Ralph! I thought you were dead? Ralph Wiggum:
A major character, possibly even a popularly nasty Big Bad
, has been killed
, pronounced dead and buried. However, the established laws of the universe
allow for Functional Magic
, a Sufficiently Advanced Alien
, Applied Phlebotinum
, Deus ex Machina
or similar agency to intervene and subvert what naturally follows dying. Namely, staying dead
. (In some cases, an explanation isn't even bothered with
Maybe the writers were running short of new ideas and decided to recycle some old characters
. Maybe the actor has recently acquired some indecent photographs of the producers. Maybe the new writer was devastated his predecessor killed the character
. Who knows? He is now Back From The Dead!
The form of afterlife can vary pretty widely. They may "simply" be resurrected or reincarnated
(usually as a sentient pet animal), physical or mental alterations (good
) optional; or we may now have a ghost, or vampire... zombie, angel, godling, demon... haunted car... okay, that last one will be hard to top (except with a Love-matic Grandpa!
). Bringing someone back from the dead by supernatural means is generally treated as being a negative thing because of how unnatural it is.
If a character cannot come back from the dead entirely, they may show up as a Spirit Advisor
or Mentor Archetype
, letting them be literally dead, but allowing them to interact with the living.
In the Star Trek: Voyager
episode "Mortal Coil
", Neelix actually dies for real but is (some would argue unfortunately
) brought back to life some 18 hours later. This is an example of Contractual Immortality
. In order to qualify for being brought Back From The Dead, a character in a TV show would have to be still dead at the end of one episode and resurrected, by whatever means, in a later episode (2-parters don't count).
This is exceedingly common in American superhero
comic books, to the point that whenever a popular character dies, it's a given that they'll be back on within no more than five years. At one time, it was said that "Nobody ever stays dead in comics, except Bucky
, Uncle Ben
, and Jason Todd
." Naturally, since that phrase was coined, Bucky and Jason Todd have since been recalled to life.
See Death Is Cheap
for when this becomes a regular feature of a 'verse, Sorting Algorithm of Deadness
for the odds a particular death will stick, and the accompanying betting pool
for which modern Lazarus is due back next. See also Resurrective Immortality
for where this is an everyday part of a character's life.
A general rule of thumb is that if you Never Found the Body
, the character is Not Quite Dead
in the first place (and therefore not a candidate for this trope). One of the most common examples of this is that if a character falls off of a cliff or other high structure, especially into water
, he or she is almost guaranteed to still be alive; see Disney Death
. An explosion gives more reasonable odds. Of course, even if Deader Than Dead
, even if you see the body and you've atomized it so finely that each individual molecule is a galaxy apart... there's always Time Travel
. Removing the entire thing from existence can be done, and equally undone by a similar Deus ex Machina
Faking the Dead
has its own trope. See also First Episode Resurrection
when this happens at the start of the series.
The character's resurrection from the dead could result in a situation of Unwanted Revival
As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.
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Anime & Manga
- Rozen Maiden Suigintou pulls a Back from the Dead after getting killed in the last episode of Season One and several are revived in Traumend. And damaged "normal" animated doll brought back by Jun (almost accidentally).
- Fushigi Yuugi: The dead members of Team Suzaku are brought back as Spirit Advisors in the final episode, possessing volunteers so they can contribute to the fight. The OVAs have their ghosts show up a few more times before finally using reincarnation to bring them back for good.
- Gekiganger 3: Joe Umitsubame comes back from the dead, piloting the original Gekiganger 3 robot, to help the rest of the team defeat the show's Big Bad. A character watching this episode comments on the fact that people in real life (like the dead Gai Daigouji and Tsukomo Shiratori) don't come back from the dead, another example of the show's contrast of Gekiganger's idealistic worldview and the "reality" of Nadesico. Ironically, in that very same episode, the apparently-dead Admiral turned out to be Not Quite Dead.
- Ga-Rei: Yomi. Twice.
- JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Muhammed Avdol of the third part was shot in the head by Hol Horse (giving Polnareff a lesson about not being a selfish prick, and working together), but came back in a later chapter (where it was revealed that the bullet bounced off his skull). The kicker here is that he's killed off later by Dio's Dragon, Vanilla Ice.
- Before him, in the second part, Stroheim blows himself up with a grenade in an attempt to kill Santana, who is crawling into his wounded leg. Some twenty chapters later, he returns as a cyborg.
- Everyone in Sailor Moon is expected to die near or at the end of each arc, usually for the sake of being Team Cannon Fodder, but sometimes for an actual reason. In The Nineties anime version this only happens in the first and final seasons. All other seasons they just didn't die.
- Tokyo Mew Mew takes a page from Sailor Moon and kills off the whole cast in the Grand Finale, only to bring them back with a single Mew Aqua and True Love's Kiss. (The latter was only for one person; otherwise, it would get really silly.)
- The Bronze Saints in Saint Seiya seem to suffer from this, considering they "die" (or at least, they're dealt fatal blows) by the end of each saga. The series Hand Waves this by claiming that Athena can bring them back from the brink of death; however, Hades himself can reanimate the dead and turn them into Specters for his army.
- There's also Ikki, Saint of PHOENIX. As his name implies, he keeps coming back all the time...only stronger.
- The Book of Darkness, the Wolkenritter, and the corrupted self-defense program from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha are able to perform this repeatedly thanks to the Book's Rejuvenation Program. You can rip off their very life force and obliterate them without a trace using a weapon that distorts the fabric of time and space, but as long as the Rejuvenation Program is active, they will eventually be revived. The only known method to actually stop the Book of Darkness for good is to freeze it. No direct destruction will ever keep it from reappearing.
- Ayanami Rei of Neon Genesis Evangelion. "I guess... I'm the third one."
- One Piece has Brook, who ate the Yomi Yomi no Mi (Revive-Revive Fruit), which allowed him to come back to life after his entire crew was slaughtered...though it took him too long to find his body, so that he's now a living skeleton.
- Used in a warped context in the Thriller Bark arc; Shichibukai (Warlord of the Sea) Gekko Moria uses his Kage Kage no Mi (Shadow-Shadow Fruit) powers to steal shadows and implant them into corpses to bring said cadavers into a pseudo-living state. Yep, you guessed it: zombies. An army of zombies.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, practically the entire cast dies in Season Three, only to be randomly resurrected at the end of the arc, because they were just trapped in another dimension. Then there's Kaiser Ryo, who dies of heart failure but comes back later anyway under unexplained circumstances..
- Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds
Rex Godwin: Dark Signers are the souls of the dead who have awakened to their abilities. In other words, they are no longer of this world.
- Used twice, in fact: the Dark Signers themselves return to life once the Earthbound Immortals have been defeated (except for Rudger/Roman and Rex, who decide not to take their second chance since they became Dark Signers purely of their own will), complete with Laser-Guided Amnesia in regards to their actions as Dark Signers...except for Kiryu/Kalin, who also became one willingly, and takes a while afterwards to regain a will to live.
- Happens in the Pokémon anime movie, Pokemon The First Movie. Mewtwo and Mew are duking it out and prepare to use their ultimate attacks when Ash steps in between them to stop the fight, only be hit by the attacks at the same time. He collapses and his body turns colorless. Pikachu tries to revive Ash with his electricity several times, but then realizes that Ash is dead. Pikachu begins to cry and then all the Pokemon and the clones begin to cry as well. The power of the Pokemon tears is what brings Ash back to life.
- Averted in Fullmetal Alchemist multiple times. No matter what you do, no matter how much you pay, you will never bring the dead back to life.
- Much of the cast of Gantz usually die before their involvement in the story. If they die during a hunt, then someone could spend 100 points to bring them back.
- In 07-Ghost the main character's Heterosexual Life Partner Mikage is killed by the Big Bad to prove a point and is reincarnated as a baby dragon, apparently solely to alleviate the pain of his death. He has done nothing in the plot so far but sit on Teito's shoulder and look cute. And bite a couple of people. And look cute!
- Rosette Christopher from Chrono Crusade, using sheer willpower and a little help from Maria Magadalena, and probably guided by the Apostles to return to her body, just in time to give Aion a powerful shot that shatters his prized sword.
- Mary herself counts, considering Aion killed her but she's later revealed to have been a ghost and watching over Chrono and Rosette the entire time.
- YuYu Hakusho is rife with examples of this trope. Talking about how many times Yuusuke comes back from the dead wouldn't even be that full of spoilers (It starts in the first episode).
- The aptly named Lifebringer in Mahou Sensei Negima!. The exact mechanics are unknown as of yet, but its heavily implied that he's come back somehow..
- Jack Rakan manages to bring himself back from being erased from reality.
- Rosario + Vampire's Aono Tsukune takes this trope to the extreme. As he is a normal human with vampire energy attached to his human cells, he constantly dies from lethal attacks, in the sense that his heart beat stops, and comes back regenerating himself, usually in his most powerful, unstoppable form. In fact, one could say that the easiest way for him to attain his strongest power is simply by dying.
- In the Death Note manga and anime, any human whose name is written into the Death Note is Killed Off for Real. In the manga pilot, however, there exists a "Death Eraser" that can restore them to life so long as their bodies haven't been cremated yet.
- In the anime Daisuke Bu Bu Cha Cha, a toddler's pet dog comes back from the dead in the form of a toy car.
