"Lootie, I promised him a kiss."
A dramatically-made promise that operates like a verbal Chekhov's Gun. The Promise will eventually be called in—sometimes at the climax and sometimes as the catalyst for a whole arc or series—and the promiser will be required to act.
Whether they succeed, fail or refuse to keep their promise depends almost entirely on the idealism-level of the show. Though other factors, such as whether they were told what they had to do, or if it was a Leonine Contract, may come into play.
Anime and Manga
- This is basically the trope that sets in motion Mashiro's persistence to become a mangaka in Bakuman｡. A promise made in Chapter 1 between him and Azuki, that when he and Takagi get an anime from their manga and Azuki voice-acts the heroine, she and Mashiro will get married.
- Utena invokes The Promise in her vow to save Anthy in Revolutionary Girl Utena. Even when she ultimately fails, her valiant attempt leads to Anthy freeing herself to go in search of her fallen hero(ine).
- In the Soul Society arc of Bleach, Ichigo will save Rukia... whether she likes it or not.
- Later on, during the Arrancar Arc, Ichigo vows to Orihime that "next time... I'll definitely protect you!" And later, during the Hueco Mundo Arc, he tells her "Don't worry. I'm definitely going to win."
- Keitaro holds strongly to his 15-year-old promise to get into Tokyo University for/with a nearly-forgotten girl in Love Hina. He also made a similar promise to forever be with his adoptive sister, which she does indeed dramatically call him on in the OVA sequel, Love Hina Again. The concept of promises also is the main theme of the episode about the Robot Girl Moe.
- Both Lottie and Sara in Soukou no Strain promised to become Reasoners and see their brothers again. One brother kills the other before either can reunite.
- In Ranma ½, these promises cropping up out of nowhere are common plot elements; Ukyo has at least two with Ranma, Kodachi has one with her rival Asuka, and Ranma has several that he doesn't even know about until they're called.
- Naruto is full of "promises of a lifetime"... some more successfully fulfilled than others:
- The most notable case is Naruto's promise to Sakura to return with Sasuke. The episode after the mission to do this was actually called "The Promise That Could Not Be Kept." Though, he renews his promise and it's still his most important reason to fight, alongside protecting his friends.
- Another plot relevant promise is Sasuke promising to avenge his family by killing his brother. Once he succeeds he instantly makes a new one: Destroying Konoha. Obviously that guy needs someone to kill.
- Well, yeah. He does. He's devoted his life to turning himself into a vengeance machine. If the original quest had come to a satisfying conclusion, maybe he could have moved on and rebuilt himself into something new, but instead Itachi acted very weird and then Madara came in and filled in the plotholes with the fact that he threw away everything for nothing because the person he hated more than anything had loved him more than anything, and his true enemies were the people who'd forced them into that position. Naturally all he can do is kill someone.
- Vandread's Hibiki made the casual promise to come to Dita's room. Though hardly a big thing to promise, this haunts him throughout the entire second season. (They way they talk about it makes it seem like something else...)
- In the Battle City arc of Yu-Gi-Oh!, Jounouchi's/Joey's major motivation is his promise to duel with Yugi and get back his Red-Eyes Black Dragon card.
- Elfen Lied plays around with this in the scene where the villainous Bando, rescued by Mayu earlier in the series and feeling indebted, promises to save her once if she winds in trouble. Mayu is forced to cash in this promise not even a minute later, when Bando himself attacks her.
- But when she calls for his help again, he shows up in minutes and knocks the stuffing out of the man sexually assaulting her.
- A second example is Kouta promising to meet Lucy back at the stone on the last day of the festival.
- In Digimon Adventure 02, Ken promises to Wormmon that he won't betray his essential nature—in essence, that he'll stay kind and gentle—when he first meets him as a child. Flash-forward to a few years, More Than Mind Control, and some heavy psychological trauma later, however, and he's the Digimon Kaiser. He does eventually keep his promise, though. Kinda.
- In the previous season, Takeru promises to Sora that he'd protect Hikari. A promise which he still takes rather seriously in Digimon Adventure 02, as he is seen putting himself protectively in front of Hikari (episode 3), seemed angry at himself for accidentally leaving her stranded in the Digital World (episode 7), and doggedly searched for her when she was taken by the Dark Ocean (episode 13).
