[[quoteright:350:[[VisualNovel/UminekoWhenTheyCry http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/golden-butterfly.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Oh, that [[KillEmAll can't be good]].]]

->''"The white wings of moon butterflies\\
Flicker down the streets of the city,\\
Blushing into silence the useless wicks of sound-lanterns in the hands of girls."''
-->-- '''Creator/HPLovecraft''', ''Poetry Of The Gods''

Whenever you see a pretty (usually blue or black) butterfly show up, things are about to get [[FauxSymbolism Symbolic]].

For millennia, the world has latched on to the image of the butterfly: its metamorphosis from a caterpillar to a butterfly used as a metaphor for death and rebirth. In brighter series, it means "Don't worry, be at peace, the great circle of life continues on." In others, it means "You're going to die and turn into something else and it being pleasant isn't necessarily an option." ''Dead'' butterflies are an especially ill omen.

When the butterfly is used as a symbol of change in ''general'', not just death and rebirth, see the SuperTrope ButterflyOfTransformation.

Not related to ButterflyOfDoom or SchrodingersButterfly. See also PrettyButterflies.

!!Compare with:
* CherryBlossoms, a chiefly Japanese symbol for the beauty and evanescence of life.
* The {{Ouroboros}}, a snake consuming its own tail, emphasizes the cyclical nature of life. Its occult overtones also make it appropriate for more mystical and/or weirder cases of endings tangled up with beginnings.
* ThePhoenix, a mythological being reborn from its own ashes.

!!Contrast with:
* MacabreMothMotif

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


[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* Used for double significance in the Sasuke Retrieval Arc of ''Manga/{{Naruto}}''; after Choji defeats Jirobo, allowing Naruto, Kiba and the rest of the retrieval team to continue on, he staggers to a tree and sags against it in a very moving death scene; [[UnexplainedRecovery he gets better]]. Right after he collapses, a blue butterfly passes Shikamaru, who looks dismayed. Doubly significant in that Choji's name means 'butterfly', and that is the form that his [[DeadlyUpgrade supposedly fatal final attack]] takes: [[CrowningMomentofAwesome glowing butterfly wings of chakra]].
** In ''Shippuuden'', Choji achieves this form without pills, and it enables him to defeat his undead sensei. It also symbolises Choji's growth as a person; indeed, the Akimichi clan's oath, which clan members take as a coming-of-age ceremony, uses the symbol of a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis and taking flight.
* ''Franchise/SailorMoon'':
** Sailor Heavy Metal Papillon (Butterfly) was a manga only servant of the final BigBad in the ''Manga/SailorMoon'' series, who turned the souls of all the Crystals that Galaxia captured literally into butterflies.
** The original version of [[FrillyUpgrade Super Sailor Moon]] came with a butterfly motif. It gets revealed later that she has the power of rebirth, to match Sailor Saturn's power of destruction.
** ''[[Anime/SailorMoon Sailor Stars]]'' apparently uses butterflies as a symbol of the Light of Hope ([=ChibiChibi=]).
* In ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'', specially-bred, ghostly (i.e., only seen by spirits and supernaturally-sensitive people) black butterflies (Called ''Jigoku-chou'', or "Hell Butterflies", for extra cheeriness) are necessary as guides for those wanting to cross from Soul Society to the Living World, and vice versa. Otherwise, they'll be forced to pass through the [[HyperspaceIsAScaryPlace Dangai, or "Forbidding World"]], where death is (un)surprisingly easy.
** They're also used to carry messages within Soul Society, as well, which makes this trope a bit more mundane in ''Bleach''.
*** Although the people of Soul Society ''are'' dead (given that it's the afterlife)...
*** ... And as the latest arc proves, '''they can be killed again.'''
** A VERY {{squick}}y example is the Octava Espada Szayel Aporro Granz. His release form is similar to a giant butterfly with wings that look like blood drops leading down from the wings among other creepy additions. His ultimate ability that makes him perfect in his eyes is his Gabriel ability. This let's him impregnate another person (done to a female [[MisterSeahorse but he implies he could do it to the guys too]]), absorb their energy and nutrients, and then become reborn from their now empty husk of a body.
** Take a good look at Aizen's third form in Chapter 415. No wonder it's nicknamed ''Butterflizen''.
* Heavily seen in the first opening and ending of ''VisualNovel/HigurashiWhenTheyCry''. That one of the butterflies is dead is a sign of how dark the series is. Similarly, in ''VisualNovel/{{Umineko|WhenTheyCry}}'', the Golden Witch Beatrice is said to appear in the form of glowing, gold butterflies. Seen above.
