[[quoteright:224:[[Film/TheLordOfTheRings http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/gandalf_1019.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:224:"Indeed, you might say I am Saruman. Saruman [[YouCouldHaveUsedYourPowersForGood as he should have been]]."]]

->'''Master Vandar:''' I thought you had died in the Mandalorian Wars...\\
'''Kreia:''' 'Die'? ''No'' - became stronger, ''yes''.
-->-- ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublicIITheSithLords''

TheHero is fighting TheDragon, or the BigBad, and finds out he is [[HopelessBossFight hopelessly outmatched]]. The villain decides to go ahead and [[JustShootHim kill him off]], and it's over. The hero is dead.

Or is he? Perhaps he was OnlyMostlyDead, or DeathIsCheap. Maybe TheMedic was able to bring him back. Either way, he starts to fight again, and reveals that thanks to his defeat, he TookALevelInBadass and may have access to [[DeathActivatedSuperpower powers that he never had before]].

Congratulations, he just Came Back Strong. It's not a DesperationAttack or HeroicResolve, but a permanent increase in one's PowerLevel. It could be that dying has opened his mind to new possibilities, he literally [[TrainingFromHell trained]] [[LikeABadassOutOfHell in hell]], he was granted access to new spirit powers, a MacGuffin is used to help him return and he gains special abilities from it, the process that was used to revive him also repaired and/or strengthened his body (or gave him a new body better than the old one), or maybe his [[Anime/DragonBallZ race just makes him stronger from death]].

Contrast CameBackWrong and ResurrectionSickness. Compare HeroicSecondWind, which is similar to this without the nasty implications of death. DeathActivatedSuperpower is a subtrope.

'''As a DeathTrope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.'''



[[folder:Anime andManga]]
* ''Anime/DragonBallZ'',
** Saiyans are stated to grow stronger when they are beaten to near death, and [[DangerouslyGenreSavvy Vegeta]] uses this to his advantage on Namek by having Dende heal him after intentionally letting Krillin almost kill him.
** Later, Cell self destructs and reforms, causing this to happen because he has Saiyan cells. This is the last time this Saiyan trait is specifically mentioned.
** There's also the example of dying and then training in the afterlife, especially with King Kai. Goku learned the [[DangerousForbiddenTechnique Kaio Ken]], [[CombinedEnergyAttack Spirit Bomb]] (AKA the Genki Dama), and gained his Super Saiyan 2 and 3 forms this way.
** There's also Freeza, who is maimed and near death when his shattered body is discovered by his father and rebuilt with cybernetics to be even stronger than before. [[TheWorfEffect It doesn't help.]]
* In ''ZatchBell'', Kiyomaru dies or comes very close to it in Faudo, and when he reawakens his heart power is massively increased and he gained the answer talker ability.
* The best way to increase one's spirit energy in ''Manga/ShamanKing'' is to die, severly injured, or be in a near death state because this brings one closer to the spirit world. All of the main warrior characters die at least once in the manga, and some die several times. In the anime, the Tome of The Shaman enabled the main characters spirit energy to raise, and after Len and Yoh had [[NotQuiteDead nearly been killed]] they came back stronger, with Len [[CurbStompBattle curbstomping 1/3 of Zeke's followers]] combined with ThePowerOfFriendship, and Yoh was able to give his brother a VillainousBreakdown.
* In ''Manhwa/AflameInferno'', the main character gets possessed by Inferno after his nearly fatal blow.
* Kazuki of ''BusouRenkin'' gains his renkin as his heart because he almost dies. He also pulls this trope again in episode 14.
* Yusuke from ''Manga/YuYuHakusho'' did not awaken his spirit powers until after his death, and later he awakened his demon powers after his second death. It's outright stated that the latter instance happened ''because'' of the former. At the time of his first death, Yusuke was merely a slightly strong human. At his second, he was an A-Class fighter who could send someone flying with the shockwave of a relatively weak punch.
* Phoenix Ikki in ''SaintSeiya''. Every time he's killed, he comes back twice as strong. Given that he died quite a few times, he's a undisputed powerhouse now.
* In ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'', the straightest example would be Ichigo's near death, or hollow, transformation to regain his spirit powers. The normal example of dying and becoming a shinigami or a hollow does not work because you never come back to life, [[CharacterDeath you stay dead]]. Ichigo's [[SuperpoweredEvilSide Hollow]] form is a unique example. Whenever Ichigo is OnlyMostlyDead or outclassed and exhausted it tends to take advantage of his weakness by taking control of his body.
** After Ulquiorra blasts a hole straight through Ichigo's chest, the Hollow's powers go ''completely'' insane (seemingly ''neither'' [[CameBackWrong Ichigo nor his Inner Hollow]], which while vicious is also quite coherent, is in control, and instead their combined powers form a being of pure instinct), and tears apart Ulqiuorra and nearly kills Ishida. It also [[NoSell tanks]] everything thrown at it and is only stopped by one of its own attacks
* In ''PrincessResurrection'', one has to die in order to become an immortal blood warrior.
* Brook from ''Manga/OnePiece'' plays this somewhat straight. He died and came back as a skeleton, so, while he isn't explicitly stronger, he is much faster now, a lot harder to kill, and able to do things like run on water or jump distances that are ridiculous even by [[WorldOfBadass One Piece]] standards. This is all explained by skeleton!Brook apparently having the same level of strength that human!Brook did, but vastly lower mass.
* In ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'', Ed and Al both nearly die when they try to resurrect their mother. They barely survive and gain the ability to use alchemy without circles, and Al is also a MadeOfIndestructium AnimatedArmor. Overlaps with BlessedWithSuck, since Ed lost a leg and an arm in the process, and Al loses his entire body, and cannot eat, sleep, or experience any senses aside from seeing and hearing.
* ''CodeBreaker'''s Ogami pulls this trope twice. The first time when he was a child and received the Emperor's flame, and the second when Yuuki kills him and the Emperor allows him access to the next flame for making the [[SecretTestOfCharacter correct]] [[TakeAThirdOption choice]].
* Tsukune Aono from ''RosarioToVampire'' combines this trope with CameBackWrong via liberal use of vampire blood. Later it's just this trope when he learns to control his SuperPoweredEvilSide. [[spoiler:Ultimately, Tsukune outright becomes a vampire, which [[OurVampiresAreDifferent in this story has very few downsides]].]]
* In ''Manga/KingOfThorn'', Marco Owen is killed by Zeus. However, another character sacrifices her life to bring him back, and the new Medusa-enhanced body she gives him has useful new abilities such as a resistance to Zeus's electrical attacks.
* In ''Anime/DigimonAdventure'', every time Myotismon is killed, he eventually simply comes back in a more powerful form. Until the GrandFinale of ''Adventure 02'', where his ''soul'' is blown up, most likely rendering him DeaderThanDead.
* In ''MahouSenseiNegima'', it is later revealed that Negi died from HeroicRROD after his fight with Dynamis, and came back via [[BlackMagic Magia Erebea]], [[HumanoidAbomination fusing with it]] in the process.
* A few characters in ''{{Psyren}}''.
** [[LovableCoward Kabuto Kirisaki]] got his full PSI power after he [[HeroicSacrifice takes the brunt]] of an attack meant for [[TheHero Ageha]].
** [[CloudCuckoolander Caprico]] got her PSI power after she fell off a cliff and hit her head as a child.
** [[{{Yakuza}} Kagetora]] got his PSI powered up after he nearly got killed a few times, got tortured, had a house dropped on him, and had to dig some people by a mad man and his lackeys.
** [[IntimateHealing Oboro Mochizuki]] greatly enhances his PSY after he gets a big hole punched into his chest and thrown half dead into an old [[MacGuffin Tavoo core factory]] [[EmergencyTransformation where he fuses with them]].
* Over on ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'', you could technically apply this to ''anyone'' brought back through Edo Tensei / Reanimation, since the zombies it creates can regenerate from ash and have unlimited stamina. Too bad you still have to follow the summoner's orders unless you're Itachi or Madara. The stand-out example would be (the REAL) Madara. He's physically in his prime but has [[BodyHorror all]] [[TheAssimilator the modifications]] he could only make after he was [[DarkLordOnLifeSupport too decrepit to show them off]], and doesn't have to worry about little things like being bisected.
** [[spoiler:Surprisingly Madara came back even stronger after being truly resurrected through Rinne Tensei. Apparently, having a real body gives him access to techniques enough to curb-stomp the 9 bijuus, Naruto, Sasuke and Tobirama altogether.]]
** [[spoiler:The said curb-stomp resulted in Naruto and Sasuke having a near-death experience. They came back, with Rikudo Sennin's powers, namely Rikudo Senjutsu and Rinnegan, power-ups enough to match the now Jichuuriki Madara]].
* ''Manga/AttackOnTitan'': Eren Yeager suffers the loss of AnArmAndALeg and then ends up being swallowed by a Titan while rescuing his best friend. Good thing his LovecraftianSuperpower decided to manifest...
* Tenchi and Sasami end up with this thanks to Tsunami in the ''Anime/TenchiMuyo'' OVA. Tsunami bonds with Sasami and Tsunami ends up rescuing Tenchi from death after a counterattack ended up backfiring. Now Sasami's stated to become Tsunami in the future and Tenchi is now the avatar of that universe's ''God''.
* In ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagicaTheMovieRebellion'', Sayaka Miki comes back to life as a master swordswoman, able to pull off tricks like stabbing Homura's time shield before she can use it to freeze time. It's explained that she gained the memories of her past incarnations from the GroundhogDayLoop, giving her tremendous experience. She also gained the ability to summon her witch form, Oktavia von Seckendorff, to assist her in battle.
* Battler, from ''VisualNovel/UminekoWhenTheyCry'', takes Dlanor's [[OneHitKill Red Key]] through the chest at the climax of Ep5. His death gives him as much time as he needed to think back over the mysteries of the novel, realise what he'd been missing, come to understand the Truth of the Game and will himself back to life as one of the most BadAss and powerful characters in a series filled with already-overpowered characters.
* Ryougi Shiki in ''LightNovel/KaraNoKyoukai'' gains a stronger version of the same ability when one of her [[SplitPersonality two personalities]] dies, leaving a hole to "Origin" in its place. Effectively her new second personality is the universe itself, and possesses unlimited power.