- A much darker version appears in Tokyo Babylon.[context?]
- Super Robot Wars has this: Kyosuke made a promise to Lamia that he'd kill her if she ever loses her mind ("If you ever lose your mind, don't worry. I'll destroy you myself"). He did get his time to try to fulfill it when he rescued her from the Bartoll. He succeeded in the OAV, but horribly failed in OG Gaiden, and later has to leave it to Axel to actually rescue her and restore her mind.
- And also included in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, though it may be a bit unimportant, considering it came in the last episode of the last season. After Signum beats Zest and gives him a honorable death, Agito prompts Signum to watch over her and see if Signum can really follow up Zest's last wishs and his ideals. Signum's response? "If you ever see me straying from that direction, kill me." More proof that Signum is a magnificent Expy of Lamia Loveless.
- GetBackers: Ban promised Yamato that he would protect Himiko from her curse, and Juubei promised to stop Kazuki if he ever strayed "from the path of righteousness."
- Katekyo Hitman Reborn: Squalo promised 8 years ago to Xanxus that he will never cut his hair until Xanxus becomes the boss of Vongola. And he did, for eighteen years into the alternate future from the Ten Years Bazooka. Obviously because Xanxus doesn't have the blood of Vongola, thus it's impossible for him to become Boss.
- Peacemaker Kurogane: Tetsunosuke promised to his friend Saya that he would not kill.
- Blood Plus: Saya makes Haji promise to kill her after she defeats Diva, a promise which he is unable to keep, instead encouraging her to live.
- Nabari no Ou: Miharu's promise to Yoite, made under duress, to erase Yoite's existence once Miharu can use the Sinrabanshou becomes the main tension and plotline of the series, as well as a source of a lot of its angst.
- Madlax has Madlax and Vanessa promising each other to survive. It looks like Vanessa fails, but along comes Margaret ex machina...
- The Place Promised in Our Early Days has such a promise as the entire backbone of it's plot.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! GX: At the last second in season three, it is revealed that in their past life together, Juudai promised that he would love only Yubel forever. This became the driving force of hir motivation when sie returned in season three. Then one remembers that Yubel can freely alter people's memories, and has no moral compunctions that would prevent hir from using these powers to get hir way...
- And then one remembers that their souls fused and any lies on either side would've been known and that Yubel didn't know that Juudai had remembered their past together. Yubel had nothing to do with his memories reviving. That happened because he'd actually inflicted damage on Yubel, which almost no one can do, since Yubel's effect is to take no battle damage at all. Not to mention that if Yubel lied, it would've been a part of the plot. Juudai loves Yubel. Their past is not a lie.
- Mahou Sensei Negima: Negi promises Ako that he will win the tournament. At about the ten-second count, he recalls the promise and gets up to face Rakan once more. It's actually a tie and Rakan could have beaten him if he really wanted to, but considering the shape Negi was in, he was Badass.
- Chrono Crusade has several promises that the main characters take very seriously. The first is that Mary Magdalene made Chrono promise to "live", which is implied to be the only reason he didn't commit suicide after her death. Also, the manga version shows Joshua and Rosette promise as children to "grow-up together"--remembering his promise is what gives Joshua the strength to reject Chrono's horns. Also, when Rosette made her contract with Chrono, Chrono seems to have promised himself that he would protect her, even going to the point of saying he promised to "never make her cry" in the manga. When he's forced to break this promise at one point, he becomes really pissed.
- In The Secret Agreement, Iori tells Yuuichi that he loves him more than anything and would sacrifice anything for him. This is perfectly romantic until Kyuusai reveals to Yuuichi that he is born to steal life-energy and that his destined prey, under the delusion of love, will naturally offer his life for him to take.
- In Tiger and Bunny, Kotetsu made a promise to his wife on her deathbed to continue to be a Hero after she was gone. This promise starts getting harder and harder to keep once Kotetsu starts losing his powers.
- In Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea,
- Sosuke's father doesn't make it home as he promised.
