This character simply can't
die. This is because they are both of the following:
- The Ageless - The character does not age.
- Nigh Invulnerable - The character is completely or almost completely immune to harm of any kind. The character may be Made of Diamond, an Intangible Man, capable of regenerating their body under any circumstances, or even resurrects completely healed every time he's killed. (Note that characters who are invulnerable but who age as normal are simply Nigh Invulnerable, not immortal.)
Most Physical Gods
or Powers That Be
fall into this category, as do a lot of Cosmic Entities
and Anthropomorphic Personifications
. A Time Abyss
will tend to be this as well, as accidents tend to happen over the millennia, and invulnerability is needed to keep them going. This form of immortality can often be seen, especially by the afflicted character, as a curse
. Or not.
Most fictional souls
also fit under this, if the work contains evidence of their existence. Ghosts can be banished to the underworld or sent on to the next life but not killed. Though there are exceptions.
This is the end-goal for the most ambitious Immortality Seekers
, although it's rare indeed for them to actually achieve it. More commonly they have to settle for lesser and more impaired forms of immortality like Soul Jars
, Fountains of Youth
, or Life Drinking
This is a subtrope of Immortality
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Anime and Manga
- Garterbelt from Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, who was a Jerk Ass up until he got killed, then, with the blessings of God, became immortal and lived through all of the world's history from the dinosaurs to the present. In Episode 13, it appears he's killed. Twice. However, he always put himself back together afterwards.
- The background information to Tower Of God mentions how Zahard and his 10 Warriors got immortality granted by the Guardian of the 100th floor of the Tower. Except for Bloomadder. He must regularly sacrifice his family to keep immortal.
- Dragon Ball Z:
- The Filler and Non-Serial Movie villain Garlic Jr. wishes for immortal life from the Eternal Dragon. The only thing that stops him is knocking him into a dark prison called the Dead Zone (which presumably would kill anyone mortal), and the first time that didn't take. The second time around he has no way of ever getting out of there againnote , and will foreseeably be stuck there for all eternity while drained of most of his power.
- Achieving this kind of immortality was the reason that Frieza wanted the Dragon Balls of Planet Namek, in order to extend his reign as "the most powerful being of the universe" for eternity.
- The Big Bad from Ninja Scroll. If there was a way to kill him, none of the other characters found it.
- Cars from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure part two. After he wears the Stone Mask with the Red Stone of Asia he becomes a god, immortal and incapable of aging.
- He's completely immune to Hamon and the sun - the Pillar Men's only weaknesses - as well. The only way to stop him was to launch him into space to drift for all eternity.
- This happens to Madara Uchiha in Naruto upon Being brought back to life with Edo Tensei, then preventing it from being canceled on himself.
- Every Wu in 3×3 Eyes.
- Immortals in Baccano! obtain this form of immortality from drinking the Grand Panacea. Not only do they not age, but they reconstitute themselves on a molecular, if not atomic, level. The only way to kill an immortal is for another to "devour" them.
- Doctor Manhattan from Watchmen. The only thing that slows him down is the same thing that gave him his powers, and since he already overcame that problem to begin with, it's more of a minor hindrance than anything else.
- In some incarnations, Superman.
- Doomsday. Stronger and tougher than Superman, has Adaptive Ability against anything that does manage to injure him, rapidly regenerates and even if you do "kill", he can regenerate back to life. In theory, he becomes more and more this trope with time as you can't kill him the same way twice.
- Mammoth Mogul from the Sonic the Hedgehog comics, is essentially an Alternate Company Equivalent of Vandal Savage. When he finally realizes he can't beat Sonic, he decides to simply wait until Sonic is too old to oppose him.
- Gilgamesh The Immortal is a king of ancient Uruk who met an alien that made him completely immortal as them, using his alien Immortality Inducer. He then goes across all human history: Assyria, ancient Egypt, ancient Rome, Crusades, middle ages, conquest of the Americas, Napoleonic wars, WWI, WWII, cold war, nuclear holocaust, And the Adventure Continues...
- In No Hero, Carrick Masterson is immortal. He can't age or get hurt by anything. He does feel pain. That's it.
- In the Marvel Universe Amatsu-Mikaboshi was revealed to be this, being as it is the Anthropomorphic Personification of the nothingness before Creation. It is not only older than the universe, it is older than the universe before that and the one before that, stretching back to the Beginning.
