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- Segata Sanshiro, mascot of the Sega Saturn, heroically gave his life defending his beloved Sega from an attack from Sony or Nintendo-it's unclear which. He lives on in our hearts. At least he took something with him.
- In an ad for a 90's board game called It From The Pit, an Indiana Jones Expy and two children come across the eponymous creature. As it reaches for them, the man pushes the kids out of the way and is dragged into the pit himself.
- The Fallen Caryatid: Ancient Greek architecture included women carved into columns, holding up the roof. They were later carved into buildings done in the Classical style and evolved into men, demons, anyone one wanted to have holding up a building forever. The sculptor Rodin created the Fallen Caryatid as a woman collapsing under the impossible burden, but struggling to carry it still. Many interpretations exist, of course.
- Because Lynn Johnston, the writer of For Better or for Worse, chose to tell her story in real time, complete with characters aging normally, it became inevitable that the Pattersons' family dog Farley had to go. In 1995, Johnston decided that Farley would go out a hero. When the Pattersons' four-year-old daughter April fell into a creek near their house, Farley went in to rescue her. The shock of the cold water, combined with his advanced age, caused him to suffer a fatal heart attack, but April survived; the strip ended with her preparing to attend university to become a veterinarian.
- The character Maleus, in this World of Warcraft fanfic.
- The Sangheili/Elite Zuka in the Halo story Enemy of My Enemy, who flies his nearly-destroyed Banshee, piloted by his nearly-dead self, directly into the exposed core of a hostile Scarab, saving the city.
- Flt Lt. Fitzgerald sacrifices himself so the French pilot can get back to the Odyssey in Chapter Four of Reunions Are A Bitch.
- In this Iron Man: Armored Adventures fanfic, both of Gene Khan's parents. Aung managed to nearly kill Zhang while bleeding to death, and Sarantuyaa let herself be killed in order to ensure her son would survive.
- Ianto does this in ''Shades of Ianto'' in order to save the Earth.
- In Heta Oni (a fan-made Axis Powers Hetalia video game based off of Ao Oni), after Italy dies, England sacrifices himself to rewind time to save Italy.
- Wheatley in the Portal 2 fic Test Of Humanity'' invokes this while trying to save Chell and ends up getting caught in an explosion due to an escape plan gone wrong.
- In Past Sins, Nightmare Nyx fights off all the monsters of the Everfree Forest in an attempt to invoke Death Equals Redemption.
- Actually, she's not attempting to invoke Death Equals Redemption so much as she's simply willing to die if that will help save the town.
- Anne Littners dream is to "Go out in a blaze of glory" in The Spiral Path much to the disturbance of everyone who knows her.
- In Touhou fan PV "Loitering Darkness", Yuyuko, fearing her ability of being able to will death onto mortals would inadvertently drive people to death, sacrifices her own life to seal off the cursed cherry blossom.
- According to some versions of the tall-tale, the legendary steel-driving man John Henry met his end when working on laying track through a mountain when the tunnel began collapsing. Henry, who supposedly Dual Wielded two twenty-pound sledgehammers because the standard ten-pound hammer felt light to him, was able to hold up the support beams until his fellow rail workers could escape, before his strength finally gave out. See Music below.
- Gleefully subverted in a Doctor Who Magazine comic strip; the Eighth Doctor is about to make a heroic sacrifice by crashing a military helicopter filled with canisters of gas into a slime creature, and makes a moving farewell speech to his friends. One of them — the spymaster whose helicopter it happens to be — sardonically points out that, whilst he appreciates the nobility of the gesture, if the Doctor just looks up he'll see a button that will allow him to eject to safety, thus negating the need for said sacrifice.
- The old-style country song "Big John" by Jimmy Dean, loosely based on the legend of John Henry, about a large mine worker who was generally known as a brute due to his sheer size and strength. However, when the mine began collapsing, he used brute strength to hold up the collapsing beams long enough for his fellow workers to escape the mine, staying behind to hold it up long enough for them all to get out safely. The mine then collapsed completely, entombing him under several tons of earth. Attempts to dig his body out were futile, so a marble sign was placed before the caved-in entrance: "At the bottom of this mine lies a big BIG man — Big John"
- Another old country song, also based on a true story, about a truck driver on a narrow road only wide enough for one vehicle, the edge of which opened over a huge fall (a mountainside or cliff or chasm, I can't remember which) and coming from the opposite direction as him was a schoolbus full of children. Rather than hit the bus and most likely killing the children inside, he deliberately drove his rig over the edge of the cliff and plunged to his death, saving the lives of the children at the cost of his own.
- "Soldier", a song by Harvey Andrews, an English poet and songwriter. It starts telling the story of a guy who joined the British Army, because work was hard to find and, besides, there were no wars right away, and (lucky man) found himself in the middle of the British-Irish urban guerilla. The song actually reaches its climax when the guy, who was running a boring patrol tour in a train station, jumps over a bomb just thrown by IRA guerilla fighters, thus dooming himself and saving the lives of the people around him, for whom he nurtured no enmity and who had treated him with cold hatred just seconds before. Inspired by real life example of Sergeant Michael Willetts, thank you other wiki. Damn, he surely must have had some massive balls of steel.