- Sosuke promised Ponyo to keep her safe, and she's swept away by the sea.
- Sosuke's mother promises she will come back; Sosuke and Ponyo set out in search of her when she doesn't.
- Code Geass has several. A couple of them are found on the Pinky Swear page and are explained in more detail there. A non-pinky promise comes during arguably the biggest Crowning Moment of Heartwarming in the series; when Lelouch realises how much his friends care about him, he tearfully promises them that he'll set off fireworks with them again someday. He doesn't, and when he realises he won't be able to keep this promise, he calls them to apologise and say goodbye.
- In Gate 7, Hana is waiting for someone who has not been revealed yet and once they are reunited, zhe will keep hir promise.
- Usagi Yojimbo has the story A Promise In the Snow where the titular character promises a young girl her gravely wounded father won't die. After they're all nearly buried by an avalanche and Usagi has been battered unconscious, the girl invokes Usagi's promise to get him back on his feet.
- In the Film Noiresque Kim Possible fanfic Nights In the Big City, Kim makes a promise to Ron to sleep with him after he takes a flamethrower to the chest for her to motivate him to hang on during surgery. Afterwards he tells her that he knows why she made the promise and won't hold her to it. She does anyway.
- The German film Das Versprechen literally means "The Promise." It's about a teenage couple in which the girl escapes from East Germany, and her boyfriend promises "Ich komme nach" (roughly: I will come after you). The movie's plot is basically how difficult that is for him to accomplish.
- The poems of Robert Service occasionally feature these, such as "The Cremation of Sam McGee" or "The Ballad of Blasphemous Bill". In the former, a man must carry Sam's dead body around with in the Arctic him until he finds a place to cremate him, and in the latter, an undertaker has to journey out to find Bill's dead body and give him a proper burial. Except that his rigor mortis prevents him from fitting into the coffin. Why, look. A hacksaw.
- As of Thud, Sam Vimes reads the same book to his son at six o'clock, every day, no excuses (because when you have a good excuse, you open the door to bad excuses). As for the one moment he can't make it in time...
- In the Sword of Truth series, it's mentioned several times that "A Wizard always keeps his promises." At one point, a secondary character tells the main character that the reason this happens is, as a wizard, he's subconsciously using his magic to make sure the promise is kept.
- In the novel The Oathbound Wizard by Christopher Stasheff the wizard Matt Mantrell makes a careless hyperbolic vow to overthrow a nearby Big Bad. Since he lives in a magical world with similar laws to Medieval legend, he is honor bound to do so. He later convinces God that the vow was made in error and he shouldn't be held to it, but by then he has seen how horrible the Big Bad is and wants to overthrow him anyway.
- In John C. Wright's Chronicles of Chaos, having someone make and break a promise is a potent source of magical power over them.
- In George MacDonald's The Princess and the Goblin, when Curdie helped her and the nurse get home safely despite the goblins, Princess Irene promised to kiss him. Leading to the complications in the page quote.
- In the Chivalric Romance Sir Orfeo, the King of Fairy must give up Orfeo's wife because he gave a promise to Orfeo, disguised as a ministrel.
- In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40,000 Horus Heresy novel False Gods, Loken explains to Karkasy "the promise of moment" a promise to do one specific thing, and extracts from him a promise to keep their conversation secret.
- In Dan Abnett's Legion, Alpharius is reluctant to leave an undertaking because he has promised to do it. Soneka objects that they always act with relentless pragmatism.
- In James Swallow's The Flight of the Eisenstein, Garro reveals Horus's treacherous attack to his men, and demands that they swear an oath of moment on his sword Libertas. An intercepted order reveals to all of them that he tells the truth, and they all swear.
- In Dan Abnett's Warhammer 40,000 novel Brothers of the Snake, Priad pledges to the farmers that he will protect them. Since it is from a cult, and they turn out to be The Cult, he ends up "revoking the pledge" and slaughtering them.
- In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40,000 Ultramarines novel The Killing Ground, Uriel promises the Unfleshed that he will not let anyone hurt them. In the end, he can only Mercy Kill the last survivor.
