"And now that I have Battlestar and Typeface and Prodigy and Shroud and all these other important characters on my side again... it's time for a big fight that I'm sure will solve absolutely everything!"Situation especially common in Final Battles where members of the cast slowly pick each other off until only a few characters are left alive. The last hero will beat the Big Bad and, somehow, find a way to bring the defeated or dead characters back to normal so they can all participate in one final all-out battle. Using this trope is risky because it can seem like a copout — or worse, it can seem to undo an entire season of being unafraid of killing off characters. Doing it more than once is not unheard of but frowned upon. When writers know this is coming, it often leads to applications of the Second Law of Metafictional Thermodynamics. See also In the End, You Are on Your Own, Back for the Finale. Compare Backup from Otherworld, in which the the people returning are not exactly alive.
As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.
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Anime & Manga
- Sailor Moon did this in its first and last season.
- In the first example, Episode 45 spent its entirety killing off the four Guardian Senshi. Episode 46 kills off Mamoru. Sailor Moon has to face down Beryl/Metallia alone, but eventually her power revives her fallen friends (sans Mamoru) long enough to destroy Beryl/Metallia at the cost of Sailor Moon's life. End of the episode, everyone has revived with no memory of the last year of their lives or the battles they fought.
- The second example spends its final five episodes on killing off the main cast. In a subversion, they don't revive and help - Usagi has to fight Galaxia essentially alone and her allies revive after the fight is over.
- Describes the finale of Mai Hime and Vandread almost to a T. The former mildly subverts it, though as the massive resurrection had nothing to do with the actions of the main character. In the latter, only one main character dies, Gascone, and comes back. The other cameo-characters that died stay dead: Bart's friend on the planet where everyone's sick, and the girl Hibiki met during his short exile from the Nirvana (plus her brother and the rest of her shipmates).. Doesn't mean the ending isn't still satisfyingly cheesy though ;).
- Subverted in Martian Successor Nadesico: After teasing the audience in the Post-Episode Trailer for the last episode, the old Admiral who had made a last stand to save our heroes in the first half of the series makes a gratuitous return from the dead. Since the Show Within a Show, Gekiganger 3 had featured the gratuitous return of of its Lancer in this episode, the audience had been teased — again — with the return of Nadesico's poster boy for Killed Off for Real, Gai Daigouji.
- Sgt. Frog:
- Episode 8 of the anime parodies this. Tamama, Giroro, and Moa seem to go up against the Nyororo beast invading their new Elaborate Underground Base and get swallowed by it... but in reality, the "beast" is just Fuyuki and Momoka, and the other characters are following them. Keroro even gets a "memory of those who sacrificed themselves" scene.
- Played straight in the battle against the Garuru Platoon at the end of season 2. Just when things look dark, Keroro's seemingly-defeated squad-mates return to the battle and turn the tide.
- The second season of Rozen Maiden ends much like this, except that the final victory of the Big Bad is what triggers the resurrection of most of the dead characters, and a few stay dead. This is only done because most of the dead characters had been killed by the 'fake' Maiden, making this incident a somewhat unexplained use of a Reset Button. One of the two 'still dead' characters died because she'd already met the requirements for being killed much earlier, but still managed to stick around via a loophole, and the other one had been killed by the Ax-Crazy member of the Rozen lineup, making her...an officially sanctioned kill?.
- Fushigi Yuugi doesn't quite bring all the dead characters back from the dead for real, but the events certainly play out the same way.
- Saint Seiya did that more than once, but a special mention must go for when all of the Gold Saints (including several that actually rose from the dead to come to help) joined forces to open up the way so the Bronze Saints can defeat Hades, dying in the process. It also doubles as a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming, Crowning Moment of Awesome and Tear Jerker.
- Season 3 of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX apparently kills off Asuka, Manjyome, Fubuki, Tyranno, Ryo, Edo, Amon, Echo, O'Brien, and Jim, but all of them (except, apparently, Amon and Echo) turn out to be Not Quite Dead.
