Created By: DiscarMarch 19, 2013 Last Edited By: DiscarDecember 25, 2013
Troped

Characters Dropping Like Flies

Lots of named characters die throughout the course of the series.

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In most series, you can expect a few people to die. Murder Mysteries start with a death every episode, action series usually have at least one per fight scene, and war movies always have lots of redshirt deaths.

Then there are the series that are known for the high bodycount. Named characters die early and often. This is typically used to establish a dark and gritty setting, or to enhance realism in works that are set in dangerous situations such as wars or extreme jobs.

Compare Anyone Can Die, which is only about named characters dying, bodycount is irrelevant. Contrast Kill Em All, where no one—or at most a bare handful of characters—survives to the end.

Note that this does not count for series where Death Is Cheap, or millions of nameless characters die off-screen.

As a Death Trope, expect unmarked spoilers.


Examples:

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    Anime 

  • Fist Of The North Star has so many people die that it would be easier to count how many people are still alive at the end of this series, even if one discounts all the random mooks that get massacred throughout the series. Driving this in further is the fact that these people are still remembered, to the point that the Toei anime had the credits of the Grand Finale had the images of about every named character (Aside from the most important of them) scrolling by.
  • Justified in Death Note. Light needs the names of criminals to kill them, so he's always killing characters that have names. But even ignoring the redshirts, lots of important characters get offed. Several times, they'll have a few chapters of focus, they'll die...at which point we find out they were being controlled by the Death Note that entire time.
  • Everyone is fair game in Gantz and since its a Deadly Game we're talking about here, there's always going to be a good bunch of (named) players around to be killed. Also, since the players end up in the game by dying in the first place, many (or most) of them get to die more than just once. And then the protagonists start to run into other teams with equally named and expendable characters... and then the war starts.
  • In the x1999 film, everyone dies except for Original!Kamui.
  • Berserk. Absurd bodycount of the named characters, not even factoring in the genocidal slaughters on the battlefield every few episodes.
  • Shingeki No Kyojin. For starters, the main characters are members a Redshirt Army whose job is not even to save humanity but DIE BRAVELY so humanity can survive just a bit longer. That said, named characters get eaten by Titans every five pages (that's right, even the protagonist).

    Comic Books 

  • The Punisher: Given the basic premise, no one is safe from death (even Frank died once, though he came back making no reference to the whole affair). Recurring characters like Barracuda and Yorkie Mitchell are safe for maybe three arcs.

    Film 

    Literature 

  • In A Song Of Ice And Fire, named characters die all the time, mostly because there is such a ridiculous number of them. Some of them can't even make it to becoming One-Scene Wonders, but are left to be only names in the appendices before they pass away.
  • Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows has a higher bodycount than the other six books combined.
  • In Battle Royale every students' death is announced by the Big Bad, and by the end only two students remain.
  • Robert Graves's I Claudius recounts the life of Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, a member of Caesar's family who survived the genocidal purges of both Tiberius and Caligula because he was believed to be mentally handicapped, but was later crowned emperor. During the arc of the novels (and history for that matter), Claudius witnesses practically every member of his family being murdered due to political intrigues and infighting.
  • In The Diary Of Anne Frank only one character survives. This of course reflects historical fact.
  • Oka Shohei's novel Nobi or Fires on the Plains (1951) follows a Japanese soldier deployed to Manila in the final months of World War II after the army started to fall apart. Ordered on a pointless death march to a loosing battle, most of the characters succumb to disease, madness, murder...or worse.
  • Especially the early books in the Honor Harrington series had lots of named bit characters dying. When Eric Flint was to start writing in the universe, he tried to find some few characters appearing in only a single book or two that he could use — and found they had a 90% mortality rate. (He did manage to find three.)
  • The Chung Kuo series include the deceased characters in the list of characters as a separate section. It's by far the longest one.

    Live Action TV 

  • The The Vampire Diaries TV show is notorious for this. Not only do they kill off lots of named characters, they especially like doing it after said character has had at least a few episodes of character development.
  • In The Walking Dead, while in the first three seasons much of the original "core" cast from the first season is still alive, many of the rest of the characters, developed or not, have no such luck. Even being "core" isn't a guarantee of survival, as seen with Dale, Shane, Lori, and T-Dog.
  • Battlestar Galactica Reimagined gives us: Billy, Gaeta, Zarek, Dualla, Cally, Anders (effectively brain dead), D'Anna Biers (presumably perishes on the uninhabitable "Earth"), multiple supporting cast crew members whose deaths were depicted, several last-episode fatalities (Roslin, Cavil, Tory, etc.) and that's not counting characters who die but come back at least once.
  • Midsomer Murders is famous for its ridiculously high murder rate (even for a detective series). Depending on population estimates, the rural county of Midsomer has a crime rate beaten only by a few countries.
  • Revolution: Within the first season itself, lots of named characters end up as dead as a door nail. By the first season finale, Charlie Matheson, Rachel Matheson, Miles Matheson, Aaron Pittman, Priscilla, Priscilla's daughter, Tom Neville, Jason Neville, Julia Neville, Kelly Foster, Grace Beaumont, and Sebastian Monroe are the only big characters still alive. Not only that, but trailers for the second season have made it very plain that a number of those characters still alive are going to end up as dead as a door nail too.

    Theatre 

  • Shakespeare's tragedies are notorious for this. One Reduced Shakespeare Company production had mattresses laid around the stage for the characters to die on.
  • Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus is a veritable bloodbath featuring not only murder but also rape, torture and cannibalism with more than a 90% kill rate for named characters.
  • Although much less gory, Hamlet also ends with a pile of corpses on stage.
  • In the Japanese Kabuki play Yotsuya Kaidan, or "The Ghost Story of Yotsuya" a samurai named Iemon wants to get rid of his wife so he can marry the daughter of a rich man, and in the course of his overly-intricate murder plot, kills her off as well as several innocent bystanders. Later in the play, his wife comes back from the dead as a ghost and in the course of her overly-intricate revenge manages to kill off most of the remaining characters.

    Visual Novels 

  • Danganronpa, as a Deadly Game, is known for this. In the original, only 6 characters out of the 15 introduced at the start actually survive until the end.

    Webcomics 

Community Feedback Replies: 211
  • March 19, 2013
    Nohbody
    (under Live-Action TV)

    • In The Walking Dead, while in the first three seasons much of the original "core" cast from the first season is still alive, many of the rest of the characters, developed or not, have no such luck. Even being "core" isn't a guarantee of survival, as seen with Dale, Shane, Lori, and T-Dog.
  • March 19, 2013
    captainpat
    This sounds like Everybodys Dead Dave.
  • March 19, 2013
    Discar
    No, that's when everyone dies except for one or two. This is when lots of characters die, but the cast is kept full with new ones. Edited description to address that.
  • March 19, 2013
    Lumpenprole
    In Battlestar Galactica Reimagined several central characters die, especially in the last season.
  • March 19, 2013
    Larkmarn
    I'd like to point out that something like this was suggested in the TRS for Anyone Can Die... a particularly common misuse is "Lots of people die... but hey, the main characters don't!" I'm pretty sure this is in response to that.