[[folder: Card Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/YuGiOh'': According to the Gagaga Academy Tospedia card storylines, "Reaper" was on the verge of death due to the out-of-control magic he was using. "Hierophant" and "Empress", unwilling to stand aside any more, were determined to try and save his life by exorcising the Dark Magic inside him by amplifying the Light Magic that existed inside him all along. At the end of the intense conflict between Holy and Wicked magic, he ended up being revived in a miracle.
* ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'':
** In the game itself, there are cards that trigger Came Back Strong in both players and creatures. Tuktuk the Explorer does this to himself: A 2/2 for three mana, he's beneath the curve. When he dies, you put a 5/5 token into play called Tuktuk the Returned.
* The new "Undying" rule leads to creatures that have undying responding to being Doom Bladed by returning from the graveyard with slightly higher power and toughness. Hilariously, if combined with persist (which leads to "came back weaker"), you can get creatures that simply ''never die''.

[[folder: Comic Books]]
* ''Comicbook/{{Watchmen}}'''s Dr. Manhattan also fulfills this trope, although it's not solely his death that is the catalyst of his powers, but the way he died. That is being disintegrated at the sub-atomic level but remaining conscious and disembodied for months before figuring out how to make a new body.
* In the original ''{{Thanos}}'' stories in the 1970s, this was how AdamWarlock "finally" defeated Thanos.
* In ''ComicBook/{{Invincible}}'', Allen the Alien becomes stronger every time he regenerates from life-threatening wounds. At the beginning of the series, he was barely able to fight the [[FlyingBrick Virtumites one on one]]. Now he's more than a match for one or two of them. With the exception of [[AuthorityEqualsAsskicking Grand Regent]] [[BigBad Thragg]].
* This temporarily happened to DoctorDoom in MarkMillar's ''ComicBook/FantasticFour'' run. He gets thrown to the past by a villain called the Marquis, and survives as he put it "by sheer hatred", Pre Retcon that is. Dark Avengers shows readers that he's saved by the time traveling Thunderbolts. It still doesn't explain his supposed power-up being lost, though his power up was regarded as CanonDiscontinuity by all the other writers since.
* This is ''Franchise/{{Superman}}'' foe Doomsday's power; whenever he is killed, he is able to come back to life, with an [[AdaptiveAbility added resistance to anything that had ever killed him before.]]
* In volume six of ''ComicBook/ScottPilgrim'', Scott gets killed by Gideon, gets trapped in limbo, comes back (because of his extra life), and defeats Gideon, thanks to the power of understanding.
* Phoenix from ''ComicBook/TheDarkPhoenixSaga'', overlapping with CameBackWrong--at least until the {{Retcon}} that the "Jean Grey" from the shuttle crash to her death on the moon was an impostor.
* Later, in the Planet X arc of ''Comicbook/NewXMen'', Jean and Wolverine are headed into the sun, and Wolvie kills Jean to spare her the agony of incineration. She soon awakens in full Phoenix mode, reshapes the asteroid into a ship with the power of her mind, and easily returns to Earth. And ''this'' time, she came back right.
* In the ''Franchise/StarWars ComicBook/{{Legacy}}'' comics, BigBad Darth Krayt comes back from the dead and is no longer bothered by the crippling Yuuzhan Vong implants while also becoming more formidable and DrunkOnTheDarkSide than ever. He then attempts to invoke this trope on Cade Skywalker, hoping Cade will have the same reaction with TheDarkSide and finally be his disciple, but it just encourages Cade to embrace the Light Side and kill Krayt.
* Comicbook/DoctorStrange, as part of his trials to become Sorcerer Supreme, had to meet Death in combat. When he realized he couldn't defeat or escape Death, he surrendered entirely to it, died, and was restored to life--now [[TheAgeless functionally immortal]].
* Technically Franchise/{{Superman}} following ''ComicBook/TheDeathOfSuperman''. His revival and being utterly supercharged by the Eradicator's HeroicSacrifice gave him a massive jump in power.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* Due to the [[BecomingTheCostume spell]] in question being far more powerful, [[Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer Jesse McNally]] in ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/9760357/1/The-Hell-er-Nator-Chaos-Machine The Hell-er-Nator: Chaos Machine]]'' comes back to life with the powers and experience of ComicBook/ImmortalIronFist.

* This happens to Sing in ''Film/KungFuHustle''. Beaten practically to death, he somehow emerges from his cocoon of bandages as a superpowered master. The beating apparently opened all the previously blocked chi paths in his body, unlocking his heavily-foreshadowed hidden potential.
* ''Franchise/StarWars'''s Obi-Wan claims that if Vader strikes him down, he'll become even more powerful. Obi-Wan's spirit makes a few appearances in the rest of the series, but whatever power he does have seems limited to influence. He's probably referring to merging with the Force.
** ''Revenge of the Sith'' reveals that Obi-Wan learned this trick from Yoda, who himself learned it from the Force-ghost of Qui-gon. It's not clear how Anakin/Vader learned to do it.
* ''Charlie St Cloud'': After almost dying in a car accident, Charlie gains the ability to see and speak with the dead.
* ''Resurrection'' (1980): After surviving a car crash that killed her husband, a woman finds that she has miraculous healing powers.
* Sara of ''TheCraft'' nearly died but she managed to invoke the power of Manon.
* Happens ''twice'' to King Ghidorah in the film ''[[Film/GodzillaMothraKingGhidorahGiantMonstersAllOutAttack GMK]]''. Once when Mothra sacrifices herself and Ghidorah absorbs her essence to become stronger and once when Ghidorah absorbs an artifact from the shrine in which he was placed/worshiped. However, it's still not enough to defeat Godzilla.
* Occurs to Godzilla himself in ''Godzilla VS Mechagodzilla II'' when Rodan sacrifices himself to revive Godzilla after Mechagodzilla nearly kills him. Godzilla becomes more powerful because of it and gains his most powerful attack-the Spiral Beam, which he uses to utterly obliterate Mechagodzilla.
* Neo of ''Film/TheMatrix'' only gets to awaken his spoon-bending powers after being killed by Agent Smith in the first movie.
* Alex Murphy is killed in action in ''Film/RoboCop1987'', but he is reconstructed as the titular cyborg, an implacable crime-fighting machine.
* A premature death (usually violent) is what awakens the quickening of the immortals of ''Franchise/{{Highlander}}'' which enables them to live forever and rapidly heal from any injury.
* Jason from the ''Franchise/FridayThe13th'' films. In his first appearance (which happened in the second film; his mother was the killer in the first movie) he's just a regular human. A very large, strong, and tough human, but still a human. But after he's killed he comes back as a near-unstoppable undead abomination.
* In ''Film/ScottPilgrimVsTheWorld'', Scott gets killed by Gideon, gets trapped in limbo, comes back (because of his extra life). He manages to reconcile with Kim, apologize to both Ramona and Knives for cheating on both of them, and then finally kicks Gideon's ass.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheLegoMovie'', Emmett becomes a Master Builder after [[spoiler: "dying", getting a glimpse of the human world, and returning.]]

