Created By: AurumFemina on November 23, 2010 Last Edited By: Catbert on February 21, 2012

Shortlived Reunion

Up For Grabs: Person thought dead reappears, only to die shortly after

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Do We Have This One?? Needs a Better Description.

Losing someone is tough. This person may have been mourned. This person may have even had a funeral with many loved ones attending, even if a body was never found.

But wait. It turns out this person is not quite dead. They may be alive and perfectly fine, or perhaps a spirit returning to communicate. But don't celebrate just yet. You may have found them, but they're only here to give you some important information or one last goodbye before shortly expiring for real and passing on. Cue bittersweetness.

As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.

Community Feedback Replies: 34
  • November 24, 2010
    Koveras
    Inverted in Nanoha StrikerS, where it is the Not Quite Dead guy (Zest) who seeks a one last talk with his former friend and colleague who betrayed him. He then dies for good.
  • November 24, 2010
    Darthcaliber
    Attack of the Clones: Everyone but Anakin is convinced his mother has been killed by Sand People. He sets out and finds her in the Sand People's camp only for her to die in his arms right then and there.

    Cowboy Bebop: Spike spent years believing Julia was dead. Then he learns she may still be alive. He finally reunites with her in the series finale only to have her get shot and die for real.

  • November 25, 2010
    AurumFemina
    Also in Cowboy Bebop, where a girl named Meifa believes her father to be dead until she finds out that he was actually alive but on the run. But when she discovers that he is trapped in an unapproachable, unstable force field with very little oxygen left, she gives him some parting words.
  • November 25, 2010
    Stratadrake
    Pretty sure we have this already, probably somewhere under Last Words.
  • November 25, 2010
    SweetMadness
    Yeah, this seems like a very specific version of Last Words, I don't know if there's enough examples to justify splitting it from that page or Almost Dead Guy.
  • November 25, 2010
    MetaFour
    • BPRD: Roger the Homunculus gets very badly burned and is presumed dead, but Johann Krauss insists that he isn't dead. Krauss eventually contacts Roger's spirit, and gets confirmation that Roger is stuck between life and death and isn't really going anywhere. But Roger says he likes it there, and asks that the Bureau bury what's left of his body.
  • November 26, 2010
    Skid
    Last Words is a category and not a trope, there are loads of tropes that are more specific versions of it.

    Almost Dead Guy > You find a guy who you thought was alive beforehand, then he dies after talking to you.

    This trope > You find someone who you thought was dead all along, then he dies after talking to you.
  • November 26, 2010
    berr
    I thought this was Almost Dead Guy and was about to say so until I read Skid's explanation of what this is about.

    Yes, this is an oddly specific subtrope of Final Speech and possibly a type of Almost Dead Guy under the current definition, but seen it a million times. Not too sure about examples. It's also the inverse of Penultimate Speech, a ykttw I did. That trope is when a speech by a character accompanying the hero, who seems healthy and in high spirits, tips you off that he will be offed in an upcoming scene, due to the tone of his speech, and the fact that the writers are giving him a speech at all. (it's usually obvious in the midpoint of a film).

    This trope is when a character you thought was dead tips you off that he is an Almost Dead Guy by launching into a speech which you belatedly realize is a Final Speech when you discover them alive, instead of, say, asking for aid, right? It might be a highly specific subtrope of Almost Dead Guy. Then again, the person you thought was dead might not give a speech, they might do something else to say farewell, something other than:

    Asking for first aid... Asking for something to eat and sit down... telling you to "shut up, I'm fine, never better"

    Bonus Points if you thought he was dead and you realize he's a ghost while talking, or you thought he's been miraculously saved and the camera pans down to show blood dripping from his sleeve. But, again, I'm not too good with examples on this, but seems like a speech is just one possibility. You Are Too Late is another.
  • November 26, 2010
    berr
    Skid, since the Anakin example seems fairly canonical (in fact, I groaned when I saw the film cause of this trope), perhaps we should expand your sentence slightly:

    "This trope > You find someone who you were afraid might be dead, then he dies after talking to you."

    Looking at it this way, it's a highly specific subtrope of Final Speech currently listed as a "type" of Almost Dead Guy. Even if this isn't tropable I think it warrants a separate line somewhere on existing trope page: "Type II. someone you were afraid was dead reappears to give a speech which turns out to be his last". It's probably hard to do a soft split, that means it probably is separate... but only if there are enough examples. Which is to say the examples are probably all on Almost Dead Guy page, and I'm too lazy to go look (being Thanksgiving and all)...

    The key here is that audience expectations are subverted. It's also a type of Hope Spot. Whereas the "generic" Almost Dead Guy is someone you know is dying and you try to ease his pain by listening to him rattle on and on as his vocal chords slowly give out. Anyone willing to hunt for examples of this trope on that page? They should certainly be there, or here, or here.
  • November 26, 2010
    wanderlustwarrior
    I can think of examples for where an already dead person conveys some message before they pass on for good.

    • Lady Belgimine (sp?) in Final Fantasy X, and many of the unsent
    • In Naruto, Kakashi's dad is waiting for him in what is functionally purgatory to give him one last message before he moves on, and Kakashi comes back to life.
      • Naruto meets both of his parents this way.
  • November 26, 2010
    berr
    Come to think of it, Almost Dead Guy already covers both (two separate?!) rather different phenomena.

    1. Someone you were afraid might be dead. You discover them. They pick that moment to die. The fact that they give a speech, or the extent of last words given, is not essential to the concept: This trope. The key to #1 is the idea that the character would pick that moment to die.

    2. Someone the audience expects is going to die. Or soon finds out, as they hack and cough their final words. They may have been introduced as a mortally wounded character to begin with -- an existing subtrope of Almost Dead Guy, I might add, which covers examples that are not this trope. The key to #2 is the improbability that they would be able to talk at length.