- Gaara, Kakashi, Shizune, and many others in Naruto.
- The crowning achievement award for this trope should go to the Naruto series, due to Kabuto's bringing back from the dead any Shinobi whose remains he could get his hands on, including such favorites as Haku and Zabuza. Those who wanted to see Jiraiya back to hope for a Jiraiya-Naruto bout have had their hopes crushed however...
- A bit of explanation is needed here. For Gaara, someone with a special technique that was developed to bring life to a puppet as a black ops project. They found out that it cost the user his/her life, and the project was abandoned. Chiyo still knew the technique, and in the end she sacrificed her life to bring Gaara back. It was hinted at well ahead of time, avoiding an Ass Pull. As for Kakashi and that bunch, it was ALSO hinted at LONG before it happened, and it was due to Fridge Brilliance, LITERAL Deus ex Machina (because the one doing the technique considered himself a god AND was sitting on/using a machine. That also cost him his life. As for the last one, it's a forbidden technique that brings back the dead as servants to fight for the summoner, and even then they're not really alive.
- Dragon Ball. Especially the Dragon Ball Z series, to the point where Mr. Satan is the only character who hasn't died at least once.
- In the Magic Knight Rayearth anime, Presea dies early in Season 1, but is revived by the beginning of Season 2, apparently by Princess Emeraude's final prayer. Subverted in that it is revealed that Presea was never revived, and the person posing as her is actually her twin sister. (In the manga, Presea never died, thus Presea was herself the whole time)
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Rossiu and some scientists bring back Lordgenome, the Big Bad of the first half, because his last words were vague enough to warrant further explanation. However, they bring him back only as an Oracular Head, hooked up to a computer, to prevent him from being a threat (even though he does do a genuine Heel-Face Turn later on). And gets his body back, too.
- Kamina pulls this twice, three if you count the movie. First, he died in the battle with Thymilph, momentarily brought himself back to life on pure Spiral power to perform the very first Giga Drill Breaker of the series, then he died and stayed dead. Second, he came back from the dead to save everyone from the Lotus-Eater Machine, and third — in the movie — he was reincarnated as Super Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.
- Marco Owen in King of Thorn, who comes back to life through sheer willpower in order to protect Kasumi, and ignoring the Charon-like figure who tells him his body is in such a terrible state note that he's only going to die again. Thankfully though, Alice gives him a helping hand in that regard.
- Angel Beats!: Everyone dies. Repeatedly.
- This is both played straight and averted because everyone's already dead in their afterlife at the start of the series and 'end of episode returns' don't count toward the trope. It's played straight at the end however when Otonashi and Tenshi are seen back to life for real. We never find out what happens to the others!
- In Fairy Tail the beloved little sister Lisana died two years before the story began. They found her body. They even buried it. Death by Origin Story was the only way you could die in Fairy Tail, at least until she turned out to just be alive elsewhere.
- Yakushiji Tenzen from Basilisk. He shares his body with his twin brother, who comes forth only when Tenzen is wounded to heal his injuries. Tenzen survives death a total of four times, before Oboro cancels his resurrection technique with her doujutsu allowing the fifth one to be the final.
- Issei in High School D×D comes back from the dead twice! One was from his First Episode Resurrection, and the other was Great Red and Ophis becoming his de-facto parents by having both of them creating a new body for him.
- Tokyo Ravens: Natsume comes back from the dead as a lich following a botched Sacrificial Revival Spell.
- This tends to happen a lot at The Voynich Hotel, among other strange happenings.
- In Betrayal Knows My Name this happens to Usui Shuusei. The Duras Ashley gets him to admit that he wants to die and then stops his heart. His partner Hotsuma, who's power is the Voice of God, engages Ashley in a fight which she easily dominates and completely distraught he orders Shuusei to live. He does and they kick her ass.
- In the Gotei 13 Invasion Arc, it doesn't matter how many times the Reigai are killed, they can keep being resurrected by the same science that created them in the first place.
- Due to the reincarnation cycle of souls, if living humans die, there's a chance they could crop up later on in the story as ghosts. Also, due to several characters being heavily involved in highly creative scientific endeavour based on reiatsu and body experimentation, some characters that died have returned to the story as undead beings. Living humans returning as ghosts include Ginjou, Tsukishima and Giriko. Undead characters resurrected by science include Dordonni, Cirucci, Luppi and Charlotte.
- In Digimon Diaboromon comes back in a movie sequel, bluntly named Revenge of Diaboromon. However he also returns in Xros Wars near the end of the series as a copy. It's actions and personality as Keramon imply that it is the very same Diaboromon from the first movie.
- Lampshaded in X-Factor, where Siryn gets the news that her father, Banshee, one of the X-Men, is dead. She simply doesn't believe it; the X-Men come Back from the Dead more than anyone else in the Marvel Universe (once the entire current team sacrificed themselves only to be resurrected at the end of the issue), so she's sure he's just pretending to be dead as part of some plan. In Uncanny Avengers he does return as one of the Apocalypse Twins' Horsemen of Death.
- Lampshaded in Astonishing X-Men. After Kitty finds out that Colossus isn't really dead, she warns him that if he's a clone, robot, ghost, or from an alternate universe, she's okay with that, but if he's a shapeshifter or an illusionist, she'll kill him. Obviously, this happens a lot.
- In The All-New Atom, when Jason Todd, Donna Troy and Ryan Choi go to a (most likely fake) Heaven, they meet Ted Kord, who comments, "The recidivism here is shocking. Sometimes I think me and Bruce Wayne's parents are the only ones with a permanent parking space." He also comments "And Jason Todd, too? Didn't you just get parole, like, the day before yesterday?"
- A story arc of Fantastic Four doesn't even bother with the pretense. A few pages before the end of an issue, the Thing is killed; the cliffhanger of the issue is Sue receiving a call from Reed about how he intends to bring him back to life. Naturally, a few issues later, the Thing is back as usual.
- The book's tie-in to Age of Ultron also left a huge Lampshade-Hanging on this. The entire team except for Sue end up killed by Ultron's invasion, but Johnny's video will tells the viewers not to worry and assures them that the team will be back from the grave in short order. And sure enough, Sue and Wolverine use a Timey-Wimey Ball to punch the Reset Button hard, resurrecting the team and all the other heroes who died.
- Mr. Immortal's power is a parody of this; his only major power is that he will always come back to life a few seconds after dying.
- There's the classic storyline and graphic novel The Death of Superman. After "dying" in battle with the mindless monster Doomsday, four Doppelgangers appear! Which one could be the real Superman?
- Is it the mysterious black-and-blue colored Superman with the thick shades? Nope! He's a hyper-advanced clone/golem made from marble, controlled by the Eradicator, and powered by Superman's "corpse."
- Is the half-Terminator Cyborg Superman the real deal? Nope! He's Hank Henshaw, the DCU equivalent of Reed Richards, using stolen genetic material and Kryptonian alloy stolen from Superman's birthing matrix. Wait, that's rocket ship. Also, he's the only one who's actually evil.
- Is the Metropolis Marvel Superboy who claims to be a clone the real deal? Nope! He's a... well, he's a clone of the real deal. And half his genetic material came, not from Superman, but from Lex Luthor. Weirdest parents ever.
- Is the mysterious armored Steel the new Superman? Nope! He's John Henry Irons, the DCU equivalent of Iron Man, and never really claims to be the new Superman, though some reporters think he's the only one deserving of it.
- So, in the end, Superman was actually resuscitated soon after his "death," spent some time in a coma, and eventually was woken up by androids. So nobody was Superman, Back From The Dead! Don't you love happy endings?
- The writers of Amazing Spider-Man attempted to be edgy when they devoted a 12-part series that ran across multiple Spider-Man titles and ended with Peter Parker getting his eye ripped out by a vampiric villain before getting killed. Of course, no matter how much the creators of the arc attempted to convince the readers that Peter was truly dead, he ended up coming back with more organic powers, as well as a new suit built for him by Tony Stark.
- Completely subverted (not to say stomped on) by ElfQuest. After One-Eye of the Wolfriders is killed in battle, Leetah the healer succeeds in reanimating him, but he is effectively brain-dead because his spirit has left his body. His lifemate Clearbrook has his body preserved in suspended animation in the hope of someday reviving him, but eventually decides to free his spirit completely by letting his body finally die.
- In Journey into Mystery (Thor after Thor had died at Onslaught's hands), the Norse gods discover they are targeted by Set, the Egyptian God of the Dead. They travel to his country and are attacked by two people Set's mooks had killed. They bring one, Red Norvell, back to the land of the living by the expedient of grabbing him and dragging him back with them.
- Parodied in Peter David's Incredible Hulk. Rick Jones' fiancee Marlo is dead. He goes to Doctor Strange and the following conversation ensues.
Rick: Wong, have you returned from the dead?
Wong: Well, yes.
Rick: And Doc, have you come back from the dead?
Doctor Strange: Yes, but I am a professional.
- Eventually he asks the Leader to bring her back from the dead. And the Leader does.
- In Incredible Hulk #434, following the death of Nick Fury at the Punisher's hands, several of Fury's old "Howling Commandos" buddies laugh, drink, and jokingly float numerous theories involving android duplicates, alien intervention, and the like until they reach the casket at the graveside. They're still sitting there speechless and shocked even after the rest of the attendees have left.
