"Yeah, boo hiss. I know, look, I hate it too. In movies, where the studio gets all paranoid about a downer ending so the guy shows up, he's magically alive on crutches? I hate that. I mean, shit, why not bring them all back?"
In the revival of Darkwing Duck, GosmoDuck (Gosalyn in the GizmoDuck armor) pulls a Heroic Sacrifice to stop the Big Bad Taurus Bulba, but after blacking out for a few moments, she turns out alright.
Fables. The more popular fairy tale entities gain this ability. Storywise, Disney is -causing- these Disney Deaths (at least for the characters they write about). For example; Toto is seemingly eaten by a lion. This infuriates his captors (It Makes Sense in Context) not because he is dead, but only temporarily dead and thus will return in some form out of their territory.
Films — Animation
The first instance of this trope is the death of Disney's Snow White. The scene is dragged out so that you still feel like she's dead even but if you've been paying attention, you know she's really only asleep.
Pinocchio has a Heroic Death rescuing Gepetto from the whale. He seems gone, but surprise! He's a real boy now and fully alive.
The bonus features on the DVD show an alternate ending where Gepetto is the one who seems to die, but the Blue Fairy revives him along with making Pinocchio human. Interestingly, this version of the ending was used for the Disney On Ice adaptation.
In Lady and the Tramp, Trusty gets crushed by a wagon after freeing Tramp. Jock is seen mourning his "death" and such. However, it is revealed that the only injury he received was a broken leg. It's worth noting that Trusty was originally marked for death; however, Disney changed it at the last minute to Trusty merely getting injured in order to avoid a repeat of the Bambi hullabaloo (see the Disney exceptions section).
In 101 Dalmatians, one of the initial litter of puppies (Lucky, although in the original book it was Cadpig) appears to be dead, but soon turns out is not. Yes, a Disney Death moment for a character that's only just been born.
Played for laughs in The Jungle Book: after Baloo is knocked unconscious by Shere Khan, Bagheera gives him a touching eulogy. Turns out Baloo was alive all along and enjoying all the nice things Baggy was saying about him. "Don't stop now. There's more, lots more!"
Disney seem to be fond of doing this to Baloo. He had a Disney Death in the live action adaption as well and at least a couple odd times in the TaleSpin series.
The Brave Little Toaster ends with Toaster jumping inside an industrial conveyor belt in order to save The Master. It was virtually crushed to pieces, but within a few minutes is repaired by The Master.
Earlier in the film, Lampy used himself as a lightning rod to recharge a battery, and appeared to "die" in the process. He appears fine in the next scene outside a somewhat charred nossle and nasty cough.
In Robin Hood, Robin "dies" in a hail of arrows while swimming across the moat, sinking under the water and the bubbles slowing until there are none. It turns out Robin had a reed, which he breathed through until it was safe to surface.
One especially notorious Disney example is The Fox and the Hound. Chief falls down a cliff, bounces off about 6 or 7 rocks on the way down, and... he's dead. But wait! After a terrifying chase scene for Todd, Copper goes back and it turns out that Chief just has a broken leg. He fell down a cliff and he gets away with just a broken leg.
Even the makers of the film argued over whether he should have really died. The supporters for his death even cited that as well as falling off a cliff, he was almost hit by a train. One excuse for his survival was that they'd never killed a character onscreen in a Disney movie before and weren't going to start with him.
In Disney's version of The Black Cauldron, Gurgi nobly sacrifices himself, but then Taran trades the black cauldron to the witches in exchange for bringing Gurgi back, with magic.
When Basil is thrown off of Big Ben in The Great Mouse Detective, he disappears into the mist, presumably having plummeted to his doom along with the villain. The characters mourn for a moment, expecting the worst, but then Basil turns out to be okay and good times are had by all. (This could be a reference to the source material, as Holmes fell off Reichenbach Falls and was presumed dead — and was intended to be — along with Moriarty. Of course, back then it took three years for him to reappear.)
In Beauty and the Beast, the Beast must find love before the last petal falls off of an enchanted rose. As he succumbs to a mortal injury at the villain's hand, Belle declares her love for him just before the last petal falls. This breaks the curse upon him, so he's revived as the human he originally was — the wound may be deadly, but when you have magic, why not?
This one makes perfect sense in context, though. Genies can't kill people, "but you'd be surprised what you can live through".
A similar situation to Basil's example happens in A Goofy Movie; Goofy falls down a waterfall into the mist of censorship. There's a pause and some tense music, but then it's revealed that his son Max has caught him by the britches with a fishing hook. Well...Goofy cartoons never do run on logic.
In Pocahontas, John Smith is wounded when he takes a bullet meant for the heroine's father. It turns out that it isn't going to be fatal, but to be fully tended to he must return to England, resulting in a Bittersweet Ending.
Megara from Hercules. Crushed by a pillar, she really does die a lingering death - we see her thread of life cut, her hand go limp, and her pale, lifeless body being cradled by a sobbing Herc after he has returned from saving Mount Olympus. But then he goes and reverses it.
And before that, in the middle of the film, it happens twice in the same scene during the epic fight between Hercules and the Hydra; first he gets devoured, but decapitates the Hydra from inside. Just minutes later, Herc crushes the Hydra with a landslide; however, being held in the Hydra's hand, he is able to escape relatively unscathed.
Fantasia 2000 does a rather nightmarish variant in its Firebird segment: after getting brutally attacked by the eponymous Firebird that it woke up on accident, the Sprite is nowhere to be found in the remains of the forest until the Elk breathes on a small patch of the ground, revealing the sprite, who is still alive - only now, she's a fraction of the size she was at the start of the segment, and is initially too traumatized to try and restore the forest.
When Dory is lying on top of a turtle seemingly unconscious when she suddenly springs up and starts a game of Hide and Seek.
When Marlin arrives at Sydney to find Nemo floating upside down in a plastic bag appearing to be dead. He was actually pretending to be dead so that he could escape from the clutches of the dentist, and while the audience already knew that at this point, it was a few more minutes before Marlin finds Nemo alive and well in a heartwarming scene.
Nemo looks like he might have died after getting caught in the fish net at the very end of the movie.
The Teacher's Petmovie ends with the now-human Spot taking a blast from the villain's crumbling animal-transforming ray and being turned to dust. This upsets Leonard so much he kicks the machine, causing it to give one more zap that restores Spot to his canine form.
More Robot Disney Death in Meet the Robinsons: Doris skewers Carl through the chest, leaving him splayed across the grass, showering sparks. The next morning, he's good as new.
Wilbur also gets a Disney Ret Gone at one point, due to the future being rewritten by the movie's villains, resulting in him disintegrating and disappearing into a time vortex. In the end he is restored along with the timeline.
Clever variation in WALL•E. The title character is almost crushed to bits in the climax, but EVE knows how to fix him; the real tension is that once she has, he doesn't remember anything about the 700 years of his life, including her. His acquired sentience appears lost. (sniff) He gets it back a few minutes later...but only after she "kisses" him.
Played with in Toy Story 2 when Zurg falls off the elevator shaft then comes back alive moments later. He's last seen having a good time with New Buzz as father and son, just to show there were no hard feelings between the two. The writers were originally going to have Zurg dead for real (or, at least, New Buzz assuming that's what had happened) and New Buzz's reason for staying behind being "I must bury my father and fill out the proper forms", but they must've decided that either Zurg really being dead might be disturbing to the kiddies (remember one of the reasons why its sequeldoesn't have a perfect 100 on Rotten Tomatoes?) or they wouldn't be convinced Zurg might be still alive after hearing the aforementioned line and changed it so that Zurg is unambiguously still alive. The original outcome of the elevator shaft drop can be found in the junior novelization.
Played straight with Buzz and the Little Green Men in Toy Story 3.
In Mulan 2, Shang takes a terrible fall and everyone believes he is dead, but he turns out to be just fine. One of the tracks on the film's soundtrack is even called "Shang Lives"!
In Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Gets a Glitch, Stitch dies because of his body being unstable. He gets better. The movie even admits that this is technically impossible!
Also, both Gnomeo and Juliet at the end. Slightly annoying for those of us who know the original story.
Happens to Mater in the Pixar animated shortEl Materdor as a result of the bulldozers (resembling bulls) burying him in the sand at one point, as if they were burying him in a grave and sticking a piece of wood with a poster of him on it, giving it the appearance of a tombstone.
In The Little Mermaid, after Ariel saves Prince Eric from drowning Scuttle declares him dead (it doesn't help that he is listening for a pulse in Eric's foot), but Ariel sees him breathing and realizes he is only unconscious.
Kida at the end of Atlantis: The Lost Empire, right after separating from the Crystal. Adding to this was the fact that her mother, the Queen, never returned to this world after she merged with the Crystal at the very beginning of the film. The novelization explains that the Queen "died" because the disaster that forced her to be bound to the Crystal was borne of the Atlanteans' hubris, but Kida was bound to the Crystal in an effort to stop a similar tragedy from playing out and thus allowed to return to this world once the land was saved.
Kenai from Brother Bear 2 gets this after being pushed off a cliff by Nita's husband-to-be. He even looked like he had died from the fall, but he gets better.