- In a more limited sense, the members Cosmic Compass who represent the Anthropomorphic Personifications of key universal concepts, such as Eternity, Infinity, Oblivion and Death, could arguably qualify, since they always exist so long as the universe does and when a new one comes along will exist in that one also, so though they do ultimately die when it ends they may also be reborn. Each of them are aspects of identical entities who operate on an even grander multiversal scale.
- In Great Lakes Avengers, this is the only superpower Mr. Immortal has. One story reveals he's destined to live until the end of the universe.
- In Phil Foglio's adaptation of Robert Asprin's Myth Adventures the evil socerer Isstvan has been cursed with immortality. You can blow him up and all the bits will just squelch together again (fortunately along with his clothes).
- Neil Gaiman's Sandman:
- The Endless, being Anthropomorphic Personifications of universal constants, are immortal for as long as this version of the universe exists (Destiny is said to have been the first thing to exist in it, and Death will be the last). Killing them is about as possible as killing laws of physics. That said, the Endless can be 'killed' in a fashion; at least their current versions/incarnations can (with great difficulty). This causes another incarnation of the same Endless to take their place, with the same powers and station and all their memories, but a somewhat different core personality. Despair is said to have died at least once, and by the end of the series Morpheus has too; replaced by Daniel Hall.
- Because of Death's immortality, an aspect of her becomes mortal for one day each century to keep her in touch with the lives she collects. At the end of the day, the mortal form dies, and she's waiting for herself.
- Morpheus's friend and drinking buddy Hob Gadling found out early that due to Death agreeing to never take him unless Hob specifically asked to be taken, he's not only immune to aging but quite immune to fatal conditions as well. Though he's not immune to the pain caused by those fatal conditions. At the end of the series he's over 500 years old and counting, with no plans to stop any time soon.
- The Winslow, in Buck Godot: Zap Gun for Hire, is truly indestructible, hypothesized to be the platonic ideal of a fuzzy green reptile. This scares the piss out of much of the galaxy.
- The Flying Dutchman and his crew in Tom Holt's Flying Dutch. They drank a magical potion—by accident—and now they can't die no matter how hard they try, and have an unbearable stench that makes them unable to come ashore, except for a brief period every seven years when the stench fades. One crew member spends all his free time jumping from the crow's nest in the hopes that maybe this time, he'll finally die.
- Deadpool and Thanos. In addition to being insanely tough to kill in the first place whether it's due to a Healing Factor or being a Nigh Invulnerable Physical God, both have at one point in their lives been inflicted with curses that rendered them untouchable to the Abstract Entity of Death. They could not die because Death itself could not claim them. Immortality doesn't get much more complete than the metaphysical concept of Death itself having no power over you. In their case it's a curse because they are both in love with Death.
Film - Live Action
- In a similar vein, Satan in End Of Days mocks The Hero for thinking he can beat him, since "you are just a man, and I...am FOREVER".
- Almost all ghosts in Ghostbusters that are not at least a Class 7 are this, which is why they get trapped and sent into the containment unit.
- John Hancock and Marie Embrey from Hancock. They can be killed, however, if a specific circumstance happens: If two immortals are close to each other, they lose their powers and longevity.
- Ramin Bahrani's short film, Plastic Bag, ends with a lamentation by the narrator that amounts to "I wish I could die."
- In Wishmaster the Djinn claims to be this, to justify why nobody can simply wish him to die- as an eternal being, he simply cannot be destroyed. The way he proves this is pure Black Comedy. When the heroine of the first movie wishes that he blow his brains out, he pulls out a revolver and shoots himself in the head. He's perfectly fine afterwards, though he tells the heroine "it hurt like hell!"
- The Monster, From No Such Thing. Problematic since, after having lived from the dawn of time to the present day, he is quite tired of being alive and wishes to finally find an end, but nothing can harm him, let alone kill him.
- Jason and Anna in Finding Gaia. Subverted at the end of the book.
- The Tucks in Tuck Everlasting. They don't age, and nothing they've encountered yet can kill them.
- In A Canticle For Leibowitz, if the old man really is the Wandering Jew, he's got this. (He's old, but he does not age. Assuming it really is the same man over all the sections of the novel.)
- Eru from The Silmarillion and Tolkien's other works is also this, being an Expy of God himself. The temporal, physical world was created partly for death to exist in the first place, in order to resolve the climactic conflict between Good and Evil.