- Depending on the Writer, Jean Grey's Phoenix powers fully manifest whenever she "dies". This has led to her gaining Death Is Cheap as a reputation. However, most of her demises were merely plot devices to activate her powers, so it's debatable whether or not they count. Technically, she's only "died" twice.
- Half the cast of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen were supposedly killed in the original novels.
- In Preacher, Jesse's girlfriend, Tulip, is brutally murdered in front of him. God brings her back to life as a sort of a bribe, because He's scared of Genesis, which has taken up residence inside Jesse. God figures if He gives Jesse back his girlfriend, maybe he'll leave Him alone. In the finale Jesse and Cassidy are also revived (Cassidy is also no longer a vampire) by God as part of a deal Cassidy made with Him.
- The comic Star Trek: Countdown, which ties into The Film of the Series Star Trek (2009) but is set many years after Star Trek: Nemesis, has the Enterprise commanded by Captain Data. Apparently, the scene at the end of Nemesis where B4 whistles Irving Berlin wasn't just an indication he'd picked up some of Data's personality traits, it was the first step of a complete Grand Theft Me.
- Parodied in Too Much Coffee Man, where the eponymous character appears to be killed and resurrected so many times in the span of a few minutes that his friends stop caring.
- In The Warlord the villain Deimos kept coming back, but each time worse than before: first time he had the sword scar across his face; second time, his body was fused with the dog that killed him; third time he was a head on a hand; final time he was a skull in a magical golem body.
- This is usually subverted in any Judge Dredd stories where previously killed characters return in later stories. In other words, they tend to be anything from a parallel dimension, an imperfect clone, a family descendant of the deceased character who is doing exactly what his/her parent used to do, a robotic replicant, etc. ... but NEVER actually turn out to be the original character back from the dead. Characters who have indeed returned from the dead in coordinance with this trope, however, include the Dark Judges (though, technically, they're already dead to begin with), the Angel Gang (except for Link Angel), and PJ Maybe.
- Shade, the Changing Man has the main character return from death numerous times, though never unscathed.
- Terra from Teen Titans, with a catch. She never learned that she resurrected and believed a lie that she was an orphan who was changed into a replica of Terra. It turned out the real Terra truly was dead. The second Terra was revealed to be a member of an underground race called the Stratans, who decided to send out a liaison to the modern world in a guise people would've been familiar with, using DNA implants to make it look like Tara Markova came back. The Stratans admit this was a poorly thought out move considering what a sociopath Tara turned out to be, but that was nothing compared to when the Time Trapper got his hands on her and warped her memories.
- Psylocke was fatally stabbed in an X-Men comic back in 2001. Fans raged against creator Chris Claremont for killing her off. But sure enough, in 2005, she returned to the X-Men, and was warmly welcomed back into their ranks, where she remains to this day.
- B.P.R.D. agent Ben Daimio is introduced desperately cutting his way out of a body bag. Readers later find out that he and his entire platoon were killed by a jaguar demon in South America. Daimio was the only one who came back, due to the demon possessing part of his soul.
- There's a multiple media example, but Boba Fett first reappeared after being eaten by the Sarlaac in Dark Empire II and went on to appear in many, many, many stories after that.
- After Daredevil villain Bullseye blew up a housing project killing hundreds, Matt finally had enough and brutally killed him. The Hand eventually revived him with a twist. Bullseye was beaten so badly that even the Hand couldn't fully restore him. He was left a crippled shadow of his former self, powerless to do anything but stew in his hatred of Matt. His attempts to get revenge on Matt for this ultimately cost Bullseye his sight as well.
- This generally happens to superheroes and villains all the damn time.
- The Multiversity:
- Lord Volt had been killed in the first Crisis and stayed dead ever since. It seems that death had been undone at some point.
- In Pax Americana #1, Captain Atom is supposed to revive President Harley after the assassination, but this is prevented when scientists kill Captain Atom himself by putting a black hole in his head.
- In "The Death of Koshchei the Deathless", after Koshchei chops the hero into little pieces, throws them into a barrel, and throws the barrel into the sea, his brothers-in-law retrieve the barrel, use the Water of Death to put him back to together, and the Water of life to bring him back to life.
- In Grimms' "Faithful John", John is turned to stone for explaining his apparently senseless behavior. The king and queen learn they can restore him by cutting the throats of their twin children and using the blood. After they do so, the revived Faithful John puts the children's head back and restores them to life.
- In Grimms' "Brother and Sister", the Wicked Stepmother suffocates her (married) stepdaughter in a bathhouse and substitutes her own daughter. The stepdaughter comes back as a ghost and is magically restored.
- In Grimms' "Fitcher's Bird", the heroine restores her sisters after they have been hacked to pieces.
- In Grimms' "The Juniper Tree", after the stepson has been killed and cooked by his Wicked Stepmother, eaten by his father, and had his bones buried by his half-sister, he comes back as a bird. After killing his stepmother, he comes back to life as a boy.
- In "The Rose Tree", the heroine comes back as a bird.
- In "The Three Citrons", after a slave murders the heroine with a hairpin, she returns as a dove; when the slave has her killed and cooked, she returns again in human form.
- In "The Golden Mermaid", after the envious older brothers beat their younger brother to death, the golden mermaid revives him with the advice of a talking fox.
- The Story Of The Youth Who Went Forth To Learn What Fear Was: A Fearless Fool warms a corpse by the fire, because he thinks it might feel cold. Then the body reanimates and announces he will kill him. The youngster feels this is so ungrateful that he puts him back in the coffin.
Films — Animated
- The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat, the 1974 sequel to the 1972 animated adaptation of Robert Crumb's underground comic, depicts several scenarios in which the title character ends up dying in one way or another, although most of these seem to be hallucinations. Crumb killed off the character in the comic "Fritz the Cat, Superstar", released in response to the film in 1972.
- Flynn Rider/Eugene Fitzherbert from Tangled. From the time that he says in the opening, "This is the story of how I died," it only leaves the viewer guessing until the climatic part, when he is fatally stabbed In the Back by Mother Gothel's dagger and, rather than let Rapunzel risk her freedom for his life, cuts off her hair with a broken mirror shard in a Heroic Sacrifice before breathing his last in her arms. Thankfully, Rapunzel's magic tear brings him back to life. This is justified, since in the original tale, Rapunzel healed her beloved prince's eyesight with her tear.
Films — Live-Action
- In The King Of Kings, Jesus does a big favor for Lazarus, and then does this himself.
- Spock died in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, but came Back from the Dead two years later in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. Lampshaded by Spock himself in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country:
Spock: She doesn't know... (after mind-melding with Lt. Valeris)
Scotty: Then we're dead.
Spock: I've been dead before.
- Parodied in The Truman Show, in which Truman's "father" — who was long ago written out of Truman's "life" — has become such a pest in trying to get himself back onto the show that he's even managed to get Truman questioning the nature of his reality, thus forcing the producers to write him back into the show. When questioned as to how the heck they intend to explain away the fact that he is now back, the director — obviously winging it — blurts out "Amnesia."
- The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen offers a double whammy of this, although one is only suggested, presumably as a setup for a sequel that never got made. First, the villain of the movie turns out to be Professor Moriarty, nemesis of Sherlock Holmes, who everybody thought got killed at Reichenbach Falls a few years before the time of the film. Then, at the absolute end of the movie, a witch doctor is performing a ritual at the grave of Allan Quartermain, the League's leader, and the skies darken and the ground trembles. This was the supposed sequel set-up.
- In addition to the title undead, The Mummy Trilogy has an instance of a character, Evie, being brought Back from the Dead thanks to her son's ability to read ancient Egyptian.
- Escape from New York: at the beginning of each meeting with Snake Plissken, all the characters exclaims : " I thought you were dead !".
- Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack! has the original 1954 Godzilla resurrected by the vengeful spirits of the forgotten soldiers who died in WWII.
- Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen has it happen thrice in the same movie. First with Megatron, who died at the end of the first movie. Then with Optimus Prime, who is killed after fighting Megatron, Starscream and Grindor and Megatron stabs (and blasts) him from behind. He is resurrected later so he can go kick The Fallen's ass. Then Sam, who temporarily goes to robot heaven, so he can save Optimus.
- Lampshaded in Soapdish, in which the assistant producer wants to irritate the main star so badly that she'll quit (so the second banana "actress" will sleep with him), so he decides to bring back an actor the main star didn't like who was killed 20 years earlier. The head writer, played by Whoopi Goldberg, points out that they can't bring him back, he was killed off in a spectacularly grisly fashion:
The guy was killed in an auto accident! I looked it up! He was driving in the Yukon, in a pink convertible, to visit his brother who's an ex-con named Francis, when a tractor trailer comes along and decapitates him! You know what that means!? It means he doesn't have a head! How am I suppose to write for a guy who doesn't have a head?! He's got no lips, no vocal cords! What do you want me to do!?
- From Sherlock Holmes, Lord Blackwood, after being hanged and declared dead by Dr Watson, comes back from the dead and wreaking fear and panic all across England. He had actually faked his death.