    Sort of a "Faux Anyone Can Die."
  • March 19, 2013
    MrRuano
    Fist Of The North Star has so many people die that it would be easier to count how many people are still alive at the end of this series, even if one discounts all the random mooks that get massacred throughout the series. Driving this in further is the fact that these people are still remembered, to the point that the Toei anime had the credits of the Grand Finale had the images of about every named character (Aside from the most important of them) scrolling by.
  • March 19, 2013
    Discar
    ^^^ I'd like more detail. I watched BSG too, and I know it's an example, but I can't remember enough to add enough detail.

    ^^ Correct. When the Character Death YKTTW was started, I got the idea for this one.
  • March 19, 2013
    DRCEQ
    "This is when lots of characters die, but the cast is kept full with new ones"

    I'm pretty sure that is Anyone Can Die.
  • March 20, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    Literature
  • March 20, 2013
    Nohbody
    Paradise, as this trope isn't Anyone Can Die, using that in an example description is kind of counterproductive, just a wee little bit. :)

    Also tweaked the TWD entry a bit. Listing the seasons in which specific characters bite it could get a bit long for an entry. :P
  • March 20, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    ^ Hah, noted. Changed it to correspond the name of this one (I don't know why I didn't do so in the first place).
  • March 20, 2013
    MokonaZero
    So it's when characters die very often, I can see why that's different from Anyone Can Die.

    Justified in Death Note Light needs the names of criminals to kill them, so he's always killing characters that are names.
  • March 20, 2013
    Larkmarn
    • Despite the franchise's love of the Bittersweet Ending and willingness to kill off random characters, some Gundam series left the main cast untouched:
      • Gundam SEED Destiny: The body count is very high in terms of numbers. Villains and redshirts get killed by the boatload. However, once the core cast is assembled they don't suffer a single casualty (in fact, due to a retcon of the previous series mentioned below, their ranks actually rise). This suffered from pretty severe backlash and was modified in the Compilation Movie... which showed that one of their mechs took damage.
      • Retroactively, Gundam SEED. The sole main character death in the second half of the series was retconned by its sequel series.
      • Gundam Wing: The only major character death at the end of the series was the former Big Bad who allowed himself to be killed. All other main characters, their love interests, and support characters all survive.
  • March 20, 2013
    Lumpenprole
    Battlestar Galactica Reimagined deaths: Billy, Gaeta, Zarek, Dualla, Cally, Anders (effectively brain dead), D'Anna Biers (presumably perishes on the uninhabitable "Earth"), multiple supporting cast crew members whose deaths were depicted, several last-episode fatalities (Roslin, Cavil, Tory, etc.) and that's not counting characters who die but come back at least once.

  • March 20, 2013
    DRCEQ
    I think I'm still not getting this. Anyone Can Die means even the main characters can be killed without warning.

    So this trope is... Anyone Can Die Except The Main Characters? Kind of sounds like The Same But Slightly Less.
  • March 20, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
    No, because "The Main Character Can Die" is the whole point of Anyone Can Die. If they can't die it's not the same trope.

    This trope is intended to funnel away some misuse from Anyone Can Die.
  • March 20, 2013
    Chabal2
    Midsomer Murders is famous for its ridiculously high murder rate (even for a detective series). Depending on population estimates, the rural county of Midsomer has a crime rate beaten only by a few countries.
  • March 20, 2013
    StarSword
    Is there a threshold after which a work counts?

    TV:
    • Stargate SG 1 had Death Is Cheap in play for the main cast, but a lot of named antagonists, a few supporting characters, and a lot of named one-shot characters were offed permanently.
  • March 20, 2013
    Larkmarn
    Yeah, as Sep said this isn't "the same but less" because it's really not "the same." Anyone Can Die means that the main characters are at real risk of being Killed Off For Real, this is for works that try to play at that, but rather just make it so that lots of unimportant people die in their place.

    I suggest the name "Inflated Body Count" since it's basically about stories that create the appearance of Anyone Can Die and want to maintain that atmosphere, but don't actually follow through with it by killing the B and C-listers. Absurdly High Bodycount seems more like Kill Em All.
  • March 20, 2013
    Larkmarn
    Oh, also. Plot Armor and Contractual Immortality should be mentioned. The latter is especially relevant.
  • March 20, 2013
    helterskelter
    So, Anyone Can Die, but with main character Plot Armor? I can see it. Definitely needs a better title, because misuse is going to be huge. Expendable Secondary Cast?
  • March 20, 2013
    Discar
    But there's crossover. A series where Anyone Can Die can easily be this trope as well, it's just by no means required. Plot Armor is not a factor here, just a high bodycount. Anyone Can Die has nothing to do with bodycount, just who dies--specifically, main characters.
  • March 20, 2013
    DRCEQ
    Yeah. You REALLY need to emphasize that this is about high quantities of Cannon Fodder, Red Shirt Army, and nameless masses if you plan on including that main characters might attempt to be killed but really aren't.
  • March 20, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    ^ What is there so difficult to understand with this one? This trope is about a lot of named characters dying. They can be main characters, when it would also be a case of Anyone Can Die. Then again the main characters might have a Plot Armor thick enough to block out the sun but it would still be a case of this trope, if there was a lot of named characters dying. That's why series like Midsomer Murders qualify for this, since characters killed in Detective Fiction are pretty much always named.

    Anime And Manga
  • March 20, 2013
    StarSword
    @helterskelter: Expendable Secondary Cast is good.
  • March 20, 2013
    Discar
    I feel like Expendable Secondary Cast would be prone to misuse, and would be used like Mauve Shirt and so on.
  • March 21, 2013
    helterskelter
    Expended Secondary Cast? This implies it needs to already have happened, and that it was complete.
  • March 21, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    ^ The problem is that this isn't just about the secondary cast but also covers the main cast.
  • March 21, 2013
    helterskelter
    Then I really don't see how this is different from Anyone Can Die. I honestly do not see a difference here. You're saying it's just an example where Anyone Can Die...but sometimes main characters don't? But sometimes they do? If you want to say that the main characters are exempt, I can see it. If you do not insist they aren't, then it's Anyone Can Die.
  • March 21, 2013
    Discar
    It's when lots of characters die. That has nothing to do with Anyone Can Die, it's just what Anyone Can Die is being constantly being misused as.
  • March 21, 2013
    DRCEQ
    It's Anyone Can Die. I see no difference. NO. DIFFERENCE. Anyone Can Die is also where sometimes the main characters die, and sometimes they don't.

    If you're trying to put an emphasis on "Lots of characters", then you really REALLY need to emphasize that this is a trope about quantity.
  • March 21, 2013
    helterskelter
    So, it's Anyone Can Die...and Anyone Does Die! You're just saying that it's a case of Anyone Can Die by way of many people, including main characters, dying. Yeah...that's kind of the trope. This just seems to overemphasize the amount of people dying, but I actually cannot perceive how this is any different.