- Morgoth is the only true example of this in Middle-Earth. The elves are The Ageless, and most other Valar and Maiar can have their bodies destroyed, but can just make new ones. But Morgoth turned the entire planet into his Soul Jar, meaning he literally cannot die until the end of time. Doesn't save him from being a Sealed Evil in a Can at several points, but technically he's still out there, waiting...
- The Ellimist and Crayak, from K.A. Applegate's Animorphs series. While not all-powerful, they are quite god-like, often use the Yeerks and the Animorphs as "chess pieces" in their game, and have been living for thousands if not millions of years.
- Windle Poons from Reaper Man. He returns as a zombie, and despite the best efforts of his colleagues (and himself), he just will not die. However, it's possible he wasn't really a zombie, due to Death Being Fired, as other zombies are apparently capable of dying or at least being harmed.
- The Divine Comedy: Not only God, but all souls are subjected to this kind of immortality, no matter if they are in Hell, Purgatory or Paradise. Their mileage varies about this status.
- H. P. Lovecraft's Great Old Ones, or at least Cthulhu, have this form of immortality. In Call of Cthulhu Cthulhu gets a boat driven through his skull, turning his head into green paste. It reforms pretty much instantly. In writings of one of the later mythos writers, he's also gotten vaporized by a nuclear strike, only to reform himself. According to some writers, they can be killed by another Great Old One (or other godlike entity) while other sources state that they are completely unkillable.
- Since even the Great Old Ones like Cthulhu are utterly insignificant in the grand scheme of the universe Cthulhu himself will ultimately die cold and alone on the barren Earth.
- Max Frei's Labyrinths of Echo:
- "Invisible elves" - the elsidiayas are immaterial beings who somehow inhabit items and sometimes communicate with other sentients. There is no information suggesting that elsidiayas age, can be hurt or can die at all.
- Galla in Vadim Panov's Secret City. Galla is for all ends and purposes a Physical God; according to his own recollection, he is merely the first thing / being created. Assuming he's telling the truth, his creator, the one and only creator and keeper god of the universe, obviously also fits the trope.
- Iar Elterrus' works:
- The elements / paths in Burden of the Emperor series - Light, Darkness, Life, Knowledge and Wrath. They are alive and sentient, as Darkness once actually responds to an adept sacrificing souls of slaughtered enemies with a dismissive sneer.
- The 9 controlling entities of the 9 Swords Multiverse, each split into Power, Knowledge and Will. The Incarnations of Power and Will, always a dragon and a human (maybe humanoid), are technically mortal and reincarnate as needed. The incarnations of Knowledge, the eponymous Swords, can at best be sealed or fragmented, but never destroyed.
- Certain entities in The Dresden Files such as gods and the Faerie Queens are absolutely unkillable under normal conditions. Even if their bodies are reduced to their constituent atoms, they will eventually recover completely. However, there are certain places and times where this does not apply such as on Halloween, and they can be killed just like anyone else. Provided, of course, that you can get past the defenses of a Physical God.
- Lord Foul the Despiser in The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant. He has been reduced to nigh-powerlessness numerous times, but always comes back. Much like Tolkien's Morgoth, he is the Creator's evil counterpart in some way, and at least within shouting distance of his power, but imprisoned. Unfortunately, this means that the other inhabitants of the world have to deal having him as an immortal source of evil messing everything up.
- Firebird Lackey has the Katschei, unless his heart is destroyed at his feet. Wounds instantly heal and he cannot bleed, age, or die.
- Dementors in Harry Potter have no soul and cannot be killed. You can merely slow their breeding.
- In the Young Wizards series, the most powerful of the Powers That Be (including the Lone Power) exist mainly outside of time, and the mortal characters only ever encounter fragments of them which have been inserted into the timestream. Since death is something which takes placed inside of time, those Powers couldn't die even if they wanted to.
- The X-Files: Alfred Fellig in "Tithonus" was this until he managed to look into Death's eyes. It is possible that he passed this condition to Scully.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: as part of the Mayor's Ascension he becomes completely unkillable and unharmable (but he's still a germaphobe). Once he completely Ascends he becomes killable, and Buffy kills him.
- Captain Jack Harkness in Torchwood and Doctor Who is this. Blow him up and the body gradually begins to reassemble. He has been stated to age very slowly. It's suggested that he may become the Face of Boe, who did die, but whether that's an in-joke or truth was answered with a Shrug of God, the writer saying that the joke stops being funny if we know if it is or isn't true.
- In Supernatural, Death claims he is the one thing in existence that will last forever.
