open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- Neil "Lockon Stratos" Dylandy in Mobile Suit Gundam 00 loses an eye, put on an Eyepatch of Power then dies. Then again, he is a Gundam pilot, and losing his eye let his rival/killer Ali have the upper hand as they fought.
- In Jo Jos Bizarre Adventure Stardust Crusaders, Iggy loses a forearm during his battle with the falcon Pet Shop. Almost immediately afterwards, he leads the group to Dio's castle, where he meets his demise.
- Perfectly justified in 7 Seeds, given the situation they are in, they know that a severe (or mutilating) injury can mean death for them. Examples include:
- Mutsuki Karezeno from Team Winter ends up committing suicide after he gets attacked by a saber-tooth tiger and gets his arm ripped off and a side of his face mauled.
- Ukai gets his eye clawed out by a bear during the final test and knows that anyone who has sustained such a severe injury is flat-out rejected as a potential take for Team Summer A. He ends up freezing to death in an unrelated matter.
- Gantz: Part of this follows the trope, and part of it subverts it. Subverted while the characters are brought to the places to fight aliens, and they get horribly dismembered. Many of them think they're goners. Until after the mission is over, in which case Gantz teleports all the survivors back and completely restores them. Followed, however, in the real world, where any character that gets a permanent dismemberment (and doesn't get sent to Gantz) dies.
- In Fullmetal Alchemist, Scar rips off both of Führer Bradley/Wrath's arms; Bradley still manages to deal one last blow afterward (with a blade clenched in his teeth!) before breaking down and dying.
- In the 2003 anime version, Scar loses both of his arms before transmuting himself and all the military inside the city they are attacking.
- In Death Note, Mello receives severe burns after blowing up his hideout when cornered by the Japanese police. Not too long afterwards note , he is sent on a Suicide Mission by Near and Halle, and dies of a Kira-induced heart attack while on said mission.
- Also, in Another Note, Beyond Birthday attempts Self-Immolation as part of his Murder-Suicide Plot. He is rescued and given medical attention, before being sent to prison for life (with presumably worse/more extensive burns than Mello had)...only to eventually die of a Kira-induced heart attack in his cell. Interesting example in that it's not known exactly what he looked like, given his status as a Master of Disguise (and the fact that there are no official pictures of him)...and the person he was trying to become was not considered attractive In-Universe.
- In the Blood Reign: Curse of the Yoma OVA, the protagonist's Love Interest has a large, prominent scar on her face which drives her to suicide when she regains her lost memories of how she gained it. Later on during the climactic final battle, her reincarnation (who also hooks up with the hero) gains an identical scar, but fortunately she's made of sterner stuff this time around.
- Dragon Ball Z: Tenshinhan's arm is ripped off by Nappa. Not longer afterwards, he dies attempting to kill Nappa with a Cast from Hit Points technique. This being Dragon Ball, the death doesn't stick, but when Tenshinhan is later revived, he has his arm back.
- "Loyalty" had an especially poignant example in the resolution of the Desert Rescue Arc.
Films — Animated
Films — Live-Action
- In Spider-Man 3 Harry is disfigured after Peter throws one of his bombs back at him. He shows up disfigured in the last scene and dies (in a completely unrelated way) during the same scene.
- In Sin City, Lucille's death is basically guaranteed after she loses her hand.
- The cop in Reservoir Dogs is killed after he receives facial scars and loses an ear, even pointing out that he's "deformed" before he's killed.
- In Daredevil, Elektra is in a fight with Bulls-eye. When she gets her weapon thrown back through her hand, she dies very shortly after.
- Batman (1989). The Joker burns his girlfriend Alicia's face with acid to make her a "work of art". She later commits suicide by throwing herself out a window... or so he says. Knowing the Joker, anything's possible.
- Another, more fiddly Batman example is Two-Face in The Dark Knight. If the movie wasn't based on a world-famous comic book and didn't have characters who were household names, then to the audience Harvey Dent's disfigurement would have been a sure sign of his death. But of course, because we all know Harvey becomes a supervillain named Two-Face, we know that this isn't really the case. Then Nolan went and killed Two-Face anyway.
- In the Catwoman movie, the Big Bad, Laurel has gained flesh as hard as marble due to the side-effects of her make-up line. During the climatic fight with Catwoman her face ends up being cracked and scarred, though she initially doesn't realize this. Eventually she ends up hanging off a ledge, and upon seeing a reflection of her damaged visage she plummets to her death. It's left ambiguous as to whether the shock of seeing herself like that caused her to lose her grip for a fatal moment, or whether she consciously chose to die rather living with her disfigurement (and a doubtless lengthy rap sheet).
- In Se7en the victim of the pride murder commits suicide rather than live disfigured.
- In The Matrix Revolutions, Neo has his eyes burned out of their sockets. Apparently this is enough to require that both he and his girlfriend Trinity have to die. Or it could have been because he's a blatant Christ Allegory...