* In ''Literature/{{Dune}}'', Paul Atreides almost dies when he drinks the Water of Life, and when he wakes up he is the Kwisatz Haderach.
** To a lesser degree, every Reverend Mother. Until they drink the Water of Life, the Bene Gesserit do not possess any special powers beyond the CharlesAtlasSuperpower. After managing to drink the Water, internally convert it into a SuperSerum, and survive, the Bene Gesserit emerges with access to Other Memory (the genetic memory of all her female ancestors). Not every Bene Gesserit survives the test. In fact, the prequel novels show that it took many decades for Raquella Berto-Anirul's accident (she manages to survive a poisoning attempt) to be successfully recreated.
** Norma Cenva is a borderline example. A MuggleBornOfMages, she is short and unattractive but possesses an incredible scientific mind. Many years later, she is captured by the [[HumongousMecha Cymeks]], and the danger activates her previously-latent PsychicPowers. The burst of psychic energy kills every Cymek around her and also obliterates her own body. Using her newfound abilities, her disembodied consciousness rebuilds her body molecule-by-molecule in a new, much hotter form, based on a composite of her female ancestors' looks. Not only does she become the most powerful Sorceress of Rossak, but she eventually becomes the very first Navigator (when she eventually allows her body to mutate, previously keeping it unchanging through sheer force of will). Unlike other Navigators, she is also able to [[FasterThanLightTravel fold space]] without a Holtzman engine.
* In ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'', Gandalf the Grey dies and comes back as Gandalf the White with augmented powers and authority. He is a lesser-angel figure on a mission from greater-angels and hasn't completed his quest so he is sent back and improved.
* Creator/StephenKing's ''Literature/TheDeadZone'': A man is critically injured in a car accident and is in a coma for five years. When he wakes up, he has psychic powers, including precognition and psychometry.
* ''Literature/{{Dreamcatcher}}'' by Stephen King (book and film): Jonesy's near-death experience is necessary for him to fight off [[TheGreys Mr. Gray]] to the point that the heroes' [[WaifProphet mentally-retarded messianic spirit guide]] appears to him in a vision [[{{Chessmaster}} to make him]] almost kill himself so as to [[INeedYouStronger prepare him]] to battle aliens.
* In EoinColfer's ''Literature/TheSupernaturalist'', people who've undergone a near-death experience can see the Parasites - not always permanently, but that's how it is for all the named characters - and are therefore able to fight them. (So can [[BizarreBabyBoom Bartoli babies]], but that's beside the point.)
* In the ''TabletopGame.MagicTheGathering'' novels, a [[AGodAmI Planeswalker]] only has full access to their powers after experiencing extreme physical trauma (sometimes, but not always, death).
* ''Literature/AMadnessOfAngels'' by Kate Griffin begins with the protagonist being mysteriously resurrected, possessed (and empowered) by the "blue electric angels" of telephony.
* ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'':
** In ''Grave Peril'', at the climax of the book Harry is killed by the Nightmare in his dreams, and is immediately revived via CPR. When he comes back, Harry has created a ghost of himself ([[OurGhostsAreDifferent ghosts being psychic copies of the individual who died and are created at the moment of death]]) and the two proceed to whup ass. While doing so, Harry ''eats'' the Nightmare in his dreams and thus absorbs his magical power, allowing him to come back with so much strength that he vaporizes a pair of vampires almost instantly with no effort.
** To some extent when he was assassinated--he ''was'' already the Winter Knight, but he was incredibly drained and had nothing material left--not his house, his car, his weapons, his pets, his equipment, only a single change of clothes... and then he spent most of a book as a powerless ghost. Now? The Winter Knight is back in town, and just ''dictated terms to Queen Mab''.
** In ''Skin Game,'' [[spoiler:Murphy's improper use of the Sword of Faith led to Nicodemus shattering the blade. However, the power wasn't truly gone, and when Waldo Butters proved himself worthy of being a Knight, the Sword reconstituted itself in into a genuine Lightsaber. This is because of his deep belief in the morals of Star Wars]].
* A variation happens in the ''Literature/{{Dragaera}}'' novel ''Issola'' when Lady Teldra gets killed with a Morganti weapon. Vlad uses it to create a new Great Weapon, which makes him permanently stronger, starting with slaying a Jenoine.
* There's a short story where colonists on an alien planet deal with escalating threats from local fauna, starting with pests that feed on their crops and working up to large predators. Eventually someone works out that it's the ''same'' life form, coming back stronger each time they wipe it out. He realizes this just in time to stop them from killing an alien that looks human:
--> "I think we can deal with this one. What I don't want to face is '''what comes next'''."
* In the world of ''Literature/TheBelgariad'', resurrection in any form was impossible until the Orb Of Aldur was recovered.
** When Durnik, (aka 'The Man with Two Lives'), was killed by Zedar, the Gods conferred and agreed unanimously to allow his resurrection by Belgarion, Errand and the Orb at Polgara's pleading. He went from being an ordinary man, to being an immortal Sorcerer later proven capable of slam-dunking a DEMON LORD singlehandedly.
** Earlier in the series, Belgarion brings back a colt that died immediately after birth. The horse the colt grows into is supernaturally strong, able to translocate, apparently highly intelligent (well, for a horse, anyway), and quite probably immortal. Fitting, as he turns out to be fated to be the horse of a god. Belgareth and Polgara conclude that the only reason that Belgarion succeeded in resurrecting it was that he didn't know it was impossible. Well, that and doing it in a cave the Gods had used as a meeting place before they left the world.
* ''Literature/TrappedOnDraconica'': Dragokin Erowin can handle mooks. After dying and becoming an angel she can effortlessly NoSell the Big Bad's best shot.
* This is a belief of the followers of the [[CthulhuMythos Drowned God]] in ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire''. "What is dead can never die, but rises again, harder and stronger." They [[InvokedTrope invoke]] this in a baptism ceremony in which believers are "drowned" and revived through [[CleanPrettyReliable CPR]]. The most devout believers do this multiple times.
* [[Literature/{{Dragons}} The Last Dragon Chronicles]]: Agawin in ''The Fire Ascending'' after he absorbs Galen's tear. And again, when he 'dies' and becomes Alexa. Yes. [[TomatoInTheMirror Alexa]].

