A major character, possibly even a popularly nasty Big Bad, has been Killed Off for Real, 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 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.
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.
The Priceline Negotiator went down in a fiery explosion but somehow managed to come back.
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).
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 Killed Off for Real 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.
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 only a few chapters 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 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.
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 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.
InuYasha: Kikyou was brought back from the dead early on, while still staying dead. She just had her soul transferred into a clay doll body instead.
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, Pokémon: 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!
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.
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)
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.
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.
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 Buttonhard, 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. I mean 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.
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.
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 SeriesStar 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.
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. We 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.
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.
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' "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.
Doctor Whooves comes back twice over the course of the story, neither time with any explanation given whatsoever.
Enemy Boss Leader comes back in the middle of the story, also with no explanation.
ADMIRAL Awesome Yonasomun Armageddon comes back in time to be a Deus ex Machina during the Final Standoff of Final Fate. This revival is notable as being the only one ever given any Hand Wave: It turned out that he was a Jedi Knight.
Professor Moriarty falls to his death in the Reichenbach Falls but enters a temporal rift instead and does not actually die (no one else knows this for several years). Later, he is Killed Off for Real, only to show up early in the next season as a clone.
Beth Lestrade is shot to death but returns to life when the timeline in which her death occurred is retconned to never having happened.
Sherlock Holmes lives out his natural lifespan and dies of old age... but makes one last effort at being able to reunite with his wife in the future, having his body preserved in burial. Beth has a geneticist rejuvenate his body, restoring Sherlock to life and to his twenties.
In Game Theory, Precia succeeds in bringing her daughter Alicia back to life.
At the very end of the Alternate Universe FicNed Stark Lives, Robb Stark and Ramsay Snow fight to the death during their trial by combat. Robb wins the battle almost handily, but Ramsay still cheats his way through and mortally wounds him before dying afterwards. Fortunately however, because of Robb's warg abilities his soul escapes into his Big, Badass Wolf Grey Wind and tells Arya (who is also in Nymeria's body) about his situation. So Thoros of Myr, who is also aware of Robb's soul within Grey Wind, takes his body and brings him back to life with the fires of R'hllor. It's tear-jerkinglyheartwarming.
After his death in Friends to the End, Hago comes back four times. He is resurrected in the stories The Return of Hago, Darkness Falls, Tama's Trouble and Tojo's Tyranny.
Scar is resurrected in Rebirth.
Simba, Nala, Haiba, Zazu, Sarafina and the Interceptor are resurrected after the Writer is killed in The End.
Averted with beloved characters Tama, Tojo, Mufasa and Sarabi.
Averted for the most part in the Pony POV Series, as the one rule that Celestia's brother Mortis, Concept of Death, has is that everyone only lives once, so who's dead stays dead. That said, it's played straight at the end of Dark World, where he ignores this rule as a wedding present to Queen Libra (aka Alicorn!Rarity), allowing her to resurrect everyone who died during Discord's thousand year reign who died as a direct result of his actions or those of his minions (those who died of indirect chaos, old age, or who chose not to come back, were excluded).
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 in 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.
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 Off for Real 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.
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.
Rebel Leader Karakol in City of Craftspeople. And he even isn't a hunchback anymore...
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.
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.
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 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.
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 was Killed Off for Real 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.
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.
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".
It'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. We can only hope.
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.
"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 Dark Griffin 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"—as "the Great Hiatus" (1894).
The Tortall Universe has Alanna having killed Duke Rodger right after she was made a knight but Alanna's arrogant brother Thom, in an effort to prove to the haughty Lady Delia of Eldorne that he is the strongest and most powerful sorcerer in the realm, has raised Lord Roger from the dead.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has 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.
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.
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.
The Tonight Show: During the Johnny Carson era, a Carson Players skit humorously played up the concept in a spoof of the era's E.F. Hutton & Co. commercials. (The commercials for the stock brokerage firm usually had two people having a conversation and one of them would remark that their broker was E.F. Hutton; that caused everyone around them to stop all conversation to listen to him. Following would be the firm's tag line: "When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen."). The skit had two people gathering at a funeral visitation when the conversation turned to finances. Once the young man said "E.F. Hutton," all conversation stopped and began to listen... even the corpse (Carson), who sat up in his casket(!) to hear what the professional had to say.
That could have been Tommy Newsome instead. He once played a dead guy in a coffin for one of the Tea Time Movie skits.
Apophis is Killed Off for Real in "Serpent's Song", only to come Back from the Dead in "Jolinar's Memories". He is killed again, but manages to return in the Alternate Universe created in "Moebius".
In the episode where Apophis dies the first time, the Stargate team turn his dead body over to his enemy Sokar in order to keep Sokar from attacking Stargate Command. Just as they do so, one character notes that Sokar can resurrect Apophis an unlimited number of times so that he can keep torturing and killing him. In all likelihood, Apophis died dozens of times off-screen.