Played with in Fun and Fancy Free during the "Bongo" segment. Bongo and rival Lumpjaw both wind up going over a waterfall during their confrontation, leading Lulubelle to start crying after it looks like Bongo's been killed. However, unlike most examples here, the audience clearly sees Bongo manage to escape the waterfall to safety, so only the characters in the film assume he's dead..
Variation in Brave, where instead of physically dying it looks like Elinor has permanently become a bear in addition to her mind becoming bestial. Of course, everything turns out okay at the end thanks to The Power of Love.
Another variation in Frozen — rather than a conventional death, Princess Anna magically freezes solid in the process of making a Heroic Sacrifice. This is undone as the sacrifice was "an act of true love" for her sister, the one thing that could reverse the magic.
Films — Live-Action
Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey has two Disney Deaths. First, Sassy the cat goes over a waterfall and is presumed dead; she is found by a kindly human and nursed back to health. Second, at the end, the old golden retriever Shadow falls into a ditch and tells the others to go on without him. They make it back to their owners without Shadow, and everyone assumes he's dead, but guess who then comes over the ridge? (In slow motion...)
In the sequel, Chance appears to be run over by a truck, but is then shown to have ducked just in the nick of time.
Flubber. Weebo is smashed but fortunately, to go with the happily-ever-after ending, the professor manages to build a "daughter" robot based on designs that Weebo herself put together and informed him of in her dying moments. Still, the movie doesn't entirely play the trope straight, as the professor makes it clear that Weebo's personality is lost forever, and the daughter robot has a completely different (and somewhat annoying) personality to the original.
Underdog: Underdog/Shoeshine flies so high that he ends up in space, falling down and catching fire like a comet and crash-landing on Earth, and wakes up a moment later.
Used twice in G Force, first with Speckles the mole who ends up being The Mole in another sense and then later with the guinea pig Hurley.
Mr. Stubbs the chimp in Toby Tyler is shot and seemingly dead, but later shows up with a bandaged limb.
Disney's version of Johnny Tremain gives one to the title character, possibly to make up for Rab not being dead like in the novel. Following the battle scene, Cilla sees Johnny lying in straw, assumes he must be dead and reacts accordingly even though she had absolutely no reason to not think he was just resting.
In Disney's Affectionate Parody of its own canon, Enchanted, Giselle takes a bite of a poison apple and "dies". The only way she can be resurrected is through True Love's Kiss, and before the clock strikes 12. Prince Edward happily goes over to kiss Giselle, but it doesn't work. It takes Robert's kiss to wake her. But there's still a climactic battle before the movie ends.
In Not Quite Human 2, we get a Robot Disney Death when the android Roberta seemingly "dies" in Chip's arms from a lack of power. In her case, this means that she will lose all her memories and return to her original state. After Roberta's "death", Chip reveals that he read all of her data with his magnetic finger and saved it to a floppy disk, preserving Roberta's memories and personality.
In Inspector Gadget, John Brown is fatally injured when Sanford Scolex blows him up with a victory cigar. Brown is then turned into a cyborg to save his life. Later in the film he gets a Robot Disney Death when Claw crushes his chip, only for Brenda and Penny to locate him in the junkyard on the outskirts of Riverton and for Brenda to kiss him back to life, proving he didn't need his chip to survive.
TRON: Legacy: The climax of the film involves Sam Flynn attempting to return to the real world along with a computer program named Quorra. Since a program had never before crossed into the real world, there was some question about whether the process would actually work. We see Sam and Quorra dematerialize together from the virtual world. Shortly thereafter, it cuts to Sam standing alone back in the real world, looking sad as he downloads information onto a memory stick. There's a short scene with him conversing with another secondary character, no mention whatsoever about Quorra's fate. Then he goes outside, still alone, and finally we hear Quorra's voice from offscreen - she's been waiting for him next to a motorycle. Then they go riding off into the sunrise.
John Carter is revealed at the end of the film to have actually faked his own death when he ambushes and kills a Thern that came to destroy him. Then he reenters his mausoleum to return to Barsoom, but not before giving some final advice to his nephew. It's worth noting that the circumstances of his death and burial should have aroused enough suspicion from the start: he instructed that his body be entombed directly in the mausoleum, which can only be opened from the inside, upon discovery—no embalming, no open casket, no funeral.
George of the Junglehangs a lampshade on it, plays the trope straight, and takes it to a blatantly over-the-top extreme bordering on Nigh-Invulnerability. In one of the first scenes, for example, one of the guides falls at least 400 meters from a Rope Bridge over a cliff, at which point the Narrator reassures the audience: "Don't worry — nobody dies in this story. They just get really big boo-boos." Cut to the guide covered in bandages.
Wendy also has a very surreal Disney Death in every version except Disney's. Shot down from the air with an arrow, she lies seemingly dead, but the arrow turns out to have only hit the acorn button she wore on a chain around her neck. Why this rendered her unconscious isn't explained, especially since while "unconscious" she apparently hears everything being said around her, and is able to raise her arm, talk a little, and then sing a song.
Happens to Pinocchio twice in the original novel. First the Cat and the Fox hang him by the neck until (nearly) dead, but the Blue Fairy sends her falcon to cut him down, followed by three doctors in a carriage pulled by white rats. This was originally meant to be the end of the story, with him being Killed Off for Real. Later, after turning into a donkey and being crippled in the circus, he is thrown into the ocean to drown, but instead a school of fish, again sent by the Blue Fairy, strips the donkey to the bone, reverting him to marionette form.
In Once Upon a Time Regina bakes up a "special" apple turnover (she's the Wicked Queen from Snow White) to get rid of Emma, the biological mother of Regina's adopted son, Henry. Henry prevents Emma from eating it, and succumbs to the effects. Cue both his mothers freaking out and making a truce to try and save the kid... which doesn't work. In the end, Emma's farewell kiss brings the kid back and breaks the curse holding the entire town, as True Love's Kiss is the most powerful form of magic.
Happens to "August" (Pinocchio) as an adult. Because of him neglecting his responsibilities, he gets turned back into wood and is mortally wounded after getting attacked with a villain's taser. However, his attempt to redeem himself before his "death" ("Selfless, brave, and true" actions) allow the Blue Fairy to turn him back into a "real boy" and he gets a second chance at life, though as a child again.
In Kingdom Hearts II, Goofy is believed to have given his life to save Mickey from a falling rock, but since this is partly a Disney property, it later turns out he's okay (though not before Sora and company tear their way through an army of Heartless). Also, aside from Sora, whose KO'd would bring a game over, nobody else in your party can die for real, human or cartoon characters.
And what about the chance of King Mickey taking over and reviving Sora instead of Game Over?
In Kingdom Hearts II, Ansem the Wise seemingly and heroically sacrificed himself to blow up Kingdom Hearts. In the secret epilogue of Birth By Sleep, set one year after the events of KH2, we learn that Ansem's sacrifice didn't kill him but rather left him stranded in the Realm of Darkness, waiting for Sora's next journey to open the door to the normal universe for him and Aqua...
In an interview with Nomura, he says that "there is no concept of death in Kingdom Hearts." If one's Heartless and one's Nobody is destroyed, then if the two halves meet in the Realm of Darkness, they become complete beings again. Which means that everyone in the KH universe gets a Disney Death. Even the villans. Yes, even Master Xehanort.
Sora is brutally incapacitated by Young Xehanort near the end of Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance] as a result of his heart behing destroyed by the latter so that his body would be used as a Xehanort clone. After his body is rescued by Lea in a Big Damn Heroes moment, he is healed by Riku, who went back into the Dream World and fixed his heart.
TRON 2.0 zig-zags this a few times. Mercury makes a Heroic Sacrificefighting off a horde of corrupted Programs in order to get Jet, Ma3a, and Byte to safety, and is de-rezzed by a hard drive reformat. She is later restored from back-up, but her personality is completely gone to the point where she doesn't even recognize Jet, aside from knowing her User wants to talk to him. It's only later, after Alan restores her code, that she truly returns. Also zig-zagged (to an extent) is Lora (who was killed off in this timeline). It's heavily implied that part of her mind still lives in Ma3a. It's given a aversion with Byte and I-No however.
Disney Deaths also sometimes come up in the company's TV shows as well. The Darkwing Duck episode "Dead Duck", in which Darkwing seemingly dies when he crashes through a brick wall, stretches this trope out to the whole episode's plot. It then turns out at the end that it was All Just a Dream.
Prior to that, there's the climax of the pilot, which is not only a Disney Death for Darkwing, but also, as later revealed in the second season, the episode's villain, Taurus Bulba.
There's also another moment fitting this trope in one episode where Negaduck blasts Darkwing with a ray that gives him superspeed, but at a cost: if he uses it, he ages dramatically, Darkwing temporarily cures himself by running backwards causing his aging to reverse, but Negaduck blasts him with the ray again and this time it causes him to age so much he apparently crumbles to dust. However, moments later Darkwing reappears alive and well; when Negaduck fired the ray again Darkwing simply sped out of the way then made his way over to a science lab to completely cure himself.
Near the end of the final episode of Teamo Supremo, the Gauntlet throws a statue on Teamo, seemingly crushing them, but then Crandall lifts up the statue a few seconds later.