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/{{Smallville}}'':
** "Hidden", Clark comes back from the dead with all his powers restored. [[DealWithTheDevil But at what cost?]]
** In "Bizarro", Chloe's latent meteor power activates and resurrects herself.
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'':
** When Xander resuscitates Buffy from her death at the Master's hands, she comes back stronger, knows instinctively where he's going, and is no longer vulnerable to his hypnosis.
** She also seems to be stronger after her second death, given the way she pwned the leader of that demon gang (who tore off a vampire's head with his bare hands!).
* This is what happens in ''[[Series/KamenRiderFaiz Kamen Rider 555]]'' when someone is killed and revived as an Orphnoch.
* ''Series/KamenRiderAgito'' introduces Gills, who died of his powers breaking down his body but was revived by a psychic with healing abilities. The result not only cures him of his degrading body but grants him the power to become [[SuperMode Exceed Gills]].
* Gentaro Kisaragi, a.k.a. ''Series/KamenRiderFourze'', is killed in #31 by Kamen Rider Meteor (who made a DealWithTheDevil with the Ares Zodiarts to save his best friend), only for Kengo to use the Cosmic Switch (which they hadn't been able to get to work before that) to revive him, giving him his SuperMode in the process.
* ''Series/KamenRiderWizard'':
** Phoenix, one of the Greater Phantoms is able to revive himself every time he is killed, just like the mythological bird he takes his name from. According to him, every time he is revived, he gets stronger.
** Subsequent episodes bear this claim out. He not only become immune to the same attack that killed him previously it takes more attacks of a similar level to take him out the next time, more resistant to all attacks in general and the time he takes to regenerate and recover become shorter and shorter each time. This ability ultimately means Haruto ''can't'' kill him and has to turn him into SealedEvilInACan by [[HurlItIntoTheSun trapping him in the sun.]]
** Happens later with Dragon, Haruto's Inner Phantom and the source of his magic. The Legion Phantom enters Haruto's underworld and ends up destroying him in the resulting fight. Eventually, Dragon is brought BackFromTheDead by Haruto's [[{{Determinator}} absolute refusal to give up hope]] no matter how heavily the odds are against him. This results in Dragon being able to grant Haruto access to [[SuperMode Infinity Style]] and gives Dragon the power turn into the Axcalibur sword.
* In ''Series/{{Charmed}},'' when Cole arrives in the underworld, he finds that the souls of demons have their powers eaten by the creatures that live there. He decides to get in on that action, and collects enough powers to return to the land of the living, and with almost ''every'' demonic power there is. Unfortunately, it eventually drove him crazy, and he wanted to die, but couldn't.

* In NorseMythology, Odin sacrificed himself on Yggdrasil and after he came back to life, he knew magic.
* Inuit mythology:
** Sedna is just an ordinary woman until her father chops off her fingers and throws her into the ocean. She becomes the goddess of the ocean, the most important goddess of the Inuit cosmology because it's only with her on their side that the people can avoid starvation. Her fingers turn into seals.
** Another version has her being thrown in the ocean first, followed by the chopping off of her fingers (which turn into seals), hands (which turn into walruses) and finally her arms (which turn into whales) to get her to stop clinging on to the boat.
* In Yoruban mythology and Santeria, Shango. He was an ordinary king until he hanged himself and became one of the most powerful (and popular) Orisha. His salute means "the king is not hanged".

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* When the first season of NXT started, fan favorite Daniel Bryan lost virtually every match he was in the entire time. His heart and determination kept him over with fans, but he just couldn't break the glass ceiling of actually winning a match. After getting fired, he came back weeks later to help team WWE take on the Nexus. Daniel Bryan immediately made one of his opponents tap out, and went on to play a major role in the match, as well as future WWE matches and storylines. Over the years, he's built himself up into a heavy fan favorite to the point of not only becoming one of the new top guys in WWE, but also main eventing Wrestlemania 30 for the World Title and winning!