Lieutenant Kowalski is killed in the second episode. Whenever an Alternate Universe is visited, we are treated to a counterpart of his, who proceeds to die again (except for one time).
Daniel Jackson has come Back from the Dead (twice through Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence and later becoming mortal again, the other times through Applied Phlebotinum) so much it's now a Running Gag. One time it happened, it was pointed out that he's been missing for weeks, and the Replicator ship he was definitely on exploded in the middle of space. O'Neill's response? "I'm not buying it." And Daniel shows up alive and well (but naked) by the end of the episode. This video provides some good data on how many deaths he's had.
"Doctor Jackson is going to die when he sees this" - "What, again?"
Though the one time he was given a funeral he actually wasn't really dead, it was the first season and they hadn't caught on yet.
Jackson even manages to turn it into a sort of Badass Boast. Someone asks if he'll ever stop fighting, and he responds, "Not till I'm dead." Then after a beat, adds, "Sometimes not even then."
In the fourth season episode "2010", all four of the regular cast are killed for real in a future timeline but not before they manage to send a note into the past that will allow them to avoid their fates (which, of course, creates a temporal paradox, but the show rarely dwells on such things).
My Mother The Car, in which the main character's mother is reincarnated as an old car.
Averted three times, with three of the principal characters, in American Gothic: in the very first episode, Merlyn Temple is murdered by Sheriff Lucas Buck—but we see her as a ghost immediately in the very same episode and she remains around as Caleb's Spirit Advisor for the rest of the series; Caleb himself later dies after an electrocution accident, but is immediately resuscitated by Sheriff Buck's powers; and in the penultimate episode of the series, Buck is seemingly killed and buried (after being stabbed in the third eye, only to see his eyes pop open in the coffin just before the credits roll. (He isn't dug up until the series finale, however.)
In a new episode of The Outer Limits, a pair of scientists makes a device which can apparently resurrect the dead. Unfortunately, the first test subject died within 24 hours of being resurrected. When one of the scientists dies, and is resurrected with this machine, he believes he has the same 24 hour lifespan. So he goes vigilante on the murderer and turns himself in. Of course, being The Outer Limits, it turns out the device resurrected him for real.
Buffyverse examples: Buffy was dead for nearly five months at the conclusion of Season 5 but she was brought back by Willow's magic, Angel after Season 2 was brought back from hell, Spike (Heroic Sacrifice in the last episode of Buffy, returned as a ghost on Angel). Many Buffyverse characters were Killed Off for Real, though, sometimes despite efforts to bring them back supernaturally (Joyce Summers and Tara; Whedon actually did once plan to resurrect the latter, though). Angel also did a Lampshade Hanging on this trope in the episode "Shells," in which Angel and Spike talk about how in "their world", dead doesn't always mean dead. The trope is subverted in the same episode, as it's made clear that even though Fred's body is being used by the demon goddess Illyria, Fred can't be brought back by supernatural means as one might expect (the writers did plan on eventually splitting them apart though, had the series not been denied a sixth season).
Villains of Farscape made a habit of dying and then coming back for more. One villain, Durka, came back twice until Rygel took his head off and stuck it on a scepter.
ESPECIALLY Scorpius, with a nice callback to Durka.
Crichton: (to Scorpius) Kryptonite, silver bullet, Buffy. What's it gonna take to keep you in the grave?
D'Argo: Perhaps we should just take your head off. Worked for Durka.
Prison Break, Sarah is decapitated in the second ("SONA") season, then magically is alive in the fourth season. This was because Sarah Wayne Callies, the actress, quit the show before the second season, then two years later changed her mind.
The all-time king of Back from the Dead is Murdoc, MacGyver's Arch-Nemesis, who died at the end of (almost) every episode in which he appeared, usually by falling off a cliff and exploding while shouting an enraged "MacGyver!"
In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, a small percentage of the Trill species carries an extremely long-lived symbiote, which, upon death, is passed to another eligible Trill. This happens to the Dax symbiote in the very first episode of the series, when it is passed from old man Curzon to main to Jadzia and when Jadzia Dax is Killed Off for Real in the sixth season finale, the Dax symbiote comes Back From the Dead as Ezri at the end of the seventh season premiere, thus making them half Back from the Dead, half Suspiciously Similar Substitute, with just a hint of The Nth Doctor thrown in for good measure.
Supernatural: John Winchester (played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan) pulls this off by dying in the season 2 opener "In My Time of Dying", and then charging out of the gates of hell in the season finale.
This happens a lot in the show. Mary Winchester makes an appearance in "Home" and "What is and What Should Never Be." Jess also comes back for the latter episode.
Dean died in the season 3 finale and got dragged into hell when his deal was up despite Sam's best efforts to save him. He was back next season dragged out of hell by an angel.