She later seemingly gets blasted by a laser cannon in the Grand Finale, causing her archenemy to mourn her with these words:
Drakken: You were a worthy foe. You were indeed all that. Farewell, Kim Possible. Kim:[appearing behind him] Hello, Drakken.
Phineas and Ferb go through this after being stepped on by a giant boss monster based on Buford in the episode "Gaming the System". Since they were inside a video game at the time, they merely lost one of their extra lives.
In "Summer Belongs to You", their plane falls of a cliff while only Candace was out of it. She claims "How am I gonna explain this to mom?", but after some seconds they show up with the plane flying showing that they had survived.
Even actual historical figures are not immune to the Disney Death. Railman Casey Jones died in the massive railroad crash that made his name a legend. Yet somehow in Disney's animated version of the story, Casey managed to survive the crash.
Averted in the John Henry short.
In the episode "Future Tense" of television series Gargoyles, almost the entire cast is slain in a struggle against a deranged Lexington and his Xanatos program. The events are ultimately revealed to be part of an illusion cast upon the protagonist, Goliath, so he'd give Puck the Phoenix Gate, as the rules of The Fair Folk say Puck can't just take it.
Numerous other episodes in the series, including the season 3 finale "Hunter's Moon", showcase other seeming deaths (or near-deaths) of primary characters.
Timon & Pumbaa once got bitten by a bug that they read had poisonous venom that couldn't be cured, and so they spent the next 24 hours making the most of their last day (Pumbaa goes on a shopping spree and goes sky-diving, while Timon gives away his possessions). At the end, they end up not dying because it turned out the bug's venom has no effect on meerkats and warthogs.
There was an episode of Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers that had a fortune teller predict that Chip would have a trunk fall on him. They spend the episode trying to keep Chip away from a stuffed elephant head, but the trunk is actually a treasure chest. Everyone thinks Chip dies, but it turns out he took cover in a depression in the ground.
The other Rescue Rangers were also subject to this trope at various points throughout the series:
Shortly after he and Zipper met Chip and Dale, Monty was apparently drowned while trying to recover the trunk he lived in, which Fat Cat had jettisoned. Moments later, however, he resurfaced alive, though most of his possessions were lost.
In a later episode, Gadget became caught in a kite string and, while the other Rangers were trying to get her down, Monty suffered one of his trademark "cheese attacks". As a result, his friends were unable to keep hold of the kite, which crashed. On arriving at the crash scene, they found no sign of Gadget and, as a result, assumed she was dead. Filled with remorse, Monty vowed never to touch cheese again. However, Gadget was very much alive, having landed safely in a nearby tree.
Another episode saw Chip and Dale trying to outprank each other. However, this led to Dale (who had been tricked into thinking he could make himself invisible) being captured by Fat Cat's gang. When Dale was apparently killed during an attempt to rescue him, Chip lamented the loss of his friend with the words "if only I hadn't played that stupid joke." It turned out that Dale was safe inside a large oyster shell and he had, to quote the episode, "got Chip last".
Believe it or not, The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh has one. Long story short, Rabbit adopts a baby bird, as she cannot fly yet. Sometime later, he lets Tigger take her out for a walk, or rather, bounce, and she dares him to bounce up a tree. This tree happens to be on a cliff, and is unstable. It falls over with Tigger and Kessie still on it. Rabbit hears Kessie's cries for help and comes to help, asking Tigger to throw her up to him, catching her. Barely. She then falls from his grip. There's about half a minute between the next sound playing, which is her screaming for help, and Rabbit ready to jump to save her, Tigger then stops him, saying, remorsefully, "She's... She's gone." Owl catches her and brings her back to Rabbit.
Also, in the Piglet Movie, both Piglet and Pooh seemingly die when a rotten log they are on plummets down a giant waterfall. It later turns out they really had hidden inside a hollow part of the log that stayed attached to the land. (this is a bit similar to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade where Indy goes off the cliff in a tank)
XR from Buzz Lightyear of Star Command was intentionally created for purposes of the robotic version. He was designed to be virtually impossible to truly destroy so that he was utterly expendable. XR even stands for "eXpendable Ranger."
In the episode "Merit-Time Adventure" of DuckTales, a sea monster winds up eating a sailor at the very beginning, and later in the episode it makes off with Scrooge. Later on, it turns out that the "sea monster" is really a mechanical crane attached to a submarine, and that the sailor was actually a criminal who faked his death and used the "monster" to steal cargo and Scrooge was taken hostage when he started snooping too much. Thus this counts as a Disney Death for both of them.
Additionally, Gizmoduck receives this trope in the 5-part Super Ducktales. Scrooge, Launchpad, and Gizmoduck head onto a planet of robots to recover the Money Bin after they steal it for its metals. Gizmoduck has Scrooge and Launchpad escape while he fights the robots. As Scrooge looks back on the robotic planet and the whole thing explodes. Later on the robot's ship chases after Scrooge and Launchpad, but turns out it's actually piloted by a battered but still alive Gizmoduck with Money Bin successfully saved. The cause for the explosion was because he'd pressed all the buttons on his suit (which as shown earlier in the episode, results in a pretty crazy attack).
Speaking of Launchpad, in one episode he seemingly commits suicide by crashing his helicopter into a bridge when the Beagle Boys set him up to look like a criminal and had taken Doofus hostage to blackmail him into not revealing the truth. However, he had actually set it on the automatic pilot, as he wanted to fake his death so the Beagle Boys would assume he was dead and that way he could rescue Doofus on his own.
Aladdin: The Series did it with Jasmine once. A Humanity on Trial episode has the judging entity (responsible for sinking Atlantis!) rule that Agrabah must be destroyed. When Jasmine pushes a child out of the way of a falling chunk of building and is crushed herself, her sacrifice convinces the entity that Agrabah is worth sparing, and it reverses the damage... including un-squishing the princess. To Aladdin fans, the scene with Megara in Hercules seemed really familiar.
Happened in Gravity Falls when the Gideonbot exploded on the railway, seemingly killing the twins, but Mabel's grappeling hook saved them. It's also worth mentioning that Dipper previously said that it "literally hasn't helped [them] once."
A Fantastic Four episode has the Thing seemingly being killed in a brutal fight (or as Doctor Doom put it, an "athletic little Donnybrook") with the Hulk. He stays "dead" for a good couple of minutes, with nobody being able to get a pulse from him — later revealed to be due to his rocky exterior.
In Iron Man 1, Iron Man orders Pepper to overload the giant arc reactor, in order blast Iron Monger. Pepper exclaims that the blast could also kill him, but he tells her to try it, anyway. Iron Man gets knocked unconscious in the explosion, his chest arc reactor (which didn't have much power left to begin with) flickering on and off...then it stays on right before the scene change, after which Iron Man seems fully recovered.
In the episode "Ultron-5", Ultron appears to disintegrate The Mighty Thor during a battle, much to the shock of the other heroes. Actually, Amora the Enchantress teleported Thor to Asgard less then a second before Ultron's beam could hit him. The next episode has the remaining Avengers hold a small funeral and swear to avenge Thor, although he returns well before the episode's end.
Black Panther fakes his death in "Operation Galactic Storm", to prevent the Kree from destroying the sun.
Iron Man apparently exhausts his systems and life support in the climax of the film, and both Cap and and Thor lower their heads in honor of his sacrifice. However, a roar from the Hulk shocks old Shellhead awake.
As revealed in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Agent Coulson was out for all of eight (or 40, depending on who's telling the story) seconds after being run through by Loki, and Nick Fury faked his death and sent him on vacation in Tahiti. At least, that's the version he was told. In reality, it took an unspecified number of days and extensive brain surgery for him to come back, and as he had lost the will to live, the Tahiti memories were implanted, and they vaguely echo what really happened, except the context is completely changed.
In Iron Man 3, Pepper Potts apparently falls to her death when old Shellhead fails to catch her. Some time later, she shows up again to destroy the Mandarin, who Iron Man had already torched by destroying the Mark 42 suit with the Mandarin himself inside it.
In Thor: The Dark World, after the second or third largest Tear Jerker in a film only 112 minutes long Loki dies in Thor's arms,, but then reappears in the final scene incognito, presumably after some surreptitious usurping.
Colonel Nicholas J. Fury is shot by the Winter Soldier, and it's given out that he had died after a botched surgery (he's even seen in the hospital morgue with a sheet over him). After Agent Maria Hill intercepts a SWAT team commanded by Pierce and looses Cap and his allies, guess who turns out to be alive and well in the bunker to which Hill takes them? That's right. Oh, and the serum that was injected during said surgery? That was a drug apparently meant to simulate death for an unspecified amount of time.
In Guardians of the Galaxy, Groot shields the other Guardians to help them survive a crash landing onto Xandar. Rocket warns him that he won't survive, but he responds, "We are Groot", while refusing to let the shield down. Rocket salvages one of Groot's twigs after landing, which eventually grows into a new body for Groot. Rocket and Drax the Destroyer also get knocked out in a crash between the former's and Ronan's respective ships, but regain consciousness by the time the Guardians land on Xandar.