    I agree with DRCEQ: if the body count is not extremely, extremely emphasized, you are going to see a heavy amount of misuse. Perhaps something like it's necessary that over 4/5ths or 9/10ths of everyone, named or not, dies. Otherwise I don't see a trope. I see Anyone Can Die.
  • March 21, 2013
    Discar
    Again: Anyone Can Die has never been about high bodycount. Ever. It's just misused as that all the time. This is specifically to siphon off that misuse.
  • March 22, 2013
    DRCEQ
    What misuse? I'm looking through all three repair forums and I'm not seeing Anyone Can Die anywhere. I'm not seeing anyone saying that Anyone Can Die is being misused in any way. What this means to me, is that Anyone Can Die can apply to high quantities of people dieing.
  • March 22, 2013
    Larkmarn
    It came up in the Killed Off For Real TRS thread.

    But at this point, I'm with DRCEQ and Helterskelter. When this trope seemed to be about works propagating an atmosphere of Anyone Can Die but never pulling the trigger with a major character, that seemed like a great trope, and one we needed to curb misuse.

    But as is, I can see how this is separate from Anyone Can Die (which can be in place even if one person dies, depending on who it is). It's just... mundane. Especially if the Character Death YKTTW gets off the ground, it's just that, but more.
  • March 22, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
    What does "It's just... mundane" mean - I've never heard of it as an argument against a trope.

    Character Death and Absurdly High Body Count are in two completely different orders of magnitude.

  • March 22, 2013
    DRCEQ
    ^ perhaps you can help me understand how this trope should exist.
  • March 22, 2013
    Larkmarn
    ^^ Basically, I'm just saying that there's a better trope here that should be dealt with first (or concurrently). It's separate, but it feels a bit less tropable to me.
  • March 22, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
    @DRCEQ: See here.

    Also, your definition of Anyone Can Die is wrong. Main characters dying is a requirement for that trope. Here it's a requirement that it doesn't happen.
  • March 22, 2013
    DashSpendar
    Except it isn't. Main characters can die in this, which is why it explicitly overlaps with Anyone Can Die. Main characters dying has nothing to do with this trope.
  • March 22, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
    The main characters are usually safe from the slaughter, means "can die in this"? Yes, but it's unlikely.

    Anyhow, the key factor in Anyone Can Die is that not even the main characters are safe. This is about a large bodycount.
  • March 22, 2013
    DashSpendar
    Right. This and Anyone Can Die are unrelated.
  • March 22, 2013
    DRCEQ
    Then that distinction needs to be pointed out in the description.
  • March 22, 2013
    Larkmarn
    Yeah, the wishy-washy language in the description make me THINK it's about "Anyone Can Die... except for main characters" but OP has been adamant that it's not about that, and simply "works where lots of people die."

    Said bit about the main characters either needs to be cut or expanded. If the trope has nothing to do with Anyone Can Die it's just misleading. If it's expanded then it changes the trope from what OP keeps saying the trope it.

    I think the former would do a lot more to curb misuse of Anyone Can Die, and probably will make a YKTTW of it when this gets sorted out.
  • March 22, 2013
    Discar
    "Then there are the series that are known for the high bodycount."

    Where is the confusion coming from?
  • March 22, 2013
    Larkmarn
    ... the fact that there's a lot more to the description than that sentence?
  • March 22, 2013
    Discar
    Confusion gone.
  • March 22, 2013
    helterskelter
    That does make it a lot clearer. Bringing up whether or not main characters get the ax made it hard to determine where the trope lied.

    I do think we'll still see a lot of exaggeration or misuse...is there any way to make it clear how many people need to die, relatively? To justify the absurdly high part of it?
  • March 22, 2013
    Discar
    It's hard to put a discrete limit on this kind of thing, because it all depends. In a work with five named characters, do three deaths count? Probably not, but I could think of a few ways. Likewise, in a work with a hundred named characters, I could think of a few situations where killing off fifty of them wouldn't count for this trope.

    It all comes down to how it's treated. That's the point of the "known for high bodycounts" line. It's the kind of work where the audience knows not to get too attached to a new character, because they know there's no guarantee they'll be around forever.
  • March 22, 2013
    helterskelter
    I guess I just worry about people using a trope like this as a badge of honor: they want to feel like their work is gritty and realistic and dangerous, so they add something like this trope, which is not YMMV, yet is implied it's based on audience reaction. This happens a lot with tropes are are about how works distinguish themselves from other works.

    But I guess the best one can do is keep an eye on it.
  • March 23, 2013
    DunDun
    So if this trope is about Anyone Can Die to an Absurdly High Body Count, then Homestuck certainly counts.

  • March 24, 2013
    Discar
    Added a line to the description: "Named characters die early and often."

    Since I realized without that qualifier, any story with a war going on in the background would count. Okay, it would probably count anyway, but you know what I mean.
  • March 24, 2013
    robinjohnson
  • March 24, 2013
    Treblain
    Can you point to a meaning for this? Anyone Can Die isn't just a listing of how many major characters died, it's about the attitude that makes characters feel vulnerable to the audience by shattering the illusion of Plot Armor. A trope needs to have a meaning, not just a list of works with lots of death.
  • March 24, 2013
    Space_Harpoon
    I don't know if this counts, but I think it's the vibe you're going for

    • Metalocalypse: with the exception of the five main characters, nearly every single character in the show dies at some point, especially named characters that are introduced after the first episode. In addition, almost every episode has some disaster occur near the band that kills countless thousands of bystanders - laser beam accidents, supermax prison breakouts, cataclysmic earthquakes, mass suicides, cannibalistic riots, sometimes even plain old massacres.
  • March 24, 2013
    Butterfinger
    Can the pothole to Killed Off For Real for the Homestuck example be removed? The way it's mentioned makes it seem like death before the dreambubbles is where a character is killed off for real, but those are often the deaths that demonstrate the Death Is Cheap aspect of the story.
  • March 24, 2013
    zizoloziz
    Dangan Ronpa, as a Deadly Game, is known for this. In the original, only 6 characters out of the 15 introduced at the start actually survive until the end.
  • March 25, 2013
    DunDun
    ^^The Death Is Cheap aspect comes from the revivals, while the Killed Off For Real comes from Hussie actually needing to write DEAD when a character actually died. It wasn't until later that we find out characters can really meet up in Dreambubbles. (But it doesn't really matter to this trope; I'm just clarifying why I put the pothole in there to begin with.)
  • March 28, 2013
    SuperJedi224
    I'd say we have this under Kill Em All.
  • March 28, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
    No. Again.

    Kill Em All is when the entire cast dies, including the main one. This one doesn't require either to die.
  • March 28, 2013
    ArcadesSabboth
    I corrected the grammar and Word Cruft in the Song of Fire and Ice example.

    This should have a longer description. What are related tropes. Describe how it is different from Kill Em All (so people stop asking) and Anyone Can Die. Explain relation to Red Shirt and Red Shirt Army.
  • March 28, 2013
    Discar
    I had a longer description, but people were getting confused, so I cut it down. If you have something in mind, then by all means.
  • March 28, 2013
    helterskelter
    It's okay to describe the differences between either tropes. What was confusing initially is that you started to talk about whether main characters were dying, whether they weren't, etc. You confused what the requirements for the trope were. I think explaining "Compare Kill Em All, where the entire cast dies" and things similar are helpful.
  • March 28, 2013
    Lorialet
    • Murder She Wrote is basically Murder Magnet, the series. Wherever Angela goes, there is a 98 % chance someone dies, even when it's entirely safe usually.
  • March 28, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    Corrected the italics that ArcadesSabboth broke when he worked on my example.
  • March 30, 2013
    zizoloziz
    I think this should be re-defined as "Lots of people die, but the protagonist/main cast stays more-or-less intact" to differentiate itself from Kill Em All and Anyone Can Die.
  • March 30, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
    That is its current definition.
  • March 30, 2013
    TompaDompa
    I have a number of questions.