[[folder:Tabletop RPG]]
* In ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brave_New_World_(role-playing_game) Brave New World]]'' characters gain super powers by undergoing a near-death experience while in mortal danger.
* In the ''TabletopGame/{{Pathfinder}}'' tabletop game, being born dead and then coming back to life is one of the possible origins of a sorcerer's powers.
* ''TabletopGame/GeistTheSinEaters'': As mortals, Sin-Eaters typically have some sort of connection to fate or the world of the dead (represented by glimpses of ghosts or strange hunches). Once they die, however, a [[OurGhostsAreDifferent geist]] offers them the chance to come back, and when they accept, they gain access to a whole suite of powers.
* In order to become an [[WalkingWasteland Abyssal]] ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}'', you have to be on the exact verge of death at the time.
* In ''Tabletopgame/DungeonsAndDragons'', this is how the Risen Martyr PrestigeClass works. A saintly character is temporarily resurrected after their martyrdom and given extra powers to complete their unfinished task.
* ''Tabletopgame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' has at least two versions of this.
** The Sisters of Battle have their Holy Living Saints, revered fallen martyrs who return to the battlefield as miraculous glowing giant warrior of faith when called by their pious sisters to fight in the Holy God Emperor of All Mankind's name.
** The Space Marines have their Dreadnaughts. A doomed Space Marine, if deemed suitable, can be inserted/sealed in a "Combat Sarcophagus" which makes the Space Marine even deadlier in battle.
* ''TabletopGame/ChuubosMarvelousWishGrantingEngine'': in the ''Glass-Maker's Dragon'' campaign, playing "The Other One" - i.e. an OC rather than modifying one of the pregenerated characters - involves dying quite early on and coming back on a Miraculous Arc.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''[[ZettaiHeroKaizouKeikaku Zettai Hero Project: Unlosing Ranger vs. Darkdeath Evilman]]'' has this as one of the core mechanics. Every time you get killed, you lose the items you're carrying and get sent back to level 1, but your basic stats increased depending on your "total level earned", and stats boost you get from level up depends on your basic stats. As [[SpiritAdvisor Pirohiko]] says, a hero always comes back from the brink of defeat to save the day!
* ''VideoGame/MegaManX's'' Zero died the first game, was rebuilt in the interim, and came back with upgraded armor and weapons in the second game. A lesser version occurred with X5 and X6. He didn't get new armor, and the offensive boost was a tweaked ArmCannon, but he did gain a DoubleJump as a standard ability.
* Used in the ''Franchise/{{Disgaea}}'' games. You level up, then you reincarnate into a new body that starts with better stats. The game more plays with this trope.
* ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog2006'' features the controversial kiss from Princess Elise that not only revives Sonic from dead-but-not-really-death but transforms him into Super Sonic for the final boss.
* ''VideoGame/BlazBlue'': Ragna nearly bled to death after ''[[BigBad so]][[MagnificentBastard m]][[ForTheEvulz e]][[MemeticBadass on]][[FauxAffablyEvil e]]'' cut off his arm and burned down his home. Then he was bitten by a vampire and fused with the corpse of an EldritchAbomination. This gave him the [[ArtifactOfDoom Azure Grimoire]] and Soul Eater powers which turned him into a OneManArmy. The bad news is that if he uses them too much, he will ''turn into'' the aforementioned EldritchAbomination.
* Happens in ''VideoGame/JadeEmpire'' when your Spirit Monk is killed by the main villain, then finds the last piece of the [[AmuletOfConcentratedAwesome Dragon Amulet]] while fighting his/her way back from the spirit world.
* ''VideoGame/{{Warcraft}}'' series :
** Second generation Death Knights combine this trope with a bit of CameBackWrong. Most Death Knights are already powerful Warriors or Paladins to begin with, but when they are raised they are imbued with powers over necromancy and disease, making them the Scourge's most powerful soldiers. This is less evident in ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' due to the obvious balance issues making Death Knights more powerful than the other classes would cause, but from a [[GameplayAndStorySegregation lore standpoint]] it remains true, even though it only translates into a higher starting level.
** In ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' Cataclysm's Rage of the Firelands patch, you confront Alysra and defeat her single-handedly in a quest. After you do so, some Druids of the Flame arrive, and revive her as a fire hawk, resulting in her flying off to the Firelands and becoming a much more difficult raid boss that requires 10-25 players to defeat.
** Ingvar the Plunderer in Utgarde Keep combines this with TrickBoss. After he's reanimated as an undead, his abilities become more powerful. Similarly, the Black Knight goes from being defeated alone in a quest to being a 5-man dungeon boss in Trial of the Champion. The Scourge had a habit of handing out this type of upgrade during their heyday.
* Happens to the BigBad of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyII''. The Emperor comes back to life as a lich king, having taken control of Hell and its legions. In ''Soul of Rebirth'', his good side took over Heaven.
* In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIV'' this happens to a few bosses. When you kill the Earth Fiend Scarmiglione, he comes back as a zombie, attacking from behind or Dr. Lugae, he comes back as a cyborg.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'''s BigBad Sephiroth was [[ImpaledWithExtremePrejudice seemingly]] [[HalfTheManHeUsedToBe killed]] by Cloud [[DeadAllAlong years before the game begins]], but his powerful will enabled him to resist being absorbed into TheLifestream and pull a GrandTheftMe on [[EldritchAbomination Jenova]]. Following his second death, he is resurrected in ''Advent Children'', and WordOfGod states that he had "ascended to a new level of existence" in the interim.
* This is how you beat Izanami in ''VideoGame/{{Persona 4}}'', with a little help from ThePowerOfFriendship.
* Before the events of ''VideoGame/{{Tsukihime}}'', Tohno Shiki has the ability to see "things which are hidden". When he is killed and brought back to life, this mutates into the ability to ''see death'', allowing him to cut anything by tracing its "lines of death" or destroy anything by stabbing its "point of death". This manages to be [[StoryBreakerPower even more overpowered than it sounds]], but Shiki has to wear AntiMagic glasses to [[BlessedWithSuck prevent going mad]] (besides the obvious reasons, just looking at a "very immortal" character for too long can cause brain damage).
* The Nameless One in ''VideoGame/PlanescapeTorment'' sometimes regains memories after he dies and comes back, which can translate into more experience points, and hence more power.
* In ''VideoGame/StarcraftII'', one mission against a HybridMonster named Maar has him repeatedly assaulting your small base. If you kill him, he keeps coming back, larger, with more hit points and a more powerful attack.
* ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiStrangeJourney'':