Done a few times with the droids in the original Star Wars trilogy, but perhaps the most memorable is when 3PO gets destroyed in The Empire Strikes Back after walking in on some Stormtroopers, and Chewbacca manages to get him functioning again and reassembles him offscreen much later.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Indy is on top of a tank that is sent flying over a cliff that no one could survive. Naturally everyone assumes Indy is dead, only to experience a touching moment when they realize he survived after all. Could be considered a parody/subversion since Indy seems more confused than touched since, at first, it looked to him like his comrades were mourning the Nazi Colonel who did go over the cliff.
In the Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 3 episode "Altar of Mortis", Ahsoka, who was possessed by the Son of Mortis, was killed after she gives him the Dagger of Mortis, but she doesn't remain dead, as she is brought back to life when the Daughter (who was stabbed by the Son when taking the stab intended for the Father) transfers her remaining life force into Ahsoka, using Anakin as medium.
Averted multiple times in Paperinik New Adventures, the series about a superhero version of Donald Duck (it was a big hit in Italy. Serious.) where a number of secondary characters AND a main one get killed fighting or sacrifice themselves for the greater good. But it's still a Disney comic after all, so whenever violence against intelligent enemies is depicted in the foreground it is slapstick and cartoonish.
Films — Animation
Disney itself isn't always stuck on this syndrome.
Bambi is a Disney movie that stayed more or less faithful to the books from which they were made, and dead does mean dead.
In the sequel The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, Kovu's brother, Nuka, is smashed with lots and lots of logs. Their mother, Zira, fell from the top of the dam that collapsed on her son and hit a raging river, where she is apparently drowned or slammed into something. But seeing as this movie is Romeo and Juliet with lions, someone had to die for real.
Disney's Tarzan. Not only does Clayton accidentally hang himself in the finale, when Kerchack is shot, he lives for just long enough to apologize, name Tarzan his successor, and call him "son". Plus Tarzan's real mom and dad and the Baby Gorilla. Both are offscreen deaths, but the latter REALLY is difficult to watch the reaction shots.
The seldom-seen Disney short John Henry stays true to the original legend by having the eponymous character work himself to death.
The short The Little Match Girl (Yes, thatLittle Match Girl), stays true to the original story by having the aforementioned match girl freeze to death. It's even more heart wrenching when you think they pulled off this trope, but it's the soul of her grandmother taking her with her.
In Treasure Planet, the kindly First Mate Captain Arrow gets killed-by a black hole.
The Jungle Book 2 hilariously subverts and averts it. It appears that Shere Khan falls into a pit of lava, but he actually lands on a small ledge, and it shows he's alive. Then the head of a statue lands on top of him. Moments later, his head pops out from an opening in it, showing he's still alive.
In Atlantis: The Lost Empire, there are three notable examples. The King of Atlantis dies a slow and painful death after Rourke punches him in the stomach (implied internal bleeding, probably coupled with his old age), which results in his daughter, Kida becoming queen. Then, during the battle in the volcano, Rourke is turned into a crystal monster version of himself (It Makes Sense in Context) and is crushed up in the propellers of the flying craft he's on. Helga looks like she played the trope straight, barely surviving a fall from a great height, but we never see her again and the ending says she died ("Well, we lost her when a flamin' zeppelin came down on her")
Toward the end of Pocahontas, Kocoum is shot by Thomas, and is never coming back.
Dinosaur: All the lemurs that didn't make it off the island during the meteor shower. Many dinosaurs are shown to have died from starvation during the course of the film. Kron dies when attacked by a Carnotaur and his Dragon Bruton makes a Heel-Face Turn earlier and sacrifices himself to save Aladar and co. from the Carnotaurs.
We get an interesting subversion in Wreck-It Ralph; the eponymous character attempts to sacrifice himself into a molten (cola) volcano that will erupt when he crashes all of the mentos stalactites into it, making the resulting geysers kill both the Cy-bugs and Big Bad Turbo, thus saving his friend Vanellope's game-world, Sugar Rush. However, as Vanellope is a glitch, she uses her glitch-warping abilities to save him instead.
In the Bridge to Terabithia adaption, it kept true to the source material. Leslie drowns, and doesn't come back.
In Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, the kids come across an ant they dub "Anty", and use him as a steed to get back to the house. When nightfall came, a scorpion attacks them, and Anty tries to fight it off, but gets fatally poisoned in the process, which makes the kids ward off the scorpion themselves.
Billy Bones in Muppet Treasure Island. His actor, Billy Connolly, is even proud of being the only one to die in a Muppet movie.
Artemus Bradford at the start of Inspector Gadget. His death sets the plot in motion as John Brown goes after the killers, gets blown up by a victory cigar bomb, and becomes Inspector Gadget, playing the trope straight twice in the course of the film (including once as a Robot Disney Death).
The eponymous character of Old Yeller dies, just like in the novel.
Anime & Manga
Hayao Miyazaki's Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind pulls this with Nausicäa herself, who dies being launched into the air by a stampede of monstrous insects.. before said insects realize she was trying to tell them she had safely returned their lost baby, began empathizing with her and healed her, inducing a trippy hallucination/resurrection scene in which Nausicäa manages to get back to life.
She dies in an attempt to stop a stampede of giant insects from killing off her people. The insects stop their stampede shortly afterward, and restore her to life by using their golden feelers.
She actually had a lot going against her. She was hit so hard she flew hundreds of feet in the air, and then hit the ground after falling back the same distance! Then she was trampled (not actually shown, but it's unlikely that EVERY ONE OF THEIR FEET MISSED HER, so the trampling can be assumed) by the giant "ohm" bugs. This all happened before they finally stopped their stampede. She was Deader than Dead but somehow the ohm's power revived her.
Mai-HiMEpulls off over a dozen Disney Deaths in one fell swoop.
At least the story worked up to that one. There are also roughly half a dozen spread throughout the series where the character just walks back into the room, resulting in a few surprised looks, but no explanations asked or given
In the manga, Takumi appears to die at one point, but it turns out that he is actually not dead, and is in fact, ascending as the Obsidian Lord. In the final battle, the Obsidian Lord tries to kill Mai, Natsuki and Yuuichi, after Mai turns on him, but they are saved by Mashiro, and Haruka, Yukino and Midori seemingly pull a Heroic Sacrifice, but later turn up alive, at a mock funeral Shizuru is holding for Haruka.
Basara Nekki actually DOES die near the end of Macross 7, but comes back to life through the Power of Rock because the Big Bad, in his words, "Needs to listen to my song!"
Possibly the cheapest example ever was from Witch Hunter Robin. About halfway through the series, an episode ended with a cliffhanger: all but two of the main characters were gunned down, on camera, by the bad guys. In the next episode, it is revealed that the "killers" were using nonlethal weapons, and the only consequence is that one guy is on crutches.
Naruto does this frequently, starting with Sasuke early on in the series; also during the "Retrieve Sasuke" arc, where several of Naruto's teammates each got a prolonged, heavily dramatized "death" scene from which they all eventually recovered and in Shippuden, where Gaara dies a drawn-out painful death, is dead for a while, and then is resurrected at the cost of the life of someone much older than him. Then later when Pain kills Shizune, Fukasaku, Kakashi, and an unknown number of villagers but brings them back in an act of Redemption Equals Death.
Another example is Hinata. Pain apparently stabbed her to provoke Naruto, seemingly killing her but she was shown as alive in the next chapter and survived her wounds with medical treatment from Sakura.
Dragon Ball (and its various sequels) is rather notable for this trope, probably even more so than Disney. This is done with General Blue, where he survived an underwater cavern collapsing on top of him, as well as survive even being launched all the way to Egypt before finally meeting his end at the hands of Mercenary Tao. Mercenary Tao had a similar fate to General Blue, as it was later revealed that he had survived Goku deflecting his grenade back at him, although he required extensive surgery to become a Cyborg as a result. The Trunks Saga also had Freeza being rebuilt as a cyborg, similar to Mercenary Tao, although unlike Tao, he ended up being killed for good after he resurfaced. The Cell Saga also had Android 18's survival (as Krillin noted when Cell regurgitated 18 that he thought she was a goner), as well as Cell's "revival" through Piccolo's Cells and Freeza's cells when he self destructs, killing off Goku, King Kai, Bubbles (and in the anime, Gregory) and implicitly Android 17. Majin Buu is blown to pieces repeatedly. Goku succumbed to this in the Piccolo Jr., Freeza, Majin Buu, Baby and Shadow Dragon sagas, where he's presumed dead prior to gaining the upper hand. It's also happened with Movie villains such as Broly and Cooler. That's not even counting revivals via the Dragon Balls.
If one counts video games, then General White certainly applies in Attack of the Saiyans where he was revealed to have both survived and attempted to create a new Red Ribbon Army.
Piccolo himself went through this trope twice, even without the Dragon Balls reviving him: During the Freeza Saga, he either took Freeza's Death Beam for Goku, or was the direct target of it, depending on the Anime or the Manga's depiction, and yet he survived the attack albeit wounded. Similarly, during the Cell Saga, while attempting to get Android 17 to flee and holding off the eponymous villain, he ended up being punched by Cell with enough force to knock him back and apparently break his neck, and then Cell fired a beam clean through Piccolo's torso at point blank range, and then hurling his body into the ocean. When Goku had to save Tenshinhan from being killed by Cell's Semi-Perfect form, he also sensed Piccolo's ki (the little of it he had left, anyways) and saved him as well.