- In Robin McKinley's Beauty, Beauty is told not to go into the forest. When she thinks this means far in and goes in around the edges, her brother-in-law makes her promise not to. She dislikes giving her word on principle—then she has to keep it—and so insists that he give his word too.
- In James Swallow's Warhammer 40,000 Deus Encarmine, Rafen complains of the killings because they have promised to protect such people. At the end, he is forced to swear allegiance to Arkio as the reincarnation of Sanguinius—which is the point at which he realizes the extent of Arkio's transformation and that one of them would die.
- In Neil Gaiman's Coraline, Coraline goes to pry a promise out the Other Mother, who first tries to swear on her mother's grave. When Coraline asks if her mother has a grave, the Other Mother says she put her there herself, and put her back when she crawled out. Coraline insists on something else, and the Other Mother swears by her strong right hand. When she breaks it, she sends her hand after Coraline.
- In Outbound Flight, Jedi Knight Lorana Jinzler, aware of her impending Heroic Sacrifice, gets Jorj Car'das to promise to find her estranged brother, still working at the Jedi Temple, and tell him something.
"Just tell him that his sister was thinking of him, hoping that someday he'll be able to let go of his anger. His anger at me, at our parents, and at himself."
- Then Car'das neglects the promise for fifty years, until Survivors Quest.
- In Lewis Carroll's Sylvie and Bruno, a subject of discussion between Lady Muriel and the narrator.
"Do you think," she began again, after a minute's silence, and with a visible embarrassment of manner most unusual in her, "that a promise, deliberately and solemnly given, is always binding--except, of course, where its fulfilment would involve some actual sin?"
- In The Silmarillion, Feanor and his sons swore a terrible oath to recover the Silmarils at any cost. These Silmarils were three hallowed jewels which Feanor made, and which Morgoth stole. Centuries later the oath destroyed them thoroughly, and resulted in them slaughtering many innocents. Even after the last two surviving sons thoroughly hated the oath and wished to stop killing people over the jewels, they felt (or thought they were) somehow compelled to continue.
- In The Lord of the Rings, Aragorn can summon the Dead to fullfill the oath of assistance that they did not respect centuries before.
- Don Vito Corleone basically operates by getting these from a great number of people. (The novel says that he piled up good deeds like a banker piles up securities.) Interestingly, we never see him extort any criminal acts from the recipients of his "favors"; instead, he gets completely innocuous freebies from whatever their normal business is. (Wedding cakes from the baker, performances at his casino from the singer, and a funeral from the undertaker when Sonny gets whacked.)
- In Robert E. Howard's "The Vale of Lost Women" Livia promises herself to Conan the Barbarian if he will free her from her captor. Then she bolts in panic. When he rescues her again, she admits to breaking it and deserving punishment; he returns her home instead because it would have been no better than rape.
- In Robert E. Howard's Kull story "The Shadow Kingdom", after Kull and Brule learn that the ghosts of those the Snakemen kill are their slaves.
A shudder shook Kull's gigantic frame. "Valka! But what a fate! Hark ye"—his fingers closed upon Brule's sinewy arm like steel—"hark ye! If I am wounded unto death by these foul monsters, swear that ye will smite your sword through my breast lest my soul be enslaved."
- In Robert E. Howard's Kull/Bran Mak Morn story "Kings of the Night", Bran's problem is that one tribe is willing to break its promise if it does not follow a man of its own blood.
- In L. Jagi Lamplighter's Prospero's Daughter trilogy—too many to shake a stick at. From the promise of the aerial spirits to obey the Prosperos, to Theo's promise to himself to give up magic, to Logstilla's promise not to become attached to her children any more, to Miranda's to Mephisto's Familiar not to reveal their conversation to Mephisto. And many more!
- In Juliet Marillier's Son of the Shadows, the heroine refuses to give her promise to stay in Sevenwaters to the Fair Folk, knowing that it will come back to haunt her if she does - The Fair Folk always get what is promised to them.
- In Between the Rivers by Harry Turtledove, the protagonist in a grandstanding moment vows that he won't marry his sweetheart until the completion of the trading expedition he's about to embark on. It seems like a safe thing to do since it's a routine expedition and he wasn't planning to marry her until after he got back anyway. But then the nation they were going to trade with unexpectedly puts a trading embargo on the protagonist's city. And the god he swore by is real, interventionist, and quite willing to make the vow stick.