- Way, way too many Israeli songs to count.
- Mentioned in the song "Your Guardian Angel" by Red Jumpsuit Apparatus.
"I'll be there for you through it all / Even if saving you sends me to Heaven"
- "Casey Jones/Mounted to his cabin/Casey Jones/With his orders in his hand/Casey Jones/Mounted to his cabin/And he took his farewell trip to that promis'd land."
- Sinead O'Connor's song "Troy" is mostly about an obsessive love affair, but contains the line
I'd kill a dragon for you, and die
- Orden Ogan's "The Things We Believe In" is all about this.
- Miss Saigon: Kim; she kills her incest cousin who was about to kill her son, and even makes the ultimate choice to kill herself so her son can go with his father and wife to America. Don't believe me? Listen to the song "I'd Give My Life For You" and you'll understand.
- In the film Mask of Light, Jaller and Takua/Takanuva do this mutually to each other. First, Jaller jumps into the line of Turahk's fear energy, braking its effect over Takua, but dies from pure fear. Later Takua, having become the Toa Takanuva, merges with Makuta and uses their combined strength to open the gate leading to the city of Metru Nui. They sacrifice part of their life-force to resurrect Jaller, but the gate crushes them. Then, Takanuva is also brought back. He later jokingly asks Jaller to never do this again.
- In Legends of Metru Nui, Turaga Lhikan (whose mask was later given to Jaller) likewise jumps in between Vakama and Makuta's energy hand.
- In the conclusion of the 2007 story arc, Toa Matoro sacrifices himself by wearing the Mask of Life, which converts him into energy used to revive Mata Nui.
- Toa Ignika, the physical form of the Mask of Life does the same to kick-start Mata Nui's awakening, and while the mask remains sentient, it had to give up its body and its life as a Toa for good.
- Shandala and Kamimura at the end of Broken Saints.
- In Dusk's Dawn Donut charges into the Evil Twin's scepter, knocking himself out to save Star Whistle. He's alright.
- In "Tube Clash"'s second season Max aka HandOfBlood volunteers to delete himself from the world, thus enabling the remaining two survivors to go through with their plan to save everyone else.
- In "No Evil" Xipe Totec sacrifices her life to seal away the Black Tezcatlipoca.
- For a comedy series, Red vs. Blue has had a couple
- Alpha diving into The Meta in order to give Wash enough time to set off the EMP. Yeah, he played it off like he was still clinging to the "I'm a ghost, not an AI" thing, but it seems likely he knew by then what he was.
- Then season 13 brought two, one partially inspiring the second.
Epsilon: It was actually Doyle who made me realize something I never thought of before. There’s so many stories where some brave hero decides to give their life to save the day. And because of their sacrifice, the good guys win, the survivors all cheer, and everybody lives happily ever after. But the hero… never gets to see that ending. They’ll never know if their sacrifice actually made a difference. They’ll never know if the day was really saved. In the end… they just have to have faith. Ain’t that a bitch?
- Lovable loser General Doyle first overcoming his fear and going to attempt to overload the reactors, and then, when the controls are destoryed, doing it 'manually', knowing that he would not be able to leave.
- Epsilon realizing that the only way that he could run the Meta's armor - the piece of tech that would net his friends the biggest chance to escape Hargrove's ship - was to effectively do a hard reboot on himself, erasing all his memories (the core of what Epsilon was), allowing for the other fragments to expand and use the freed up capacity. In addition, in a message left behind, he muses on what it is like making such a sacrifice, knowing that there is no way to know if it even did any good. To drive his point even further, the episode ends as he does this, so the audience also has no way to know if it did any good.
- Survival of the Fittest:
- Character David Jackson attacks Jacob Starr to buy time for Adam Dodd to free Amanda Jones and Madelaine Shirohara from a locked warehouse. David dies in the ensuing gun battle, though not before wounding Jacob.
- Subverted in the case of Simon Wood, when he attacked Darnell Butler to buy time for his girlfriend, Madison Conner, to escape. The catch? Darnell isn't playing. Simon is killed in the ensuing fight, albeit accidentally.
- Handlers can do this if the character of another handler gets rolled. They have one hero card, which means their character dies instead.
- Ethan Kent from V4 did this in a fit of rage, taking out one of the cameras on purpose, giving the students an opportunity to subvert Danya's plans, but ensuring his own demise. Later, Feo Smith helps the sacrifice come full circle by (somewhat unintentionally) destroying all traces of Ethan's plan after a group of arrivals actually found the location of the island. She does this by setting most of the equipment on fire and shredding most of the paperwork, trying to accomplish it before her collar detonates for staying in a danger zone. Unfortunately, while she does succeed, she doesn't make it out in time.
- The Leet World: After being severely damaged by Ahmad, Asher activates his self destruct mechanism. Ahmad goes into Flash Step mode and tackles him, taking the explosion himself and saving the rest of the cast.
