun). In fact, all Mazinger Z characters but Shiro, Boss and his gang when Great Mazinger started, although a few of them returned in the last season for the Grand Finale (Kouji, Sayaka, Prof. Yumi and Dr. Hell). In UFO Robo Grendizer, Kouji was the only character from Mazinger Z and Great Mazinger was not (although Boss made a cameo appearance). Go Nagai intended Sayaka to return, too, but Executive Meddling prevented this from happening. In the manga versions, though, more characters and settings from the original series show up.
  • Rinshō of Mikado no Shihō receives this treatment after his plan of usurping his brother's throne is exposed in the first chapter and returns near the end, being the one advising the emperor of Roku to wage war against Shō in the first place.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ: The epilogue shows Judau Ashta leaving the AEUG, and going on a trip to Jupiter with Roux Louka aboard a Jupitris-class cruiser - where he is reunited with his sister Leina.
  • Naruto:
    • The most prominent example is Yamato, who is put on a bus since the beginning of the Fourth Shinobi World War. He doesn't show up again until Chapter 677.
    • During the Sasuke's Rescure arc, most jonin and chunin and some genin (Shino) were send to other missions, so Tsunade was forced to send a team of a fresh chunin (Shikamaru) and four genins (Naruto, Neji, Choji and Kiba). Shino lampshaded that he's still ashamed from being put on a pus at that time and he wanted to part of the rescue team. And Sakura was put on a bus because she was too bad for the team.
    • Sasuke disappeared for three years in the story and wasn't there during the Gaara's Rescue arc.
    • Kakashi was put on a bus for one arc after Gaara was rescued, due to exhaustion of his last battle.
      • Kakashi was put on a bus again after his fight against Obito, when he was sitting in the world of Kamui where he sews his cut wounds. However, he can apparently see what Obito can see.
    • During the Pain arc, Team Guy and Hiashi Hyuga were send to other missions. The Team Guy showed up later, but they couldn't do anything.
    • In the manga, Anko appeared only in the Chunin Exam arc, Fourth Shinobi World War and the final chapter.
    • Iruka, the first teacher and an important character for Naruto, is so barely seen that you can count all of his appearances by hand.
  • In Neon Genesis Evangelion, when Pen-Pen gets put on a bus, you know that the show won't have any more comic relief.
  • The entire cast of One Piece not so much gets put on a bus but earn frequent flyer miles as they are knocked to various locations. Though, everyone's location is given to you and it's assumed they will all return.
    • Since every arc of One Piece takes place on a different island, and the story follows the journey of Straw Hats, everyone who is not a Straw Hat or a traveling companion of theirs more or less gets put on a bus when they leave an island. In case of most civilians who don't leave their island, they are still on the bus except for maybe a few cameos from time to time, but most pirates and marines also travel around their world so they often meet up with the Straw Hats again on another island or are implied to do it in the future.
    • Former villains like Buggy and Baroque Works were put on buses only appearing in chapter cover stories before returning to the main story for real in the Impel Down arc. Same goes for the princesses and other royal characters the Straw Hats met who returned in the Reverie arc.
  • Pokémon: It's safe to say that apart from Ash, Team Rocket, Ash's mother and Professor Oak, every character is subject to this.
    • Misty left the show five years in and has been stuck preventing her sisters from messing up the Cerulean Gym ever since. She was followed by May (and her brother Max), who in turn was followed by Dawn, with both getting four years before joining Misty on the bus. If an interview with the anime director is anything to go by, this will be the fate for every female main character who travels with Ash in the series every time a new generation of Pokémon comes out.
    • Brock was also briefly put on a bus earlier in the show's run. Unfortunately, Tracey was generally poorly received so he was quickly put on a bus himself (though remaining a minor character in Ash's hometown) and Brock remained as a main character in the show for 11 years before he was put back on the bus, and replaced by Cilan. When X and Y rolled around, Cilan himself was replaced by Clemont (and his sister Bonnie). Should this pattern continue, the male companion slot now holds the same disposability that the female companion slot does.
    • Brock was temporarily put on a bus so many times that his abrupt return was a Running Gag at every opportunity. His reappearances even go from awesome to laughable: During Hoenn he makes a Big Damn Heroes moment when the cast is attacked by wild Pokémon (which would be completely unexpected if not for his presence in the opening). The next time, when Ash and his group leave for the Battle Frontier, the narrator is about to close up the episode, but is promptly interrupted by Brock showing up to tag along. Then in Diamond & Pearl, Brock just gets off a truck on the side of the road where Ash happens to be.
    • This trope also applies to most of Ash's Pokémon. Some, like Squirtle and Charizard, are left with other trainers but will occasionally reappear, while others, like Pidgeot, Butterfree, Lapras, Goodra, and Greninja are released and disappear entirely, although Lapras made one reappearance in late Johto. Sometimes Ash will promise to come back for the Pokemon he releases, as shown by his usage of Goodra in the Kalos League (who he released again after it was done). An especially notable example is Ash's Primeape, who he left with another Trainer (after only using it in one episode) similarly to Squirtle and Charizard but hasn't been seen again since the first season. In fact, Ash has made it a habit to leave behind all of his Pokémon except Pikachu in Professor Oak's lab when he travels to each new region.
    • One of the most egregious examples of this was with Heracross; in order to participate in a tournament, he sends Heracross back to get his Tauros. At the end of the episode, he sends Tauros back... but does not get Heracross. Heracross eventually returns for the Johto league.