* In the opening of ''Manga/MajinTanteiNougamiNeuro'', Sai crushes a blue butterfly in his hand. He's a murderer who is constantly regenerating at the loss of his memories.
* ''Manga/XxxHolic'':
** [[DeadAllAlong Yuuko]] has butterflies on her clothes and many of her possessions, and is often depicted wearing a kimono with butterfly wings attached to the obi. An old fortune teller friend of hers mentions that the butterfly is Yuuko's particular symbol.
** After a certain dramatic moment in ''Manga/TsubasaReservoirChronicle'', the concurrent ''Manga/XxxHolic'' chapter featured Watanuki dreaming of her death - then, when he wakes up, a butterfly appears over his clenched hand, and vanishes into thin air. Naturally, when he goes to look for Yuuko, she's gone, having moved on as payment to fight Fei Wong Reed's GambitRoulette.
* Keeping this in mind while you're watching any version of ''Manga/RevolutionaryGirlUtena''. It may help your sanity.
* In the ''Anime/CowboyBebop'' movie, anyone afflicted with the synthetic virus begins to hallucinate swarms of golden butterflies shortly before death. The main villain is a man who can't remember a time when he ''couldn't'' see the golden butterflies, and he's thus convinced he's in some sort of limbo or purgatory that he needs to escape.
* These appear in ''Anime/GaReiZero''. They're ''evil''.
* At the end of ''Anime/DigimonAdventure02'', Yukio Oikawa's dying wish is to transform his body into a mass of butterflies which spread across the Digital World to protect it and restore its weakened barrier after his FamilyUnfriendlyDeath. ''Anime/DigimonAdventure''[='s=] AnimeThemeSong is titled "[[CrowningMusicOfAwesome Butter-Fly]]", though its lyrics barely involve this trope; however, it does play over ''02'''s {{distant|Finale}} WhereAreTheyNowEpilogue, during which Oikawa's butterflies do show up.
* ''Manga/BusouRenkin'' has Papillon, the butterfly-themed villain whose entire deal was that he replaced his dying, mortal body with an immortal (but still sick, oddly) homunculus body.
* Butterflies appear in the second season 2 OP for ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam00'', although they range in color, and a separate one appears for each of the four different female characters (Marina, Feldt, Louise and Anew) featured. It's possible that the symbolism isn't death here, but rather a drastic change set for them all. The {{four|IsDeath}}th woman dies.
* ''Anime/ThisUglyYetBeautifulWorld'' is packed with these... and {{fanservice}}.
* Hotarubi from ''Manga/{{Basilisk}}'' summons butterflies among the insects and reptiles she uses to attack her enemies. When she dies and her lifeless ''and'' mutilated corpse falls off a cliff, a bunch of butterflies appear in the sky.
* ''Anime/PrincessMononoke'': Ashitaka spots a footprint that attracts butterflies. It belongs to the Great Forest Spirit, who has power over life and death.
* ''Anime/TurnAGundam'''s Moonlight Butterfly means a literal change in the world, destroying all the technology on the Earth two thousand years before the beginning of the series, thus forcing a reconstruction of the civilization, and after the series' finale, imprisoning the BigBad and protagonist's {{Humongous Mecha}}s in a cocoon, signing the end of the war.
* Episode 8 of ''Mr. Stain on Junk Alley'': A baby dies, and a glowing blue butterfly crawls out of its mouth. The child's soul-butterfly gets killed by a cop. Mr. Stain, later on in the episode, revives the baby by sticking his hand down his throat, retrieving his own butterfly inside, and using his ''own'' butterfly to revive the child.
* In ''[[Anime/HellGirl Hell Girl: The Cauldron of Three]]'', the deceased Enma Ai's spirit takes the form of a blue butterfly.
** The season one opening theme is called "Sakasama no Chou," or "Upside-down Butterfly," which adds another layer of meaning to the equation.
* In ''Manga/DGrayMan'', Tyki Mikk uses black butterflies as weapons that are capable of removing an opponent's internal organs without causing them any other injury.
* When the solar eclipse in ''Anime/UmiMonogatari'' gets accompanied by the appearance of thousands of eerie blue butterflies, you just know [[MoodWhiplash things will turn rather dark]] from then on.
* Then there's ''[[Anime/MobileFighterGGundam G Gundam]]'''s Sai Saici, whose Hyper Mode Ultimate Attack and the Shaolin Temple's final and secret technique is a suicide attack in which his Gundam gains chi-created butterfly wings (much the same as the Naruto example with Chouji above, but with a GiantRobot). He also [[UnexplainedRecovery gets better]]. Multiple times.
%%* ''Literature/{{Paprika}}'' has the butterfly room scene.
* In one of the episodes of the hentai show ''Cool Devices'', these appeared. The {{Moe}} girls got brutally raped by a bunch of {{Scary Black M|an}}en, then [[HumanSacrifice sacrificed]]. But it's all okay, because at the end their spirits turn into butterflies. Or something.
* In ''Manga/HunterXHunter'', there is a type of butterfly that is attracted to fresh blood. In one of the Hunter Exams, Gon tracks these butterflies, which lead him to [[MonsterClown Hisoka]], which is his target.
* One chapter of ''Manga/PetshopOfHorrors'' elevates this into mindfuck: Leon (a cop) accidentally shoots a childhood friend (Harry) who turns out to have become a criminal over time. Count D allows him to experience Harry's life for himself, trapping him inside an illusion given by a magical butterfly. Just as Leon experiences being shot to death, D crushes the butterfly, giving Leon his normal life back.
* In ''Manga/{{Pretear}}'', the BigBad Takako attacks with purple butterflies. They can be used as spies, too.
* Purple butterflies similar to those seen in ''Pretear'' appear in ''VisualNovel/HarukanaruTokiNoNakaDe'' as a manifestation of Ran's Dark Dragon powers. These can be used for attack purposes or for defilement, and on one occasion in the manga/anime Ran uses these to place a curse on Akane.
* In ''Manga/SaintSeiya'', Hades' spies are butterflies and appear during the Hades arc whenever Saga, Shura and Camus are about to reveal their true motives (not to kill Athena, merely to see her again) as a grim reminder of their fate. One scene uses both this and the death version of CherryBlossoms. There's also the Spectre Papillon, who starts off as a revolting caterpillar-like thing and then evolves into a pretty (scary) butterfly-boy with glowing butterfly minions.
* In [[Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventureStoneOcean Part 6]] of ''Franchise/JoJosBizarreAdventure'', Jolyne's death is accompanied by the appearance of butterflies. Appropriate to the trope, she and several other characters killed in the arc comes back to life later.
* In ''Manga/IrisZero'' Hijiri has an [[MagicalEye Iris]] that allows him to see black butterflies that gather around people who are supposed to die in the near future.
* Before his apparent death in ''Manga/BlackButler'', Lau tells the story of a Chinese boy (reflecting himself) who dreamt he was a butterfly
** Which doubles as a GeniusBonus; the story is word for word based on the philosophical musing of Zhuangzi.
** In one of the ending songs, there's a constant blue butterfly flying around screen.
* The first witch that appears in ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'' seems to have a motif partially based around butterflies, as seen on her minions, in her barrier, on her Grief Seed, and on the witch herself. In addition once she's defeated there is a quick shot of a butterfly in a web afterwards. FridgeBrilliance / [[FridgeHorror Horror]] kicks in when you realize it may or may not be {{Foreshadowing}} that witches start out as a normal girl who gets contracted by Kyubey, followed by reaching the DespairEventHorizon.
* ''{{Manga/Loveless}}'' plays this for all the symbolism it can get, especially with Soubi, complete with Ritsu-sensei musing on how "humans are able to be reborn".
* In ''Manga/UndertakerRiddle'', the people's souls take the form of butterflies.
* Manga/MagiLabyrinthOfMagic: The rukh, which are the souls of those who have died. They're described by characters who can see them as looking like birds, but they're drawn to look more like butterflies.
* In ''Manga/TowaKamoShirenai'', some of the demonic entities that attack Kosumo and Hitsuji take the shapes of butterflies. In fact, Kosumo first saw Hitsuji when he killed one of these devil 'flies and scolded him for doing so, not knowing their real role.
* Used to great effect in the Creator/InioAsano manga ''Nijigahara Holograph'' with its sinister swarms of cabbage butterflies.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In the ''[[Comicbook/InfinityGauntlet Infinity War]]'', Comicbook/{{Thanos}} turns his evil clone... well, just as evil clone into a butterfly as he passes on. ...[[ShootTheShaggyDog And then eats it.]]