** The Tyrants you defeated in the first four sectors come back in new, [[OneWingedAngel terrifying forms]] in Sector 6, Fornax, but not before declaring a [[ItsPersonal personal war]] on ''you'', Captain HelloInsertNameHere.
** Additionally, Commander Gore is killed very early into the mission. However, the forces of the Schwarzwelt bring him back as a puppet and an observer, in a type of zombie called Ubergestalt. When he shakes off control, he reveals that not only has he regained his humanity, but he now possesses supernatural abilities and superhuman traits. Not only does he go from a SacrificialLion to [[ThatOneBoss one of the most pain in the ass bosses in the game]] (in the routes you fight him on), but he also demonstrates the ability to ''see potential futures.''
* In ''VideoGame/OgreBattle'' series (and ''VideoGame/TacticsOgre'' games from the same universe) it's possible to resurrect your fallen units as undead. They have a weakness against enemy clerics, but are often much stronger then they was in live. In ''Knight of Lodis'' it's possible to resurrect fallen knights as Angel Knights, one of the best classes in game, who doesn't have weakness to holy.
* It could be said that [[TheHero Commander]] [[PlayerCharacter Shepard]] of ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'' does this, as he/she is [[OnlyMostlyDead rendered clinically brain dead]] by the Collectors, then brought back by Cerberus with cybernetic enhancements, enabling Shepard to have RegeneratingHealth, BulletTime for Soldiers using Adrenaline Rush, Infiltrators using sniper rifles, and Vanguards coming out of Charge, the ability (along with certain mercenary bosses) to wield weapons like the Claymore that normally break people's arms, and SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism based scarring.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}} 13'': Ten Desires, Toyosatomimi no Miko wakes up from [[HumanPopsicle a sleep of over a thousand years]] to be the FinalBoss of the game. While her judgment may have been impaired immediately after waking, her skill with [[BulletHell danmaku]] wasn't.
* Red Savarin from ''VideoGame/{{Solatorobo}}'' says he feels better than ever after his brush with death. It eventually results in him being able to Trance and become extra-powerful when he feels the need to protect someone.
* Asura from ''VideoGame/AsurasWrath'', after dying once, comes back and can now utilize his Six Armed form (Which at one point was only usable with his daughter Mithra's Help) as well as newer, more powerful forms after it.
* In an ending from ''[[VideoGame/MarvelVsCapcomClashOfTheSuperheroes Marvel Vs. Capcom]]'', [[VideoGame/{{Cyberbots}} Jin]] proceeds to destroy Onslaught's soul [[HeroicSacrifice in a sacrificial attack]]. Suddenly, Ryu wonders when Jin will be coming back.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Arcanum}}'' this is the result of sacrificing yourself to [[TopGod Velorien, the All-Father]], after figuring out the riddle of the old gods.
* It seemed that Albert Wesker, the villain of first ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil'' game, got a KarmicDeath by the Tyrant's claw to the stomach, but, thanks to [[DeathActivatedSuperpower death-activated]] [[SuperpowerRussianRoulette experimental virus]] he injected himself before, he returned as Umbrella's [[UltimateLifeForm perfect]] creation: an unstoppable LightningBruiser retaining his human appearance and [[MagnificentBastard mind]].
* In ''VideoGame/{{Wizard101}}'' when Malistaire is brought back as a {{Lich}} by Morganthe, he is much more powerful than he was originally and he is completely invulnerable to attack and the only reason that the player is able to win the fight is the damage done to the battlefield while killing his minions causes the ground to break under him when he tries to finish the player off.
* In ''VideoGame/DevilSurvivor'', there are two fights against the vampire Kudlak. If he's killed in the first one, he gains a level boost for the second. If ''you'' kill him in the second battle, a sympathetic character is KilledOffForReal. [[note]]You're supposed to let Mari kill him, as she's currently under the effect of his KryptoniteFactor and can make him ''stay'' dead this time. She's present in the first battle too, but the 'kryptonite' is not.
* Pretty much the game of ''VideoGame/{{Prototype}}'', Alex Mercer starts as a normal human but after you die you fall onto the virus you unleashed, gaining super strength, speed and pretty much invincible. Of course it turns out that he never did come back, this is TheVirus wearing a Alex Mercer suit.
* ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic 2'':
** The game has an... Interesting take on this trope. The Exile is a former Jedi who has 'died' by losing all access to the Force and only regains it through a bond with Kreia, another former Jedi who has 'died' ideologically, twice. In ''Franchise/StarWars'' the Force pretty much is life/God, so to lose all access to it is a state most Force-sensitives would see as equivalent with death.
*** A more minor version happens to Kyle Katarn in the VideoGame/DarkForcesSaga. His version only goes as far as giving up the Force, but the BigBad believes that his time away has made him stronger.
** In the first game, Darth Malak expresses his disbelief that despite his betrayal leaving Revan half-dead and amnesiac one year earlier, he's not only rediscovered their training, but if returned to the light side, have somehow become even ''stronger'' than he ever was as a Sith.
* The Undead of ''VideoGame/DarkSouls'' and ''VideoGame/DarkSoulsII'' have this mixed with CameBackWrong. On one hand, they gradually lose their memories and humanity until they turn into mindless [[OurZombiesAreDifferent Hollows]]. On the other hand, they're basically immortal, will not hollow until they have lost the will and purpose to continue, apparently have [[TheNeedless no need to eat, drink and sleep]] and have the potential to aquire, through the use of souls, physical and/or mental prowess well beyond human limits.
* [[Disney/TheLionKing Scar]] actually manages to do this twice in ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII''. During the first Pride Lands segment, Simba flings Scar off a cliff. Scar comes BackFromTheDead as a Heartless with ElementalPowers. He retains his appearance and intelligence as he does so, something that only ''Xehanort'' had been able to do before. The second time, you go to the Pride Lands, he's psychologically tormenting Simba with shadowy avatars of himself, which combine into the {{Kaiju}}-sized Grroundshaker Heartless, which once again is only outsized by Xehanort's World of Chaos form. All that's left now is for his Nobody to show up and we'll be three for three.
* Tarnum of ''[[VideoGame/HeroesOfMightAndMagic Heroes Chronicles]]''. A ruthless Barbarian leader (though he didn't start out that way) engages in a CombatByChampion with King Rion Gryphonheart and loses. After getting to the Barbarian afterlife, he is denied passage by the Ancients, who send him back as an immortal, forced to forever walk Enroth (and later Axeoth) until he redeems himself enough to be allowed to join the Ancients. Throughout the different chapters, Tarnum becomes many things, from knight to mage, and tries to atone for his mistakes. At the end of the Barbarian campaign in ''Heroes Of Might and Magic IV'', he finally succeeds (by helping another Barbarian to unite the tribes ''without'' becoming a tyrant) and chooses to stay instead of joining the Ancients.