    • Is this about a large number of deaths, or a large percentage (or either)?
    • Could movies be examples?
      • If so, could movie series (like The Lord of the Rings or Friday the 13th) be examples?
    • Would multi-generational stories/epics (like The Bible or The Silmarillion) count?
    • What is meant by a "named character"? If a character's name is only in the credits (for instance), does that count?
    • Do single events that kill a lot of named characters (such as a nuke or a plane crash) count towards this? What about multiple simultaneous/coordinated events (like a purge)?
    • Does it matter whether or not death is permanent?
  • March 30, 2013
    Discar
    One at a time, then.

    1: Both. The point is "a series known for a high bodycount."

    2: Of course. Any medium works. Slasher movies would pretty much count by definition.

    3: Yes, as long as you aren't trying to count "died peacefully in his old age."

    4: Named character as in important character. Bob the Random Janitor doesn't count, but a protagonist with No Name Given would.

    5: Yes.

    6: I'm on the fence about that. Leaning towards yes, but I want to hear what other people think.
  • March 30, 2013
    helterskelter
    As for six, it's probably a separate trope, because it's usually something that happens as like a huge genocide for everyone that gets cured, which I think distracts from the point of this trope which is something is known for a high bodycount.
  • March 31, 2013
    TompaDompa
  • March 31, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
    ^These two examples seem to lack from pertinent context. And the former three are more of a general statement than something useful here.
  • April 2, 2013
    clankomatic
    Literature/TV: In the book/series Lonesome Dove, practically everyone we care about dies. Which is actually true for other novels by Larry Mc Murtry, also.
  • April 2, 2013
    clankomatic
    Literature/Classic Movie: Arsenic and Old Lace. The sweet old ladies go through lots of boarders. Don't look in the cellar!
  • April 2, 2013
    clankomatic
    Movies: In "The Ladykillers" (1955 w Alec Guiness, 2004 w Tom Hanks) the bodies mount up slowly, but inexorably.
  • April 3, 2013
    Telcontar
    In Arsenic And Old Lace, the thirteen bodies buried in the cellar were there beforehand and serve no purpose other than to rival the thirteen murders Johnny committed around the world. Only one of the people buried down there is described, and that's just reminscising over how he died. Nobody dies in the course of the movie, IIRC, or if there are then it's not an absurdly high number. I don't think it's an example.
  • April 3, 2013
    Chabal2
    The Punisher: Given the basic premise, no one is safe from death (even Frank died once, though he came back making no reference to the whole affair). Recurring characters like Barracuda and Yorkie Mitchell are safe for maybe three arcs.
  • April 3, 2013
    Discar
    @ clank: Need more context on all three examples. Also, you didn't have to triple post. You could have just edited your first post with the new information.
  • April 11, 2013
    LikeSnowyNights
    In the Manga/{{x/1999}} film, everyone dies except for Original!Kamui.

  • April 11, 2013
    LikeSnowyNights
    In the x1999 film, [[everyone dies except for Original!Kamui.]]

    Sorry, screwed that up at first.
  • April 12, 2013
    MokonaZero
    In Battle Royale every students' death is announced by the Big Bad, and by the end only two students remain.

    I think as a Death Trope, you should mention there may be spoilers.
  • April 12, 2013
    xanderiskander
    The discussion here is really confusing. The description makes me think it's "loads and loads of characters die", but the discussion here makes it sound like "everyone except main characters can die", but doesn't note that in the description well enough.

    From what I can gather in the discussion it seems like this is Everybodys Dead Dave except with more than 1 or 2 not-dead characters.

  • April 14, 2013
    helterskelter
    ^ Ignore the discussion. The description tells you exactly what the trope is about. A series known for a very high body count.
  • April 15, 2013
    Lophotrochozoa
    Does "known for" mean that it's an audience reaction?
  • April 15, 2013
    DunDun
    Should it be renamed to reflect the "known for"? Like High Bodycount Reputation (or something with "reputation")?
  • April 15, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    ^ I don't think so. A work with a lot of named characters dying qualifies for the trope regardless of what the audience thinks about it.
  • April 21, 2013
    Noaqiyeum
    I think you could describe this as a work that goes from Loads And Loads Of Characters to Minimalist Cast over the course of the story.
  • April 22, 2013
    helterskelter
    That doesn't work either because often new characters are introduced to replace them. I think there's an objective measure to this, but it's hard to get people to obey the concept of absurdly high body count without saying something like it's known for it.

    That is, there is an objective trope here, but it's too easy for tropers to make it subjective by adding examples they think fit--for instance, I don't agree Harry Potter counts. It has a ton of characters and only a couple really die. But the final book's death count meant a lot to many people who previously hadn't seen much death in the series and were very fond of the characters. So you'll see a troper add it in, despite the fact relatively few characters die.
  • April 22, 2013
    StarSword
    ^In that instance, I would argue Deathly Hallows counts but the rest of the books don't.
  • April 22, 2013
    ohnoesazombie
    I notice the television version of The Walking Dead has a spot, but the comic is suspiciously absent. Out of a starting cast for over a dozen, four remain by the 100th issue, and any number of later additions are long since gone.
  • April 23, 2013
    Leaper
    With this name, I can practically guarantee it will be widely misused for series or movies in which lots of unnamed extras die (e.g. ones in which entire cities are destroyed).
  • April 23, 2013
    StarSword
  • April 23, 2013
    Discar
    I could get behind Disposable Cast, but that's not quite right either.
  • April 25, 2013
    DunDun
    The "disposable cast" name definitely seems to be what this is getting at, given the ^x6 explanation, but "the cast" is usually meant for the actors and not the characters, which are the roles. And Disposable Roles sounds like "disliked muffins"...

    High Death Rate is similar to how it's already named, and I don't think it really helps tropers identify this as objective... Enhanced Death Rate... Death Take The Wheel (snowclone of "Jesus take the wheel")... No Mercy For The Living (more snowclones)... I Cannot Believe Theyre Not Dead...

    I can't think of any better names, but I just wanted to put in my two cents for the Disposable Cast name (in that it does not make sense).
  • April 25, 2013
    GilvaLepista
  • April 26, 2013
    Discar
    Hm...that one has merit...
  • April 26, 2013
    Thunderforge
    Literature
    • Shakespeare's Hamlet has pretty much everybody die at some point, with the last act having about half the deaths.
  • April 27, 2013
    GilvaLepista
    Okay, so, the reason I had Mauve Shirt Slaughterhouse with a question mark was that I'm actually not clear on what this trope is supposed to be. If it's only Red Shirts that die then it's A Million Is A Statistic or Red Shirt Army, but if it's main characters too, then it's Anyone Can Die. When you say "named characters die often," does this include protagonists, or is this for when... well, now that I think about it, having it be a Mauve Shirt Slaughterhouse is the only possible way to avoid being redundant. And if this is the case, then [[Literature/Hamlet Hamlet]], ''Death Note'', and ''A Song of Ice and Fire'' don't count, but ''Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows'' still does.
  • April 27, 2013
    Discar
    I'm just using named characters as a shorthand for "Not (just) Red Shirts." Which is basically Mauve Shirt, I suppose. And this is intended to both include and exclude protagonists. That is, this trope is when lots of mildly important people die. If that includes the protagonists, then it's still this trope--it's just also an example of Anyone Can Die. If that's too confusing, I'll stop bringing up that point, but I don't see how everyone is having trouble with it.