- The Atomic Brain. Bea loses an eye at about the mid-point of the film, and then gets arbitrarily, pointlessly killed off at the absolute last second before the end. After the villain was disposed of, no less.
- Inverted in 300. Dilios loses an eye, and he is the only Spartan to survive.
- An example of the villain variant comes from The Mask of Zorro. During the final fight, the young Zorro cuts an M into Captain Love's face, a variant on the standard Z. Subsequently, the fight ends very, very quickly.
- In the ending sequence of RoboCop (1987), henchman Emile is drenched by a vat of toxic waste, gruesomely disfiguring him. Shortly afterwards he is killed by stumbling out in front of his boss' speeding car. Interestingly, this series of events directly leads to the final showdown with the Big Bad.
- In The Big Heat, Debby's face is badly burned when Vince throws hot coffee at her. Of course, she gets killed off ... but not before she returns the favor to Vince, who is arrested, but survives.
- In Robin Hood (2010), the English turncoat who has been secretly conspiring with the French king against Prince John undergoes a gradual physical degradation as the movie goes along: first, his face is grazed by an arrow, giving him a Glasgow Grin; then a small cut is opened on his forehead by a sword's blade; and, finally, he is slain by a second arrow through the skull in the movie's climactic battle.
- Robert's death in Mystery Team, being hit in the face with a cherry bomb; it's even commented that someone "stole his face".
- In Demon Knight, a minor character loses an arm and then dies.
- A Japanese tourist in Hostel loses an eye to torture and is Driven to Suicide, despite being saved.
- In the Battle Royale film, a student who loses his arm to Shogo’s shotgun is promptly killed merely seconds later.
- In TheShapeOfWater the main antagonist, Richard Strickland, loses two fingers of his left hand right at the start of the movies. While he seeks to get them reattached, the graft is unsuccessful and they keep literally rotting for the whole film. When he loses them altogether, the Asset (the one biting off his fingers earlier) is ready to furtherly reward his evil deeds by killing him.
- In the original book version of Dangerous Liaisons, after her plots and manipulations are revealed, the Marquise de Merteuil is reported to have contracted smallpox that left her with severe facial scarring. Apart from this being a Fate Worse than Death, this should be understood as a physical manifestation of her evilness and humiliation.
- In Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Silena Beauregard, daughter of Aphrodite, gets hit in the face with poison that is strong enough to melt armor. Subverted because this is definitely what kills her.
- Inverted in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: George Weasley gets a disfiguring injury (he loses his ear in such a way that it can't be restored by magic), but survives; it's his identical twin Fred who ends up biting it. Hard not to think Rowling was deliberately avoiding playing this straight.
- Played straight with Dumbledore; his right hand is shriveled and unusable at the beginning of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and he dies at the end of it. Justified in that the curse on his hand would soon kill him anyways, so he let himself die for the sake of continuing The Plan and saving Harry.
- Averted and subverted multiple times in A Song of Ice and Fire. Beautiful knight Jaime Lannister loses his right hand, and is initially ready to die from it because he sees no point in living without a sword arm, but survives and gets Character Development instead of a quick death. Princess Myrcella Baratheon loses an ear and a cheek to a sword and lives on, though she's apparently doomed to die at some point after being crowned. Princess Shireen Baratheon (her cousin) was disfigured by greyscale when she was young and is still alive, though the wildlings claim it's only a matter of time before she dies from remission. Loras Tyrell gets hideously disfigured by having boiling oil dumped on him and has yet to die from it, though he's currently still on his deathbed from said injury and may die from it after all. Tyrion Lannister loses half his nose on the Blackwater (but then again he wasn't exactly very 'handsome' to begin with) and survives it. And for the last few days of his life, Ned Stark walks with a cane after his leg is injured in a fight with Jaime Lannister. Then he gets executed.
- In The Princess Bride, Inigo Montoya disfigures the six-fingered man with the same type of scars he got himself as a child during their duel. The six-fingered man is dead at the end of said duel.
- Averted in The Lord of the Rings, where Frodo loses a finger at the climax of the story, but survives.
- Averted in Dragon Blood with Tisala who wasn't pretty to begin with, got under a torturer's knife, and survived, with lots and lots of scars.
- In The Hunger Games, Glimmer has a particularly horrific death at the hands of the genetically-modified tracker jackers with extremely volatile venom. When the jackers are done, her body is grotesquely bloated with large stings filled with pus. The film version only manages to make the image even more horrific.
- Happens in Spooks episode two. A female main character is tortured by having her arm put in boiling oil. She doesn't make it.
- Played With in one episode of Melrose Place. A minor character gets a tattoo. He's killed in the following episode.
- In Boardwalk Empire, the prostitute Pearl gets her face cut by someone looking to hurt Jimmy. She kills herself the next episode when she realizes she'll never be pretty again.