- The Warrior Cats novel Crookedstar's Promise. A mysterious spirit cat asks the main character, as a kit, to promise to be loyal to his Clan above all else, even his own desires. Naturally, he promises, since he can't imagine not being loyal. Turns out that she meant that he can't take a mate or anything of the sort, and she definitely didn't have his or the Clan's best intentions at heart.
- In Edgar Rice Burroughs's The Monster Men, Professor Maxon promises that von Horn can marry Virginia if he rescues her, in the heat of the moment. Afterward, he realizes that this was a problem since he had not gotten Virginia's consent.
- In Teresa Frohock's Miserere an Autumn Tale, Lucian promised to look after Catarina.
- In Gene Stratton Porter's Freckles, when he realizes he could cure his ignorance, Freckles promises he will.
"Before God, I will!" He uttered the oath so impressively that the recording angel never winced as he posted it in the prayer column.
- In His Dark Materials, Lyra promises a friend that she'd come and save him if he ever got kidnapped. In the process of trying to keep this promise, she travels to Svalbard, burns down a military-protected research station and tricks the king of the Armoured Bears. She ultimately ends up accidentally getting him killed anyway, and travels to the World of the Dead to apologise for it.
- In John C. Wright's Count to a Trillion, Menelaus's mother explained her cruel punishment on the grounds that Darwin required it. The young Menelaus concluded that Darwin was a villian, and promised that he would stop him.
- Torchwood: "Tommy, you're my big handsome hero, and I need you." (Interesting Western example with English and Japanese characters as the promiser/-ee.)
- Averted in Farscape with John and Scorpius. John promises to give Scorpius all of the wormhole knowledge in exchange for help rescuing Aeryn, but this debt is later wiped out when John comes up with a way of hurting the Scarrans, which makes Scorpius VERY happy. Played for Laughs with John's promise to Aeryn that he wouldn't hurt Scorpius since Scorpy saved her life. Aeryn releases him from the promise, but they never intended to kill him, anyway.
- Sam Tyler promised Annie he wouldn't leave her at the end of the finale, and mentioned that promise to his mum afterwards. And he kept his promise.
- Several promises have been made on Merlin. Freya promises that one day she will repay Merlin for his help, and does so by delivering Excalibur into his keeping. Arthur promises Guinevere that when he is King, they'll be together. Whilst held hostage by a warlord, Lancelot promises Guinevere that he'll rescue her - this thus far is the only promise that hasn't been kept - whilst Lancelot does his best, it is Arthur and not Lancelot that rescues them.
Oral Tradition, Folklore, Myths and Legends
- In "Bearskin", the hero, appalling shaggy, filthy and ragged, but rich, rescues a man from financial distress, the man promises that he may marry one of his daughters. Only the youngest is willing. However, his appearance stemmed from a Deal with the Devil, and that being over, he cleans up nicely and formally arrives at their house as a wooer—or, in some variants, at his own wedding. The older sisters are impressed, but the youngest, being the sort who would marry a hideous man to redeem her father's promise, ignores him until he proves that handsome as he is, he is still the same man whom she promised to marry.
- In "The Frog King", the king insists the princess must keep her promise to the frog who helped her.
- In "The Goose Girl", the princess swears to never tell anyone that the servant girl usurped her place. (She gets around this through Exact Words.)
- In "East of the Sun West of The Moon", the bear lets the heroine go home as long as she promises not to speak with her mother alone. When she breaks this, her mother incites her to look at him at night, which means that magic snatches him away, and she must search all over the world for him.
- In "Parsley", when the ogress catches the mother in her garden, she makes her promise to give up her child. When the girl is about seven, the ogress tells her, repeatedly, to remind her mother of the promise.
every time she went along the street and met the ogress the old woman said to her, "Tell your mother to remember her promise." And she went on repeating this message so often that the poor mother, having no longer patience to listen to the refrain, said one day to Parsley, "If you meet the old woman as usual, and she reminds you of the hateful promise, answer her, 'Take it.'"