- Speaking of Yu-Gi-Oh!, Yugi defeats Marik's Winged Dragon of Ra in the Battle City Finals with an anime-exclusive card called Ragnarok. Ragnarok removes from play all monsters in the player's hand, deck, and graveyard, in order to remove all cards on the opponent's side of the field. This, quite frankly, would not be a good tradeoff in most cases, but most viewers didn't notice because it was represented by having all of Yugi's monsters appear to carry the Winged Dragon of Ra away. Even then, it only really worked because Marik fused himself to the Winged Dragon of Ra, so he was carried away as well. This allowed the better side of Marik to finally reclaim his body, and he then surrendered, ending the duel.
- Essentially the entire plot of Future Diary, as almost the entire cast of characters is pit against one another with the ultimate goal being that the winner of the survival game gets to be god himself. However Deus ex Machina (aka God) states that this is impossible without striking up a good ol' fashioned Alternate Timeline.
- In the anime ending of MÄR, everybody except Ginta and Jack is killed by The King. Interestingly, this actually ends up biting The King in the ass, because killing Snow allowed her to fuse with her Earth Counterpart, Koyuki, thus becoming a single being and allowing Ginta to use the magic stone that was sealed inside of her. Said Magic Stone is used to being back everyone who died, aside from Snow who now lives as a part of Koyuki. It also lets Ginta gather enough power to destroy the King.
- Subverted in Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni Kai, where the conclusion to the second-last arc in the series has the members of the club sacrifice themselves so the others can go on and save Hinamizawa. However, since this is Higurashi, all of them are shot to death, and the villain ends up killing the entire village. Also because this is Higurashi, they're all sent back with the series' time loop, and overcome the BigBad in the final arc.
- Final arc of Zatch Bell!. While the basic rule of the battle to decide Mamodo king is that Mamodo simply return to their world when their book is burnt, a book being burnt and a Mamodo returning to the Mamodo world is nevertheless treated like death on this show. This is made even more serious when there are only 10 Mamodo left in the human world, as it is announced that during this final stage of the battle, every single Mamodo in the Mamodo world loses their body and becomes spirits. Remaining competitors will also lose their body as soon as they return to the Mamodo world, and only the new king will have the right to return them their bodies (or not return their bodies and simply make them disappear from the Mamodo world). During the arc, most of Gash's friends end up returning to the Mamodo world from HeroicSacrifices or HeroicRRODs. However, when the last battle with Clear Note turns out to be almost impossible to win with the protagonist's power alone, Gash's book turns golden, and Mamodo Gash has befriended throughout the whole series appear and help Gash out by letting him use their ultimate spells.
- Subverted in Madlax where Madlax and Margaret may have resurrected Vanessa and Elenore with their Reality Warper powers, but they don't actually show up again.
- The Piccolo Daimaoh in Dragon Ball, and especially Saiyan & Namek arcs in Dragon Ball Z.
- In D.Gray-Man's Ark Arc, we are led to believe that being 'downloaded' (standing on an area of the ark as it disappears) is the equivalent of being killed. Throughout the many battles on the arc, many characters (Kanda, Krory, and eventually everyone else but Allen, Lenalee and General Cross) are left behind and lost, but at the end when Allen stops the download, the ark is restored, including the lost exorcists. The people who actually died stayed dead though.
- The big Gundam Fight Tournament ending fight on Lantau Island from G Gundam. Domon's friends sacrifice their chance at victory to allow Domon to get to Master Asia. They all barely survive, though their Gundams are out of commission. At least, until the Big Bad shows up again...
- Happens in Outlaw Star, as members of all factions run into each other on the way to the Galactic Leyline, and promptly eliminate each other in one-on-one combat.
- Done twice in Angel Beats!. Enhanced by the fact that all involved know that they will come back.
- Naruto: Thanks to Kabuto using Orochimmaru's techniques, nearly every character that has died prior to the Shinobi World War arc, plus most of the old kages and other legendary ninjas, is fighting the rest of the ninja world.
- This happened earlier after Pain's attack to the Leaf Village, in which after being talked to by Naruto, Pain then decides to revive all the people who were killed in his attack.