- The evil liquid entity Armus in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Skin of Evil" is stated to be immortal and unkillable. He has already spent an immeasurable amount of time on a barren, uninhabited planet after his creators left him there. Picard ensures that he will be trapped there for as long as possible without any means of escape.
- Maryann Forrester in True Blood. As a maenad, she is at least as old as ancient Greece and is allegedly older than written history. She's also completely unkillable; her immortality is based on her beliefs, which means that as long as she believes she's immortal, nothing can kill her. The only way to kill her was to make her believe that her god needed her to die.
- The Smallville version of Clark Kent. In one episode, a boy is able to see how people will die when he touches them. He touches Clark Kent and does not see a death, only some funky visual effects.
Myth, Legend, Oral Tradition, and Religion
- God is usually understood to be this, being the Creator of absolutely everything, including Life, Time, Space, Death and whatever happens after or outside it.
- Lowercase-G gods tend not to be, though with the afterlife as part of their domain, death can be significantly less inconvenient for them than it is for a human.
- The immortals of Lost Odyssey are completely indestructible in the story — but Gameplay and Story Segregation means they function like From a Single Cell-like immortality during gameplay (can be hurt and "killed" during gameplay, but revive on their own).
- To give you an idea how implacible the story considers them, at then end of the Action Prologue, Kaim gets hit directly by a pyroclastic flow. When the duct clears, everything in a multi-mile radius is a dead as you'd expect. He's not even knocked off his feet.
- The Unbreakable Darkness of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha As Portable: The Gears of Destiny, an Eldritch Abomination that was sealed in the Book of Darkness. Despite looking like a little girl, she's older than the previously established immortals of the series. She's also unable to die no matter how much she wants to, a fact demonstrated when she takes the strongest attacks in the entire franchise without receiving a scratch even when she's at just a fraction of her full strength. The Sound Stages even hint that she's probably alive in the main continuity where her can was completely destroyed without her awakening... it's just that returning from complete disintegration may take 10 or more years.
- Fujiwara no Mokou and Kaguya Houraisan from Touhou are immortal in the truest sense. While it functions somewhat like From a Single Cell and mostly like Resurrective Immortality, they literally cannot die. Due to the laws of reality in Gensokyo when someone enters an area desegnated as the afterlife, where people can come and go, they count as dead. Mokou and Kaguya near literally run into a wall they cannot pass. One character has the power to cause anything to die at will. The two immortals are completely unaffected. They will probably exist til the end of time.
- The way the Hourai Elixir works, even if you went back in time to kill them before they drank the elixir it wouldn't work. It removes them from the cycle of life and death completely, not just from when they drank it.
- The Nameless One from Planescape: Torment had his mortality stripped from him and is therefore a true immortal in the exact literal sense. There are ways that will kill his body (thus, for all practical purposes of gameplay, kill him) due to ruining his Healing Factor (And I Must Scream scenarios, being killed by a God or god-like being like The Lady, cremation, dissolved in acid), but on a spiritual level he will never die: His spirit can never move on, he can never reach the afterlife, and because the Grim Reaper essentially sees him as a blank in the books, someone else dies in his place every time he would die instead.
- It is stated that in addition to the Lady of Pain, Lothar is one of the entities that can completely and irreversibly destroy The Nameless One.
- God, the final boss in Duel Savior Destiny is ageless and completely impossible to kill, though not impossible to damage. The damage just doesn't stick. After being beaten in a fight, he'll just stand back up again and keep going.
- This one's a spoiler for even being on the page: Ghost Trick features an odd form of this. Having a Temsik meteor fragment embedded in one's body is as fatal as a meteor wound should be, but doesn't let the victim die. Instead the body is suspended at the moment of death, instantly regenerating any harm done to it. The kicker? This "caught between life and death" deal also applies to the person's soul, which can stick around and animate the body again, or freely leave it to perform whatever Ghost Tricks they were lucky enough to end up with.
- The Narrator of Immortality Blows has immortality "so perfect" that he/she survives the end of the world
- The golem girls in Wapsi Square have this kind of immortality.
- The character Anne Poole, from Fine Structure, is cursed with this form of immortality. She is indestructible and immortal, which becomes a problem near the beginning of the story when she's accidentally teleported into solid rock. By the time they get to her, she's gone insane from deprivation. Of course, she eventually gets better, and she goes on to live tens of thousands of years longer; it's revealed that she actually goes through phases of insanity, as the human mind isn't meant to have that kind of continuity.