Played for laughs in the Galaxy Angel anime, where more than once, characters are killed off and restored at least by the next episode; the first instance of this had the ditzy and gullible character in question honestly convinced that she was dead.
Neon Genesis Evangelion contains a subversion when Rei appears to die fighting the sixteenth Angel, but then turns up alive. It is later revealed that she did die, and was replaced by another clone. The fact that the members of the cast who don't know about this can't tell the difference is quite disturbing.
At the end, your guess is as good as ours. Everyong gets turned into Tang. How many of them later get better, or whether getting better is an option for those who got straight up killed in traditional ways before that, is left as an open question; there are only a couple of characters ( Shinji and Asuka) that we actually see afterward, and even with them it may be debatable. Seriously, kids, in the last few episodes Evangelion goes from being (reasonably) straightforward to being a colossal Mind Fuck.
Both Saber Marionette J and, more blatantly, Saber Marionette J Again appear to kill off characters in the finale only to have them show up in the last minutes, just fine, with no real explanation for how they survived.
Elfen Lied (sort of): in the last episode, Lucy apparently gets killed in a Bolivian Army Ending; however, if you sit through all the ending credits, you can see a silhouette standing in a doorway that looks a bit too much like Nyu.
The manga plays it straight with Bandou.
The nameless Agent also has one, she's surrounded by Diiclonii, and the view point shows a Gory Discretion Shot, but she shows up later, no worse for wear, because the ground had given way and she fell into an underground cavern
Nousou is a subversion, he embraces his diiclonius experiment, and then is crushed under a flaming helicopter, but it turned out she protected him, and the previously mentioned Agent, dug him out. when he releases a mind controlled device on the daughter, however, she decapitates him
There's also Nana getting dismembered by Lucy, with the end of the episode implying that she died. A few episodes later, though, she's back, and with a set of Artificial Limbs.
Watch Yu-Gi-Oh! and try to keep track of how many times Bakura is beaten and manages to come back somehow. Some of his revivals are justified - most are not.
Vandread's second season: Gascogne rams a Harvester in a Heroic Sacrifice and her ship explodes. The characters angst over it for a full episode, then move on. However, several episodes later, it's revealed Gascogne not only survived but took control of the damaged Harvester. She then... doesn't do anything particularly special for the last two episodes, which even removes the excuse of "we needed her/the Harvester to win the final battle". It did give Barnette an excuse to wear her skimpier outfit again, but that's incidental.
Ryoko apparently dies near the end of Tenchi Universe, succumbing to wounds caused by the villain Kagato an episode prior and more that she incurred while flying Tenchi to Kagato's palace for the final battle. She appears in the final episode near the end in front of Tenchi, who has been pining about life returning to normality. All the other characters are implied to have returned to Tenchi as well. Given that the final sequence is a replay of the opening sequence up to Ryoko's appearance, it may even be a reboot of reality.
Many characters are apparently killed in One Piece, only to reappear alive-but-in-bandages at the end of the arc, having mysteriously survived. An ongoing joke people say is that "nobody dies in One Piece unless it's in a flashback." The only characters who don't escape death are the family members of the main characters...
This trope is so prevalent in One Piece that when Ace did die, the chapter was titled "The Death of Portgaz D. Ace" as if to convince fans "we're serious this time, guys."
Said unspecified kickass power (flight, more or less) was apparently just a feature of the intact "Temple of the Sea," as the whole cast is shown zipping 'round the Temple afterwards.
In the 8th movie, Pokémon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew the humans, namely Ash, May, Max, Brock, Team Rocket, and Kidd Summers all get eaten by the giant tree's immune system. Then Mew tells the tree they're not enemies and the tree regurgitates them.
Mitsumi and Hareta have this happen to them in Pokémon: Diamond and Pearl Adventure, since they're trapped inside a falling building. Luckily one of their friends comes in and saves them. The former's Disney Death was a suicidal version of Redemption Equals Death, since she wanted to stay inside the building.
In Last Exile, during an assault to capture the Guild's Claudia Units, which keep Anatoray and Disith's airships aloft, a character is shot and fatally wounded, and his ally/love interest's reaction is deliberately portrayed to mean that he has died (including a gut-wrenching scream.) Two episodes later, during the epilogue, he shows up perfectly fine, and playing with the love interest's younger sibling, with no explanation whatsoever.
An example being Byakuya Kuchiki suffering a major defeat from Sternritter F, As Nodt, believed to be dead until the members of the Zero Division took him to the Royal Palace and he came back in perfect condition with an upgrade in power.
Has this in the episode with the Peachman. Inu-Yasha (while he is a regular human) and the Peachman are sent over a cliff. Seeing no sign of his body, his companions think that the Peachman must have flattened him. Inu-Yasha wakes up, having landed in a nearby tree, and he wakes up just as Kagome starts shouting how stupid he was (for dying).
The Band of Seven arc contains several of these moments as well. Early on, in one episode Kagome, Miroku, and Sango are all poisoned by one of the Seven and the three are in a coma for several episodes. Then it appears that they've all died and Inuyasha and Shippo spend the first half of the following episode mourning them. However, then it turns out they were all saved by Myoga the flea sucking the poison out of their blood. Later on, Inuyasha seemingly sacrifices himself fighting Renkotsu, and as Kagome grieves, he turns up still alive and well. The very end of the story culminates with Kikyo apparently being killed by Naraku, but she turned out to still be alive much later.
Most seasons of Digimon, except the Darker and Edgier third season do this with the Digimon, who don't die, they just get "reconfigured" and eventually re-incarnate. Although it's implied that most of the time, they forget most or all of the previous lives, although this doesn't happen to the important good guys. In the third season, Digimon DO die, including several important good guys, and they don't come back.
There's also Wizardmon who dies in season 1. He appears as a ghost later, but doesn't actually come back to life.
Subverted in the fifth season. When Digimon are destroyed, they revert to Digi-eggs, but the show's Big Bad develops a way to destroy the resulting eggs with the Digimon, killing them permanently. Cue Digi-genocide.
There's also one more: after Masaru goes berserk and evolves ShineGreymon into Ruin Mode, Agumon reverts back into an egg. Masaru is told that although he is still alive, Agumon will have no recollection of him once he is reborn due to the misuse of the Burst Mode. However, once he hatches, he has no memory lapses whatsoever. Cue ass kicking new evolution.
In Sonic X, the Robot Disney Death is applied to Dr. Robotnik Eggman's Mecha-Mooks Decoe and Bocoe in Episode 48. Somehow, 4Kids manages to Bowdlerize this into a plain Disney Death by removing the scene where the other characters are mourning them and saying that they "pulled themselves back together" rather than being repaired by Chuck Thorndyke.
In Kanon, both the 2002 and 2006 versions Yuichi remembers near the end of the series that Ayu fell off a high tree and presumably died seven years ago. However, by the very last scene of both versions, Ayu is shown to be alive after coming out of her coma, though the 2006 version ends with her in a wheelchair while she recovers.
Makoto doesn't come back, although there's a suspiciously familiar fox in the background of the last shot.
In CLANNAD, Nagisa actually dies, but by virtue of Ushio and the Light Orbs, Tomoya is sent back in time and prevents this.
In Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny, Kira Yamato gets stabbed through the cockpit of his Mobile Suit by Shinn Asuka. The Mobile Suit is more or less completely destroyed, but he survives, as he supposedly managed to turn off the Nuclear reactor that powered Freedom at the last minute.
Several times in Code Geass R2. The show seems to be a series where Anyone Can Die, which does tend to happen, but a few others get what looks like a death scene and may somehow turn up fine episodes later, at most with a couple of bandages.
In the final episode of Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water, the lead character, Jean, falls to his death on account of Gargoyle. After initially grieving over him, Nadia realizes she can revive him if she uses both her Blue Water and Nemo's... and that's just what she does.
In that same episode, Nemo sacrifices himself to ensure everyone's escape. (This is actually a subversion.)
In the Zatch Bell! manga, Kiyomaro honest to goodness dies. But he is revived by the juice of Faudo, which seems to have that effect on people, and takes a level in badass, gaining Answer Talker eyes and a crapload of new spells.
Another sort of example occurs in an earlier arc when Ryōga is throttled to death by a super-strong Giant Mook and is so depressed by what he sees in the afterlife he musters up the Heroic Resolve to come back to life.
In Fullmetal Alchemist, this is both proven and subverted. Practically over and over. First, Envy stabs Ed through the stomach, killing him in a delightfully bloody and dramatic manner. Afterward, Alphonse, being the Philosopher's Stone, sacrifices himself to pull Ed's soul back from the Gate and let him live. To fill the role of Heroic Sacrifice as he is required, Ed sacrifices himself to bring back Al, complete with his human body (instead of the armor), and Ed goes to live on the other side of the Gate (a.k.a. our world). They both end up living in the end—even when you swear they're both dead.
23 episodes later, Westar and Souler push Cures Berry and Passion away from an incoming black hole before being sucked into it themselves. Then they come back two episodes later and... you probably know where this is going.