- Happens in Macross Frontier Sayonara no Tsubasa after having thought to have died by having been sucked into space, Sheryl and Ozma are revealed to have been saved by Ai-kun. The former then proceeds to sing, bringing everyone back from their Despair Event Horizon and taking the final battle/sing-off Up to Eleven.
- Sort of happens at the end of the Record of Lodoss War OVA. Each of the surviving members of the Heroes of Lodoss end up getting picked off, one-by-one, as they stay behind to hold off various nasty critters that are coming out of the woodwork as the ceremony to resurrect the God of Evil continues.
- Played straight in Digimon Xros Wars on the second arc the Bagramon has killed Shoutmon, and several characters have died along the way. But later Taiki gains control of the Code Crown and bring back to life several dead characters, and also revives the digimon in the DigiMemories.
- The Devil May Cry anime had Dante pulling this off. Normally, no one should be surprised in the least - Dante finds Impaled with Extreme Prejudice Crucified Hero Shots routine, and he's got a Healing Factor that lets him laugh at them. But the episode leading up to his reappearance does it's damnedest to make you think that the writers really killed him off for real, up to and including a pull-your-heartstrings-out plea speech from Patty set to a reprisal of the music box theme from the original game (the one that plays alongside the picture of Dante's dead mother and the pendant he inherited from his dead father and brother) that provokes no reaction from Dante's seemingly lifeless body at all. As a way to make the audience actually cheer when Dante does come back to make with the Curb-Stomp Battle victory, it succeeds spectacularly.
- In Il Sole penetra le illusioni, Ginka dies dramatically, but suddenly reappears to help fight the Big Bad at the end. They didn't get around to explaining how she came back to life until the next episode, leading many viewers to complain that it was an arbitrary Unexplained Recovery.
- One Piece had a variation in Chapter 743 during the Dressrosa arc: Usopp knocks out Sugar, returning all the toys to their original forms, whom then proceed to wreak havoc against Doflamingo's regime.
- Marvel's Destiny War begins with Kang The Conqueror battling his future-self, Immortus. Immortus sends armies from throughout history against Kang. Kang's reaction is, in so many words, "a trillion-strong army? Just bring it, bitch!" And ends with every version of every Avengers, from every alternate universe, ever, fighting their evil counterparts, for the fate of the multiverse. It's like Crisis on Infinite Earths, with a bonus helping of awesome!
- Infinite Crisis does this in issue 7: after the deaths of a long list of heroes over the previous year and a half, the reality-spasm in issue 6 apparently is enough to bring most of them back. And just in time for the epic fightscene, too.
- Another Marvel Comics example is Marvel Two-in-One Annual #2, the concluding chapter in the story of the conflict between Adam Warlock (and the Avengers) and Thanos. An early flashback in the story shows that after killing Warlock, Thanos defeated all the Avengers and began planning anew. Spider-Man asks for the Thing's help and soon brings the Avengers back from stasis (rather dramatically, too).
- Nearly all of Secret Wars is a Climactic Battle Resurrection.
- And nearly all of Infinity Gauntlet, especially the bit after Thanos leaves his body, gets his Plot Coupon stolen, and all of the heroes manage to reform to beat his alleged granddaughter, Nebula.
- The ending of JLA/Avengers has Krona screwing with reality in an attempt to keep the collective forces of the Justice League, Society, and Avengers off his ass. Altering their ranks to cause confusion or wipe out their plans, sending supervillains en masse to put them down, nothing works. In an aversion, those who get erased by Krona or killed by the villains stay gone or dead, until the battle's over and the worlds are starting to be reverted back to normal.
- The Transformers has two examples:
- First, during the fight against Unicron, Grimlock uses Nucleon to bring back those who had been deactivated in the Underbase saga.
- In the final issue, the Decepticons are slaughtering the Autobots. Cue Optimus Prime accompanied by the Last Autobot, who revives the Autobots killed in that battle so Bludgeon, outnumbered, must call retreat.
- In The Last Days Of The Justice Society, the JSA members that fell during the battle of Ragnarok are resurrected for the final battle against Surtur the demon. Of course, it turns out that this resurrection was meant to happen, as defeating Surtur caused the whole battle to reset itself in a sort of "Groundhog Day" Loop where the team must win the same battle again and again.
- The Olympics plot of JLA Watchtower & DC Nation ends with a really wild one of these. The Titans are fighting Hades, Lord of the Dead. They win the challenge, he turns out to be a sore loser, and all hell breaks loose. Just when the heroes are on the ropes from a brigade of their dead Rogues Gallery, in charges Hawkman, flanked by Nightwing and Arsenal, backed up by an army of fallen allies! Semi-inverted as most of the allies and enemies summoned for the battle return to the Land of the Dead afterward.
- At the climax of Those Lacking Spines, the you knows of most of Organisation XIII are turned back into Semes. They team up against the Grand Master Fangirl.
Films — Live-Action
- A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master Freddy kills people. He gets their souls, but Alice gets their powers. Alone, the victims were unable to defeat Freddy, but, with all their powers combined, Alice is able to lay the smackdown on Freddy to the point where all of the souls inside of him revolt and tear him apart.
- The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor had Michelle Yeoh's character resurrecting the people The Emperor killed, resulting in a battle between two armies of mummies.
- Harry Potter:
- At the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry summons the shades of four individuals that have died in the series using the Resurrection Stone to counsel him as he marches off to what he feels is his own doom. They are still dead and they don't do any fighting, but they have a tangible effect on him, shielding him from the effects of the Dementors.
- At the end of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, several of Voldemort's previous victims appear out of his wand and fend him off for Harry to get a head start to the Portkey.
- In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Aslan takes the Pevensie sisters to the White Witch's castle and uses his breath of life to restore all those whom the Witch had turned into statues, so that they could go and assist in the big battle against her forces. This happens again after the battle by having Lucy use her cordial on the fallen.
- Featured in Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time novels. At the end of Book 5, the extremely major characters of Aviendha and Mat were killed. However, Rand then used a form of magic called balefire which not only killed the villain responsible for their deaths, Rahvin, but also erased him backwards in time, undoing his actions. So, when Rand went back outside, his friends were alive again.
- Also featured in Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen series extremely frequently, where killed characters have a 50/50 chance of being reincarnated in another body (and in one case, reincarnated and teleported to another continent for no adequately explained reason), being resurrected by a passing god (sometimes on a whim), or ascending to Physical Godhood. The other 50% are dead for real, but their ghosts will occasionally continue to play an active and important role in the story. That's what you get in a story where the god of death is a major player.
- Subverted in that defeated characters don't come back to help fight the Big Bad in The Hunger Games, they come back in another more sinister form to rip the remaining tributes limb from limb.
- Red Dwarf did this in their season six finale episode "Out of Time".
- In Power Rangers Mystic Force, every good guy and reformed bad guy offed in the final arc is revived to take on the Master. Notably, the same thing happened in the source show, Mahou Sentai Magiranger.
- The Legend War that happened in the backstory of Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger included every prior Sentai warrior, even the ones who had died.
- Stargate SG-1 has many of those episodes: Most of them play in alternate universes, timelines, dimensions or whatever the editors could think of. Just when they are about to return, they get ambushed by all sorts of Mooks and while everyone of the time dies, the last person manages to "return", making all damage undone.
- The Tenth Doctor in full Physical God mode at the end of the Doctor Who episode "Last of The Time Lords", bringing down the Master, turning time back an entire year, and saving at least a few hundred million people.
- Kamen Rider Dragon Knight looked to be headed this way, with the return of the only guy who can open the local Phantom Zone that had been treated as a Fate Worse Than Death for most of the series. Subverted when only half of the Riders actually take part in the battle, the other half only arrive just in time for a group Finishing Move.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer did this with the episode "The Wish". While Giles worked to restore the normal universe, the main cast went about killing each other.
- Supernatural, "Swan Song". Castiel, Bobby and Sam die one by one... and after the climax they all come back to life! Although in Sam's case it's not certain whether it's really him.
- Persons Unknown pulled one of these. After being in a situation identical to Battle Royale, they are later found out to be completely okay and just pretending to be dead. Apparently the people picking up the dead bodies didn't mind that they were warm, breathing or had a pulse.
- Parodied in Community, where a "Last Man Standing" paintball game spirals completely out of control, pitting student against student and decimating the community college, picking each other off for the ultimate prize — priority registration for courses next semester. Naturally, when the dust settles all is back to normal because it's just paint.
- Planescape: Torment kills everyone on the team but the hero in the final chapter, but depending on the conversation choices the hero makes in the conversation with the Big Bad, he can then raise them all. Then again, one of the hero's default powers during the game is to raise the dead, so it's not like it comes out of nowhere...
- Final Fantasy IV:
- When the party needs to shut down the Giant of Babel from within, all of their old allies come back in Dwarven tanks and airships to hold the Giant off, including several that were put out of commission one way or another and one that by all means should have died. In the GBA Updated Re-release, you can actually have them in your party again.
- Final Fantasy IV also has a less traditional version before the final boss: After a cutscene wherein said boss nearly kills the entire party, apparitions of all of the past party members (only one of which was dead) give the heroes words of encouragement, fully restoring health and mana.
- Another Final Fantasy related, and reversed version would be "Apocalypse Nigh", an endgame mission after the completion of the Rise of the Zilart and Chains of Promathia expansions for Final Fantasy XI. The opening cutscene has every surviving major NPC ally join you in a brawl against every main enemy NPC you defeated, brought back by the Emptiness. Subverted, however, as the actual fight only involves your PC party against the two enemy leaders of the Rise of the Zilart expansion.
- The finale of Breath of Fire II involves Big Bad Deathevan making a big show of killing your party members one by one (eulogizing each one as he does so, the sick bastard). Protagonist Ryu doesn't take this insult sitting down, and after punching through Deathevan's defenses, the villain transforms into the hellspawn lovechild of Ganon and Dracula, Ryu can then and only then unleash the power of Anfini (a.k.a. Infinity), the entire purpose and function of which is to resurrect your fallen allies so they can all put a proper kibosh on the archfiend.
- Star Fox Assault ends with one, as Fox's home planet of Corneria, General Pepper, and Peppy all die Disney Deaths in the final battles with the Aparoids. Thankfully, Andross is nowhere to be found. Star Wolf apparently pulled a Heroic Sacrifice as well, but they aren't seen after the battle. Fox muses it is definitely possible; and while the other the characters actually did appear to die, Wolf's team was last seen being chased by the enemy so bringing them back would be easy.
- Part of the appeal of fighting in the Colosseo Purgatorio in the Updated Re-release of Persona 3 is that instead of dying, the losers simply turn into flames while the rest of the matches continue, to be restored when the victor is decided. But...the flames are also ordinary fires, in that they burn fuel. And if that fuel is exhausted...
- Lu Bu's version of the Battle of Hu Lao Gate in Dynasty Warriors 6 is all about inverting this trope... since you're the former Dragon, it's the antagonists who have two of their members (despite being villains themselves they're allying with the normally protagonist characters) come back from the dead just to set up this battle... and when you take out all of the antagonists, they all come back in "hyper mode."
- Towards the end of Super Paper Mario, Bowser, Peach and Luigi all seemingly sacrifice themselves so Mario can go on. Then they appear to help Mario during his battle with Count Bleck and tell Mario (and the player) how they survived.
- Subverted in the next battle with Dimentio, where Luigi is absorbed as one of the main components of the final boss and is not reenabled at any portion of the fight.
- The end of Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams has all the characters of the party facing off against their personal rivals so that The Hero Soki can continue on to Big Bad Hideyoshi. However, they all end up together by the Final Boss.