    Now, as for defining this simply as "Lots of Mauve Shirts die." Why would Death Note not count? I haven't seen/read ASOIAF and don't remember Hamlet, but I know Death Note is quite gleeful about killing off pretty much everyone the audience is invested in.
  • April 27, 2013
    GilvaLepista
    ^As you said, "everyone is having trouble with it." So, yes, it's too confusing.

    Death Note and Hamlet are pretty straightforward Anyone Can Die, since the protagonists die too. Game of Thrones (1st book of ASOIAF) doesn't count either because Nedd Stark dies, but ASOIAF as series might, if you argue that Nedd Stark was just a decoy protagonist, and Tyrion and/or Danaerys is/are the real protagonist/s. Deathly Hallows definitely still counts because, even though tons of named characters died, Harry, Ron, and Hermione all made it out alive.
  • April 27, 2013
    StarSword
    I think we need to strictly define this as "main characters are safe but nobody else is".
  • April 27, 2013
    DunDun
    I think the discussion explanations are actually better than the description as it currently is in the draft (which would of course cause confusion).

    Why not omit what this trope is not and replace it with "Characters, not just Red Shirts, die throughout the series (or specific work for those without sequels). This trope includes when a lot of mildly important characters die, which can include the protagonists." If not that, then just other bits from the explanation from this discussion.

    And I think this doesn't "overlap" with Anyone Can Die; I think this is a supertrope of ACD. If you don't agree, then you should make it clear how ACD relates to this one instead of just saying it "can overlap." Again, to clear up any confusion - since, as Gilva Lepista points out, it really is too confusing.
  • April 28, 2013
    Discar
    Because, as said before, Anyone Can Die has nothing whatsoever to do with bodycount. It's just about main characters dying. It has been consistently misused as "lots of people die," and this new trope is meant to siphon that off.
  • April 28, 2013
    StarSword
    ^And then the question is, how do you define "lots of people"? Do you use a percentage of the named characters? A hard-and-fast minimum number (as with Loads And Loads Of Races)? Tropers' opinions (which sends this into YMMV territory)? A work's reputation, as the description states (also YMMV)?

    IMHO this trope is probably not usable in its current state and needs to be completely rethought.
  • April 28, 2013
    xanderiskander
    I think we should count works with limited amounts of characters where the majority die. Closed Circle Mysteries should count as this, when all or the majority of people die in them.

    In a Closed Circle Plot in murder mysteries all the characters are forced to stay in a location, all of the characters are suspects, so pretty much all the characters are important. A good example is And Then There Were None, where every single character is found dead at the end.

    When it's not a Closed Circle Plot. I think we should limit the amount upwards to works where it's obvious that loads and loads of characters are dying or dead to avoid misuse. Like War Movies, Disaster Movies, Real Time Strategy Games, and stuff like that.

  • April 28, 2013
    GilvaLepista
    I sort of get what this trope is trying to be, but agree that in its current state it is not tropeworthy. Perhaps, instead of creating another vaguely-defined death-count trope, think about organizing a Sorting Algorithm of Carnage.
  • May 6, 2013
    TompaDompa
    ^That sounds like a great idea, although I think it should be a sliding scale rather than a sorting algorithm (not that it's particularly important...).
  • May 7, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
    Huh. Sliding Scales have their own lot of problems. Best not use them.
  • May 7, 2013
    AmyGdala
    I agree that this is currently unusable. This needs tighter criteria that "lots."
  • May 10, 2013
    arbiter099
    Just going off of the title I thought of the ridiculous number of Mooks that players can murder single-handed in games (especially ones with Respawning Enemies) but it's clear that this is not meant to be that trope.
  • May 10, 2013
    Discar
    I'm still kinda liking Mauve Shirt Slaughterhouse. Anyone else have opinions on that?
  • May 11, 2013
    DunDun
    Mauve Shirt Slaughterhouse makes it sound like this trope is specifically for Mauve Shirts, but this isn't specific to secondary or minor characters. If that's okay for a trope, since Tropes Are Flexible, fine, but that's what I have to say about the use of "x shirt". I mean, "slaughterhouse" is appropriate, I think--if not just "slaughter"--but I thought Mauve Shirts were specific. Creator's Slaughterhouse? The "house" being the work? Creator's Slaughter Story?
  • May 11, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
    I prefer the current title, and ^^^'s reading is kind of a stretch.
  • May 11, 2013
    Discar
    ^^ Creators Slaughterhouse and Creators Slaughter Story sound too awkward. Something like that might work, but the first think that springs to mind is Slaughter Story, which would just get used for slasher movies.
  • May 17, 2013
    DunDun
    ^I just like the use of slaughter, but it only makes sense to me to use the word creator alongside it (since the characters aren't being "slaughtered" by anyone but). The current title is good, but confusing... Absurdly High Creator Bodycount? High Creator Bodycount?
  • May 17, 2013
    kouta
    I think I understand what this is supposed to be:

    It's about works where everyone is at risk of being killed at any given moment (just like Anyone Can Die) and you know that most, but not all, of them will be killed. It's also about works where some, but not all, of the survivors are obvious from early on.

    A good example would be the anime {Noir}. In that, if your name isn't Kirika, Mirielle, Chloe, or Altena, you are either expendable or just in the way. Of those four, two are killed. Of the others who have names, most die but a few survive.
  • May 27, 2013
    Lumpenprole
    Decimated Cast?

  • May 27, 2013
    Discar
    Ooh...
  • May 27, 2013
    smileybat
    See anime: Berserk. Absurd bodycount of the named characters, not even factoring in the genocidal slaughters on the battlefield every few episodes.
  • May 29, 2013
    Synchronicity
    Shingeki No Kyojin. For starters, the main characters are members a Redshirt Army whose job is not even to save humanity but DIE BRAVELY so humanity can survive just a bit longer. That said, named characters get eaten by Titans every five pages (that's right, even the protagonist).
  • May 29, 2013
    herbides
    Theater (Drama?)
    • Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus is a veritable bloodbath featuring not only murder but also rape, torture and cannibalism with more than a 90% kill rate for named characters.
    • Although much less gory Hamlet also end with a pile of corpses on stage.
    • In the Japanese Kabuki play, "Yotsuya Kaidan" or "The Ghost Story of Yotsuya" a samurai named Iemon wants to get rid of his wife so he can marry the daughter of a rich man, and in the course of his overly-intricate murder plot, kills her off as well as several innocent bystanders. Later in the play, his wife comes back from the dead as a ghost and in the course of her overly-intricate revenge manages to kill off most of the remaining characters.