[[folder:Web Comics]]
* In ''Webcomic/AvasDemon'', the titular character forms a pact with Wrathia in order to do this.
* In ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'', the very first antagonist, the Goo, came back as the Omega Goo in the second arc complete with abilities related to the way it was defeated the first time.
* In ''Webcomic/FreakAngels'', all the titular characters have regenerative immortality and sustaining normally fatal injuries expands their already formidable PsychicPowers. Though they don't realize that until Luke gets back up after taking a bullet through the brain, previously they didn't realize that Arkady was more powerful than the rest of them following her overdose (she was rather spacey until she died again by drowning) and Mark didn't realize he had died. Then Connor shot himself to trigger the "upgrade" and gave it to the rest of them.
* In ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'', dying upon a Quest Bed ascends players of Sburb to the [[PhysicalGod God Tiers]], a tier of power beyond the standard levels which grants the player immense power over their elemental aspect, together with conditional immortality. Twelve characters have done this: [[TheHero John]], [[TheSmartGuy Rose]], [[TheLancer Dave]], [[TheChick Jade]], [[{{Munchkin}} Vriska]], [[EmotionlessGirl Aradia]], [[ExpositionFairy Aranea]], [[SociopathicHero Meenah]], [[BrokenAce Dirk]], [[MessianicArchetype Jane]], [[TheFool Jake]], and [[LoveableRogue Roxy]].
** [[TeamMom Kanaya]] mysteriously came back as a [[OurVampiresAreDifferent Rainbow Drinker]]. It was originally implied [[TheOmniscient Doc Scratch]] groomed her for this transformation, but later DoingInTheWizard explained this as a trait of the jadeblood caste.
* In ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'', during his stay on [[{{Heaven}} the Mountain]], Roy defeated an evil adventuring party with his dead grandpa, who later trained him in a sword move that can potentially one-shot a high-level spellcaster. He can't actually use it until he purchases the related feat, but when he returns to the living he says he has "this awesome idea for a cool sword move."
* In ''OurLittleAdventure'', Jane came back to help her friends as a ghost. Her ghost powers included some nifty new attacks.
* At one point in ''Webcomic/SchlockMercenary'', Kevyn Andreysan unknowingly has Project Laz'r'us blood nanites in him. They bring him back from the dead (or clinical death, at least) twice--on the second time, Kevyn authorizes an "aggressive reconstruction" that augments his body into a nigh-unstoppable killing machine.
* ''ZebraGirl'' references ''Literature/LordOfTheRings'' by name when evil wizard Harold Duvase kills Jack and he returns to life moments later, much more powerful and calls it "pulling a Gandalf."