Sam died in "All Hell Breaks Loose", instigating Dean's deal, and later causing his death at the end of the next season. Luckily, he got better. In season 4 episode "In the Beginning", it is revealed that John was killed by Azazel before he and Mary were ever married, and that Mary's deal to bring him back was the cause of both her death and Sam's part in the demon's plan. This means every male member of the Winchester family has died and come back at least once. Some family! Sam and Dean have each come back from the dead about a half dozen times a piece (not counting Deans dying about 100 times in one episode), as Ash so eloquently put it: "You boys die more than anyone I've ever meet."
Sam also dies in 5x13, but Michael brings him back to life.
Sam "dies" at the end of season five in the finale when he sacrifices himself by throwing himself as Lucifer and Adam as Michael into the pits of Hell. He is resurrected, albeit without his soul.
And as of 5x18, Adam is now included in this group, meaning that even illegitimate Winchesters somehow manage to pull this off.
As of Season 6, their grandfather Samuel Campbell pulls off the same trick. Guess even Mary's side of the family has the immortal males gene.
Justified for Dean and Sam, since various higher (and lower) powers have a vested interest in keeping them alive.
Castiel was also blown up and resurrected twice, and came back a third time after being seemingly torn apart from the inside by Leviathans.
There are four episodes so far in season 9. So far both Cas and Charlie have died and come back, in back to back episodes no less.
Frequently done on Soap Operas. Sometimes the audience knows while other characters don't, other times, everyone is clueless. While this is typically limited to certain types of deaths—plane crashes, explosions, drownings, an especially egregious example is that of a woman who clearly died in her husband's arms after being shot, yet was resurrected a few years later. Another example would be Den Watts in EastEnders who was Killed Off for Real (with a gun concealed in a bunch of daffodils) only to be brought back years later as a ratings stunt.
The main character of Pushing Daisies has this power. He can touch someone and bring them back from the dead for one minute — any longer, and someone in random proximity dies in their place. Chuck, his childhood sweetheart, was the one he didn't want to send back. He could never touch her again or she'd be gone for good because the dead are meant to remain that way.
In series 8 of Red Dwarf the dead crew members are rebuilt by nanobots.
In The Brittas Empire Gordan Brittas is crushed by a falling water tank and goes to heaven, but is returned to life on Earth. St Peter considers him too annoying to stay in heaven but not bad enough to go to hell.
In an episode of Nip/Tuck, Julia's mother dies in a plane crash. When looking through the bodies, Julia finally finds the unidentifiably charred, but still human-shaped, remains of her mother. Suddenly, the body takes a huge gasp. Terrified, and knowing the woman will not have much a chance at survival anyway, Julia smothers her with a pillow. Later, she enters her apartment, where her mother has been sitting safe and sound all along, as she decided not to take the plane today.
A number of characters on LOST have been seen walking around the island, or even off of it, despite having very clearly died. The most notable is Christian Shephard, who died before the series began, and whose body also disappeared from his coffin.
Directly subverted when the Man In Black steals Locke's body and begins masquerading as him, causing everyone, including viewers, to think that the same thing happened to Locke.
Charlie technically dies in an early episode after being hanged by Ethan Rom, but is resuscitated by a determined Jack.
Bobby in Dallas. Resolved by making an entire season turn out to be a dream How original.
In Due South, Benton Fraser's dead father, Bob Fraser, proved so popular that he returned to the show as a spirit guide to his son—albeit an irritatingly unhelpful one. In a later season, Fraser Sr. even sets up an extradimensional office in Fraser's office closet.
And then, there's Jamie Sommers. In her debut episode in The Six Million Dollar Man, she suffers a cerebral clot during her debut mission, goes berserk, and dies at the end of the episode. Popularity Power, however, made ABC do some Executive Meddling to retcon this death so that the characters in the show would work on a way to repair the clot while Jamie is kept in suspended animation. She, however, suffered amnesia as a side effect of fixing the clot, thus she and titular Six Million Dollar Man, Steve Austin were unable to resume their relationship until the 1987 reunion movie, where an explosive accident cured her of her amnesia.
Lonzak: "Surprised? You thought I'd perished in that den of crocodiles! I SURVIVED! CLINGING to the thought that I would ONE DAY Arrrgh!" (Proton zaps him with his raygun)
Witchblade the television show had one of these per season: Danny in season one and Kenneth Irons in season two. In both cases the character was clearly dead, but stuck around all season in a less concrete capacity.
Done to death (no pun intended) in the 5th season of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. First, Iolaus was dead, then he was a ghost in a cave in Ireland, then an avatar for Dahak the Evil God, then a "Guardian of the Light", then a jester from an alternative universe until he became a merman then alive for real.
An episode of The Twilight Zone has two con men who go from town-to-town with one of them claiming he can raise the dead. Which he does by having his partner rise up from a grave in the town cemetery. The con occurs when many of the locals realize that they didn't like many of the now deceased, and would prefer that they stay dead, and pay off the supposed necromancer. As with the typical twist ending of this series, the two men leave town, not knowing that they really did raise the dead, who now announce they have scores to settle, e.g. a huge woman is going to go home and break her widower's arm, a gunslinger is going to kill the man who shot him in the back, etc.