    Books
    • Robert Graves's I, Claudius recounts the life of Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, a member of Caesar's family who survived the genocidal purges of both Tiberius and Caligula because he was believed to be mentally handicapped, but was later crowned emperor. During the arc of the novels (and history for that matter), Claudius witnesses practically every member of his family being murdered due to political intrigues and infighting.
    • In The Diary of Ann Frank only one character survives. This of course reflects historical fact.
    • Oka Shohei's novel Nobi or Fires on the Plains (1951) follows a Japanese soldier deployed to Manila in the final months of world war II after the army started to fall apart. Ordered on a pointless death march to a loosing battle, most of the characters succumb to disease, madness, murder...or worse.

  • May 30, 2013
    Discar
    We've got five hats, so technically this trope is ready to publish, but I still don't feel like we've got a title that everyone agrees on.
  • May 30, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    A compilation book of Dilbert comics had cartoonist Scott Adams remark that he'd probably killed off more bit characters than any other cartoonist.
  • June 3, 2013
    Clevomon
    I... don't really get this trope. Is When They Cry an example? That might help me get it.
  • June 3, 2013
    Clevomon
    If not, why. I think that's the part that will help me get it. The why it's not, assuming it's not. If so, why, although that's less likely to make it clear.
  • June 4, 2013
    Discar
    I've never played When They Cry, so I don't know. Give me more context.
  • June 11, 2013
    MrRuano
    ^ I hesitate on putting it on. Sure, plenty of named characters die, but the majority of the plot is centered around a Groundhog Day Loop, meaning that the same characters die again and again, especially in the endings where all of Hinamizawa die. It kinda feels like padding to count all of those alternate timeline deaths.
  • June 24, 2013
    TompaDompa
    Perhaps Characters Dropping Like Flies would be a clearer title.
  • June 25, 2013
    Chao
    How about "Endless character memorial"?
  • June 26, 2013
    peccantis
    "Absurdly high" needs to be defined somehow, otherwise this might well end up as a list of works with "a number" of character deaths. For instance, does Harry Potter count? The books have a lot of people dying, but then again the cast is also huge. How about books about war? One should expect wuite a lot of characters to die in such a setting, high body counts wouldn't be "absurd" at all.
  • June 26, 2013
    Clevomon
    @Mr Ruano So what about Umineko, which even if you don't count all the times everyone dies at the end of each arc, pretty well establishes at the end that even on Rokkenjima prime, the only two characters who made it out of Rokkenjima alive were Eva and Battler?
  • June 26, 2013
    StarSword
    ^^Agree, in fact I said that earlier.
  • July 3, 2013
    kjnoren
    I think this is definitely tropable. As for the confusion with Anyone Can Die, I think the difference between the two tropes is best defined as:

    Absurdly High Bodycount is about the quantity of named characters dying in the series (or perhaps better termed as characters with speaking parts).

    Anyone Can Die is about the quality of the characters dying in the work - even if "only" a single character dies in the work it can qualify for this trope as long as it's a main character.

    Examples:

    • Especially the early books in the Honor Harrington series had lots of named bit characters dying. When Eric Flint was to start writing in the universe, he tried to find some few characters appearing in only a single book or two that he could use -- and found they had a 90% mortality rate. (He did manage to find three.)
    • The Chung Kuo series include the deceased characters in the list of characters as a separate section. It's by far the longest one.
  • July 3, 2013
    DAN004
    Maybe someone can show the Canonical List Of Subtle Trope Distinctions pertaining to this? To make long story short. I've seen this YKTTW confused with Kill Em All, Anyone Can Die, etc.
  • July 4, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
    ^
    • Absurdly High Bodycount: An absurd number of people are killed, but the main characters are safe.
    • Anyone Can Die: An absurd number of people are killed, including the main characters.
    • Kill Em All: Most, if not all main characters are killed.
  • July 4, 2013
    DAN004
    So Plot Armor is in play here, then? Actually, I got to think that this trope is Plot Armor for main characters! while Anyone Else Can Die.
  • July 4, 2013
    kjnoren
    ^^ Anyone Can Die doesn't really say that an "absurd number of people are killed". It says "no one is exempt to be killed, including the main characters", and puts in a later qualifier of "to really be Anyone Can Die, the work must include multiple deaths, happening at different points in the story".

    Absurdly High Body Count must also, in my opinion, be judged relative the genre of the work (ie normal reader expectations). For war fiction, the limit is higher than it is for mysteries, and for romances just a few deaths might suffice.
  • July 4, 2013
    DAN004
    They I just wonder why it can't be stretched out. No offense, though.
  • July 4, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
    Anyone Can Die requires that even the main characters aren't safe. You can't stretch the tropes to cover both "lots of deaths" and "even the main characters aren't safe".
  • July 4, 2013
    DAN004
    So Anyone Can Die would have 2 subtropes: The Hero Dies, and this one?
  • July 5, 2013
    kjnoren
    Laconics:

    Anyone Can Die: Who died? Absurdly High Bodycount: How many died?

    The tropes are orthogonal to each other, since they answer different questions.
  • July 5, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
    ^^Nope. Anyone Can Die requires the main characters to be not safe. This one doesn't. This one can't be the subtrope of Anyone Can Die if the latter has more requirements.
  • July 5, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ okay, I get it now.
  • July 5, 2013
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    Related Tropes also include Everybodys Dead Dave and Apocalypse How.

    It's pretty common for Space Opera, post-apocalyptic Sci Fi, and epic fantasy to have offscreen events that kill large portions of planetary populations. Would those count, or is this for large numbers of onscreen deaths?
  • July 5, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
    Many nameless deaths falls more into A Million Is A Statistic than this, I'd say.
  • July 5, 2013
    DAN004
    @ Septimus Heap: However, this trope accounts for named deaths that happens to be absurdly high.
  • July 10, 2013
    Larkmarn
    I think this is worthwhile because of things like this: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Recap/Supernatural.

    For the first few seasons, someone was keeping a bodycount and adding Anyone Can Die to every single episode. Even though no main characters had died, and would include a Victim Of The Week (and even worse, the Monster Of The Week) in Anyone Can Die. That's just.. really severe misuse.
  • July 31, 2013
    Sibuna
    • In Warrior Cats, Thanks to Erin Hunters Anyone Can Die policy, at least one character used to die in every single book, and usually more. Including the super editions and the mangas, that's a ton of characters dead- especially since all of the Loads And Loads Of Characters are named.
  • August 1, 2013
    Discar
    People have been talking about getting a hard definition of "absurdly," but I don't think that's possible. Each series is going to have different standards for "a lot," so we kinda have to "eye" it, so to speak.
  • August 1, 2013
    Nocturna
    I'm not sure that "lots of people die" is necessarily tropable--not because it has no meaning (if lots of people are dying, it's horror, war, or a grimdark setting), but because, as others have pointed out, it slides really fast into YMMV.