[[folder:Web Original]]
* The ''Anime/DragonBallZ'' example is played with in ''WebVideo/DragonBallZAbridged'' after Dende first heals Krillin and Gohan.
-->'''Vegeta''': Unlike the runt [Gohan] and I, you don't get a power boost from it.\\
'''Krillin''': HAX!!! I CALL HAX!!!

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''InvaderZim'' had an episode featuring a plot by Zim to do in Dib with time traveling stuffed pigs. It was actually working at first, but just at the point where Dib was almost finished off, the timestream apparently [[CrossesTheLineTwice had enough of that premise]] and started transforming Dib into a massive cyborg murder ninja.
* Parodied on ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' in which Cartman throws himself off a roof in a poorly-planned attempt to fly and wakes up from a coma in the hospital, and the cops who have the IdiotBall believe he has precognition. [[OnlySaneMan Kyle]] later does the same thing at the end of the episode so people will [[CassandraTruth believe him]] about the serial killer's identity and Cartman's uselessness. Eerily, the lights flicker violently when Kyle gets frustrated.
* PlayedWith in the series finale to the original ''[[Franchise/TransformersGeneration1 Transformers series]]'' when Optimus Prime is [[WhatDoYouMeanItsNotSymbolic brought back to life]] InItsHourOfNeed and promptly rebuilt as a ChromeChampion to defeat the HatePlague.
** In [[WesternAnimation/TransformersTheMovie the movie]], the nearly-dead Megatron is thrown into space after his and Prime's final battle. Then he encounters Unicron and is reformatted into Galvatron, gaining power great enough to kill a Transformer and blow up planets with one shot.
* The season two opener for ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars'' ends with Optimus Primal coming back from the dead, complete with a MidSeasonUpgrade. He sweeps in and singlehandedly drives off the Predacon army.
* Octus was killed in episode 18 of ''SymBionicTitan'' and remained that way through episode 19. Octus is revived in episode 20 by the leader of G3. While he himself hasn't been shown to have become stronger, the Titan gets an upgrade as a result, gaining powerful energy beams and is generally overall stronger. Lance even comments that it's stronger than before.
* [[{{Jerkass}} Colonel H. Stinkmeaner]] from ''TheBoondocks'' was just an annoying, foul-mouthed old blind guy, who got his ass whooped, and died as a result. Come season 2, we find out he's been spending his time in Hell (like he'd ever get into Heaven...) turning himself into a kung fu asskicker. When he gets sent back to Earth via possessing a young guy, he mops the floor with the Freemans.
* Optimus Prime of ''WesternAnimation/TransformersPrime'' spent the start of the third season critically injured and slowly dying until Smokescreen used the power of the [[AncientArtifact Forge of Solus Prime]] to fix him. He comes back in a new, stronger body, and has gained the ability to fly.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* This is how muscles and bones improve. When you strain them the cells die, but they get repaired to be stronger than before.
** Overtraining is possible, where you break down cells faster than you grow them. Many bodybuilders and strength athletes ''deliberately'' overtrain when they need a large amount of development over a short time or when they expect to miss several exercise sessions.
** This is why students of the Okinawa school of Karate routinely hit themselves with bricks. Hitting bones repeatedly causes microfractures, which then heal to form a stronger, denser lattice, resulting in stronger bones. (It also helps to desensitize the nerve endings.)
** Many systems of martial arts do something similar: special mention to Cimande Pencak Silat where the whole system is about overpowering wrist or forearm strikes, and the practitioners would originally train against trees to get the conditioning. '''Though there is a lot of controversy about this topic'''--some say it works fine, some say isn't useful, some say it will give you problems in later life, and some say it doesn't work at all.
*** Some Sambo practitioners train by throwing heavy logs from one forearm to another.
* Evolution sometimes works this way. If something kills off most of a population (or species), but several individuals have a genetic trait that helps them, then the surviving population, while smaller, will mostly have the trait that makes them stronger. The population/species can then come back, more numerous and stronger than ever before.
** This is why a new flu vaccine is needed every year: a vaccine is made which kills of almost the entire population of influenza, but some survive due to random mutations which make them resistant to the current vaccine; this smaller population becomes immune to the vaccine and its population grows and comes to prominence again just in time for the next flu season, requiring another vaccine, which kills off most of the population again, which leaves a resistant remnant, which grows again in a year, [[HereWeGoAgain which requires]] ''[[HereWeGoAgain another]]'' [[HereWeGoAgain vaccine...]]
* Weird as it might sound, the entire human species is an example of this trope, not once but twice. They evolved 200,000 years ago. 150,000 years ago, we escaped extinction by a narrow margin. What happened afterwards? They expanded from their little nest to most of Africa. Then 74,000 years ago, history repeated itself and the human population dropped below 20,000 individuals. So what did people do next? They took over the frigging world.
* Human enemies too: After a century of antibiotic use, bacteria are now more resistant than ever, with some resistant to virtually all known antibiotics; the same with antiviral drugs, pesticides, and herbicides.