In the Tales from the Crypt episode "Dig That Cat... He's Real Gone", the main character has a gland from a cat's brain implanted. He then gains the cat's 9 lives, and his benefactor and him do carnival shows where he dies but the gland brings him back. Eventually, he kills his benefactor. Then he goes to perform his final trick. But, after being buried alive in an airtight coffin, with a candle flickering out, he remembers the cat died once to get the gland—-so this is his last life and he isn't coming back. Cue screams of panic as the candle goes out.
In the original pilot episode of ER, Julianna Margulies' character Carol Hathaway overdoses on pills and alcohol. Although she's technically still alive at the end of the episode, the other characters' dialogue indicates that her chances of survival are slim. This was the original plan, but the actress proved popular with test audiences, who were also intrigued at the hints of a relationship with Doug Ross. Therefore, in the second non-pilot episode, she is back and recovering from her "suicide attempt."
The X-Files loves this trope; only very few characters actually stay dead.
Most notably is Mulder himself. After being abducted during the season 7 finale, he is returned dead in late season 8. The next episode finds him actually alive inside his coffin, thanks to an alien virus.
This same alien virus is what allows Billy Miles to return to life, too. He goes from being a bloated, drowned human to an invincible Super Soldier as a result of the virus.
Robert Patrick Modell ("Pusher") was shot at point blank range by Mulder, and it was stated clearly that he would not regain consciousness before dying. He comes back for revenge in season 5.
Both Monica Reyes and Scully are pronounced brain dead at different points in the series, only to emerge from their respective comas healthy.
The Cigarette Smoking Man, too, died, only to resurface in the series finale.
Jeffery Spender was shot at point-blank range in the face, and for all indications, has died. He makes a reappearance in the final season horribly disfigured.
Agent Doggett was killed by a shotgun blast at nearly point blank range only to come back after a creature ate him to life.
An alternate universe Doggett died in order to restore the original universe Doggett and Reyes to life (who had had her throat cut).
Walter Skinner died in Vietnam when his unit was ambushed. He later woke up in a hospital having witnessed his body on the ground as well as his friends.
Owen Harper is killed halfway through series two and is resurrected using the Risen Mitten. Unfortunately he comes back as an unbreathing, unconsuming, un-you-know-what-ing effective zombie. He is not pleased. He also temporarily plays portal for the Grim Reaper to invade the Earth and start hunting down the people of Cardiff. Also Owen will spend the rest of the series as a walking corpse.
Ambiguously in Charlie X, after several people wiped out of existence by the titular Reality Warper are brought back.
In "Return To Tomorrow", Spock is killed twice (once in spirit, once in body) to ensure the eradication of a malevolent alien that has possessed him, and then returned to life by Sufficiently Advanced Aliens of the same species.
"The Changeling" kills Scotty, and then 'repairs the unit' after Kirk expresses his displeasure.
"What Are Little Girls Made Of" gives us Doctor Roger Korby, a scientist that used Alien Tech to make an android clone of himself as he was dying. The episode ending is ambiguous on this point, as android!Korby commits suicide when he realizes he is no longer human, and Kirk says later that Roger Korby had already died before they arrived.
In "By Any Other Name", the aliens can turn people into lifeless cubes of gray chalk, which can be reconstituted — as long as they stay in one piece.
The prologue of the Massive Multiplayer Crossover 35th anniversary series Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger features the first 34 Sentai teams facing off against the greatest invasion the Earth has faced. To get around the minority of Sentai heroes that were Killed Off for Real in their respective series, it is revealed that deceased warriors temporarily returned to fight in the Legendary War.
On the villainous side, King Ryuuwon from Boukenger comes back in #21, demoted to Monster of the Week. Being the monster of the week, he doesn't make it past the end of the episode.
Gai Yuki literally comes back from the dead in #28. Granted though, he's a ghost, and he returns to the afterlife by the end of the episode.
Gamel and Mezool were the first of the Greeed in Kamen Rider OOO to be killed. However, Uva, outnumbered and outgunned against Kazari, farms a massive amount of Cell Medals and retrieves several of their Core Medals in order to bring them back to life. Comically, Gamel doesn't really seem to notice he died and came back to life, being too focused on finding candy.
The Phantom Phoenix from Kamen Rider Wizard returns right after being destroyed by the debut of Wizard's Flame Dragon Style in #9, ironic considering the Phoenix is often associated with rebirth. The very next episode reveals that mana was behind Phoenix's revival.
Outside of mere regeneration, there have been numerous times where The Master has seemingly been Killed Off for Real and come back for more. At least twice (Anthony Ainley's Master and John Simm's Master) the body has been assumed to have been burned to ashes, and yet there that particular incarnation was again for more mischief.
Peri was stated to have been killed by King Yrcanos during the "Trial of a Time Lord" arc. Later in the same arc, it's stated that she survived and married Yrcanos.