- In "Rashin-Coatie", the prince knows that the henwife's daughter (who cut her foot to fit in the shoe) is not the woman he fell in love with, but is bound by his promise to marry the woman whose foot it fit.
- "The Pied Piper of Hamelin" is a story of what happens when people go back on their word, no matter how desperate they were when they gave it.
- The legendary mermaid Melusine, is found near a woodland spring. She falls in love with the human who finds her, and agrees to marry him, on the condition that he not peek at her while she bathes. They are Happily Married for awhile, raising several children (all of whom are more like demons or demigods, depending on whom you ask), and settling into a nice chateau. Buut, one day, her hubby's curiosity and/or lust gets the better of him, and he peeks in on her bathtime, and finds out that she's actually a mermaid. (He sees her tail fin.) Melusine is not happy, to say the least.
- Halo: "After I'm through with Truth..." "Don't make a girl a promise... if you know you can't keep it..." This leads to a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming in the third game:
- One of the story paths in BlazBlue had Bang Shishigami who was at first being seen as an annoying Stalker with a Crush by Litchi Faye-Ling, until he jumped in and saved both her and Arakune from Hakumen. Bang opts to do a Heroic Sacrifice while Litchi escapes; and asks to meet her in a bar when it's all over, and Litchi promised to do so. Unfortunately, it's a Heroic Sacrifice for real; Bang presumably dies and we don't know if Litchi even remembered him and The Promise. The Kaka clan, however, made him a posthumous hero.
- In Planescape: Torment, your character can actually do this as a dialogue option. Sometimes, dialogue choices (in some specific, important and dramatic scenes) will have a declaration of intent hidden, such as "Truth", "Lie", and, most importantly, "Make Vow". Those dialogue choices affect your Character Alignment: you become more Lawful if you tell the truth, and more Chaotic if you lie.
- A promise is the driving force behind the plot of Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten, hence the title. The main character, Valvatorez made a promise to give his Prinny trainees a sardine once they finish their training. However, the Netherworld's government decides that all of the Prinnies need to be exterminated to cut back on expenses, which would keep him from fulfilling his promise. So naturally, he decides to overthrow the government.
- Kingdom Hearts: At the end of the first game Sora makes a promise with Kairi that he'll return to her and the island with Riku someday.
- In a deliberate echo in Kingdom Hearts II, Roxas makes a promise that he'll meet up again with his friends in Twilight Town. Sora fulfills it vicariously for him, and gets the Oathkeeper keyblade for doing so.
- Final Fantasy VIII has a promise between Squall and Rinoa.
Squall: "How about this... I'll be here..."
- In the ending, when the two are lost in the endless space-time continuum, they find each other by imagining the field of flowers the promise took place in.
- Cloud's childhood promise to Tifa that he would protect her if she ever got into trouble from Final Fantasy VII.
- He has a tendency to show up a little late.
- Dragon Quest VIII: Trodain promised Argonia that their kingdoms would be united by an Arranged Marriage. Unfortunately, Argonia's Prince is Prince Charmles, which causes King Trode no small amount of grief after meeting him and seeing what an utter boor he'd promised his daughter's hand to. In both endings, he decides Screw The Promise, I'm Doing What's Best For Medea and fights to stop the ceremony—the Golden Ending also lets him Take a Third Option and let her marry Charmles' just-discovered cousin. Plus, it's implied that 'The Hero' had the right of succession anyway.
- In Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, Soma Cruz asks Julius Belmont to promise to kill him if he turns evil. Thankfully, the person making the promise is reliable and more than strong enough to fulfil said promise if it comes to that. In Aria's bad ending, Julius turns up in the throne room to kill Soma, and in Julius Mode in Dawn, Julius gets Yoko and Alucard's help to take down Soma.
Soma: ... I've got a favour to ask of you.
- In Persona 3 Portable, a romantic vow to stay together is apart of the last rank of the Justice Social Link for the female protagonist. What makes it so important is that it's with Ken Amada who's very insecure about their relationship.
- A bigger promise is for SEES to meet up again on Graduation Day, if they manage to beat Nyx.