- In the J-Horror film Tomie Vs Tomie, Tomie was reborn in a disturbingly gruesome way when the male protagonist consumed his girlfriend's ashes out of deep love and Tomie regenerated within his stomach and climbed out of his belly, killing him.
- Halloween's Michael Myers seems to die at the end of every movie, only to come back in the sequels. Whether he is shot multiple times, set on fire, thrown down a minehole, etc. He just keeps coming back.
- Admittedly, this was intentional on the makers' behalf. Not counting the first film, they always made sure to "kill off" Michael just in case one of the movies bombed and didn't warrant a sequel. They didn't count on the franchise's popularity, which ended up spawning eight movies and two remakes.
- Ripley in Alien: Resurrection (it's in the title, even), through the miracle of cloning.
Distephano: I thought you were dead.
Ripley: Yeah, I get that a lot.
- Rebel Leader Karakol in City of Craftspeople. And he even isn't a hunchback anymore...
- Io in the Clash of the Titans remake. Because Zeus said so.
- Flash Gordon. The title character, after being executed by poison gas. He's saved by a doctor's injection he received beforehand, though Princess Aura pretends that she revived him with a kiss.
- Commonly happens with defeated villains in Super Sentai movies, usually in the Vs. teamups.
- Kamen Rider, Sentai's Super Hero Time partner, does this in their films as well. Like Sentai, it is more likely to happen when crossovers are involved.
- Kamen Rider x Super Sentai: Super Hero Taisen, the first big theatrical crossover between the Kamen Rider and Super Sentai franchises, features the return of Dai-Shocker from Kamen Rider Decade, an alliance of revived villains who fought the various Kamen Riders, as well as the introduction of Dai-Zangyack, Super Sentai's equivalent of Dai-Shocker consisting of baddies from across Sentai history (though admittedly Dai-Zangyack's range of villains is far less diverse than Dai-Shocker, while the latter indeed has many villains from both the Showa and Heisei eras, Dai-Zangyack mostly has villains from the past few years and only two Showa villains, though it helps that one of them (Rider (nee Bio) Hunter Silva) becomes the top dog of Dai-Zangyack. Literally every single villain in this movie, whether they are from Dai-Shocker or Dai-Zangyack, has been brought back from the dead (with the exception of Dai-Shocker's Doktor G, since he's actually Narutaki in disguise, also not counted is Kamen Rider Diend, who is just an Anti-Hero who decided to be a dick at the end).
- An interesting case occurs when Joe and Don with Daiki and Hina travel via the DenLiner to 1976, the days of Himitsu Sentai Goranger, where they encounter Baseball Mask, the Monster of the Week of Gorenger #53, witnessing his destruction at the hands of Akaranger (actually Captain Marvelous in disguise). This is not a depiction of his original demise, so he must have been brought back to be killed a second time.
- Nathan in Creepshow as well as Becky and Harry.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Barbossa at the end of the second film after Jack killed him at the end of the first film, then Jack himself in the third film after being eaten by the Kraken at the end of the second. Will also comes back from his death.
- The basic plot of RoboCop (1987), about a murdered police officer who is resurrected For Science! but begins to remember who he was before he was cyberized.
- In X-Men: Days of Future Past, thanks to Cosmic Retcon, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Storm, Beast, Iceman, Colossus and presumably everyone else we see killed in the Bad Future didn't die.
- The Legendary Moonlight Sculptor: The main character Weed, as a reward for completing an epic quest arc, is rewarded a high-level, as of yet unknown power from the class the quest unlocked, Necromancer, called "The Power to Reject Death", resurrecting him as a random undead class of monster with new stats and powers until he either dies again, or until 24 hours have passed and he returns to being human. He actually does die, and suffers all the setbacks of death except for the forced logout and normal 24 hour ban.
- In The Zombie Knight, Colt dies to keep Geoffry from finding his children. He comes back as Bowahnox's servant, to the surprise of absolutely nobody.
- This trope is a central plot point in Stephen King’s Misery. Popular novelist Paul Sheldon is forced by psychotic fan Annie Wilkes to write a new novel continuing the adventures of Misery Chastain, a character that he had recently killed off. Misery had died during childbirth in the previous novel, and Sheldon’s first attempt to write a new narrative involves pretending that this hadn’t happened. Wilkes rejects this as a “cheat” and insists that the new novel must be consistent with the events of the one that had preceded it. Sheldon then comes up with the idea that Misery had fallen into a death-like coma as the result of a bee-sting allergy, and had been buried alive. This solution gives Sheldon the creative impetus to complete the new novel, and in so doing take his franchise in an unexpected new direction.
- Neil Gaiman examples:
- American Gods: Laura is revived by a magical coin placed in her grave, but you wouldn't call her exactly alive.
- Neverwhere: The Marquis de Carabas died but had the foresight to arrange his resurrection in advance, letting him come back with useful information because people talk in front of the dead.
- In Michael Grant's Gone series, Drake and Brittany. Together.
- In Kay Hooper's Hiding in the Shadows, Faith comes out of her coma with what everyone thinks is Trauma-Induced Amnesia, a few weeks after her friend Dinah disappears. Both of them have Psychic Powers. Turns out that Faith was Dead All Along within her coma, and the reason why she doesn't remember her former life is because dead Dinah took over her empty body, and it just takes her awhile to realize who she is now. This smacks of trying to make the romance between Faith and Dinah's boyfriend Kane less creepy, but...yeah.
- The Heroes of Olympus:
- Medea, Midas and his son.
- Euryale and Stheno, Medusa's sisters, in Son of Neptune. Also, Hazel and after the war games, Gwen (aka: Centurion Shish-ka-bob).
- Monsters coming back from the dead is nothing new. Unfortunately, due to Death himself being chained, monsters come back mere seconds after being slain.
- Leo Valdez gets this in "Blood of Olympus" with the physician's cure.
- Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time, because it deals with a reincarnation mythos, has an interesting variation on this trope: people who die don't stay dead (if they serve the Dark One), but return to life in entirely new bodies. So not only does the reader get to engage in the guessing game of "who did this new character used to be", and in at least one case a fun Gender Bender takes place, this also means that none of the other characters will recognize the resurrected Forsaken. A side example is the case of balefire, which instead of resurrecting a dead character, changes the timeline so that they never died in the first place. This becomes an important plot point later.
- In Julie Kenner's "Kate Connor, Demon Hunter" books, Kate's first husband Eric (another demon hunter) has died before the start of the series... but he manages to bring himself back in another guy's body. This is awkward for Kate because she adores/adored Eric, but has remarried and had another kid in the time it took him to come back.
- In William King's Warhammer 40,000: Space Wolf novel Grey Hunters, the point of the Chaos ritual at the climax was to bring back all the Thousand Sons Chaos Space Marines, including their primarch.
- George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire has had a few characters engaging in post-demise activity. Interestingly, the ones whose resurrection is most straightforward return in whatever state they were in when they died, to the point that one resurrected character, Catelyn Stark, is referred to by fans as unCat since her resurrection.
- Vampires on Terry Pratchett's Discworld are very good at this. A drop of blood will bring them back from dust, a fact a vampire photographer whose (flash) photos often kill him takes advantage of by wearing a glass vial of blood that immediately breaks and brings him back (see The Truth). The elder Count de Magpyre is mentioned as coming "back from the dead so many times he had a revolving lid".
- In The Lord of the Rings, Gandalf certainly fits this, along with certain other death tropes. He even falls into an abyssal pit and everything, so nobody sees what happens next. Not only does is he sent back to the living world, he's sent back more powerful than before. Normally being a lesser god means that he cannot be Killed Off for Real to begin with. In this case, tt's implied that Gandalf really was dead (as in "pass out of Eä the same way as Men" dead) and that it took the intervention of Eru to send him back.
- In The Silmarillion, Beren is killed by a werewolf, and Lúthien dies of despair... only to ask Mandos himself to bring Beren and herself back to life though a song. Mandos agrees, however this is at the cost of Lúthien's immortality, so she and Beren are returned to Middle-Earth as humans.
- At the end of the penultimate book in The Pendragon Adventure series, this happens to every single traveler that has died over the course of the series, including a few that had died just a few chapters before.
- Both Tasslehoff Burrfoot and Raistlin Majere in Dragonlance. Being literally crushed under the heel of a monster isn't enough to put the kender down for good, and as for Raistlin, being killed by the goddess Takhisis and eternally tormented, only to first come back temporarily to chat to his nephew, to, after returning to that afterlife, coming back again sans magic to save the world and then to die again, this time promising that he will move on to the afterlife and never come back, and then to come back a third time to lead the gods back to Krynn, and promise, once more, that this time he's not coming back.
- Voltaire's Candide uses this trope out the wazoo. Almost the entire cast is killed off and brought back to life at least once.
- David Zindell's Silver Sword. Alphanderry comes back as an amorphous energy being after his Heroic Sacrifice and gradually returns to just like he used to be. On the other hand, Valashu dies and is brought back on the next page good as ever.
- In Atlanta Nights, one character dies midway through the story only to show up in one of the last chapters. Given the amount of Anachronic Order going on it's not that jarring, but then it becomes obvious that this chapter has to take place after the one where he died. And then he dies again.
- Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "The Hour of the Dragon" opens with a reviving of Xaltotun.