    On the other hand, I think "lots of fairly significant characters but not the main characters die" is tropable, as it's both (somewhat) more objective, and it's also a significant way for an author to create the illusion of danger without throwing in the complete bomb of killing a main character. (Although I will note that if the author is too obvious about it, it's easy to figure out and so you just refuse to become attached to anyone who's important but clearly not a main character...)
  • August 1, 2013
    randomsurfer
    Seven Days regularly kills off its main characters (and in at least once instance 98% of the world's population) but since the central concept is going back in time to undo the past they always are alive again by the end of the episode.
  • August 2, 2013
    69BookWorM69
    Several things occur to me in regards this proposed trope:
    • Genre/setting matters. If the piece is say, a war movie or a whodunit (especially one that centers on a homicide detective), we expect the Plot Armor to be rather thin for nearly everybody. Other kinds of genres and/or plots don't imply such large risks to begin with, so when deaths start happening, they're that bit more shocking. It may even be that the numbers have to be relatively higher for works in which death is expected. Discar was alluding to this when writing, "Each series is going to have different standards for 'a lot'".
    • It's also true that certain genres can have more named characters (for example, most mysteries require that we know names and some background on the suspects, if only to keep them straight and understand their motives). Again, if there's some element of danger baked in (as in murder mysteries), the result is likely to be lots of named or fairly significant characters die.
    • There is a kind of kinship between this idea and Anyone Can Die. As Nocturna put it, this trope "[is] also a significant way for an author to create the illusion of danger without throwing in the complete bomb of killing a main character." Once again, the removal of Plot Armor and Contractual Immortality. Perhaps a Sorting Alogorithim Of Carnage would be helpful (roughly Contractual Immortality, Victim Of The Week, this trope, Anyone Can Die, Kill Em All), or perhaps we can simply say this trope and Anyone Can Die are siblings. Either way, this is definitely a candidate for the Canonical List Of Subtle Trope Distinctions.

  • August 2, 2013
    DAN004
    Well, in horror films, many people die (especially when they're jerks), with the exception of the protagonist and the Final Girl.
  • August 2, 2013
    Larkmarn
    On the other hand, I think "lots of fairly significant characters but not the main characters die" is tropable, as it's both (somewhat) more objective, and it's also a significant way for an author to create the illusion of danger without throwing in the complete bomb of killing a main character. (Although I will note that if the author is too obvious about it, it's easy to figure out and so you just refuse to become attached to anyone who's important but clearly not a main character...)

    Waaaaaay early on I thought this trope was essentially Faux Anyone Can Die where it actively tries to create the atmosphere of Anyone Candie, but never manages to pull the trigger when it comes to main characters.
  • August 2, 2013
    DAN004
  • August 10, 2013
    TiggersAreGreat
    Revolution: Within the first season itself, lots of named characters end up as dead as a door nail. By the first season finale, Charlie Matheson, Rachel Matheson, Miles Matheson, Aaron Pittman, Priscilla, Priscilla's daughter, Tom Neville, Jason Neville, Julia Neville, Kelly Foster, Grace Beaumont, and Sebastian Monroe are the only big characters still alive. Not only that, but trailers for the second season have made it very plain that a number of those characters still alive are going to end up as dead as a door nail too.
  • August 10, 2013
    Madrugada
    Moderator note: I removed one of the hats this was given. It is nowhere near ready to launch in its present state, and that's what a hat means.

    Please do not give hats unless the write-up, exactly as it stands is ready to launch. A Hat does not mean "I think this is a good idea in general" or "I like this" or "We should have this." It means "I think that this could be put onto the wiki as a page right now, in the condition it's in at this moment."
  • August 13, 2013
    CrypticMirror
    Necroscope has Loads And Loads Of Characters and a huge secondary cast, mainly because the author keeps killing them in hideous ways.
  • August 26, 2013
    DAN004
    A YKTTW named "Cast Amputation" describes this better. :P
  • August 26, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    ^ Except that these two are two completely different things. Cast Amputation is when a great portion of the cast is killed in quick succession for the sake of drama. This is when the whole show is about characters dying all the time.

    For example, Game Of Thrones is known for people dying all the time, which makes it an example of this trope. Then a huge portion of the core cast was killed in the "The Red Wedding" scene on season 3, which would be an example of Cast Amputation.
  • August 26, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ But those two sounds dangerously close to each other that the better way around it (at least IMO) is making a new trope that covers both. :P
  • August 26, 2013
    jayoungr
    Seems to me there's still some vagueness or possible misuse of the trope in the examples. The description and comments talk a lot about "characters dying early and often" and "the audience learning not to get attached to anyone new, because they might not be around for long." This implies that the deaths must be fairly constant throughout the work. But the examples include quite a lot of works where all or nearly all the carnage happens at the very end: Hamlet, Harry Potter, etc.

    Does this trope come into play if you have a seven-book series where there's a low bodycount for six books and then half the cast is killed off in book 7?
  • August 26, 2013
    JonnyB
    Spoofed in Hot Shots Part Deux, where a counter on the screen increments rapidly as people get killed (though they are mostly mooks, not named characters).
  • August 30, 2013
    DAN004
    ^^ @ the book 7: Maybe that's Cast Amputation. Though, I guess Rocks Fall Everyone Dies is also related to that one...
  • August 30, 2013
    DAN004
    Maybe the title of this YKTTW can be changed into Everyone Did Die instead? (from Anyone Can Die)
  • September 1, 2013
    AgProv
    Literature
    • Andrew Pepper's Railway Detective novels feature the dour stone-killer Pyke, a man not afraid to go outside the law and deliver summary justice when it is, in his opinion, needed. The Revenge of Captain Paine, about industrial unrest and fermenting revolution among navvies building the first railway lines in Britain, is especially bloody. Everybody Dies except Pyke and his eldest son: even his wife is kidnapped and murdered. His business partners betray him so he financially ruins them, kills them, or drives them to suicide. Lots of deaths happen among the navvies, some even normal accidents at work. Pyke enacts an informal death sentence on a sociopathic nobleman and feeds his body to pigs. And so on...
  • September 13, 2013
    EponymousKid
    I don't really see the point of this, besides "my favorite show is the most special" soapboxing.
  • September 14, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
    The point is to stop another trope from being misused.
  • October 10, 2013
    DAN004
    Improve description plz.
  • October 11, 2013
    pawsplay
    My name suggestion is Obituary Fiction, because you have a bunch of characters with names and characterizations being catalogued as dead. This differs from Anyone Can Die, which implies any primary or secondary character is vulnerable; this trope is just for media in which large numbers of identifiable characters bite it, often leaving a number of protagonistic characters alive; both tropes can, of course, co-exist.