    So this and I Am Dying Please Take My Macguffin are mutually exclusive tropes related to Almost Dead Guy. Which bodes well for tropability, if sufficient examples exist. Which would make the diagram look like:

    ^ possibility of death || certainty of death v

    Note that none of the others relate to Hope Spot, so this is Almost Dead Guy Meets Hope Spot.

    And that's only if you don't exclude type #1 (this trope) from the current definition of Almost Dead Guy and make it a sister trope, in which case this trope is Final Speech Meets Hope Spot.
  • November 27, 2010
    berr
  • November 27, 2010
    berr
  • November 27, 2010
    berr
    You know, I was thinking A Death In The Limelight might reference something that sounded like this trope already, and sure enough, I forgot about Back For The Dead. I should have looked before diagramming all that stuff :-(
  • November 27, 2010
    ChrisLang
    This is played for laughs somewhat in The Muppet Treasure Island, when Billy Bones dies. Billy Bones collapses on his bed, and is apparently dead. Rizzo in particular is stunned, because up to this point he thought this was a kid's movie where Nobody Can Die. Then Billy Bones awakes, but it's clear he's not long for this world. He instructs Jim Hawkins, Gonzo, and Rizzo to take his map and find the treasure, and to beware.

    Jim: The one-legged man?
    Billy: Aye. But also, running with scissors, or other pointy objects. It's all good fun, until someone loses an ... AIIIEEE!

    He then falls down on the bed, dead for real this time. Much to the horror of Jim, Gonzo, and Rizzo.
  • November 27, 2010
    berr
    So is this different from Back For The Dead? I know the trope description above focuses on its similarity to Almost Dead Guy, whereas the trope page Back For The Dead is described as an actor/character mortality trope describing writers who bring back a What Happened To The Mouse character just to have a dramatic death at the start of a sequel episode, like Died On A Bus.
  • December 14, 2010
    AurumFemina
    This trope is not about Put On A Bus characters coming back to die. This is more about assumed dead characters coming back to die for real.
  • December 19, 2010
    AurumFemina
    I know the above says that spoilers will be unmarked, but seeing as the movie with this example came out this month, the movie Tron: Legacy appears to invoke this (at least unless a sequel can further specify Kevin Flynn's fate), with Sam Flynn believing that his father is most likely dead, only to find out that he was trapped in the Grid all those years, where the two have an adventure and some bonding time until Kevin Flynn combines himself with Clu, thus potentially "cancelling each other out".
  • December 20, 2010
    troacctid
    ^ Not much point spoilering the name of the work.

  • December 20, 2010
    AurumFemina
    Given that knowing the name of the work would given one an idea of were it was headed even without elaboration, I wasn't entirely sure. But if you insist.
  • December 26, 2010
    henke37
    Professor Layton meets his old love Claire shortly before she goes back to the time of her death.
  • January 5, 2011
    AurumFemina
    Does anyone think that the title of this trope would be fine if it was shortened to "Shortlived Reunion"?
  • January 8, 2011
    troacctid
    ^ Maybe. Or, like, Deathbed Reunion?
  • January 9, 2011
    Dcoetzee
    • Ghost: at the end, Sam (the ghost) becomes visible/audible to Molly and has a moment of reunion with her before passing on to Heaven.

  • January 12, 2011
    TonyG
    Brother Bear: At the end, Koda is reunited with his mother's spirit so he can say a last farewell.
  • February 25, 2011
    Jmacq1
    Subverted with Apachai Hopachai in Kenichi The Mightiest Disciple, who rises from the dead to protect Kenichi and says he's only been allowed a short time to protect him and say goodbye, but then Akisame and Kensei get ahold of him before his time is up.
  • February 28, 2011
    Euodiachloris
    Hmmm - I think very tropable. May need a few repairs to the related tropes, to slot it in better though, as well. Berr, you are not far off in your diagram, btw. A slight adjustment to it, and bingo. I want it used!
  • February 28, 2011
    Euodiachloris
    Oh - I also think a bit in the description precluding the long-term undead should go in, as well. Not the point to this trope... unless... they're long-term undead, who then go on follow this trope by finally getting Killed Off For Real, of course.
  • February 28, 2011
    LordLaharlsVassal
    This happend in Disgaea, when Laharl meets his mother again, after thinking she was dead, as a Prinny (weak demonic cretures that contain sinful human souls who work in Netherworld to earn money to atone for their sins and ultimately reincarnate) right before she is about to be reincarnatet. "Subverted" in the way that she chooses not to say goodby and does not directly tell him it is her(the things she says makes it really obvious that it is her) because she knows it will bring about old depressive memories of her death inside him.
  • March 1, 2011
    LordLaharlsVassal
    It happens in Disgaea3 as well; Mao meets his father's spirit, who have been watching over him since the day he died, in the end of the game, they have sweet moment before Mao's father moves on.
  • February 18, 2012
    Catbert
    Status update?
  • February 19, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Not sure if these count:
    • Casper: James Harvey became a ghost hunter in order to find the ghost of his dead wife. In the climax it turns out she isn't a ghost; ghosts are people who have unfinished business and can't move on. She appears to him in order to tell him she's fine in the afterlife and he should get on with his life.
    • Hercules The Legendary Journeys: In the Made For TV Movies which kicked off the series Herc's wife Deanara [sp] and kids get killed, as they do in the classic Greek Mythology, and go to the Elysian Fields. In one episode of the series proper he visits them there. They don't recognize him.
  • February 19, 2012
    Catbert
    Do we have this already and do we need this?
  • February 21, 2012
    aurora369
    Firefly episode The Message. An old war buddy of Mal and Zoe appears, only to die by the end of the episode.
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