"And the priests who poisoned you mummified your body with their dark arts, keeping all your organs intact!" exclaimed Orastes. "But now you live again! The Heart of Ahriman has restored your life, drawn your spirit back from space and eternity."
- Arren/Arenadd from The Fallen Moon does this five times by the end of the trilogy. He has one persistent God...
- In Warrior Cats, leaders have nine lives, so they can come back from the dead several times.
- At the end of The Dresden Files novel Ghost Story, Dresden is brought back to life by Queen Mab and Demonreach. (Exactly how dead he was is open to debate, as it turns out that Mab and Demonreach had been keeping his body on magical life support while his soul was running around separate from it, but it's close enough for the trope regardless.) A large portion of the story prior to that also revolves around him trying to stop a villain he killed in a previous book from finding a way back to the world of the living.
- Happens again and again and again to Duncan Idaho in Frank Herbert's Dune sextet. The first time, it's the original body revivified and with its memories (eventually) returned by a healthy dose of Phlebotinum. Most if not all of the subsequent Idahos are clones grown from a cell line. The last thing they remember when their memories are restored to them is the death of the original, from whose body the cell line was taken. Depending on who does the memory restoration, how, and what happens afterwards, their personality development ranges from degeneration into psychosis and treason (most of them die attempting to assassinate their near-immortal and almost invulnerable boss) to (in one case and arguably two) something integrated and more or less healthy.
- Sherlock Holmes, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, presumably died in "The Adventure of the Final Problem" (1891) and reappeared in "The Adventure of the Empty House"— referred to as "the Great Hiatus" (1894).
- The Song of the Lioness quartet has Alanna kill Big Bad Duke Roger at the end of the second book, immediately after she's knighted. Her arrogant brother Thom brings him back in the fourth book to prove that he's the most powerful sorcerer in the land. (It helps that Roger was Not Quite Dead.)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows:
- There's the Resurrection Stone which allows the holder to communicate with the dead. According to the fairy tale concerning the origin of the Deathly Hallows, using the Resurrection Stone drove its original owner, Cadmus Peverell, to commit suicide after seeing his deceased fiancée but being unable to be truly with her.
- Harry himself dies briefly and returns to life after Voldemort destroys the horcrux in Harry. Trelawney wasn't a fraud after all.
- In John C. Wright's Chronicles of Chaos, the children can be brought back to life by differing means: for Victor, you just have to restore whatever was broken to kill him; for Quentin, you have to stuff his spirit back inside his body. This is a function of Mutually Exclusive Magic.
- In Devon Monk's Dead Iron, Jeb Lindson has already come back twice at the beginning. LeFel invokes the Rule of Three to argue that he should stay dead this time.
- Trapped on Draconica: Erowin is killed by Mordack and yet she comes back to help out on two occasions. The first time as a Spirit Advisor and the second time as an angel. Ultimately, she reincarnates as a normal girl in Ben's homeworld.
- Happens to Ari in the second Maximum Ride book.
- In Francine Rivers’s The Mark of the Lion, this happens to Rizpah in the third book. She is resurrected by an act of God; it is implied that both her death and subsequent resurrection were allowed in order to get Atretes’s attention.
- In the Chaoswar Saga, final sub-series of The Riftwar Cycle, this is subverted. One of the major POV characters is a young demon named Child, who displays a number of decidedly un-demonlike behaviors and gradually realizes that she is actually the sorceress Miranda, a human character who died in the previous sub-series. Her companion Belog also gradually realizes that he's the reincarnation of Nakor, a character who'd been dead rather longer. Except they're not. The gods did a bit of tricky work to implant Miranda and Nakor's memories into the two demons, but not their souls. Nakor/Belog thinks it's just fascinating, but it's particularly hard on Child, who has to wrestle with the fact that though she remembers being Miranda- and looks like her, thanks to Voluntary Shapeshifting being a power of higher-end demons- she's not actually her. Miranda's husband, the sorcerer Pug, also has a hard time dealing with the fact that the demon is not his wife.
- In Andre Norton's Forerunner Foray, Turan does a grand scene of this, facing down his widow's failure to keep The Promise and her lack of grief for him.
- Reckless: The Mirrorworld Series: Jacob is shot in the chest, actually dies, and is brought back to life by Miranda two pages later.
- The Rifter: Ravishan, sort of — actually Kahlil, the character who returns, is a version of him from an alternate history who crossed to this timeline. Played straight in the end, where not only does Kahlil have Ravishan’s memories, but he merges with his bones and the two truly become one, alive.
- In Those That Wake's sequel, What We Become, Mal and Laura come back from the dead—though at different times, and by being revived someone else is killed.
- Parodied in Dave Barry Slept Here, where Richard Nixon, in his return to national politics in 1968, was "looking stronger than ever despite the holes in his suit where various stakes had been driven into his heart."
- After the fire at Foxworth Hall, which provided the climax to Petals On The Wind, it appears that Corinne is dead. Not so—she comes back for If There Be Thorns.
- Ciaphas Cain: Emeli is killed by Cain in one of the short stories, and makes a dramatic (and upgraded) appearance at the climax of The Traitor's Hand.
- Vampire Academy:
- One becomes shadow kissed when a spirit user revives them. Essentially what happened to Rose, who died along with Lissa's parents and brother.
- Another variation of this is spirit can bring Strigoi back from the dead. This happens with two characters. Dimitri and Mrs. Karp.
- Bone Street Rumba: Carlos is the most prominent example, and may be the Last of His Kind after Half Resurrection Blues, but Trevor, Sasha, and Sarco all fit the bill as well.
Live Action TV
- Infinity Game: Long Wei set up the game so when somebody dies in the alternative world/game they're returned unharmed in real life. Unfortunately the virus stops this and forces their deaths to be permanent, and as Long Wei had given up his Game Master status he's unable to change this until he wins the game, where he would gain the title again, and bring them back to life. In the end, the RPG Society are slowly erasing his game world (which causes all of those in his world, alive or dead, to become Ret Goned) and to bring those who died in the game back to life (aka. everybody) he has to have control of the land where they died. He successfully manages to bring his team back to life (and those who died due to the previous DM) but he has to remain in the world until he has 100% control, otherwise the RPG Society will take over and everybody will die again, and he can only bring them back once due to him not having 100% control.
- Blaze Ya Dead Homie, according to his lyrics, is a reincarnated gangsta rapper from the 1980s, which is why much of his music sounds like late-1980s gangsta rap.
- Insane Clown Posse refers to this a number of times, including the song "12" and a brief reference in "Piggie Pie" ("Axe in hand / I rose from the dead")
- The entire premise of the Schoolyard Heroes song "Cat Killer"
"Well I don't know what you think
I think I know how this ends
I saw this in a movie once
While hanging with sofa friends
A pet dies and comes back to life
He gets gross as he kills everything in sight"
- In Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny, Abraham Lincoln does this in order to fight Batman.
- "He's Not Here", the song near the end of !HERO: The Rock Opera.
- The Undertaker has been killed and brought back to life lord know how many times in the 20+ years he's been around.
- Just as Douglas Adams made the ultimate Kill 'em All in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, a radio play pulled a very big Back from the Dead: the series' multiverse.
Religion and Mythology
- The Bible has several:
- Jesus, the one that everyone knows even if they're only Theme Park Scholars.
- Lazarus, resurrected by Jesus.
- Also the widow's son at Nain and Jairus' daughter
- According to the Book of Revelation, this will happen with everyone after The End of the World as We Know It.
- The prophet Elijah performed one and Elisha did two, one posthumously.
- In Ezekiel 37:1-3, Ezekiel is shown a vision of an entire army brought back to life with just their scattered bones for a starting point.
- There is also the Beast/Antichrist in the Book of Revelation, who is "slain by the sword", yet is resurrected through the power of Satan and then cons all Non-Believers into worshipping him.
- Dionysus (known to the Romans as Bacchus) from Classical Mythology pulls this one off as a baby in the Cretan version of the myth (which has Dionysus as the son of Zeus and Persephone, not Semele). Hera in a subversion of Infant Immortality sends the Titans to kill Dionysus as a baby, which they do, eating all but his heart. Zeus plants the heart in Semele's womb, where it grows back into the infant Dionysus.
- In Norse Mythology, Balder and his blind brother Hod—who were both killed prior to the events of Ragnarok—will be resurrected After the End.
- In Classical Mythology, before Sisyphus 'died', he told his wife not to do any burial rites. Then, when in the Underworld, he appealed to the queen of the underworld, Persephone, and asked if he could go back up to earth to haunt his wife for not giving him the proper rites. She agreed and he came back from the dead.
- The god Osiris in Egyptian Mythology. He was killed and dismembered by Seth and the parts of his corpse were scattered all over the world. Then Osiris's wife Isis gathered the parts of her husband and resurrected him.
- St. Nicholas of Myra (the basis for Santa Claus) is the patron saint of children due to this trope. During a famine in Turkey, a shop keeper murdered three young boys, cut their bodies up and stored them in the brine of a pickle barrel intending to sell their meat to his customers. Later, when he tried serving some of the meat to St. Nicholas, Nicholas recognized what it was. He then proceeded to draw out the three boys from the barrel, whole and alive.
- As in many Tabletop Games trends, Dungeons & Dragons popularized death as a minor setback by giving players access to the Raise Dead and Resurrection spells. Many other tabletop games follow suit. Fourth Edition takes the cake, giving higher level characters abilities whose descriptions start with "Once per day, when you die..."
- While D&D has its share of resurrections, Manshoon of the Forgotten Realms invented a new one. His unique Stasis Clone spell ensured his continuous existence despite insufficient caution. That is, as long as he cared to steer clear of the few people who have the power to strip him of this convenience.
- In Promethean: The Created, it's possible for the titular Prometheans to come back from the dead once if their Azoth is high enough. The Osirans actually have the special ability to come back multiple times (but they have to buy the ability up again with experience points once it's used — other lineages can also buy this ability, but it's more expensive for them. Said ability can also be used to revive others... but it's costly, and gets more costly each time you bring someone back from the dead after the first).
- Also in the New World of Darkness, there are the Sin-Eaters from Geist The Sin Eaters, whose characters start by coming back from death. Even if you destroy their bodies after you kill them, they COME BACK. They just won't stay dead. Every time they come back, they become more and more insane, and somebody else dies a horrible death in their place to keep the balance.
- A substantial portion of World of Darkness characters are undead, so...
- And then we have one of the Malleus Maleficarum's Benedictions from Hunter: The Vigil. Boon of Lazarus allows you to raise someone from the dead. Unlike the Promethean example above, they are restored to fully human status. Unlike the Geist example above, no one will die to balance Death's books. In a setting where most deaths are supposedly final, this is the only true resurrection power. That said, dying is a traumatic experience regardless, and the resurrectee would gain a derangement as a result.
- The Arisen of Mummy: The Curse have a form of resurrective immortality which means that while they'll always die, one way or another, they'll always resurrect. Even destroying their body won't work, since their spirit can be called back into a new body.
- In the Old World of Darkness, mummies are pretty much guaranteed to come back to life no matter what, though they can be truly killed via extreme measures, such as nuking them.
- The Gurahl werebears of Werewolf: The Apocalypse have a Gift that allows them to resurrect a recently dead shapeshifter. They also have a rite that gives them the chance to bring any deceased back to life - but in order to do so, they have to fight their incarnation of Death.
- And similarly to the nWoD, a substantial number of oWoD characters are undead of one form or another.
- There are also cases where it looks like someone's come back from the dead, but in reality another spirit is now animating the body, as with the hsien of Changeling The Dreaming and the Fallen of Demon The Fallen.
- This is generally how Abyssals get Exalted: their Deathlord comes to them on their deathbed and offers them a second chance at life. Thing is, most of them aren't told what that second chance entails...
- That is, the Abyssal Exalted have never actually died. The Exaltation does not bring them back from the dead, but keeps them from dying. In Exalted, there is no resurrection.
- Following on from that, when someone tries resurrecting the dead, they occasionally draw the attention of the Dark Mother, who sees fit to grant the corpse a new life as one of the Liminal Exalted. Again, this isn't true resurrection, as the Liminal is, to all intents and purposes, a new person using someone else's vacated body.
- Magic: The Gathering has this as a specialty of Black aligned abilities, and to a lesser extent White as well. The main difference being that White's resurrection abilities are usually associated with Angels somehow, and only affect your dead creatures, whereas black can resurrect its opponent's dead creatures as well, and is typically flavoured towards Zombification.
- In Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, Hades offers several villains this in exchange for their help in taking over the Magic Kingdom.
- Noble Knight Gwalchavad can bring a Noble Knight back from the Graveyard to your hand. And Sacred Noble Knight of King Artorigus can revive one of his Knights when he goes from the field to the Graveyard.
- Evigishki Zealgigas is Steelswarm Hercules brought back with a Gishki ritual.
- Whenever the Madolche die, they are shuffled back into the deck instead. (The Madolche Chateau Field Spell improves this ability, returning their cards to the player's hand instead.) This indicates their Sugar Bowl nature.
- Tri-Wight, which shows three Skull Servants crawling out of the grave to fight again. It is supposed to show that death is not a permanent thing for them.
- Warhammer 40K:
- The God Emperor of Mankind was originally born when thousands of shamans committed suicide to reincarnate in a single human. Ever since, he has led many many lives, possibly including Jesus and Saint George.
- The Dark Eldar Haemonculi are so good at fleshcrafting they can bring themselves back from the dead. Unfortunately, it's not entirely risk-free, and some have gotten so addicted to the experience they are now completely batshit insane (not that anyone notices, in 40K it just makes them better).
- Kharn the Betrayer was thought dead, but was brought back by his patron god Khorne so he could continue spilling blood and taking skulls.
- A fallen knight returning to life is a common feature of Mummers plays, usually with the aid of a miraculous cure-all.
- Alcestis, in the Euripides play named after her.
- The Addams Family Musical makes this a regular occasion, with the Addams Family ancestors rising annually for a family reunion and gala. Normally, Gomez dismisses them back to their graves at the end of the night's festivities, but this year, Uncle Fester traps them in the material plane and enlists their help.
- The main story of Tsukihime begins with protagonist Shiki Tohno being seized by an inexplicable urge to stalk and murder a woman he happened to pass by on the street, via cutting her into seventeen pieces. He is understandably dismayed when Arcueid shows up the next day complaining about how much power it took to revive herself.
- Over the course of the semi-sequel Kagetsu Tohya Shiki can end up in a number of what would normally be bad ends, some of which are death such as being eaten by a jaguar that comes out of Arcueid's underwear drawer. Yes, really. However, the next day, he's always okay again because Len is constantly reviving him. Possibly a subversion though as these 'deaths' are not actually the real death of his body, though some scenarios seem as though they would genuinely end with Shiki dead, dream or no.
- Kotomine Kirei is still around in Fate/stay night, even though he 'died' at the end of Fate/Zero (a prequel).
- Shirou dies in Heaven's Feel ending, but is revived by Ilya via Third Sorcery in the True End.
- Roy in The Order of the Stick, but not before it's Played for Laughs as his disintegrating corpse is dragged around for months because the team has been split in half, with the people who could perform Raise Dead not in the half in possession of the corpse.
- This strip of The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, we see Dr. McNinja arguing with Death over whether he is really dead.
- Irregular Webcomic!: In addition to Chess with Death usually working out in favor of the not-quite-deceased, Death's politics have resulted in several characters' deaths being short-lived.
- The Cyborg ninja in The Last Days of FOXHOUND was both killed and resurrected by Mantis.
- Terror Island: After being dead for over a hundred strips, Aorist is suddenly resurrected by Bartleby.
- Narbonic: Helen, being a Mad Scientist, has no problem resurrecting Dave after her mom kills him. It does have stages, though:
- Roast Beef, Ray, Todd and Téodor from Achewood have all gone through this at least once through the comic's run, and Molly managed to come back to Earth from heaven after hundreds of years. It remains to be seen if Little Nephew can attempt the same feat.
- In 1/0, Manny is killed, and results in the creation of Max, Marcus, and Andy, shortly after Teddy Weddy falls on him. Later, as Junior tries to leave, Tailsteak recreates Manny in the form of a ghost known as Ghanny, and from then on, all characters who die (with an exception of Max, who ends up Deader Than Dead) become a ghost.
- Starscream does this on a regular basis in the Insecticomics (see the Transformers entry below). Thrust has also done this twice, once after being crushed to death by Unicron in Transformers Armada, a resurrection that was never really explained despite the fact that he's mentioned it more than once and once after being killed by the Fallen, then dragged back to her body by Starscream's ghost.
- Oasis from Sluggy Freelance has come Back from the Dead no less than five times, and her "sister" Kusari at least once. How Oasis does this is unknown (even to her), and since they usually Never Found the Body, her simply being Not Quite Dead remains possible. As of more recent arcs, not only has the body been found, it has been found while Oasis is up and kicking in a new one.
- Initially subverted in Concerned: The Half Life and Death of Gordon Frohman, in which the title character dies at the end. An unofficial sequel resurrects the beloved title character via ignoring Gameplay and Story Segregation.
- In Union of Heroes there is a girl named Lynn, who is also called "The Eternal Victim". She is cursed to die instead of other people returning from Death afterwards.
- And then there is Ran Cossack, who is pretty much a parody of this trope. He is made of really cheap Soviet parts, and could be killed by any kind of impact. However, his creator (Kalinka Cossack from Mega Man 4), realizing it would cost more to repair him than to build him again, built a machine that perpetually creates backup bodies for him; each time he is killed, a new Ran with a copy of his memories would appear. This leading to lots of "Ran-Bombs".
- Slightly Damned features a rare example where phisically getting out of Hell is used for this purpose.
- In Casey and Andy, both Casey and Andy die. Repeatedly. Sometimes at the hands of the other. And they're really dead: they ended up in Hell multiple times. They always come back. Even Andy's girlfriend (who is Satan) doesn't know quite how.
- Happened at least twice in Ansem Retort
- Matt, a demon Marluxia killed in Season One, came back in Season Two to referee the murder-off between Axel and Cloud.
- Darth Maul also invokes this trope, as he's made a comment about Obi-Wan getting in a "Hollywood cheap shot".
- Riku implied in the season six finale that he has done this as well, and promises to explain later.
- In Horndog, Freddy is shot by a sniper, briefly dies, but returns to life. He is killed again, returns as a zombie, and is killed by his roommate, Bob. If that wasn't enough, he is reincarnated as a teenage boy, but is killed by a chupacabra.
- Bob and George. No one stays dead on Bob And George. Which can be annoying. Quite annoying
- MS Paint Adventures has a few instances of this. In Problem Sleuth, the imaginary world gives the characters extra lives to use. If those run out though, they can also earn their life back by either defeating Death at a number of different games... or just walk out of the afterlife's front door. A similar mechanic is used in Homestuck where the character's Dream Selves act as "extra lives" if they die and another player gives them a resurrection kiss as is the case with Sollux, Dave, and Rose.
- Aradia in Homestuck is brought back in a different way from normal though. Equius builds a robot body for her ghost to use, giving her a physical form to interact with the other characters.
- The kernelsprites also count, since they're all prototyped with the remains of dead person that was important to the character. This gives the sprite the personality and all the memories of that dead person.
- And now Kanaya is back from the dead too, although she's not exactly alive either.
- In Sburb/Sgrub, characters can ascend to a special rank known as the God Tiers and gain even more power...but the trick is, they have to die in a certain place first. There are two slightly different variations: one that relies the dreamself as an extra life, and another that, for an as-yet-unexplained reason, doesn't.
- Further, once a character is a God Tier, they can only be killed if the death is Heroic (they die accomplishing something heroic) or Just (they are corrupt and are killed by a hero). So far two God Tiers have died: John, who came back because his death was neither, and Vriska, whose death was Just, as letting her live would cause her to get all of her friends killed.
- In Kagerou, Mindi, an Old One, can bring people back from the dead. It's even played for laughs once, when a nearly dead person is killed just so she can bring them back to life free of injuries.
- In The Players Guide To SISU, Sisukas, a bandit leader, returns after being killed in the first battle. Thus far, the means of his return haven't been specified, but there's apparently a specific god whose clerics could do it.
- In Sinfest, a boy Baby Blue had a crush on can raise a frog, Baby Blue fails to raise a dove, and Satan does Came Back Wrong.
- Mega Man and Sonic do this in Two Evil Scientists.
- In The Senkari, Freija, Val, and Rachel are all revealed to have come back from the dead at some point in their pasts during their origins flashback.
- MS Paint Masterpieces: Fodder Force Redheaded Guy, Cut Man, and Enker; due to Doctor Light's attempt at changing the timeline.
- In The Dementia Of Magic, Howard is revived with great difficulty.
- In The Silver Eye, Bhatair Hollingsworth is revived by Melete Dolan after having been beheaded and then chopped to pieces. When Apen Shephard meets him in Gallitan, he is understandably rather shocked.
- Dragon Ball Multiverse: Everyone that died since the tournament started was wished back to life by a set of Dragon Balls after the second round ended.
- The main character in Dragomirs Diary is killed by his own daughter as his castle comes crashing down around him and horrible beasties slither out of a weird, supernatural door. This being part of a video game, however, Dragomir is revived a month later when his save game is activated.
- In The Gamers Alliance, a few prominent villains and heroes have returned to life. The most notable ones are Drishnek, Jemuel, Leon and the Silverbranch brothers.
- The Screamsheet's Fights Section has the entire planet come back from the dead after its been destroyed in a previous battle. Multiple times, no less.
- The Mad Scientist Wars: Hoo, boy. Let's see, Andrew Tinker pulls this way back in the Redneck war, So It Begins, thanks to a series of backup personality copies and god cloning, pulled this off a LOT, and David was not just killed, but * erased* from his own body by his evil sentient mechanical Arm. He ends up making a case for his own existence, and makes it back. Also, Erik Tinker makes a deal with the devil. Sadly, the man he died killing, one of the most dangerous men ever, may well be back too....
- Subverted with Sayasuke, aka 'the Saya demon', who was never technically * alive* before he died. Sill won an award for it, 'tho. Head hurt yet?
- Doctor What from AH.com: The Series has supposedly come Back from the Dead many, many times, although we've only seen two or three on-screen. Most of the others involved fatal cunnilingus - which, bizarrely, was Based on a True Story.
- In the Epic Tales 'verse David Wilson died in the first Shadow Hawk story only to become the Astral Controller.
- In The Spoony Experiment, The Spoony One was killed by Squall after reviewing Final Fantasy VIII Linkara later cloned him using his protoplasmic remains and essentially brought him back from the dead.
- In Darwins Soldiers, the Dragonstorm Big Bad was found dead in the first RP. He later reappears in the sequel, with the explanation that the first one was a body double.
- Homsar was INVENTED just to die in one of the early sbemails. Then for some reason...he comes back. We never know quite how.
- It's implied that the Heavy Lourde only hospitalised him, as in one Marzipan's Answering Machine message he thanks her for the flowers she sent him while he was in the hospital. Then again, Homsar is a Reality Warper, so it's possible he can't truly be killed anyway. One Halloween-themed Main Page has an animation of a zombie Strong Bad rising from his grave, saying "I have come back from the dead to whoa-whoa-whoa holy craaap..." as his head falls off and rolls away.
- Anna Demorah dies in the comic that marked the beginning of Felarya. Then the author announced that she had been resurrected "due to some weird distortion in space, time or whatever". She remains one of the main characters.
- This was actually one of the powers possessed by the heroic Mister Easter in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe. As his name might imply, he would arise from the dead after three days. (His powers were all based on the miracles Jesus was explicitly shown performing in The Bible, including the resurrection.)
- Tasakeru: Stalker comes back from the dead thanks to a symbiotic fusion with a spider. He later brings N'Ktane back, but the process only gives her a solid body inside the Black Rose Tower.
- Aughadhail, Queen of the Fae in the Whateley Universe, died along with all her sisters, a long time ago in 'The Sundering', during a war against the Great Old Ones. It may have been millions of years ago. But what was left of her spirit found what was left of her magic, and became part of the teenager whose body had that magic, so she's back.
- In the Anti-Cliché and Mary-Sue Elimination Society, Adrian comes back thanks to the use of Soul Jars.
- It's become a running gag in Dark Dream Chronicle that Vadiir can't stay dead.
- In The Gungan Council, characters are frequently brought back to life since Death Is Cheap. Even Kyp and Bane, who both spent a long time dead, were resurrected through some means.
- In the BIONICLE web-serial The Powers That Be, Kopaka and Pohatu, whilst being trapped on the Red Star, run into Mavrah, a character who's canonically been dead for over a millenia. It was later revealed that all characters that had died in the Matoran Universe were living up there.
- The Flash animation series Madness Combat has three characters who can never truly die: Hank, Jeebus, and Tricky. No matter the cause of their death in the previous cartoon, they resurrect (with appropriate bandages, stitches, or scars) and resume battle in the next one. The creator of the series has declared that the three are doomed to fight each other for all eternity.
- A third of all the season finales of Red vs. Blue involve Agent Tex dying. It turns out that both she and Church are both AI programmes created by Project Freelancer. In a similar way Church is seemingly destroyed by an EMP at the end of Season 6, but is resurrected as Epsilon during Season 7.
- For the first twenty-four arcs of Worm, death is largely permanent, with major characters and heroes dying in various final and gruesome ways. Then, in Arc 24, Alexandria comes back from the dead to fight Behemoth, prompting an Oh, Crap from Weaver, who was the one that murdered her in the first place, and who had complied with framing Alexandria for horrible crimes (as opposed to the horrible crimes she was actually guilty of, which were too terrible to be revealed at all) for the sake of the public's peace of mind. Fortunately, it turns out to be a body-snatcher doing a Dead Person Impersonation using Alexandria's invulnerable corpse.
- Due to Word of God business issues, Doug Walker had to retcon To Boldly Flee and bring back The Nostalgia Critic. It was not a particularly cheerful return.
- Cracked presents 5 Absurd Ways Comic Books Have Resurrected Dead Superheroes.
- In one YouTube Poop, Mario crucifies Luigi. However, he comes back to life a moment later.
- Darkseid in the DCAU was killed by Brainiac's exploding asteroid Super Villain Lair, but gets brought back when Luthor uses Tala against her will in an attempt to restore Brainiac. According to the DVD commentary, Tala did it on purpose just to spite Luthor. Hell hath no fury, indeed.
- In Duckman, Duckman's two teddy bear secretaries Fluffy and Uranus are often killed in nearly every episode they appear in (usually by Duckman himself) only to be brought back in the next episode.
- In the two-part Grand Finale of Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, Phil Ken Sebben claws his way up from the grill of the bus that struck him dead the previous season, and says "Hah ha! Final episode stunt casting!" He then spends the entire episode driving the bus in reverse back to the city, just in time to arrive in the final scene and run Harvey over, killing him off for real. Odd thing is that in the episode where he is hit by the bus, he apparently gets cremated.
- Sylvester the cat from the classic era of Looney Tunes died 16 times in 7 different cartoons, one episode ("Satan's Waitin'" (1954)) features him slowly losing all nine of his lives.
- The cast of Drawn Together have died many times with Ling Ling and Toot having the largest death count, only for them to come back either in the next episode or later on in the same episode.
- Justified with Xander. Being a video game character, he has multiple lives, which proved problematic in one episode when he tried to commit suicide.
- The Simpsons-
- From the "Who Shot Mr. Burns?" episodes:
: At 3 p.m. Friday, local autocrat C. Montgomery Burns was shot following a tense confrontation at town hall. Burns was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead. He was then transferred to a better hospital where doctors upgraded his condition to "alive"
"Father McGrath! I thought you were dead!"
- In the "Treehouse of Horror VI" story "Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace," Groundskeeper Willie is set on fire after the furnace is set too high, then, due to overly cheap PTA members he can't escape (faulty door knobs, which would cost $12 to repair) and can't extinguish himself (empty fire extinguishers, which the fire department offered to recharge for free), then ignored by the PTA as he burns to death. Willie vows revenge on their children by striking in their dreams. After being defeated by Bart, Willie shows up at the bus stop outside the Simpsons' house, alive and well.
- South Park
- In the first five seasons, Kenny dies in nearly every episode and appears again in the next as if nothing had ever happened. In fact, in the two-parter "Cartman's Mom is a Dirty Slut", after dying at the end of Episode 1, he reappears out of thin air next to his friends at the start of Episode 2. (He goes on to die at the end.)
- There was one season finale where Kenny spends the episode suffering from a rare disease that kills him by the end of the show, and it dealt with how everyone reacted to Kenny being sick and dying. The next season had the kids living without Kenny, exorcising Kenny's spirit from Cartman, and after accepting Kenny's death they had competitions to see who would be his replacement. All this, only to have Kenny show up again one episode like nothing ever happened.
- Played for Laughs in the Halloween episode where, after Kenny dies, the embalming fluid was mixed with Worcestershire sauce (which ironically had a label warning against this). Cue Kenny coming back as a zombie and turning most of the South Park inhabitants into zombies. And then dying an additional two more times at the end.
- Scooter the light purple surfer fish from SpongeBob SquarePants has died three times to date: first when Spongebob asked him to move from his seat he was killed by his smelly breath, drowned after Bubble Buddy buried him in the sand, and exploded after being kicked off a cliff by Mystery the seahorse.
- Although Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2003 Big Bad The Shredder had already become infamous for turning out to be Not Quite Dead, one of these occasions later turned out to actually be a Back from the Dead situation. Given the character, the elaboration was sort of unnecessary, except for the fact that a) said occasion involved being at ground zero of an explosion that atomized a building, and b) it allowed the writers to bring the character back yet again. Also played straight with a couple of other characters, one of which included a nifty sequence in which flesh returns to his skeleton as he is resurrected.
- Teen Titans: The Story Arc for the fourth season involves Slade, the Big Bad from the first two seasons, coming Back from the Dead to serve as The Dragon to the new Big Bad, Trigon. This example is especially notable because with Comic Books (and therefore their adaptations) the usual resurrection is a retcon saying that the character was not truly dead. Slade's death was a Never Found the Body, and Robin's hallucinations of Slade in a later episode proved to be poisoning by someone heavily hinted to be Slade, so the stage was set for it to prove to have been a Not Quite Dead or one of his many robot duplicates... and then it comes out that he was very much dead when he appeared to die, and had been revived by the series' version of Satan as a messenger!
- Jaga (The Obi-Wan of the series) dies of old age while guiding the ThunderCats' ship towards Third Earth, but he returns as a Spirit Advisor to team leader Lion-O (and eventually the rest of the team as well).
- Mumm-ra is supposedly killed on at least three occasions, but as long as evil exists Mumm-ra lives!
- The Berzerkers were killed (by Panthro sinking their ship) in their first appearance. This was confirmed when the ghost of the Captain Hammerhand showed up a few episodes later. Then he came back with a new look and a new crew in the second season.
- And there's Grune the Destroyer, who died before the series began, but returns to harass the ThunderCats as a ghost. Twice.
- Tom of Tom and Jerry had died 6 times in 6 cartoons, (one of them turned out to be a dream though).
- In Transformers: The Movie, among the many Transformers killed off include Optimus Prime and Starscream. In subsequent episodes of the TV series, both come back. Optimus Prime initially appears as a Spirit Advisor when his successor, Rodimus Prime, journeys into the Matrix of Leadership. In "Dark Awakening", Optimus is brought back to life as a zombie, only to sacrifice himself again to save his fellow Autobots. In "The Return of Optimus Prime", he is completely revived and restored, and survives the end of the series (only to be killed in a Heroic Sacrifice in the Japanese series Headmasters, although resurrected in the Expanded Universe story Battlestars: The Return of Convoy). Starscream returns as a ghost in two episodes, "Starscream's Ghost" and "Ghost in the Machine"; in the latter, Starscream receives a new body from Unicron, returning to life, only to get blasted off into space. Starscream's spark makes a return appearance in the Beast Wars episode "Possession".
- In Beast Wars, Optimus Primal died saving the planet in the first-season cliffhanger, but was revived a few episodes into the second season. The writers left him dead for as long as Hasbro would let them, and his return was at least with guns blazing.
- Same series, different character: BlackArachnia. After being murdered by Tarantulas while her new Maximal comrades were trying to remove her malfunctioning Predacon Programming, she was brought back to life thanks to the Transmetal II Driver, which also turned her into a Transmetal II.
- Also done by Optimus Prime in Armada, and Megatron several times over the course of the Unicron trilogy.
- Overall, Optimus' combination of Heroic Sacrifice and Back from the Dead in the Sorting Algorithm of Deadness has become a running gag in the fandom, to the point where a Word Filter on the site 7chan replaced 'Jesus Christ' with 'Optimus Prime.'
- Starscream has this happen a lot too. In addition to the G1 version, he was killed and resurrected on two occasions in the Marvel comic, and in Transformers Animated, he becomes immortal due to a shard of the Allspark - which allows him to suffer Waspinator-class indignities, actually die, but then revive in seconds. The Noble Demon Transformers Armada Starscream also dies and returns in Energon, but he was Not Himself.
- Ironhide dies in the first issue of The Transformers IDW and is resurrected by Alpha Trion a short time later. However there's a catch, Alpha Trion started building this version of Ironhide before the original died so he lacks his predecessor's memories and knowledge of current events.
- The Venture Bros.: In the last episode of Season 1 the boys are killed. In the first episode of Season 2 their clones are reactivated and filled with their stored memories. Dr. Venture explains that this is the thirteenth time it has happened - and shows all previous deaths.
- In Avatar: The Last Airbender it is made fairly clear in "The Crossroads of Destiny" that Azula's lightning attack on Aang in the season two finale succeeded in killing him and he was only brought back by Katara using the spirit water to heal him. He even says as much:
"I went down! I didn't just get hurt, did I? It was worse than that. I was gone. But you brought me back."
- During the Mortis arc of Star Wars: The Clone Wars the Son killed Ahsoka with a tap on her forehead. The Daughter, who was lethally wounded also by the Son, channeled her remaining life force into Ahsoka's body (using Anakin as a medium) to revive her.
- There's Roberto, who in "The Six Million Dollar Mon" was arrested and promptly executed via electromagnetism. When Hermes wanted a robot brain transplant to complete his new robot body, Farnsworth inadvertently dug up Roberto's and after Zoidberg put Hermes' brain back in his old body, the empty robot took Roberto's brain. Roberto terrorized the crew for about a minute before he ate a piece of Hermes' skin and melted from it being so spicy due to Hermes' diet of extremely hot food. He then makes an appearance in the show's penultimate episode "Stench and Stenchibility" with no explanation whatsoever.
- Before that in the first quarter of "Into the Wild Green Yonder" Bender gets pumped full of lead by the Robot Mafia then 'inexplicably' rises out of the ditch they buried him at the beginning of the second quarter. Subverted in that it's well established in the series that bullets are just an annoyance to robots.
- In the episode "The Thief of Baghead", Calculon kills himself after ingesting food coloring (which is toxic to robots). He was reenacting the climax of Romeo and Juliet and tried to put on the best possible on-stage death by actually killing himself, meaning he basically hammed himself to death. The Planet Express crew bring him back to life in the late series episode "Calculon 2.0", only for him to die again at the end of the episode.
- Family Guy has James Woods being brought back to life by scientists using space age tech after being stabbed in the back in a previous episode. As a Hollywood actor, he was entitled to top-notch medical care not available to others. Apparently he's that famous.
- In "Life of Brian" Brian looks like he's been killed when he's run over playing street hockey with Stewie and dies in the hospital, then replaced with the Griffins' new dog Vinny. In "Christmas Guy" Stewie uses his past self's time machine return pad to prevent Brian's death, returning the show to the status quo.
- Ben 10: Omniverse:
- In the episode, "Showdown Part 1", a flashback reveals that the reason Ben stopped using his previous most used alien Feedback was because when he was 11 he had an encounter with Malware, who forcibly ripped Feedback's DNA out of the Omnitrix and turned it to dust. As a failsafe the Omnitrix could no longer accept DNA from Feedback's race, but in "Showdown Part 2" Ben regained Feedback after a negotiation with his past self.
- The finale of The Secret Saturdays saw the death of Big Bad V.V. Argost. The Saturdays' appearance on the Omniverse episode "T.G.I.S." saw him resurrected at the hands of Dr. Animo.
- The title of Not Without My Handbag refers to the dead Auntie climbing out of hell, and later the ground, in order to retrieve her handbag.