    • Also applies to many of Team Rocket's Pokémon, such as Weezing, Arbok, and Dustox.
    • Notable is James's Victreebel, who was put on a bus, and replaced with a new one in the same episode....who was also put on a bus by the end of the episode.
    • Though given the nature of the series, it's less being put on the bus as much as being let off.
    • Snap/Todd was introduced in "Pokémon Paparazzi", and he met this fate two episodes later.
  • Student council president and local Casanova Touga Kiryuu of Revolutionary Girl Utena, after he loses his rematch with Utena, is absent until the penultimate episode of the Black Rose Arc. From what's shown after the match, he spent over ten episodes sitting in a chair in his home and not moving. This happens with many of the series' characters (especially the classmates that become Black Rose duelists), but Touga is the most notable example.
  • Robotech: In the comic Prelude to Shadow Chronicles, Max Sterling (Max Jenius of Super Dimension Fortress Macross) is referred to but never seen. He was apparently operating in another sector. He is ordered to return to SDF-3 after supervising weapon tests in the Omicron sector. We don't see him return and if he did, he's presumably missing with the SDF-3, Rick Hunter (Hikaru Ichijo) and all the other Macross-era characters who were semi-phased out due to licensing restrictions.
  • Sailor Moon did this to Chibiusa whenever they sent her back to the future, though after the first time the reasoning was dubious. Mamoru was put on a plane for the Stars season of the first anime, and his fate remained unknown until the final showdown with the Big Bad. The Outer Senshi themselves have a habit of showing up for arbitrarily specific dangers, mostly so the writers can prune down the cast manageably. Sailor Senshi Placeholder Naru was continuously put on a bus after the introduction of all the actual senshi, being brought back several times until she was just written out completely in the last season.
  • Koromo from Saki simply doesn't attend the individual tournament, limiting her displays of Mahjong prowess to a few scenes in the team tournament arc.
  • Tenma went overseas and essentially out of the mainstream storyline of School Rumble.
  • In Slayers:
    • Zelgadis was put on a bus after the first arc wrapped up. He reappeared 8 episodes later, and stayed a main character for the rest of the franchise.
    • Sylphiel was also put on a bus in Slayers TRY (season 3), being replaced by the Golden Dragon Filia, and doesn't return until the end of season 4 (Slayers Revolution).
    • Filia herself was also bussed off immediately after TRY ended, along with all of the other characters exclusive to that season.
    • Amelia is randomly put on a bus at various points in the first arc of the novels (seasons 1 and 2 of the anime are based off of them), and she, Zelgadis, and Xellos are put on a bus after the first arc ended. They are replaced with Luke and Milina; unfortunately, the latter two weren't popular enough to appear in other media (other than the Hourglass of Falces manga).
    • Finally, Zelgadis was absent without explanation in the Knight of the Aqualord manga; Lina, Gourry, and Amelia all have major roles in that story.
  • Star Driver has done this twice so far, both with characters that happen to be Maidens. After the seals of both Sakana and Mizuno are broken and their respective arcs end, they leave Southern Cross Isle and go to the mainland.
  • Noel and Chisato in the manga and anime versions of Star Ocean: The Second Story suffered this fate, as both the manga and the anime got interrupted before the Energy Nede arc. And as a result, the manga adaptation of Star Ocean: Blue Sphere, the direct sequel of Second Story does as if they never existed.
    • And speaking of the Blue Sphere manga, Bowman was hit with this trope too, as by the beginning of it he's a father, and the team wanted him to stay with his family. After the first few chapters, he's never brought up again in the storyline. Oh, did we mention that Bowman joins the team no matter what in the original game?
  • Himespetchi of the Tamagotchi anime had to go back to her home planet in episode 35 of Yume Kira Dream and was absent for the rest of that installment and all of Miracle Friends. She returned to Tamagotchi Planet in the first episode of GO-GO Tamagotchi!.
  • Takeshi Yoshida from Touch is sent to South America just before dueling Tatsuya for the title of ace pitcher.
  • The Vehicle Voltron and everything to do with it seems to have been put on a bus. The only reason seems to be that it just wasn't as popular as the one with the lions. However, references to the Drule empire still pop up from time to time.
  • A great deal of minor characters in Yu-Gi-Oh! are frequently brought back after being sent off, including Duke Devlin, Mai Valentine, Serenity Wheeler, and countless others. But then, almost every season a new duel tournament begins, so they have a semi-genuine reason to bring back the old characters all at once. In Season 3, the Ishtars board a plane home to Egypt and return in the final season.
  • Daichi/Bastion Misawa of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX got put on a bus partway through season 2, after freeing himself from the recruiting cult's brainwashing, done through a Shout-Out to the original Eureka Moment. At least the dub edited in a pair of underwear... He returned next season to give some Expo Speak and a little Techno Babble... and got put on a bus all over again. And he started out as a major character, too, before being Demoted to Extra. Poor guy practically had a bus pass.
  • Yu Yu Hakusho:
    • Hiei mysteriously disappears after the first few episodes in the Sensui arc, using the excuse that he doesn't care whether or not the human world is destroyed. He turns up several episodes to test Yusuke's strength. He goes on a temporary bus again when the team enters Sensui's hideout and battle Gamemaster. Hiei notes, "I know as much of games as I do hugs or puppies and care for them even less" and falls asleep. He remains like this for several episodes.
    • A much more straight example would be Kuwabara in the final arc. While the other main characters travel to the demon realm he stays behind to focus on his studies and is only seen at the beginning and the end of the arc.
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