* In a ''Comicbook/DoomPatrol'' story written by Creator/GrantMorrison, [[AxCrazy Red Jack]] has found a way to keep himself immortal by imprisoning hundreds of butterflies and absorbing their life essence. When the butterflies are freed, he dies.
* In ''ComicBook/PrettyDeadly'', the entire story is being narrated to a butterfly. As well, when Big Alice dies, her body turns into a flock of butterflies.
* In the ''ComicBook/{{Thorgal}}'' issue "Beyond the Shadows", butterflies of death and rebirth feature prominently.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* When Chroma banishes Queen Chrysalis near the beginning of ''[[FanFic/TheRainsverse When It Rains]]'', the Queen is able to split off and preserve a tiny fragment of her essence in the form of a white butterfly. This butterfly offers guidance to Adagio at a couple of key points in the plot, and transforms back into Queen Chrysalis once Chroma is defeated.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* At the end of ''WesternAnimation/CorpseBride'', the undead Emily dissolves into a cloud of blue butterflies, signifying her peaceful transition to the afterlife.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* In ''Film/TheFall'' the butterfly Darwin has sought for years heralds only tragedy.
* In the Creator/PeterJackson-directed ''Film/TheLordOfTheRings'' movies, a white butterfly or moth appears to Gandalf twice, apparently as a messenger from the giant eagles. In both instances, the heroes are hopelessly surrounded (evidently about to die) and eagles are going to swoop down and rescue them (returning them to life). The moth used in the scene at Orthanc was real; to make that scene work, they had to get a bunch of chrysalises from a giant moth species and incubate them for weeks.
* Absolem the blue caterpillar disappears into his cocoon in Creator/TimBurton's ''Film/AliceInWonderland2010''. Later, when a blue butterfly lands briefly on Alice's shoulder, she greets him with a friendly "Hello, Absolem."
* When the four girls who form the central coven in ''Film/TheCraft'' perform a ritual together for the first time, they find themselves surrounded by dark blue butterflies as an indication that the deity they worship approves of their actions.
* The girlfriend of Film/PatchAdams has a fondness for butterflies and says that she hopes to be reincarnated as one. Later, after her death, Patch is elevated from his depression by the appearance of a butterfly on his shirt, as though her wish has come true.
* The German language romantic tragedy ''Love In Thoughts'' features a scene in which, while Gunther is dicking around with his pretty, pretty gun, as per usual, a butterfly lands on the barrel and distracts him with its pretty, pretty wings.
* ''Film/TheAmerican'' features a butterfly several times through the movie.
* In the final scene of ''Literature/AllQuietOnTheWesternFront'', Paul is shot and killed while reaching for a butterfly.
* Mothra, grand {{kaiju}} of the Pacific and eternal frenemy of Franchise/{{Godzilla}}, is literally one of these. Almost every appearance of Mothra will have it die, only to have its GenerationXerox offspring take over for it.
* ''Film/TheMatrix'': Neo's speech at the end was going to refer to the Matrix as a chrysalis but [[ExecutiveMeddling the execs]] weren't sure if enough viewers would know what a chrysalis is. ([[http://en.m.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Pupa&mobileaction=view_normal_site#Chrysalis It's this, by the way]]).
* ''Film/TheAdventuresOfBaronMunchausen'': A variation as TheGrimReaper tries to ''take'' a black butterfly from the Baron's mouth, symbolizing his life force. Or maybe it's a [[MacabreMothMotif moth]]...
* In the Doctor Who TV Movie The Seventh Doctor, Creator/SylvesterMcCoy, dies on the operating table to the strains of Madame Butterfly to later regenerate into Creator/PaulMcGann's Eighth Doctor.
* ''Film/TheHungerGames'': Right before the bloodbath ends and the cannon signaling deaths is sounded, Katniss watches a black and blue butterfly fly away

* The Music/VioletUK song "Blue Butterfly" IS this trope.
* The first EP by morbidly depressing Finnish death/doom band Swallow The Sun, titled "Plague of Butterflies", contains a 34 minute long song using butterflies as a key motif in the narrative. It ends with both characters dying.
* Alluded to in "Even Flow" by Music/PearlJam, in ''{{Music/Ten}}''.
--> ''Even flow, thoughts arrive like butterflies\\
Oh he don't know, so he chases them away''

* In ''Literature/DeadhouseGates'', the second book in ''Literature/MalazanBookOfTheFallen'', a particularly bloody battle is fought on a river crossing that just happens to be the mating ground for a large group of migrating butterflies. Their symbolism is used to represent several things: the ephemerality of life, the instinctual drive to mate and then die, and as an omen of the slaughter to come, as they coat the river in a yellow coat first, before being replaced by the red of human blood. Finally, a thousand of them are used as {{Psycho Pomp}}s for the soul of a particularly powerful warlock.
* Creator/MercedesLackey and James Mallory's ''Literature/TheObsidianTrilogy'' has, as one of the signs that the heroes are getting close to an evil place, swaths of dead foreign butterflies. Other signs include flocks of starlings flying endless, unnaturally precise flower-loops and familiar flowers with strange black petals.
* An alien butterfly is used as an analogy for what Vergere is doing to Jacen in the Literature/NewJediOrder book ''Traitor''.
* The cover art for the novel ''Luna'', having (presumably) Liam/Luna on the cover with butterfly wings. Representing Liam's transformation into Luna throughout the book.
* In Tim O'Brien's short story, "The Man I Killed" (in the book ''Literature/TheThingsTheyCarried''), a butterfly crawls up the dead boy's face and flies away.
* In ''Literature/TheDeathGateCycle'' the kenkari titled the Keeper of the Door, Keeper of the Book, and Keeper of the Soul all have butterfly-esque clothes, they are a line of elves on Arianus who care for the souls of those elves of noble birth
* In Creator/MichaelFlynn's ''Literature/SpiralArm'' novel ''On The Razor's Edge'', used as a metaphor: Mearana's fight with a Shadow has the observation that Shadows do not die easily, but harpers can die as easily as butterflies.
* Creator/RyuunosukeAkiyama's ''[[https://ryuunosukeakiyama.com/2016/04/20/requiem/ Requiem]]''

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* A butterfly makes an enigmatic cameo near the beginning of a ''Series/{{Lexx}}'' season finale. Shortly afterwards, an alien character's cocoon-like sleep pod is destroyed, severely limiting her life expectancy, but her spirit lives after death in the Dream Zone.
** Also: Prince, the Satan/Death figure who formerly oversaw the judgment and reincarnation of all human souls, claims to keep a "butterfly room." "You'll love it. I'm very good... with butterflies."
* A blood-red butterfly appears every time someone is murdered in ''Mujeres Asesinas 2'', a Mexican Drama and PsychologicalThriller series.
* Monarch butterflies play a huge role in ''Series/{{Kings}}'', symbolizing the recognition of a king. Specifically, they herald the rise of David and the fall of his predecessor.
* An episode of ''Series/{{Millennium}}'' focused on a conspiracy among mothers murdering their daughters. The incident that began the episode was a plane crash, fatal to everyone onboard, caused by one of the mothers. At the crash site there was an overly abundant amount of butterflies, said to be attracted by the chemicals in tears.
* In episode 5 of ''Series/{{Nikita}}'', the civilian girlfriend of Owen, a secret Division operative, is an artist and makes stained-glass butterflies. Obviously, by the end of the episode, she's killed in the crossfire between Division operatives, Owen, and Nikita.
* A group of children dressed like butterflies show up at the beginning of the ''Series/PushingDaisies'' episode "[[Recap/PushingDaisiesS2E2CircusCircus Circus Circus]]", an episode heavily focused on new beginnings.
* From ''Series/PowerRangersRPM'': One character, Dr. K, has been raised in a secret government think tank named Alphabet Soup under the pretense that she suffered from a sunlight allergy. A butterfly one day appears on her keyboard while she works on the Ranger suits. She follows it as it flies away towards an opening in the wall in which the sunlight shines through. She looks at her hands and realizes that her handlers have lied to her the whole time about the sunlight allergy. She attempts escape along with her only friends Gem and Gemma by wirelessly uploading a sentient computer virus named Venjix in hopes that it would blind the security servers long enough for them to escape. However, before she can install the firewall which would contain the virus to the compound, guards take her and her friends away. In a span of three years, Venjix has destroyed every human city (except Corinth), killed almost every living thing, and destroyed almost every biome on Earth. WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds, indeed.
* On ''Series/TheFades'', butterflies are heavily associated with the Angelics' [[HealingHands powers of healing]] -- people who have been successfully healed are shown puking out a butterfly, and Paul's resurrection in the fourth episode produces an entire swarm of butterflies. In addition, Fades are shown becoming Reborns by breaking out of sticky cocoons, like a caterpillar becoming a butterfly.
* In the first episode of the second season of ''Series/BabylonFive'', one of the security guards is trying to get the traitor who shot Security Chief Garibaldi to come out of the barracks by saying Ambassador Delenn, who had just come out of the chrysalis as a half human/Minbari, now sported wings, just like a butterfly.
* In ''Series/ZyudenSentaiKyoryuger'', the BigBad Deboss arrived on Earth in a form suited to [[PhlebotinumKilledTheDinosaurs kill the dinosaurs]]: a mutant creature resembling a T-rex. When he evolves into a form suited to killing off humanity, he turns into a humanoid figure with a butterfly motif, complete with one on his face resembling an enormous mustache. Additionally, his final form is given the title "Chouzetsushin", which takes the Japanese word for "transcendence" and replaces the first kanji with the one for "butterfly"; fansubbers Over-Time rendered this in English as "Lepidominant Lord", while Wiki/ThatOtherWiki uses the much more on-the-nose "Transcendenterfly God".
* ''Series/KamenRiderFaiz'' uses this in a more general way. The MonstersOfTheWeek are Orphnochs, beings who are born when some humans die. The Smart Brain corporation, which secretly supports the Orphnochs, has a mascot named Smart Lady who's heavily associated with blue and black butterflies[[note]]To the point where many fans theorize that she's the Butterfly Orphnoch, though the series never definitively says whether she's Orphnoch or human[[/note]]. This has resulted in these butterflies becoming a symbol for ''Faiz'' as a whole, appearing on its backdrop in ''Series/KamenRiderDecade'' and again in the direct-to-DVD movie ''Kamen Rider #4'' when Shocker's Great Leader transforms into Faiz.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* A butterfly is resting on Mario's cap at the end of ''Videogame/SuperMarioGalaxy''. Given how the entire universe collapses in on itself and then resets this is intentional symbolism.
** On that note, ''Videogame/SuperPaperMario's'' Tippi counts despite not having been a real butterfly. [[spoiler:When Merlon found her in her human form (Timpani), doomed by Blumiere's father to wander all the dimensions forever, she was almost dead. To save her life, Merlon transformed her into the butterfly-shaped Pixl we all know, love and miss after she disappears at the end.]]
* ''[[Videogame/FatalFrame Fatal Frame 2]]''. The twin killed in the ritual "becomes a butterfly" through the butterfly-shaped reddened mark left on her throat from where the other twin has choked him or her to death. The butterflies themselves linger on as spirits and are seen throughout the game.
* Butterflies play a big part symbolically in ''Videogame/SilentHill2'', as rebirth is one of the game's main themes.
* Heavily featured in the ''[[Franchise/ShinMegamiTenseiPersona Persona]]'' games, with the High Persona Philemon having a butterfly mask in ''[[VideoGame/{{Persona}} 1]]'' and [[VideoGame/{{Persona 2}} 2]], and blue butterflies abound in ''[[VideoGame/{{Persona 3}} 3]]'' and ''[[VideoGame/{{Persona 4}} 4]]'' (according to WordOfGod, the current form of Philemon). Observe also [[RobotGirl Aigis and Metis's]] Butterfly masks.
** The blue butterflies also serve as save points in ''Persona 4'', which fits the death and rebirth symbolism considering how often you'll die and have to reload.
** There's a blue butterfly fluttering around when ''Persona 3'''s main character dies.
** There is also the black butterfly representing Philemon's foil and nemesis, Nyarlathotep.
** In ''VideoGame/{{Persona 5}}'', a glowing blue butterfly appears each time the protagonist is about to die in the story, urging him to overcome his impending doom. This includes when he's about to be executed in Kamoshida's Palace and when he's brought into the interrogation room [[spoiler:where the conspiracy intends to assassinate him.]] Similarly, glowing butterflies surround a fallen character when you use revive items or magic on them.
* Playing on the Celtic side in ''[[Myth/KingArthur Arthur's Knights]] - Tales of Chivalry'', while in Avalon, Branwen's squire has to find which of the many reincarnated souls-turned-butterflies was Branwen's wife in order to restore the man from his KarmicTransformation, an in-game guide said that Butterflies were thought to contain the souls of the dead. Making this a rare Western example of his trope.
* Weaponised by [[CuteGhostGirl Yuyuko]] [[{{Necromancer}} Saigyouji]], the ghost princess of Hakugyokurou from ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'''s ''[[CherryBlossoms Perfect Cherry Blossom]]''. She uses a lot of butterfly-themed attacks and butterfly-shaped projectiles. She also tends an evil youkai cherry tree to provide the cherry blossom death imagery as well. [[spoiler: Her last ditch Spell Card "Resurrection Butterfly" [[note]]literally "Anti-Soul Butterfly", it is a term that stands for returning someone's soul to their dead body, in order to revive the dead person. There is a book of stories, ''Senjuushou'', which tells a strange story that Saigyou was so lonely that he wanted a friend, used the art of "Hangon" to gather bodies for the purpose of get them together, and created human.[[/note]] is a spell used for resurrecting the body under the CherryBlossom.]]
* ''Videogame/FinalFantasyTacticsAdvance'' has some butterflies at one of the artworks. It ''might'' mean that the dream world of Ivalice was born, but then dies at the end of the game.
* One of the quests in ''[[Videogame/RomancingSaGa Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song]]'' is appropriately called 'Creepy Butterfly', and involves a young wife being tormented by a strange butterfly visiting every night. Turns out it's the spirit of her father, who she thought abandoned her family after her mother grew deathly ill. He actually died searching for a cure; learning this helps her let go of her grudge, and allows him to move on.
* Used excellently in ''Videogame/BioShock2''. The Big Bad of the game loves to use butterflies as a metaphor for the effects of ADAM upon the population of Rapture. Additionally, living and dead blue butterflies are seen in a few places throughout the game. But it really comes together during the Little Sister sequence when it's revealed that the Little Sisters perceive the flies swarming around the bodies of dead "angels" as butterflies.
* They come up frequently in ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolidPeaceWalker'', down to the names of the various AI weapons corresponding to stages of butterfly growth.
** In ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolidVThePhantomPain'', one appears at the end of [[spoiler:Paz's]] sidestory. [[spoiler:It's a figment of Snake's imagination, just as she was; she really died at the end of ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolidGroundZeroes'' nine years ago.]] Then he gets [[spoiler:her]] tapes, the last of which explains that it's time to move on.
** Another Phantom Pain example, although a subtle one: Quiet, female sniper, got butterfly markings appear on her face, once she taps into her powers. She can also grant player Butterfly emblem and codename. The death and rebirth part? [[spoiler:She got burned so much, she had to undergone treatmen, resulting in parasites replacing her skin, allowing her to "breath through them, as well as feed via photosynthesis, and granting her aforementioned superhuman powers.]]
* Evacaneer DOOM, TrueFinalBoss of ''VideoGame/{{Ketsui}}'', has a set of energy wings that seem designed to evoke butterfly imagery. In this case, it's the '''death''' aspect being referenced more than rebirth, as DOOM is [[HarderThanHard going to kill you a lot no matter how good you are]].
** Also from CAVE, every single final boss from the [[VideoGame/ESPRaDe ESP]] [[VideoGame/{{Espgaluda}} series]], as well as the player characters from the Galuda games.
* ''[[Videogame/TraumaCenter Trauma Team]]'' has Monarch Butterflies showing up occasionally, in particular after a massive virus outbreak starts. Later on is discovered that these butterflies are directly related to the outbreak, working as carriers of the virus.
* In ''Videogame/AliceMadnessReturns'', though more specifically for their connection to dreams (Wonderland being one big dream... thing) than life and death. The Caterpillar turns into a butterfly during one of the levels, and Alice's 'dodge' manoeuvre transforms her into a flock of butterflies. She also turns into butterflies whenever she dies.
%%* Features heavily into ''VideoGame/MansionOfHiddenSouls''.
* Otani Yoshitsugu in ''VideoGame/SengokuBasara: Samurai Heroes'' is associated with butterflies. His helmet looks like one, [[TheNicknamer Oichi's]] nickname for him is "Swamp Butterfly", and if you use him enemy {{mooks}} will occasionally go insane and start raving about the butterflies coming for their souls.
* Used throughout ''Videogame/LifeIsStrange''. Most notably in the first chapter, in which you see a blue butterfly right before Chloe is shot in the bathroom (death), but you are then able to rewind time to save her (rebirth).
* Butterflies are seen more than once in the cinematic scenes of ''VideoGame/StreetFighterV'', specially the General Story Mode known as ''A Shadow Falls'':
** At the beginning of ''A Shadow...'', right as [[spoiler: Charlie Nash is BackFromTheDead]], he has a nightmare featuring a sheep turning into [[spoiler: Necalli]] and attacking him, only to be staved off by a blue butterfly glowing in a blue-white light.
** [[BookEnds At the end]] of ''A Shadow falls'', another blue butterfly is seen floating around as [[spoiler: Kolin/Helen confides with her boss [[VideoGame/StreetFighterIII Gill]], who claims that despite Bison not being destroyed the way they wanted, the time has come for their group (none other than Main/TheIlluminati) to destroy and then recreate the world in order to restore its balance.]]
** During [[spoiler: Kolin]]'s Story Mode, [[spoiler: as she's saved from [[SnowMeansDeath a snowy death]] by Gill and she accepts his offer to join the Illuminati, a butterfly begins to hatch from a chrysalis on a dead flower.]] The character's profile states that [[spoiler: she]] loves butterflies, probably as a reminder of this life-turning moment.
* Humans who travel to the VideoGame/MansionOfHiddenSouls and choose to stay there are metamorphosed into butterflies, which one of the characters explicitly refers to as "the shape of souls".
* In ''VideoGame/KirbyStarAllies'', [[spoiler:before Galacta Knight can attack the Star Allies, the seemingly harmless butterfly from the intro lands on his sword and merges with him, resulting into the fierce butterfly-like Morpho Knight. His BossSubtitles refer to him as the "Reborn Butterfly", and upon his defeat, he ascends into the sky in a ray of light.]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* In ''Webcomic/TheInexplicableAdventuresOfBob,'' the [[InstantAIJustAddWater newly sentient]] Roofus the Robot wanders off pursuing a butterfly. He later [[StayWithTheAliens finds his destiny]] when he meets a ''giant'' butterfly, Princess Voluptua's [[VoluntaryShapeshifting true form.]]
* Used subtly in ''Webcomic/HannaIsNotABoysName'' when Zombie, an undead character, is discussing his previous life with Hanna. He catches a moth in his hands and watches it for a moment, then lets it go. [[FauxSymbolism What Do You Mean It's Not Symbolic]]?
* In ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'', when Vriska and Aradia are resurrected and ascend to the [[PhysicalGod god tiers]], they are each granted a large pair of butterfly wings. Fitting, since [[AllTrollsAreDifferent her species]] begins their life cycles as larvae and sleeps in cocoons.
** The Dancestors arc reveals that all God Tier trolls (save for Blood players) have butterfly wings.
* The Rose sisters awareness of this symbolism becomes a major issue for Jozk in ''Webcomic/CharbyTheVampirate''. When he asks them to take his soul before expiring and promptly looses the ability to speak or move when his soul gem falls out of his chest hanging by a thread Rosewood finds a nearby butterfly which Rosa immediately accepts as his soul. Rosebud actually guesses the correct item for containing his soul but gets shot down as trying to loot his corpse. An actual looter nearby overhears and quickly grabs his gem as soon as the girls have their backs turned.
* In ''Webcomic/{{Concession}}'', a deep purple butterfly seems to be one of Miranda's spiritual forms.
* ''WebComic/{{Badirfilay}}'' is all about death and rebirth. The title transliterated in Spanish is the English word butterfly.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In one episode of ''Westernanimation/MightyMax'', Max teams up with a new band of heroes, [[WeHardlyKnewYe all of whom are dead by the end of the episode.]] One of them, the Hindu monkey god Hanuman, muses that perhaps he'll come back as a butterfly. A butterfly appears in the last shot of the episode, [[YouFailBiologyForever even though, considering how long it takes a butterfly to become an adult, he should still be in caterpillar form.]]
* Butterflies are very much a negative motif in ''WesternAnimation/StevenUniverse''. They represent bad thoughts and insecurities, white butterflies being the manifestation of said things when meditation happens, and have to be driven away. A notably heinous villain, Aquamarine, also has a strong lepidopteran motif.
* A butterfly emblem is a key part of the trailer for ''WesternAnimation/MiraculousLadybug'', and seems to be associated with the BigBad.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* [[http://www.freep.com/article/20110526/NEWS07/110526051/Suicide-kits-rekindle-debate-assisted-suicide-?odyssey=tab This Detroit Free Press article]] notes the use of butterfly stickers on suicide kits.
* Butterflies appear on "With Sympathy" cards in the UK. They aren't on every card, and are often small and discreet, but ... they're there.
* Quite a few old tombs and headstones will be decorated with one or several butterflies.
* In some hospitals in the UK, a purple butterfly sticker on an infant cot in the NICU means that a baby was born as part of a multiple-child pregnancy, but one or more of their siblings did not survive. The butterfly was chosen to represent the babies that "flew away", while the purple color represents both boys and girls.