- In the first act of Sapphire Episode III, Ivanka offers to be executed in Alec's stead. A Senseless Sacrifice is narrowly avoided.
- In Dusk Peterson's short story The Fool, the Villain Protagonist writes in his Diary about the capture, rape and romance (Stockholm Syndrome) of his boy slave only to sacrifice himself to a Cruel and Unusual Death so the boy he's fallen in love with can escape and be returned to his surviving family.
- Fine Structure has five separate examples. In order:
- Jim Akker kills himself while Zykov/Oul is telepathically probing his mind in an attempt to take him down too. He also sends a last-minute warning to Ching.
- Jason Chilton sacrifices himself to save millions of people and several named characters from the Unstoppable Rage of the Twelfth Power.
- John Zhang kills himself in an ostentatiously physics-breaking way, forcing the Imprisoning God to isolate our entire solar system from the rest of The Multiverse.
- Anne Poole jumps onto a black hole to undo the results of John Zhang's actions, allowing the Final Battle to go forward.
- And finally, Ching sacrifices himself in the Final Battle, taking Oul with him.
- Kalani in the season 2 finale of We're Alive.
- Amazingly, inverted by Guru in Dragon Ball Z Abridged. He senses that the dragon has been summoned and is granting wishes, and says to himself, "Would be a reeeeaaaal dick move to die right now." Which he does. Which banishes the dragon. Basically, he kills himself strictly For the Evulz. A Jerkass Sacrifice, if you will.
- Phylis Alince of The Gungan Council destroys the Heart of Darkness to keep it out of the Sith's hands. Some spectacular fireworks ensue as everything near her, including herself, disintegrates!
- Ma-Ti dies protecting modern civilization at the climax of Suburban Knights.
- At the climax of ''To Boldly Flee Nostalgia Critic fuses with the plot hole to stabilize it. He becomes something more, but at the end of the day Critic is gone, marking both the end to both the movie and his series.
- Prior to this, the crew of the USS Exit Strategy sacrifice themselves to expand the Plot Hole, allowing it to encompass (and thus protect) the entire world. They are resurrected shortly afterwards, but they had no idea that would happen going in.
- In lonelygirl15, Bree Avery does the Ceremony to stop the Order chasing her friends, and Gina Hart takes a bullet to save Jonas.
- In The Gamer's Alliance, quite a few characters end up doing this. Hiroshi Hayabusa casts Shiropyr which kills both him and the Big Bad Taro Ofuchi. Kagetsu I does the same to Arawn. Geraud/Grady chooses to become the new world tree when the old one dies. Mori'sul sacrifices himself to save the heroes from a collapsing temple.
- Wrumple has a epic one. in Roll to Dodge Princess Celestia
- The TV Tropes ARG The Wall Will Fall has an averted one when one of its members is chosen to face Cthulhu in the final showdown. Pretty much every player who owned a required smartphone (and a few who didn't) were trying to volunteer, citing why they should be the one who had to risk their lives over everyone else. Averted in that the final chosen player managed to get away with a concussion.
- In Worm, Regent draws Behemoth's attention to save Imp and the cape Imp was trying to rescue, and is killed almost instantly.
- In Marble Hornets, Tim, in the midst of a coughing fit and unable to stand, let alone walk, demands that Jay leave him behind when the Operator is approaching them in the tunnel.
- Chip Cheezum's LP of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater brings us Mission J. Frog, a seemingly innocuous frog captured earlier on in the LP for "a mission". Hours later in the fight against Volgin, Chip throws out Mission J. Frog, who distracts Volgin the first time, but is fatally shot with electricity afterwards.
- In Pyrrhic, Hanako dies in order to protect Joshua, knowing that if they stop to attempt to heal her, he would likely die, as the person who shot Hanako (Marie) would catch up to them.
- Ramjet, a member of the Global Guardians, had a choice on September 11, 2001: get clear of the falling tower, or accept he'd be caught in the collapse and save a team of EMTs and the injured woman they were treating. To him, there really wasn't a choice involved in this situation. Not at all.
- If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device:
- Sacrifices of this sort seem to be one of the only things that can get the eternally grumpy Emperor to actually and unconditionally respect someone, to the point of refusing to insult them in any way (which for this Emperor, is a fairly huge deal). Though he naturally does have (justifiedly) high standards: A Go Through Me moment brought up mostly because a "lesser" human did it first and you didn't want to be upstaged just earns you posthumous scorn, and a Stupid Sacrifice where there were actual non-suicidal options that didn't involve self-destructing Lost Technology pisses him off outright. Rather tellingly, Sanguinius who died giving the Emperor a chance to defeat Horus, is the only one of his sons who he doesn't insult at all.
- Spoofed in the second Q&A when the Emperor decides to answer the questions sent in despite Magnus fearing that this may end up with destruction of Terra. "Sacrifices must be made", indeed.
- Deconstructed in the season 13 finale of Red vs. Blue, as Church discusses how much it would suck to give up ones life never knowing if it made a difference. To prove his point, it cuts to black when he dies and ends on a Cliffhanger.