- Ironically The World Ends with You manages to use this trope despite the fact that all the characters start off dead. They bump into Shiki (who was Neku's week two entry fee) at the Shibuya River , Joshua was proved to fake his Heroic Sacrifice, and you finally gain access to Rhyme's Noise. Doubly ironic because the Final Boss is the only battle where none of your partners fight.
- Digital Devil Saga 2 initially looks like it's going to Kill 'em All as your comrades get picked off one by one in the latter half of the game, finally culminating with Sera and Serph's apparent deaths. Then it reunites everyone's "data" at the Very Definitely Final Dungeon, even including characters that were killed off in the first game. This isn't just the heroic characters, either - four major antagonists from the first game, as well as Meganada, serve as bosses guarding certain areas, with Meganada guarding the Final Boss. This is a bit of a subversion though, since you're all still technically dead, but everyone is still together again and able punch out Cthulhu.
- Romancing SaGa 3 has one quest where you're going after an evil priest Maximus. While you're going through a path, your teammates will "fall" into the traps set by him. This make you have to fight Maximus alone for multiple turns before the team slowly regroup.
- In Tales of Symphonia, during the party's second trip up the Tower of Salvation, they continually run into dangerous situations and traps. Each time, one of the party members performs a Heroic Sacrifice for the good of the others. Eventually the cast is whittled down to just Lloyd, and when he confronts the Big Bad at the end, the rest of the party promptly shows up to support him, having been saved when no one was looking. The fact that equipment for the other party members could still be found in the dungeon did little to preserve the drama.
- The Paladin Dupre performs a Heroic Sacrifice in Ultima VII Part II but is resurrected for the final battle against the Guardian in Ultima IX.
- Umineko: When They Cry:
- Episode 5. By the end of the tea party, Battler's been killed and banished from the game board, Beatrice's been denied and erased, the Seven Sisters have been captured, and pending investigation, will be denied and erased, Ronove, Gaap, and Virgilia are MIA, but being pursued for the same fate, and the Siestas, who are following Erika's and Bernkastel's orders, will be erased once they're done (because they served the Witch at one point, and the villains want to completely eliminate Beatrice's Illusion of the Witch). Start up the hidden tea party, and Meta-Beato says her final goodbye to Battler and erases herself forever. Like the game said, however, death in the meta-world simply means that they stopped thinking. Battler simply has one thought: "Now that it's all over... that it's all too late.... let me think." He thinks the game through one more time, discovers Beatrice's truth, comes back to life and takes his place as the new Golden Sorcerer, Endless Sorcerer, and the new Game Master. While beginning his second fight against Erika and the others, all of Beatrice's furniture who were being threatened with erasure show up and beat the living daylights out of Erika. It is very, very satisfying after what she's done.
- Also happens in Episode 8. EVERY character shows up for the Battle at the Mansion, and later, the Battle in the Golden Land.
- Most of the Teen Titans are put out of action by the Brotherhood of Evil's freezing device in the fifth season's finale, until the remaining Titans manage to unfreeze them and whoop-ass ensues. It got rather excessive with villains like Malchior and Mother Mae-Eye showing up out of nowhere; nobody really cared, however.
- The ending of Transformers: Beast Machines, in which Megatron finally succeeds in extracting the spark of the last Transformers on Cybertron except his own and Optimus Primal's, turning giant-size and beginning his ultimate plan to remove every bit of organic from the planet. Optimus manages to bring every Transformer back to life for the very cheesy ending, including all the ones Megatron had previously taken sparks from.
- Occurs in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) episode "The Beginning of the End", where the Ninja Tribunal and their non-turtle acolytes appear to die during an assault by the Shredder's heralds. Several episodes later, the acolytes reappear in order to join the final battle against the Shredder, and, one episode after that, the Tribunal appears in order to explain things.
- At the end of the time travel arc in Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, Robotnik has all the emeralds and seemingly all the power. Sonic and Tails, before confronting him, go back in time to each period they had visited and recruit their own earlier timeline doppelgangers for this battle. Why they can't just go back to when Robotnik seized the emeralds and stop him then (or how they were able to avoid massive paradoxes) is not something you're supposed to ask.