A similar situation happens in Splash Star, with the Kiryuu sisters, Michiru and Kaoru.
In Heart Catch Pretty Cure episode 33, Cologne is killed by Sabaku's projectile to prevent Cure Moonlight from dying like in the first episode, when she was killed by Dark Cure's Dark Forte Wave. Her last words were "Fairies, go search for my replacement!"
Araruu's death in battle in Utawarerumono was so dramatic that it awakened a dormant super power in the amnesiac hero, which served as a Deus ex Machina that allowed him to triumph against overwhelming odds. A lot of blood was lost by the little girl. Too much. She even went limp. Some confusing stuff happens and she is soon back to normal again without a scratch and no emotional traumas or scars from the incident.
Actually, he is the Deus ex Machina. Or rather the vessel of half of a god. In the beginning, before the game begins, Aruruu is mortally wounded by an earthquake and is saved by Witsuarunemitea after Eruruu pledges herself to him, so this was not unprecedented.
In Darker Than Black, Mao's mind seems to "die" without being connected to whatever kept him from reverting to the mind of a real cat. In the second season however, it's revealed that his mind was kept... In storage, or something like it, and now he's in the body of a flying squirrel.
Katekyo Hitman Reborn! does this in the very first chapter where protagonist Tsuna is told to "go die" by Reborn and then shot in the head. Tsuna lies motionless in the street for a page, then gets up again, full of energy and resolve. Only then do we learn that he was shot with a special "dying will bullet" which kills and instantly resurrects the victim, and in the process transforms the victim's final regrets into tremendous strength of will.
Played more straight elsewhere; many battles throughout the series end with someone lying on the ground, presumably dead. They almost always end up spending several chapters in the hospital before making a full recovery. This is usually what happens to the winner of the battle...
The robotic variant is rarely used in Astro Boy — generally, dead is dead, even for robots — but it does crop up occasionally. In one episode of the 80s anime, three abandoned robots are instrumental in saving a space station in distress... but use all their remaining power and shut down. Since they're still intact, though, they're powered back up and fine by the end of the episode. In one storyline, Astro himself dies... but comes back — although, in something of a subversion, it's not easy, nor is he "good as new".
Towards the end of season 2 of Kyo Kara Maoh, Wolfram has the key in his heart ripped out by Shinou. His heart stops, as it can't function without the key, and he dies. BUT, OH WAIT, WHAT'S THIS? The moment the key returns to his heart, he is magically alive and kicking again, as if nothing ever happened.
Tokyo Mew Mew. Remember... the anime where everyone died at the end? The manga did the same as well. That Mew Aqua is some powerful stuff...
In Eureka Seven, Holland's LFO got split into half and exploded at the hands of Anemone in episode 42, but later turned up still alive and didn't suffer any form of injury at all. In the final episode, Eureka was presumed dead by everyone, including Renton. However, Anemone told everyone that Eureka was still alive, which gave Renton hope of saving her.
In the final manga volume of Great Teacher Onizuka, Onizuka was presumed dead in the hospital bed when his heart stopped beating. However, he later miraculously recovered and able to ride a bike to save the principal of his school from a fire.
In Angel Beats!, Yuri is assimilated by the shadows. Unlike Takamatsu, though, she barely escapes with her soul.
The series practically defines this trope, since anytime someone dies, they come back to life a few hours later.
Kara no Kyoukai, seventh movie: both Mikiya and Shiki. Mikiya's Disney Death (though Shiki and us did not know it was the case at the time) finally goads Shiki into killing Lio for vengeance, but she then lays down to die after losing Mikiya (and a large quantity of blood). We then see Mikiya still alive, limping, and then crawling his way to Shiki, and find out that he arrived just in time.
Mawaru-Penguindrum loved this trope, the most notable example being Himari, who died at least 3 times but was brought back each time and ultimately lived in the end. Masako also died twice only to be brought back both times, and Kanba was severely injured by bullets in episode 21, but was okay with a few bandages by episode 22.
In Tiger & Bunny, this happens to Kotetsu at the end of episode 24 when he holds the RN-1 in place so Barnaby can blast it with a laser rifle and fails to duck in time. The resulting scene has it all: Please Don't Leave Me from Barnaby, Pietŕ Plagiarism, and final words from Kotetsu while the rest of the heroes look on sadly. In fact, he still seems dead for a significant amount of time into episode 25—until Maverick takes Kaede hostage.
Near the end of the "Fate" route of Fate/stay night, Kotomine attacks the house and leaves Rin Tohsaka seemingly fatally wounded. However, after the final battle, she returns to Shiro, completely unharmed days later.
At the very end of Fist of the North Star, where for the most part, Anyone Can Die, Bat has seemingly died after being put through utter hell by Bolge and managing to take him down after a final titanic battle alongside Kenshiro, and poor Lin is heartbroken. But Kenshiro, who has saved him and Lin time and again throughout the manga, isn't going to leave the two without a parting gift — it turns out that he saved Bat's life by pressing his vital points.
A story arc at the end of the first Mahou Sensei Negima! anime centers on Asuna undergoing this. It takes the efforts of Negi and her classmates (particularly Lingshen Chao), including a bit of time travel, to bring her back.
A few installments have had the titular thief seemingly get killed, only to later turn up alive and well. In Missed by a Dollar for example, Lupin is apparently shot and dropped off a plane, and is actually absent for a good chunk of it while Jigen, Goemon, and Fujiko attempt to work together in Lupin's memory. Then later on Lupin shows up to bail them out of trouble.
Zenigata has also gotten this on occasion.
In Island of Assassins, he's shot up, and declared dead upon flatlining... only to come back at the mere mention of Lupin's name.
In The Last Job, he gets killed onscreen... or so it seems. Many scenes after his interment, he digs himself out of his own grave, Asuka Kagurazaka having done something that allowed him to simulate death for a short time.
In Trigun: Badlands Rumble, late into the movie Vash is shot and apparently drowns in quicksand. Vash is actually MIA for a good ten minutes, Wolfwood and Amelia team up to confront Gasback, and Wolfwood even starts wearing Vash's trademark sunglasses in tribute to him. Then Vash naturally shows up for a Big Damn Heroes moment. Of course, given how this takes placed in the middle of the TV series everyone knew he would show up sooner or later.
Sailor Moon as a whole seems to love this trope; in the original anime (including one of the movies), Sailor Moon herself has made no less than three round trips through Death's revolving door.
In "Fairy Tail", chapter 334, Gray is hit by a laser while saving a comrade, but is later resurrected when Ultear turns back time one minute, making it so he never died.
There is a very long list of people in the "The DCU" who have been revived by the Lazarus Pit. The Lazarus Pit, discovered by Ra's al Ghul, can revive people on deaths door, or full on bring the dead back to life. Unfortunately, one of the side affects of using the Lazarus Pit is losing your mind. Those who have been resurrected or healed from fatal injuries include Ra's al Ghul, Jason Todd, the second Black Canary, Cassandra Cain, Lady Shiva, Bane, Isis, the wife of the Black Adam, and more.
Inner Demons: Rarity is seemingly killed by Trixie during the Battle of Fillydelphia, but it turns out she was just rendered comatose. The author denies that this was a reaction to the Internet Backdraft that resulted from the apparent death, and claims that this was always the plan.
The eponymous robot in The Iron Giant is shown reassembling himself after a Heroic Sacrifice against an incoming nuclear missile. (A rare example of a good Robot Disney Death, meaning both that it is very satisfying to the audience and that it was set up properly — the Giant's self-repair ability was demonstrated earlier in the film.)
Titan A.E.hung a lampshade on this when the character Gune was "killed" by an explosion and claimed, as he passed out, that he "Must have nap...". Later he returned and saved the day proclaiming, "I finished my nap!"
In The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, SpongeBob and Patrick are dried up to death in the Shell City gift shop and then revived a minute later when their tears short out an electrical outlet and activate the sprinkler system.
In Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, after the explosion of their helicopter, Kadaj throws to Rufus the bloodstained ID badges of Tseng and Elena. Later, they catch him in a net after he jumps off a building, thus averting his death as well.
To be fair, Vincent mentions that he found them horribly tortured and healed them the best he could, even if he didn't know it was enough.
Also, Cloud, shot by Loz at the climax of the movie.
From the dialogue between Reno and Rude before they set off a bomb in order to kill Loz and Yazoo, it makes it sound like they aren't going to be coming out of this one alive. But yet all four of them seem to survive the blast, Reno and Rude are seen at the end with the rest of the Turks, whilst Loz and Yazoo go off to get Cloud. The latter pair however, don't survive Aerith's Great Gospel/Lifestream Water/Magical Rain.
And then there's Rufus, who turns up alive in the movie after being last seen in the game getting blown up real good. Particularly irritating is that Cloud rather rudely shuts up his explanation of how he survived, the one piece of exposition in the film that fans of the game were actually interested in.
Played with in the Spanish animated film Nocturna. The Cat Shepard appears to die after fending off the evil shadow, and Tim accepts his death by saying he'll always live on in his heart. Right before the end of the movie, we see a herd of cats run by, with the Cat Shepard's familiar legs and gait among them. Tim doesn't, though.
An alternate version of Rock and Rule has Zip survive his self-sacrifice to save Omar from the demon.
The Disney-esque film Once Upon a Forest has one of these near the end, where the characters and the audience believe for a moment that Michelle has succumbed to her chlorine gas-induced sickness. A teardrop from her uncle revives her.
His aunt accidentally steps on him and crushes him, the family goes "GASP!"... no, wait, that was a decoy fish, the real Fly is fine.
At the end of Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland, Nemo takes a rather big fall while defeating the Nightmare King, and dies. Or, not. This was meant to be the culmination of a plot point where it was possible Nemo could die after using the royal scepter to defeat the Nightmare King because of it being too much power for his body to handle, but since scenes pertaining to that were edited from the VHS due to Never Say "Die", it made this feel much more out of place.
This happens twice to the heroine of The Swan Princess films. The first film has her saved by a declaration of love from her prince. The third has her vaporized by a bolt of black magic. When her now-husband prince burns the copy of the spell that summoned it so that its powers can never be used again, she materializes from the resultant flames. Also, Jean-Bob is knocked out at the climax of II and brought back as a side effect of the spell that turns Odette into a swan and back.
The first film also averted this trope rather surprisingly: after a very long opening number which establishes the relationships between all of the major players (not only the love/hate relationship of Odette and Derek, but the extremely close friendship of King William and Queen Uberta), King William is abruptly killed. This seems to have no repercussions on any of the other characters.
In the 1999 animated version of The King and I, this happens to the King after his hot air balloon goes down. If you're asking what a hot air balloon has to do with The King and I, you obviously haven't seen a film that takes They Just Didn't Care and the Animation Age Ghetto to a whole new level.
Astro in the 2009 Astro Boy film — twice! The first time, Dr. Tenma removes his Blue Core, but has a change of heart in time to revive him, acknowledge him as his son, and allow him to escape at Tenma's own risk. The second time, Astro pulls a Heroic Sacrifice to defeat Peacekeeper, only to be revived by Zog.
How to Train Your Dragon has one near the end. After the final battle, the other vikings look for Hiccup, but the only one who can be found is Toothless. That combined with the dragon's forlorn look is taken as a Very Bad Sign. But then Toothless reveals he's been shielding Hiccup with his wings, but the tension remains until Stoick checks for a heartbeat. And finds one. However, Hiccup does leave the film's climax minus the lower half of his leg.
Heather the possum, in Over the Hedge, who gets kicked against a wall by antagonist Gladys Sharp and appears to be killed upon impact, much to the horror of her father the twist being that she's a possum, and is merely faking.
There's a very brief one in 9 After defeating the BRAIN, 9 tries to run away as the machine breaks down, and is nearly crushed. At some point it really does look like he got killed, but he wakes up about two seconds later.
Played with in Megamind. Minion's water-helmet shatters in the final fight, and afterwards he appears to be dying. He and Megamind share a few words, and Minion... puts on an overdramatic display of dying. At which point Megamind casually tosses him in the fountain, where he laughs and says he feels much better. "What a drama queen!"
This trope is used in Rise of the Guardians when the Sandman dies but is later resurrected during the climatic battle.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs has this at the end of the movie. Everyone thinks Flint died from stopping the machine, but a few moments later, he's carried down by his Ratbirds, looking no worse for wear too.
Insectosaurus, the giant insect in Monsters vs. Aliens, looks dead when blasted by an alien spaceship and wrapped lifeless and unmoving in a cocoon. But he was simply metamorphising into a butterfly, and later comes Back from the Dead just in time to be used as a Deus ex Machina to save the day.
G.I. Joe: The Movie. The character in question: Duke, by impaling. In fact, he actually was supposed to die (and they were even planning to drop him from the available toy line to go with it). But after seeing how heartbroken all the kids were about Optimus Prime's death in Transformers: The Movie, they added in a last-minute line stating that Duke simply went into a coma.
The Rugrats Movie plays with this. Spike sends himself and a wolf into a river at the film's climax. Moments later, Stu shows up to rescue the kids, who mistake him for a wizard and ask to bring Spike back to life. Spike walks over soon after.
In Ed, Edd n Eddy's Big Picture Show, the trope was deconstructed. Both Ed and Eddy appeared to be sinking in quicksand, but it was only just mud that happened to looked like quicksand, and it was one of the many jokes they pulled after they went to the gag factory. This ticks off Edd, and almost left the other two to faced the consequences over the Noodle Incident that led to the events of the movie. This made Eddy realize how serious the situation actually was, and that he probably had gone too far.
In Don Bluth's Anastasia, Dmitri is hit in the head with a stone in the climax and appears to have died from the blow. But he's okay — he was just knocked out.
In another triumph for Don Bluth, Petrie does this in The Land Before Time, getting seemingly devoured by Sharptooth just before drowning
Also thanks to a good Deus ex Machina, this is what becomes of Mrs. Brisby's family in Bluth's The Secret of NIMH when her cinderblock house falls and sinks into the mud... before the jewel glows and restores everything back to normal.
In the final fight sequence of the Golddigger animated film, Brittany is roasted by the dragon Dreadwing. As Gina sobs over her presumably-fallen sister, Brittany groans and sits up.
In Chicken Run, Ginger gets a rather brief one in the climactic escape scene.
It happens to two of the characters in The Legend of the Titanic, one with an electrocuted mouse and another one with an octopus, who didn't move out of the way from under the ship after he couldn't hold it up any longer.
Some villagers from The Return of Hanuman, including Minku's father and Maruti's father, were thrown into a volcano by the village gangsters. By the end of the movie, Maruti turned into Superhero Hanuman and released all of the victims after he defeated a monster formed out of the volcano.
Nigel from Rio... sort of... Even though he's a villain, he is SUCKED INTO A PROPELLER OF A FREAKING PLANE, showing feathers flying out, too, and is thought to be dead until the ending, where he is stripped of his feathers on the forest floor, and Mauro (the Monkeys' leader) takes embarrassing pictures of him naked, leading into the credits.
This happens in Shrek: The Final Chapter. At the end of the movie Shrek fades out of existence, as he gave up the day of his birth to Rumple Stillkin in exchange for a day to live his life the way he wanted to as an ogre. But he gets one last chance to tell Fiona how much she means to him before he dies. They exchange one last kiss and Shrek disappears... only for the entire reality that Stillkin had created to fade out of existence as well. As it turns out, the contract was to be made null and void if Fiona and Shrek exchanged a lovers' kiss; if Fiona had fallen in love with Shrek in the alternate universe, then the contract ends and the universe with it. Shrek is returned to his original universe, with his friends and family surrounding him at his children's birthday party. Shrek gets his happily ever after.
Also used in the 2nd film with King Harold. He takes a magical blast from the Fairy Godmother to protect Shrek and Fiona, and after her defeat he's notably vanished making it seem like it killed him. But it turns out he's actually reverted back into his true form of a frog.
Which seems a little pointless in hindsight, since the third film kills him anyway.
In Puss in Boots, When Puss is trying to save his friend Humpty, the Golden Goose and the goose's mother, Puss is holding on to Humpty by only a thin rope on a broken bridge, while the Golden Goose is dangling above the distant ground with its mother, close to falling to their death. Humpty sacrifices himself to save the Golden Goose, its mother, and the town, while Humpty supposedly fell to death and cracked open. However, in the credits, it is revealed he came out alright.
The Jonny QuestTV movieJonny Quest vs. the Cyber Insects has a particularly silly example. During a space battle caused by Jonny recklessly charging into the midst of some enemy fighters, an exploding control panel somehow injures Race in such a way that his heart stops beating. Not even two scenes later, Race inexplicably revives with no ill effects. The scene does serve a narrative purpose though - it's a rather sobering moment for Jonny, who blames himself, and after this is when he starts acting like less of a selfish, impulsive Jerk Ass.
Happens to both of the main characters in BIONICLE: Mask of Light: first, Jaller sacrifices himself to save his partner Takua, allowing him to don the titular Mask of Power and become Takanuva. Then, Takanuva merges with Makuta and sacrifices part of their life-force to bring Jaller back, but at the cost of the fusion breaking up and him disappearing. Takanuva is brought back by the other characters through a sort of ritual conducted over a weird gizmo built into the floor — it's confusing, and never explained. The Novelization rewrites the scene by having Takanuva walk out of the split fusion alive.
At the end of The Curse of the Were-Rabbit the were-rabbit (Wallace) appears to die after a nasty fall from the top of a building. Gromit is able to bring him around with a hunk of Stinking Bishop cheese.
In The Boxtrolls, it seems that Snatcher was successful in crushing the boxtrolls to death, but it turns out they escaped in the middle of Eggs' speech, and they return in time to save the day.
D.A.R.Y.L. features a classic Robot Disney Death as part of its climax/denouement.
In Lethal Weapon 2, a Smug Snake diplomat shoots the Mel Gibson character, who falls into a pit. In response, the Danny Glover character shoots the diplomat. Then he goes down into the pit to check on Mel Gibson. And guess what? He's fine! Well, mostly fine, anyway.
Doc's survival of the Libyan terrorists in Back to the Future could certainly qualify (though it is one of the more clever examples).