- In Solatorobo, Elh promises Red a billion rings if he helps to complete the Rite of Forfeit. Of course, Elh actually doesn't have a billion rings and, if the Rite had gone as it usually did, Red wouldn't have needed them anyway. Red survived, however, and instead of being angry, he just invited Elh to join his team - ostensibly to work off that debt, of course, but nobody was fooled.
- In Hatoful Boyfriend, the entire Bad Boys Love route and storyline hinges on the fulfillment of a promise from long ago. Given the premise of the game, you might think that it's going to be along the lines of a Childhood Marriage Promise, but it...really, really isn't.
- If Shepard enters into a romantic relationship with Liara in Mass Effect, at the conclusion of Lair of the Shadow Broker in Mass Effect 2, Liara asks Shepard to promise her that s/he's always coming back. At the moment, it isn't clear if Shepard gets to keep the promise or not.
- Gunnerkrigg Court: Coyote promises Antimony she will not be harmed to lure her to the forest. Antimony points out that he's a Trickster and he finds it hilarous.
- The Dreamland Chronicles: Alex, growing up.
- The Order of the Stick: Roy's father, Eugene, swore a Blood Oath of Vengeance to seek out and destroy Xykon, the Big Bad. His failure to do so, plus his decision to abandon his quest, keep him in limbo even after his natural death and transfers the obligation to his heirs.
- He's incensed when his son, Roy, gets to go on to the afterlife proper, since Roy didn't fulfill the terms of the Oath either. It's pointed out by a Being of Pure Law and Good that Roy gets to move on because he died in direct pursuit of the quest his worthless flake of a father dumped on him by consciously abandoning it.
- Megatokyo: Promise to never ever tell my friends that I'm a Magical Girl.
- Memoria: We'll get him back. . . I promise
- Roza: Wait, you promised!
- In Impure Blood, Err... well, we had sworn to. . .—while threatening to arrest Roan after he saved them. (Ungrateful Bastards. Good thing the question of Who Will Bell the Cat? arises.)
- Earlier, Dara extracts one from Roan, in a Leonine Contract.
- After that, she promises him that those of Ancient blood will not always be looked at with fear and disgust.
- In Nip and Tuck, the Show Within a Show Rebel Cry has the admiral try to make a promise to our hero, who recounts the already broken promise to him and says he can make no promise that a politician can't break.
- In Blue Yonder, as the badly wounded Jared is brought in, he asks for a promise they will find his sister, and gets it.
- In Sinfest, the laptop made a vow under Buddha's influence.
- In Our Little Adventure, Angelika tries to get one from Lenny, who responds by asking for one in return.
- In No Rest for The Wicked,
- the promise to return in a week particularly enrages the Beast—she could have admitted to never coming back.
- Claire had promised that she would survive, regardless. She had forgotten that.
- Adventure Time: Princess Bubblegum makes Finn "royal promise" not to tell anyone about the zombies. He has a hard time keeping it, but eventually he defeats the zombies without telling anyone. When Jake discovers the hacked bodies around him, Finn fells it's allright to tell him. Only it's not: turns out the consequences of breaking a royal promise are having to face trial by fire at the hands of giant gumball dispensers. An intervention from Princess Bubblegum gets the sentence demoted to trial by math.
- Although it's not really a demotion, so much as a case of Skewed Priorities on the part of the gumball dispensers, who actually say, "No wait! I have a better idea! Trial by math!
- Up: As kids, Ellie makes Carl promise to help her get to Paradise Falls. She never gets there, but Carl's desire to fulfill his obligation drives the plot of the movie. Later, Russell has Carl promise to keep the bird he befriended safe, and Carl's conflict between the two promises drives the second act.
- Rapunzel from Tangled takes promises very seriously and says that she never breaks them. This comes into play later when she promises Mother Gothel that she will be her prisoner forever if she lets her heal the fatally injured Flynn.
- In the after-series comic in Avatar: The Last Airbender Zuko makes Aang promise him to kill him if Zuko starts to turn into his father.
- In Titan A.E., during the evacuation of Earth, Cale's father puts him into the care of an alien friend, and promises his son that he'll see him again. He doesn't, but leaves a message for Cale begging his forgiveness for breaking his promise.