Steven Moffat pulled a coup by essentially having the entire known universe come back from not only exploded, but erased from all history. This included Rory, who was killed in a previous episode, erased from history and replaced with an Auton clone, then brought back as a human properly in a rebooted universe.
It was even lampshaded by Rory in his final episode when he decides to kill himself in order to create a paradox to escape the Angels. Amy, of course, is none to pleased with the plan and asks, "Then, what, you just come back to life?" A Genre Savvy Rory responds, "When don't I?"
In Father Ted, Father Jack 'died', and left a substantial estate to Fathers Ted and Dougal. Either out of respect, or tradition, or as a condition of the will, they spent the night in the crypt with Father Jack's body. In the middle of the night, Father Jack comes back to life. It was later determined that Father Jack appeared to die because he had drunk too much Toilet Duck.
Happens multiple times to Kim on Eureka. First she comes back from the dead, only for Carter to realize that Henry had time traveled to save her from dying the first place. Second, she comes back from the dead only to be a sentient AI that had adopted her form.
The Fades does this with Paul. After he's hit by a truck and left effectively braindead, his family make the decision to switch off his life support — after which his body spectacularly resurrects itself, firmly establishing him as The Chosen One.
The basic plot of Les Revenants is dead people coming back to life for no reason after being dead for years.
24 had Jack Bauer literally tortured to death on Day 2, but since he was tortured in a hospital and he still had information the terrorists wanted, he was brought back to life.
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 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.
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 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..."
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 character starts 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 Malleus Maleficarum's Benediction 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.
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.
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.
From Marathon, the player killed Durandal at his request so he could escape being tortured by Tycho. After Durandal is killed, his data is stored in a secure quarantine that could not be escaped, according to Tycho. However, this is all part of Durandal's Thanatos Gambit. He later carves the phrase "Fatum Iustum Stultorum" (The just fate of fools) in thousand mile long letters in Lh'Owon's moon.
The other Marathon AI, Leela, as well as the Pfhor and S'pht races come back from the dead in the games' epilogues.
The epitome of Back From The Dead would be Dracula, who has been killed continuously in movies, novels, and shows. In the Castlevania series, Dracula has been resurrected over 20 times!
Speaking of vampires, the Count of Groundsoaking Blood in Boktai and a similar counterpart, ShadeMan.EXE in Mega Man Battle Network 4 just refuse to die. Both have been victims to a Pile Driver (which is supposed to utterly wipe all trace of a vampire's existence) at least twice, once in their own game, once in the other (and the Count even gets a third one in the JP-only Boktai 3), and both were blasted into oblivion via MegaMan.EXE's Megabuster. It's assumed that even that didn't kill ShadeMan.EXE, only the utter obliteration of all Dark Chips.
Bowser, while he rarely truly 'dies' in a game, played this trope straight in New Super Mario Bros.. Mario/Luigi drops him into lava, and watches his flesh burn and melt off of him in an uncharacteristically gruesome manner. He appears again later, resurrected as a skeleton by his son, who eventually also completely restores him to a bigger, badder form.
In the Quest for Glory series, the final confrontation with Ad Avis in the second game has him plummeting off the railing. Good news is that the fall kills him. Bad news is that he rises from the grave a vampire Hellbent on revenge. And in the final chapter of the series, the hero can resurrect one out of two people from Hades.
The Lucasarts Adventure GameThe Dig features a ruined alien civilization so advanced that they could even bring the dead back to life using 'life crystals', which becomes a central point of the story, as it turns out there's more to the crystals than just resurrection...
When sentient beings die in Final Fantasy X, their souls must be Sent to the Farplane (by a Summoner or a Yevon priest with similar spiritual abilities) lest they become Fiends. However, those with sufficient strength of will can resist either fate, and roam the world as Unsent: "people" that are, for all intents and purposes, dead, but retain a physical shape and can interact with others as though they were alive. Such is the case with Seymour, after being killed at Macalania Temple, Auron, who was killed by Yunalesca ten years prior, the Yevon High Clergy, and Belgemine. Ostensibly, Yunalesca is also an Unsent.
The protagonist of Gungrave was murdered by his best friend thirteen years prior to the beginning of the game. He was revived as a product of necrolization—technology that resurrects the dead as immortal and nearly unstoppable super soldiers. Returning from "Beyond the Grave" (which is also now his new name), he was brought back to exact revenge on his former friend and the organization that betrayed him.
Final Fantasy IV seems to kill and resurrect its characters more often (and more improbably) than the novel Candide. In particular, one character jumps out of an airship with a nuke strapped to his chest and detonating it in mid-air in order to seal up a giant hole in the ground, replacing it with a mountain range. You'd think he'd be killed by 1) the fall, 2) being crushed by thousands of tons of rock, or 3) being right at the center of a nuclear explosion, but later on your party visits the underground realm of the dwarves, and guess who they find lying in a hospital bed (the explanation being something along the lines of "the dwarves nursed me back to health!")? Tellah's the only party member to actually STAY DEAD, simple as that.