    For a lead-in quote, I suggest the following joke: Q: Why doesn't George R. R. Martin use Twitter? A: He killed all 140 characters.
  • October 12, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
    That sounds more like a genre page, and the "obituary" thing implies it's all in the backstory.
  • November 5, 2013
    mythbuster
    Does it count if Death Is Cheap? Because in Dragon Ball Z, every major character save for Mr. Satan dies at least once.
  • November 5, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ I think yes.
  • December 5, 2013
    Discar
    This has been sitting around for nine months. People are still misusing Anyone Can Die for "lots of people die," so we need this trope to get off the ground.
  • December 5, 2013
    CrypticMirror
  • December 6, 2013
    Discar
    Fine. Launching tomorrow morning if no one has any objections.
  • December 6, 2013
    Nocturna
    I object. I still think there needs to be more clarification on a few points:
    • Early on, regarding the draft, you said, "This is when lots of characters die, but the cast is kept full with new ones. Edited description to address that." However, that seems to have been dropped from the description. Is it no longer a requirement?
    • How the deaths have to be spread out over the work. As mentioned in an earlier comment: "The description and comments talk a lot about "characters dying early and often" and "the audience learning not to get attached to anyone new, because they might not be around for long." This implies that the deaths must be fairly constant throughout the work. But the examples include quite a lot of works where all or nearly all the carnage happens at the very end: Hamlet, Harry Potter, etc." So, basically, is this any work where a lot of characters die, even if it's just at the very end, or does this only apply to cases where people are dying throughout the work (thus requiring replacement; see above)?
    • Say what you're comparing with Anyone Can Die.
    • There should also be a contrast to Kill Em All to clarify that this trope has to have at least some (and more than one or two) characters survive.
    • It would be a good idea to mention the purpose of this trope—usually it's intended to establish a dark, gritty setting; it can also be used to enhance realism in works that are set in dangerous situations (e.g. wars, highly dangerous jobs, etc.).
  • December 6, 2013
    Discar
    Thank you for that clearly defined list of problems. Honestly. Now, let's go through them one by one.
    • "The cast is kept full with new ones" is sort of common sense. The series wouldn't survive for long if there were no replacements. But then maybe it doesn't survive for long. So it's not an actual requirement.
    • I'd say yes, it's any work where lots of characters die, including at the very end. But if that seems like a bad idea, we can cut Harry Potter and so on.
    • Originally, there was a line explaining the difference, but it was declared confusing. I think "Compare Anyone Can Die, which is only about named characters dying, bodycount is irrelevant," is obvious enough, but I was voted down.
    • How does "Contrast Kill Em All, where no one—or at most a bare handful of characters—survives to the end" sound?
    • Maybe: "Then there are the series that are known for the high bodycount. Named characters die early and often. This is typically used to establish a dark and gritty setting, or to enhance realism in works that are set in dangerous situations such as wars or extreme jobs." That look like a good addition?
  • December 6, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ Even then sometimes lots of people dying is unrealistic, depending on what actually happens.

    And as always, you need 5 hats or it will be cut as soon as you launched it.
  • December 6, 2013
    Discar
    You don't actually need five hats. Five hats is strongly recommended, but it is not a requirement.
  • December 6, 2013
    Nocturna
    • Okay, that makes sense.
    • I don't really care; there just seemed to be confusion in the discussion on that point. I'm fine as long as that's agreed upon as being sensible.
    • Hm... I've also seen other people asking for it. I think it's a lot clearer with it.
    • Sounds good to me.
    • Also sounds good. @DAN004, that would be why it's an "or" not an "and". Obviously, sometimes it's an "and" (real wars are generally not pleasant places to be), but there's no requirement. If you can think of any other narrative purposes the trope serves, feel free.
  • December 6, 2013
    DAN004
    If you say that Anyone Can Die is misused, I recommend you bring it to TRS. And mention this YKTTW, too.
  • December 6, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
    It was already in TRS for that issue, for the record.
  • December 7, 2013
    DAN004
    @ Nocturna: I see.
  • December 7, 2013
    Discar
    @ Nocturna: Made the edits.

    Anyone else seeing any problems with this?
  • December 7, 2013
    Nocturna
    I gave it a hat, but there's two things, one which I forgot to mention and one which just recently occurred to me:
    • Did we ever come to a decision on whether Death Is Cheap worlds count for this? I'm leaning not, as having a bunch of people die and get resurrected and die and get resurrected, etc., has a very different impact that a series where a lot of people are Killed Off For Real.
    • I'm beginning to question the "absurdly" part of the name. This isn't really just for cases where it's Absurdly high (subjective measure), but for situations where a lot of people die, regardless of where it falls on the realistic to absurd scale. I don't have a replacement suggestion, though, unless we want to go to Really High Bodycount.
  • December 7, 2013
    DAN004
    And distinction should be made with A Million Is A Statistic. I mean, for the title.
  • December 7, 2013
    Discar
    I added a line "Note that this does not count for series where Death Is Cheap, or millions of nameless characters die off-screen," but I'm not sure if it's in the right spot.

    And I agree the title could be a little bit better, but what else is it going to be called? Lots And Lots Of Dead? Loads Of Dead?
  • December 7, 2013
    DAN004
  • December 8, 2013
    TompaDompa
    There are a bunch of suggested titles on the Troperithmetic theme of Loads And Loads Of Characters x Character Death. Here's a compilation: Personally, I'd prefer a title with the word "character" in it, so as to ward off A Million Is A Statistic misuse.
  • December 9, 2013
    Discar
    I think Characters Dropping Like Flies is probably the best one. I suppose we should get a crowner, though.
  • December 9, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ Do it.
  • December 13, 2013
    Discar
    Sorry for the delay. Here's the crowner.
  • December 18, 2013
    TompaDompa
    I don't mean to jump the gun, but I think the crowner is fairly conclusive as is.
  • December 18, 2013
    DAN004
    Just a little more... and just 2 hats short.
  • December 20, 2013
    SciFiMs
    Live Action TV: NCIS
  • December 20, 2013
    Discar
    Yeah, gonna need a LOT more detail on that one.
  • December 21, 2013
    SciFiMs
    [Outdated and therefore removed]

  • December 21, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    ^ First of all: no caps please... Secondly: he wanted you to offer a context for your example so he could decide whether it counts or not. Giving a list of names instead is of no use whatsoever.
  • December 21, 2013
    SciFiMs
    [Outdated and therefore removed]
  • December 21, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    ^ Well do what you may, but if you don't elaborate on your example no one can tell if it actually is an example on not.
  • December 22, 2013
    Discar
    Looks like Characters Dropping Like Flies is the clear winner. It's the only one in the green.
  • December 23, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ Sounds rather silly to me, but it's alright.
  • December 23, 2013
    Discar
    Changed the title. Anything else left to do?
  • December 24, 2013
    TompaDompa
    Doesn't look like there is. Launch away!
  • December 24, 2013
    freesefan
    This is Anyone Can Die. I guess this trope is going to get launched, but when it is it wil be redundant with Anyone Can Die (and yes, I read the thread).
  • December 24, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    ^ Then you didn't really get the idea. Anyone Can Die is when even main characters don't have a Plot Armor that saves them from death. This is when simply a lot of characters (Red Shirts or not) die in a given work. Basically Anyone Can Die is misused for what this trope actually is.
  • December 24, 2013
    freesefan
    ^^No, I read that. It's a distinction without a difference.
  • December 24, 2013
    TompaDompa
    Imagine, if you will, a TV series that has run for 6 seasons, with 20 episodes per season. Let's say that on average, 7 characters die each season. Now let's add that none of those characters had been present in more than 3 episodes before being killed off. Is that Anyone Can Die?

    On the other hand, imagine a different series, also 6 seasons with 20 episodes per season. Let's say that during its entire run, only 3 characters die. Now let's add that those three were the main character (whose name is also the title of the series), a Historical Domain Character who did not die until several years later (like Abraham Lincoln prior to The American Civil War), and the immensely popular Big Bad who was thought to be immortal. Is that Characters Dropping Like Flies?
  • December 24, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ Distinction can be hard. But you did it right. :D
  • December 25, 2013
    SciFiMs
    [Comments outdated and therefore removed.]

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable