A new character is introduced in a chapter, issue or episode of a series. They might even seem like they're going to become a Recurring Character
, only for them to be killed off before the end of their debut. They've just gone from One-Shot Character
A sub-trope of One-Shot Character
, related to Back for the Dead
and We Hardly Knew Ye
Likely to overlap with:
Not to be confused with Death by Newbery Medal
, where the entire story is told in one sitting, rather than episodically, and ending with the death and its aftermath.
As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.
Anime and Manga
- Dragon Ball:
- The universal fate of any villains introduced in a Dragon Ball/Z/GT movie, never to be mentioned again. Notably averted by Cooler and Brolly, who returned for subsequent movies.
- Barely avoided by King Cold, managing TWO episodes, being killed by Trunks in the second.
- DC Comics Series: Artemis Crock in the New 52 during "The Culling" event. After being introduced as a participant in the event, she is Stuffed into the Fridge at the end of the issue so Robin can swear revenge. Fans of Young Justice were not amused.
- New Mutants: Larry in New Mutants issue #45, introduced as a bullied mutant with the ability to create sculptures from light. Classmates taunt him and leave him a note saying a mutant-hunting organization is coming for him. He commits suicide, not knowing the note was a cruel bluff.
- In JLA: Superpower, the League gains a new member named Antaeus, who is a massive fan of Superman and has had his entire body cybernetically enhanced in the hopes of becoming the perfect hero. Unfortunately, Antaeus disagrees with the notion that the League should stay out of politics, and when they nix his plans to overthrow a Saddam Hussein expy, he decides to go it alone, with disastrous results. Needless to say, he doesn't survive the one-shot.
- LOST: The original plan for Jack Shephard in the original outline for the show to establish Anyone Can Die. Producers feared that letting the audience become attached to a character, only to kill him at the end of the first episode, would cause fans to resent the show, so the character became a regular.
- Misfits: Ollie Smiley, whose pacifist Talking the Monster to Death approach does nothing to dissuade the Monster of the Week from seeing him as nothing but a polygonal target. His teleportation powers are transferred to another established character via a transplanted heart.
- Doctor Who:
- Lynda, from the double episode "Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways" seemed to be set up to be the Doctor's next companion. She was EX-TER-MINATED! before even setting foot in the TARDIS.
- This trope is so common for characters in this show, it becomes a plot point when a villain sends the Doctor on a Guilt Trip with memories of all the people who have died for him.
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- Shadow's apparent death at the end of Sonic Adventure 2 was meant to be permanent until he was revived by fan demand for Sonic Heroes.
- More straight examples would be E-102 Gamma, as well as the other E-series robots from E-100 Alpha to E-105 Zeta from Sonic Adventure. All these characters were built by Dr. Robotnik and destroyed by each other (or in the case of Alpha, Amy Rose) within the same game. While E-101 Beta, E-103 Delta, E-104 Epsilon, and E-105 Zeta play this straight by having not been seen in new games since, E-102's only appearance since was as an unlockable character in the non-canon party game, Sonic Shuffle and he has had expies in the forms of Chaos Gamma from Sonic Battle and E-123 Omega from Sonic Heroes onwards. E-100 Alpha's only appearance since was as an enemy in the special stages of Sonic Advance 2.
- Alvin and the Chipmunks: The titular trio come across a stray kitten, naming him Cookie Chomper III. He is run over by a car, leaving the Chipmunks to deal with their grief.
- As Told by Ginger: Carl befriends an elderly woman named Maude, who seems to bring out the worst of Carl's mischevious personality. She attends a dinner that Ginger arranged in an attempt to impress Courtney Gripling, only to keel over into her plate.
- The Powerpuff Girls: Powerpuff Bunny, the girls' Sixth Ranger in the episode "Twisted Sister". Created with artificial sweetener, twigs and leaves and stuff, a mix of the three girls' favorite things, and Chemical X, resulting in a hunchbacked, snaggletoothed, inarticulate Powerpuff Girl. Her creation left her with an Unstable Genetic Code, leading to a Heroic RROD when she pushed herself too far saving her sisters.
- Family Guy: New Brian's perfect behavior won over the Griffin family, causing a dejected Brian to move out. Stewie was not so easily charmed, and attempted to get New Brian to just leave, only for New Brian to reveal that he has been humping Rupert, Stewie's teddy bear. Cut to Stewie dragging a bloody trash bag to the curb and Peter reading an improbable suicide note.
- Bravestarr: Jay in his own Very Special Episode, "The Price", dying off screen because Drugs Are Bad.
- Adventure Time:
- Downplayed with James. He sacrificed himself at the end of his debut episode to save Jake, Finn and Bubblegum. The Princess makes a clone of him at the end to honor the original. His reanimated corpse appears in a later episode, while clones of him to continue to die and be replaced.
- Lemonjon, a Lemon Person so large he occupies the entirety of the Earl of Lemongrab's castle. He blindly followed Lemongrab's order to attack the Candy Kingdom, prompting Jake and Finn to attack his heart. This caused him to start feeling and launch into a Purple Prose speech about suffering and the greater good. He then explodes, raining down lemon candies on the Lemon People, saving the Candy Kingdom from their assault.