Happens to Raven twice in Tales of Vesperia. The first time was 10 years before the game, during the Great War. It's more or less implied he was killed with a shot through the heart and then resurrected when his heart was replaced with a Hermes Blastia. Literally right after he tells you this, he's forced to hold up a collapsing roof so the rest of the party can escape a dungeon. He's squashed by the ceiling...and then he shows up later, perfectly fine, with zero explanation. That Hermes Blastia must be really something if it can protect you from being crushed to death...
Leon Magnus goes through this twice: once in the original ps1 Tales of Destiny and again in the sequel. In his original game, he is briefly brought back by the Big Bad as a puppet (albeit one with his mind intact) to fight the party. They kill him again.
Happens with Liane in Jeanne d'Arc. Jeanne must fight an illusion of Liane within Roger's heart. She's joined in this battle by the ghost of the real Liane. After finishing the game once, Jeanne can win Liane's charred pendant at the Colosseum, and ask Liane's ghost to rejoin the party permanently. The ending doesn't change, however, implying that she remains dead afterwards.
JerkassScrappy Algus/Argath came Back from the Dead in the PSP remake but he did not change his personality, and thus only came back so Ramza can kick his ass again, now straight to hell. Considering how much hated Algus is, him coming Back from the Dead to get his ass kicked again can be considered Pandering to the Base.
At the end of Chapter 3, Marach takes a bullet for his sister Rapha. The character dies and stays dead for a while afterwards, until the Zodiac Stone/Auracite channels power from... somewhere and resurrects him, proving that the auracite itself isn't evil, it's just the Lucavi using it for evil purposes.
In Planescape: Torment, not unlike Mr. Immortal (see Comics, above), this is the main character's whole power. You're actually trying to find out how to stop doing it in a way that is spiritually satisfying. (If you want, you can get a Nonstandard Game Over by pissing off the Lady of Pain or other being of deific might.)
Pokémon Mystery Dungeon 2. Technically, it's back from the non-existent, seeing as the main character fixed the timeline, thus wiping him out of existence.
Played with in Resident Evil 0 with the revived James Marcus. He has James' memories, appearance, and even he thinks he's James. In reality he's a hive-mind B.O.W. that inherited his memories by absorbing his D.N.A.
In Chrono Trigger, performing this becomes a major plot point when Chrono is atomized by Lavos. However, performing that resurrection is completely optional — you can go on to defeat the Big Bad with the other characters, and gain a different ending.
Liquid Snake in Metal Gear Solid 2 comes back from the dead by possessing Revolver Ocelot. However, by the fourth installment, it's all a ruse. That is, he apparently really did possess Ocelot in 2, but Ocelot removed the possessing limb and then brainwashed himself to appear possessed to fool his enemies from then on.
Also from 4, it's revealed in the Screaming Mantis boss that Psycho Mantis returned as a ghost possessing Screaming Mantis. He's later exorcised by the ghost of The Sorrow from Metal Gear Soid 3.
Even though Link and Zelda are legacy characters, Ganondorf is the same guy in each of the games. He has died five times in various branches of the timeline, with no clear explanation as to how he comes back each time, although both Zelda II: The Adventure of Link and the Oracle games suggest that his resurrection involves some kind of human sacrifice; alternatively, it could be because of the Triforce of Power. The plot of the Oracle series revolving around the witches Twinrova attempting to kidnap Zelda in order to use her in the ritual. These games have Ganon come back just so you can kill him in the final battle, while Adventure of Link has him show up on the Game Over screen, because the manual explains that he can be resurrected by spreading Link's blood over his ashes.
Occurs in the ending of Ninja Gaiden II for the NES. Irene gets killed by stray lighting before the final boss appears. After the fight is over, Ryu regrets not being able to save Irene. The Dragon Sword suddenly turns into a ball of light and enters Irene's body, bringing her back to life.
The Protagonists themselves in Malicious, the backstory had Valeria and Erica die by the hands of their own tyrant father King Eldrake, in front of their mother Queen Ashlelei no less. After much trauma the Queen got the power to kill her own husband who killed their children, in turn Ashlelei also turned corrupt and Valeria and Erica were brought back as Spirit Vessels to put an end to their estranged mother's tyranny.
Samus's archnemesis Ridley has to be getting up in the ranks of continuously resurrected villains. He explodes in Zero Mission but is rebuilt for Metroid Prime. He fall of a cliff and blows up again, and comes back in Metroid Prime 3 as if nothing ever happened. He vaporizes this time, but Ridley reappears anyway in Super Metroid. Samus blows him up again and the planet his remains are on explodes too. Ridley officially dies here, but then the Galactic Federation are stupid enough to clone everything that has traces on Samus's suit, so he comes back again. He later gets beaten up by Samus, and then killed by a Metroid Queen. His corpse appears again in Fusion and is promptly infected by an X Parasite and dies. For now.
Occurs in Ōkami, where it's a major part of the plot, having Amaterasu as the resurrected/reincarnated form of Shiranui.