- In the Doctor Who story "The Daleks' Master Plan", one-shot companion Sara has to transport a time-destroying weapon which ages her into an old woman. She's dead by the end of the scene.
- Enforced in-universe by the villain of the Adam Adamant Lives! episode "Beauty is an Ugly Word". If any of his 'perfect' humans is injured badly enough to leave a scar, he has them killed.
- In the Smallville episode "Spirit", an Alpha Bitch girl gains the ability to Body Surf after a severe car accident. At seeing what her real body looks like, she grows so disgusted she kills it at once. The spirit doesn't survive that long afterward either.
- Kattrin in Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage and Her Children. As a young child, she became mute after being used as a play-thing by soldiers. She travels with her mother Anna and her two brothers, but because she's unable to communicate, her mother sees her as little more than a burden. (Although she does care deeply for her children, Anna's own survival and her travelling shop are most important to her, and throughout the play she does everything she can to stay in business - which directly causes her to lose her children). Eventually Kattrin is attacked (and very possibly raped) while trying to run errands for the shop, and is left with a scar on the side of her face. When she overhears her mother say she'll be unable to ever find a man now, Kattrin decides to sacrifice herself to warn a nearby town about a group of soldiers by climbing a silo and banging on a drum as loudly as possible. She dies when she's shot down from the tower, still holding the drum in her arms.
- Combined with Defiled Forever in Titus Andronicus, where Lavinia's rapists cut off her hands and cut out her tongue. At the end, her father kills her because that's what things were like in Ancient Rome. Titus thinks of it as a mercy kill.
- Inverted to some extent by Metal Gear. Many characters lose arms over the course of the series and two are scarred, but these are the ones likely to survive - until the next game, at least. Only played straight with Gray Fox, who gets squished and dies shortly after losing his arm.
- Subverted by Modern Warfare where Big Bad Zakhaev loses his arm and keeps going for another 15 years. Played straight in that he dies shortly after this is revealed.
- In Saints Row 2, Carlos is horrifically mutilated from being dragged behind a truck and is mercy killed shortly thereafter.
- On the villain side Mr. Sunshine, Maero, Matt.
- In Condemned duology, SKX get's half his face blown off and carves an X into his forehead. He's thought dead at the end of the first game (where he's shot in the face/shoots himself in the face), but survives the sequel, when his disfigurements are prominently shown off).
- Whether Fear Effect plays this straight or averts it is up to the player. Glas loses his arm partway through. At the end, the player chooses whether or not he survives the Mexican Standoff. On Hard Mode, he survives no matter what because the standoff doesn't end in someone's death.
- In Resident Evil 6, Piers gets his arm impaled and crushed, and tears what remained of it off to free himself. He injects himself with the virus to survive, disfiguring himself even further and growing a new, lightning-shooting appendage, but then decides to sacrifice himself before infection fully takes over.
- In Team Fortress 2's "Meet the Spy" trailer, the BLU Sniper is slashed across the face by the titular Spy, leaving a scar that would be added to the Sniper's in-game character model. After a brief knife fight, the Spy stabs him in the back and throws him over a balcony to his death.
- In Halo: Reach, Carter gets his face severely mutilated shortly before his Heroic Sacrifice. In the Last Stand Stinger, Noble Six's visor becomes increasingly cracked as he takes damage, emphasizing the inevitability of his demise.
- In the Unlimited Blade Works route of Fate/stay night, Shirou defeats Gilgamesh by severing his right arm. Almost immediately after, the spirit of the Holy Grail attempts to absorb Gilgamesh as a new vessel, drawing him into a void that the narration describes as beginning to melt him. Though Gilgamesh doesn't let this kill him, intending on using his chains and Shirou to pull himself out, he is subsequently finished off by an arrow to the forehead from Archer.
- As a general rule of thumb, if a character loses or breaks a limb during a Death Battle without a Healing Factor or some other way to immediately reattach or otherwise fix it, they're about to die. In fact, it'd be significantly shorter to list the times that this is subverted:
- Wolverine vs. Raiden: Wolverine, after activating his Berserker Rage, slashes off one of Raiden's arms. Raiden manages to kill Wolverine with his remaining arm after entering his Ripper Mode and lopping his head off with his High-Frequency Murasama Blade.
- In a case of this happening to a Humongous Mecha, Power Rangers vs. Voltron Lion Force, Voltron loses the Blue Lion (which made up one of Voltron's arms) when Lance pilots his mecha to block a frozen Green Lion from an attack from the Megazord's Power Sword. The Lion Force eventually slashes the Megazord in half with their Blazing Sword.
- Sub-Zero vs. Glacius: Sub-Zero has one of his hands melted off when a Punch Parry goes wrong and Glacius attempts to dissolve him with his Liquid Form. Sub-Zero manages to escape with an Ice Klone teleportation and rips out Glacius's spine.