Sometimes the discovery becomes massive and everybody in the world finds out at once and I end up on a pedestal. Sometimes they make me their leader, sometimes they call me an abomination, sometimes I get arrested and studied, usually it's all of this at once. I've been everywhere. I've done everything, spoken every language, built a pyramid, survived re-entry. History goes in cycles. If you watch it for long enough you can see the tipping points coming and be there when they happen. I invented fire, the wheel, the electric motor, antibiotics, you name it, every era, every country. Fought in X number of wars. Once, I actually ruled the whole world.
I've walked on the Moon barefoot.
- The SCP Foundation:
- SCP-682 is described as a "Hard-to-Destroy Reptile". It's basically a homicidal, regenerating dinosaur that adapts to whatever you throw at it. They haven't tried things like nuclear bombs on it yet, because the last thing they need is a radioactive, red hot homicidal indestructible dinosaur. Between experiments, they keep 682 stored in a tank of concentrated acid, because while that won't kill it, not having a muscular structure will at least make it hard for it to cause any trouble. Though it still manages to break out of it occasionally.
- How indestructible is 682? He once fought a creature (created by the Foundation) with the sole descriptive factor of being able to kill 682 completely and utterly. 682 won. On other occasions, 682 has shown formidable resistance to being written out of reality and can operate in situations where the fundamental laws of physics are radically different.
- There are other complete immortals in the SCP holding cells, including the Demon Born of War and Able, but 682 is probably the most famous.
- The site now disapproves of these sorts of SCP's being written, and having an SCP be absolutely immortal is almost an instant deletion. Able, 682, and several others continue to exist solely by virtue of the Grandfather Clause.
- The site's admins refer to this as the "Able Rule" - if your creation is more powerful than Able, it's toast.
- SCP-014 is immortal (as completely as Jones, below) because he believes he is — he's also completely immobile because what he believes is that he was cursed and turned into concrete.
- Gunnerkrigg Court: Jones has survived, in reverse chronological order: a munitions factory explosion, a sword to the face, a spear to the abdomen, a barefoot walk across the Gobi desert, a bare-chested hunt with Cro-Magnon men (her technique is to literally grab the giant bull by the horns), a nude hike across a glacier (frozen eyes? No problem), waking up in a lake after being buried in rock for 3 billion years, and spending the first 2 billion taking a lava bath. She doesn't age, nor (apparently) eat, sleep, breathe, expel wastes, emote, create, imagine, or remember anything prior to taking that lava bath (and she remembers everything since), so she doesn't even know what she is.
- Jix: Kelelder the Planet Thief, regenerative type, he's been teleported into the sun twice and his spirit just went back to his ship and generated a new body.
- In Cucumber Quest, the Nightmare Knight can't be killed. Only made Sealed Evil in a Can.
- In Jackie Chan Adventures, the Dog Talisman grants immortality and eternal youth, while the Horse Talisman grants healing/regeneration and apparently deals with pain. Whoever has the power of both is this trope.
- The Justice League incarnation of Vandal Savage appears to be a complete immortal: He doesn't age and shrugs off practically all damage. During his three appearances he goes down with an air-plane in the Atlantic Ocean, stands at ground zero for a Colony Drop, and finally gets stuck on an irradiated Earth pushed out of its orbit that is inhospitable to human life. None of this seems to bother him, although the latter version became Ret Gone after Superman went back in time and stopped the cause of the disaster.
- In The Real Ghostbusters, virtually all ghosts and other paranormal entities are this, as ectoplasm can not be destroyed. As such, the protagonists trap them and place them in the Containment Unit to dispose of them. The cartoon once in a while featured a few ghosts and demons get their Complete Immortality revoked in various, often spectacular ways, often through Phlebotinum Breakdown (both accidental and deliberate), getting their faces stuck in the barrel of the latest prototype BFG, or, getting eaten by something big and unpleasant.
- In one episode of the cartoon, a Corrupt Corporate Executive stole the designs of the proton throwers, and built his own robot to bust ghosts. The second half of the episode then shows exactly what happens when you don't trap the ghosts one busts. They just come back angrier.
- In Gargoyles, Demona and Macbeth are complete immortals thanks to the Weird Sisters' spell. Their lives are linked in such a way that as long as one lives, the other cannot die. Even getting a sword shoved into their gut is little more than a minor inconvenience from which they can quickly recover. Their aging is also halted. They can only die if they kill each other. Given that the two have grown to despise each other, they end up attempting to do just that every time they meet.