In the NES version of Double Dragon II: The Revenge, Marian, who was murdered in the opening sequence of the game, is brought back to life as a result of a vague prophecy mentioned by the True Final Boss during his dying breath. Averted in the original arcade version, since the final boss in the NES version was a character created for that version and the game ended with Marian still dead.
Used in Super Robot Wars Original Generation Gaiden. Alfimi dies in OG 2, but comes back by merging with Axel Almer, who is mortally wounded and dying. This causes them to both come back as half human, and half Einst. Axel also had a Heel-Face Turn during this.
Touhou: Fujiwara no Mokou and Kaguya Houraisan are immortals who simply can't die, age, or get ill forever because they drank the Elixir of Eternal Life. Since it's eternal, it also rendered them irreversible. They will resurrect even if their bodies were completely destroyed. It goes beyond that. Even the concept of death isn't a part of their existence. So they'll come back to life no matter what happens simply because they're incapable of not existing.
Krista and Mr. Whittlebone in Twisted Metal: Head-On reappear from the second games as ghosts.
In the indie RPG series Vacant Sky, the main character dies in the first half hour of the game. But then she got better. It's implied that dying is in fact the prerequisite to becoming a badass.
Though death and resurrection are nothing more than game mechanics for players in World of Warcraft, for story characters death is usually more permanent. Nevertheless, there are many exceptions. Typically it's done with major villains, such as Kael'thas, Mal'Ganis, Balnazzar, Teron Gorefiend, Anub'arak, and all of Naxxramas, who are brought back to serve as loot pinatas again. However, in a rare heroic example, Muradin Bronzebeard, who was thought killed in Warcraft III, is revealed to be alive and well in Northrend, though initially amnesiac.
Just before the final battle in Breath of Fire II, the Big Bad brutally murders Ryu's party members one by one, taunting him all the while. Ryu resurrects them almost immediately afterwards.
In Mass Effect 2, the main character Commander Shepard dies during an ambush from an unknown alien starship at the start of the game. The commander's body is recovered and re-built by the enigmatic pro-human group Cerberus, leading to the game starting two years (and one very confused Commander) later.
Garrus: The Collectors killed you once and all it did was piss you off.
A main plot point in Jade Empire, the main character is killed by their master-turned-evil-mastermind Li, and has to fight through the afterlife to come Back from the Dead.
Albedo from Xenosaga has been left for dead, killed, and been in situations where he should have been killed numerous times in the series, but gets revived somehow every time. This has to do with the fact that he is immortal, but it's amazing how many times it's been tried anyway.
BioShock 2starts with the main character dying and the continues ten year later with him coming back to life, only to die again at the end.
At the beginning if Mega Man Zero, Zero is resurrected one century after his death in Mega Man X5 (that is, if you insist so), and the saga begins!
In Little Big Adventure 2, Dr Funfrock, who Twinsen supposedly killed at the end of the first game, pulls a Hijacked by Ganon. Justified, since he spent most of the first game perfecting cloning technology.
Kanon features Kawasumi Mai, who dies but comes back to life in the ending, in the same scene she dies, no less. This also applies to her mother, although it's in the past, and possible that Misaka Shiori gets this too, though she may never have died in the first place.
Done for the players themselves in Left 4 Dead 2. You can sometimes find a Magical Defibrillator, which has the power to bring back dead players on the spot, despite how they died (whether it would be being crushed by a Tank, having a Tank plow a car over the player, falling 10 stories down to the ground, ripped to pieces by a Witch, etc.)
All of the Ascended (read: player characters) in Rift. In the case of the Guardians, it's because the gods needed you alive again; in the case of the Defiant, it's thanks to years of magitek research.
A running gag in the Monkey Island series, where villain LeChuck is dead even before the series begins (he is a ghost in the first game). Even though hero Guybrush kills him at the end of every single game, he always comes back at the beginning of each new game to be the villain again. Further parodied in that he comes back wrong in a slightly different way every time, leading to names like The Demon Zombie Ghost Pirate LeChuck.
Tezkhra in The Reconstruction, who first appears to be a God of Evil, but turns out to be a perfectly nice guy who was killed by an evil creature that stole his name. One endgame sidequest allows you to recover his soul by defeating a Bonus Boss, then have a Necromancer restore his body.
Raikoh, the hero of Otogi Myth Of Demons, is revived no less then FOUR times over the course of the game and it's Sequel. The only other people that come back from the dead only do it once. Raikoh just has more important things to do then staying dead.
From Asura's Wrath I give you Asura. Some 12,000 years prior to the beginning of the game's main story, he is betrayed by his comrades, framed for the death of his wife and the Emperor of Shinkoku, had his daughter kidnapped, and finally killed by being thrown from outer space to fall to earth after being Electrocuted! Now, how does he come back to life? To put it simply, he was just that plain, out right, ANGRY.
