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Chun Li, go home, I got this under control

This ain't your beef; it's a matter for Interpol
E. Honda's Concern, Man Factory

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.

Examples of Adventure Rebuff include:

Anime and Manga

  • Bleach: This is how Ichigo became a shinigami and how he entered the Soul Society, both against Rukia's wishes.
  • After a few adventures, Yuuno tried to tell Magical Girl Lyrical 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.
  • Negi Springfield of Mahou Sensei Negima 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.
  • Shinkon Gattai 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.
  • 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 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.
  • During the first episode of 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."
  • In MAR, 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.
  • In Shikabane Hime, Ouri is apparently attracted to death (non-sexually), which explains why he's always unintentionally showing up around Makina (a Shikabane Hime 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.
  • Kamijou Touma. 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 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.
    • It's part of the requirement that the initiate has to refuse rejection in order to join. Those who walk away are not worthy.
  • 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.)
    • Depends on the era. Post-Ruusan, they liked their recruits brainwashed from the cradle, but Luke was about the same age as Noemi Sunrider, and no one so much as blinked when she took up her husband's fallen lightsaber.


  • 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: Rose and Mickey are refused by the Ninth Doctor before they're allowed to travel with him. Furthermore, the Fourth rebuffed Leela.
  • 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 ended "Are you an assassin?" If you turned to the page for "no", it told 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Western Animation

  • Darkwing Duck always tried unsuccessfully to keep his adopted daughter Gosalyn away from trouble.
  • The Incredibles: The boy who wants to become the main hero's sidekick is rebuffed, and this becomes his Freudian Excuse for becoming the Big Bad later on. Some people don't handle rejection well...
    • On a larger scale, every super is rebuffed when being a hero is made illegal.
  • Inspector Gadget acted like this toward his niece Penny. However, she was actually far more competent than he was.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures: Jackie is always telling Jade to stay out of the adventuring. (But never actually tries to enforce it in any way. And he always acts surprised when she doesn't listen in every episode.) Jackie's a bit more competent, though Jade comes in handy sometimes.
  • Sam and 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 the ThunderCats (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 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."

  • 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.