Why do characters die? Why, because their souls leave their bodies! You can see it happening: an exact duplicate, except winged -- and (usually) white and translucent, and (sometimes) with halo and harp -- starts flying up from the collapsed body. (Appears to be a confusion between the soul and angels.)
If you grab the soul and stuff it back, naturally the death will end. Otherwise, it's bound for Fluffy Cloud Heaven
Usually an animated or comic strip/book trope.
Death Trope -- though many very unpermanent ones. Others are Died Happily Ever After
Anime & Manga
- At the end of each Fullmetal Alchemist manga volume, the characters who have died in that volume are pictured with halo and wings.
- Happens to Sasaki Kojiro (in the past, is a long story involving time travel) in Yaiba.
- Played for laughs in Fairy Tail: Elfman beats Sol so bad that his spirit (complete with halo and wings) comes out flying... only for Elfman to grab it and putting it back into his body.
- In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, as Eddie causes the weasels to die laughing, their souls drift upward. One soul sets off the machinery as it rises.
- Happens in Big Man Japan with each of the defeated monsters. Quite odd to see in a live-action film.
- In Animated Film A Matter Of Loaf And Death Wallace sees or imagines a thin Piella as she looked long ago do this.
- There's a Live-Action Film where Oliver Hardy does this and is later reincarnated as a horse.
- Constantine has a variation in the Stinger after the end credits. Chas Kramer, who died earlier in the movie, appears in half-angel form atop his own tombstone and rockets into the sky.
- Ghost did this for at least one character, albeit without the wings and harp. Several characters got dragged away by demonic shadows.
- A couple episodes of The Three Stooges had this.
- "Seven James Bonds at Casino Royale. They came to save the world and win a gal at Casino Royale. Six of them went to a heavenly spot. The seventh one is going to a place where it's terribly hot."
- In StarTropics, a winged angel version of Mike complete with halo flies up from his body whenever he dies.
- In Crash Bandicoot 2: N-Tranced, a variant of this happens when the character you are using dies. Instead of leaving the body, the body becomes blue with wings and flies away.
- Battle Bugs had this in the death animation for Praying (get it, get it?) Mantis.
- Kirby: Mass Attack: the player controls multiple Kirbys, and any who die transform into little winged angel ghost Kirbys and fly away. It's also played with; any surviving Kirbys can revive the one who just got killed by grabbing his soul and forcing it back down to the ground.
- Koume and Kotake die this way after you defeat their combined form, Twinrova, in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Humorously, they argue with each other over their ages even as their souls are spirited away to the heavens. Since they were evil, why they are ascending is something of a mystery.
- This is referenced in Majora's Mask, with the the heads of Igos du Ikana and his two lieutenants continue to bicker after defeat, showing they are still not at rest even after being killed twice.
- In Skyward Sword, everything you kill, even bugs, explodes in a flash of light and smoke, leaving behind a purple ghostly afterimage. For monsters the image appears as a skull.
- Fancy Pants Adventures, whenever Fancy Pants loses a life.
- In Theme Hospital, when a patient dies, s/he either turns into an angel and flys off to heaven, or the Grim Reaper appears and creates a hole in the ground that swallows the person's soul.
- In Sinfest, the tv after it committed seppuku.
- An early Casey and Andy strip had Casey shoot Andy dead, resulting in an angelic winged Andy. He then smashed his gun, resulting in an angelic winged gun, grabbed that and shot Andy again.
- Done for an April Fools' Day strip in the webcomic Darken; the characters who'd died in the just-concluded story arc are surprised to find themselves with wings and headed upwards. An angel lampshades that people tend to forget that "forgiveness" is a part of the "good" religions.
- In a cartoon about fire safety featuring Donald Duck, Donald panicked several times, resulting in his death, and the soul being forcibly yanked back before the instructor gave him another chance.
- A few Tom and Jerry cartoons have done this with nine of them for Tom's nine lives.
- in the WWII short Animated Film 'Booby Traps', Private Snafu is blown up, does this while playing 'Those Endearing Young Charms' on his harp, and is blown up again.
- The end of The Cat Came Back, not only with Mr. Johnson, but also the cat... and all his nine lives.
- In the Donald Duck cartoon "Soup's On", Donald's nephews trick him into thinking he's dead by dressing him up as an angel and hoisting him up on a mattress.
- A standard ending for many Looney Tunes shorts.
- At the end of the Futurama episode "Hell is Other Robots", Bender flies Leela and Fry out of Robot Hell using a robot's wings. On the way out, an energy ring shot at him is hooked on his antenna to complete the angel allusion.
- In the Looney Tunes short "The Hypo-Chondri-Cat," the two mice Hubie and Bertie convince Claude Cat he's dead by dressing him as an angel and tying him to a balloon so he floats upward.
- The 1948 short "Back Alley Oproar" with Sylvester and Elmer Fudd. Sylvester insists on singing when Fudd wants to sleep, and Sylvester eventually ends up on a cloud, complete with halo and wings.
- The 1954 Sylvester and Tweety Bird short "Satan's Waitin'". Nine versions of Sylvester go to visit a Satanic bulldog after Sylvester is killed in various ways.