Another factor was that a young girl that looked very similar to his own daughter prayed in front of his now stone remains. He faced is positioned right in front of her and because of her capture, he literally revives himself on his anger, albeit now much MUCH weaker than what he previously was.
The Darksign of the Undead in Dark Souls causes this constantly, each time sapping away a bit of your humanity.
Alduin in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has the power to revive any Dragons that were "slain" in the past as long as he has access to their immortal Aedric souls. Even Dragons that have been buried for centuries and reduced to skeletons can be revived to full strength in moments by Alduin. The Dragonborn is the only one who can permanently "kill" Dragons because he/she can absorb the Dragons' souls upon their "death". Granted, because Dragons are immortal Aedric spirits that exist beyond time, they can't truly die — in fact, the whole concept of death is confusing to Dragons.
In Dominions, Pretender gods can be called back, immortals only die permanently outside of your dominion and spells can be used to revive commanders who made it into the Hall of Fame.
In Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, the Fae respawn to relive their lives in an endless cycle whenever they "die" thanks to their strong connection to the Weave of Fate. This makes fighting the Tuatha Deohn a zero sum game, since any Tuatha "slain" in battle respawns in their home kingdom. To even the odds, the gnomes attempted to create the Well of Souls, a device capable of bringing mortals back from the dead. The player character is the only successful resurrection. As a side effect, he/she is also Immune To Fate. This also means that the player character is the only one who can permanently kill a Fae since he/she can sever their connection to the Weave.
In Prototype, Alex is shot dead just as he releases The Virus and then comes back to life without any memories. It later turns out that Alex is dead, and you are actually The Virus in Alex's form.
In Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark, Elven paladin Aribeth de Tylmarande, with the help from the player character, manages to pull off a "techical resurrection" (even though beings from Outer Planes are still considered "spirits" in the Material Planes) while also subverting a case of Came Back Wrong and actually redeeming herself from the villain status in the process.
Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode 1 had the Death Egg Robot as the final boss. That's right. The programmers brought the robot to life when he was meant to be destroyed for good. And now you need to rematch him if you beat Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
One of the main elements that ties the various Shadow Hearts games together is the Emigre Manuscript, a Tome of Eldritch Lore that supposedly contains the secret of resurrecting the dead. In practice, it almost never works out. The book being shaped like a skull should have been a clue that the Manuscript is something to avoid like the plague. Johnny Garland, the main character of the third game From the New World, is the only known successful resurrectee. His sister, the other person their father was trying to raise, sacrificed her own mind and soul to complete Johnny's resurrection. This had the unpleasant side effect of raising her as a soulless Monster from Beyond the Veil whose very existence is distorting reality with Malice. Johnny himself isn't completely normal either, looking younger than his real age and possessing a Malice-infused Superpowered Evil Side that is eerily similar to his sister.
The Dunbine story for Super Robot Wars UX begins after the Kill 'em All ending of the original. However only Shou, Marvel, Burn, and Shot Weapon return to life. The rest of the cast never reappear and are presumed still dead by Shou. This actually prompts a possible Heel-Face Turn from Burn, since all of his old allies (and thus his old cause) are gone anyway.
One of Lewton's first lines in Discworld Noir is "I've never woken up dead before". He's been stabbed with the stolen sword he was searching for, but revived because his client had infected him with lycanthropy and the blade wasn't silver.
In Shin Super Robot Wars, Schwartz Bruder reappears in the true final scenario if Domon finds him. Given how he's just a copy of Kyouji Kasshu and his memories as a Cyborg, it's not implausible that he could reappear. He warns the group of the rebirth of the Devil Gundam and joins the group.
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.
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.
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.
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".
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.
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 Off for Real, 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.
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.
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.
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.
The Screamsheet'sFights 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 Darwin's 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.
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 OldOnes. 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 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.
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 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.
Kent Brockman: 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".
In the "Treehouse of Horror VI" story "Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace," Martin Prince falls asleep during class and is strangled to death in his dream by Groundskeeper-Willie-gone-Freddy-Krueger. As his body is being taken away, Martin reanimates into a crazed zombie and is about to attack Ms. Krabappel's class but is sedated and prevented from harming them. Groundskeeper Willie himself fits this trope, given it's a parody of A Nightmare on Elm Street. But Willie's death, reanimation and vowing of revenge are not even mentioned until after Martin's death and reanimation at school.
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 we find 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 Off for Real 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.
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 DemonTransformers 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 the Ben 10: Omniverse 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.
Scientists speculate that the whole Universe may pull this one. If the Universe collapses in the Big Crunch, the concentration of energy may cause another Big Bang; if it dies a heat death, a new Big Bang may occur as a quantum fluctuation in, like, 10^10^56 years.
Many of the American battleships sunk at Pearl Harbor were later raised, repaired, refitted, and sent back into the fight. They got their revenge at the Battle of Leyte Gulf, dealing a crippling blow to the Imperial Japanese Navy.
Some futurists believe cryonics will be the key to bringing deceased people back to life.