Ted appears to get run through by a sword in medieval England in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, causing Bill to mourn him ("Ted, don't be dead, dude!"). But it turns out Ted fell out of the armor just when he hit the ground; the armor got stabbed, not him. (Never mind the fact that he was completely strapped into this complex outfit.) It's also a Forgone Conclusion, due to the fact that Ted's future self had been seen alive and well earlier.
At the end of A Fish Called Wanda, Otto is run over by a steam roller but manages to survive for one final gag.
Superman Returns. When Superman was stomped to death by Lex Luthor on his Kryptonite island, he was on the verge of death, but eventually he sprang back to life.
In the novel version, he deliberately feigned death after the impaling in order to give himself the chance of a surprise attack.
One of the most mind-boggling examples is in Hudson Hawk, when a friend of the Bruce Willis character, who seems to have died in a car fire shortly before, shows up again and explains, "The sprinkler system turned on!" This in spite of the fact that the car careened off of a cliff and exploded upon impact with the ground (but it is a parody/comedy).
Since the line immediately following is, "yeah! I bet that's what happened!" its mind-boggling improbability can be chalked up to the Rule of Funny.
In Broken Lizard's Club Dread, Sam appears to have drowned in mud, but turns out to be not only alive, but also the actual killer.
In a particularly pointless version that removes the very last bit of pathos from the film, Snails in The Movie of Dungeons & Dragons. Especially egregious is that this ending was apparently at the behest of focus groups, who didn't like the original graveside ending where Snails is still clearly dead. The original scene was the closest thing to respectable dignity the movie could manage, but even that got stripped away.
In Jurassic Park III, Alan Grant's assistant Billy redeems himself for putting them all in danger by stealing raptors eggs by making a Heroic Sacrifice to save the Kid Sidekick from pteradons and is last seen being pecked to death by a number of them. Except about half an hour of screen time later, when the survivors are picked up by a rescue chopper, they inexplicably find him already onboard, with noticeable but apparently not life-threatening injuries.
Reading between the lines a little, turns out he's actually an angel (one of the Maiar), which leads to the mental image of him showing up in "Heaven" to receive a response along the lines of "Oh, hey, long time no see, but don't you have something you're supposed to be doing? Better get back to it, hmm?" Sauron is also a Maiar, albeit a fallen one, and he'd actually died once (twice?) already by that point. Didn't stop him.
In The Two Towers, Frodo appears to fall to his death, but we are immediately shown that he only fell a couple of feet into the fog.
Also in The Two Towers, Aragorn is seen to fall over a multi-hundred foot cliff and all the characters mourn, but it turns out he's completely uninjured, besides a little dizziness and some scrapes.
In The Return of the King, Faramir is grievously wounded in battle and would've been killed with fire, albeit accidentally, in his insane father's suicide attempt had Gandalf and Pippin not shown up. After Pippin pushes him off his funeral pyre, he regains consciousness.
The main character's son in the Spielberg version of The War of the Worlds; about halfway through the movie, he leaves his father and runs into a battlefield which is then obliterated in a fiery Martian burst of death from which nothing can survive; at the climax, however, he shows up at his mother's house in Boston without so much as a scratch. Granted, we never actually saw a body, but it's still pretty cheesy and something of a cheat.
Subverted/justified in Groundhog Day. Phil Connors is finally driven to commit suicide to escape from living the same day seemingly for eternity. He kidnaps the local groundhog and drives a truck off a cliff. Phil's cameraman says he might be okay, but then the truck blows up. The next thing Phil knows, it's morning again; not even his death can stop the time loop. Cue montage of him killing himself in every way possible.
In A Night on the Town/Adventures in Babysitting, a character gets a knife thrown at his foot. He's rushed to the doctor, the doctor administers the solitary necessary stitch. He then gets told that while he was administering this tiny stitch to a tiny wound a man with a stab wound just died. He then meets the plucky bunch of kids in the hall, who want to know what happened to their friend with the stab wound. He tells them he died, they go into a fit of mourning, he walks into the corridor asking everyone what they're crying about, "Don't you ever die on me again!", etc.
The movie Short Circuit subtly lampshades, then utterly subverts the Robot Disney Death version of the trope. The SAINT-model robot that NOVA Robotics destroyed (and cannibalized) at the end of the movie was a mindless, remote-control replica which the real Number Five was controlling from the safety of the supply van. This, after showing how said van was completely equipped with enough spare parts to build a whole new robot from the ground up, Number Five's expertise at reassembling himself and rewiring his own circuits, as well as him playing with the TV using his remote-control transmitter.
On the other hand, in the sequel so cleverly named Short Circuit 2, Number Five (who in this move insisted on being called Johnny Five) seemed to die after running out of both his main power and backup power just after capturing the jewel thief who ordered him to be destroyed in the first place. He is brought back to life by Magical Defibrillators which were used to "recharge" his batteries, and also gave the human actors a chance to do some of the best soap opera acting this side of General Hospital.
Subverted amusingly in the movie Little Big Man. Cheyenne chief Old Lodge Skins, Jack's blind mentor, has finally grown tired of life. He and Jack ascend a hill where Old Lodge Skins prays for his death and lies down with his eyes closed. It then begins raining. Old Lodge Skin blinks, then sighs. "Sometimes the magic works. Sometimes it doesn't." and they both go back to their village.
The heroine of Whale Rider nearly drowns in the climax (and her narration informs us she "was not afraid to die", since she's rescued the pod), but she is found and recovers in the hospital.
See also the climax of the infamous ripoff Mac and Me. Not only do Mac and his family seem to perish in an explosion when they get into a shootout with the police, but their young human friend Eric dies as well, as the kid was near the explosion. The filmmakers work hard to jerk the tears here, culminating in his mom arriving on the awful scene by helicopter (she'd been searching for him). But the aliens emerge from the flames unharmed, and use their powers to revive him.
Toward the end of Crocodile Dundee II the hero appears to have been fallen off a cliff, but we later discover that he and the villain had switched clothes. The characters figure it out before the reveal.
In the Get Smart movie, Max appears to be killed when he is dragged behind a car that crashes into a train. It lasts long enough for a grief-stricken 99 to admit that she loves him before he appears behind her, battered but alive. But what about the train? "Missed it bythatmuch."
Rent. In both the musical and the movie, Mimi apparently dies at the end after living on the streets for a long time, but after Roger uses the Power of Love/the Power of Rock, she suddenly comes back to life again, her fever broken and not delirious anymore. Subverted with Angel's actual death. In the opera La Bohčme, which Rent was based on, Mimi actually did die from tuberculosis, although Schaunard/Angel did not die at all.
In The Boat That Rocked, Phillip Seymour Hoffman's character nobly sacrifices himself and goes down with the ship, broadcasting to the end. As the other characters are saved and jubilant, they take a moment to remember him, just as he splutters to the surface decidedly undrowned.
The Mummy: Oded Fehr pulls a You Shall Not Pass on an army of mummies. Cut to the end and he's alive somehow note He was originally scripted to die, but the filmmakers liked him so much that they wanted to keep him alive for the sequel, which was easy to get away with since his fate was shown off-screen.
Danny from Hot Fuzz gets shot and is caught in an explosion. The movie tries to make you think he's dead, but it's really his mother's grave.
Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen: When one of the Twins is sucked up by Devestator, all the other characters are sad. However, moments later, he fights his way through Devestator's head.
Also happens with the main character near the end, who has a dream vision of the original Primes before being miraculously brought back. Lampooned upon in Kirbopher's Revenge of the Lollin where a solider says "he's dead," cutting to a few Primes on a cliff stating "And now he isn't!"
Prime gets his own Robot Disney Death too, as did Megatron in the first movie.
In Dark of the Moon, the Autobots were believed to have killed by Starscream under Dylan Gould's orders when the Xanthium was destroyed during launch. However, it turns out they faked their deaths (hiding themselves in the booster section instead of the Xanthium itself) in order to have humanity realize that the Decepticons aren't true to their words, and then pulled a Big Damn Heroes moment in Chicago to reveal their survival.
In End Of Watch, Taylor is shot in the chest and falls unconscious as his partner, Zeke, stays at his side, before the villains catch up and shoot Zeke fatally, leaving both protagonists lifeless in the alley as the calvary arrives. The next scene shows an injured Taylor at Zeke's funeral.
Die Hard has this. Karl had been hanged by a chain. He comes back at the end and is shot to death by John McClane's cop friend.
This happens may times in the Friday the 13th movies. Jason Voorhees just keeps coming back. Even when he's supposedly incinerated by the time Part IV is over, it's revealed at the start of Part VI that his (still-living, surprisingly enough) father went out of his way to pay for him to be properly buried. Tommy, already driven crazy by Jason trying to enter his mind from beyond the grave (to the point of almost becoming the his replacement in Part V), exhumes him to finish the job, but lightning strikes before he can torch him, and Jason is back yet again.
In 1934's The Scarlet Pimpernel Sir Percy Blakeney steps out in front of a firing squad, and we hear the "Ready! Present muskets! Fire!" and the report of the muskets. Then Sir Percy comes in for his hat.
In 2010's The Expendables (featuring a bevy of action stars from the 80s and 90s), Gunner is apparently killed by boss-man Barney who is forced to Shoot the Dog when Gunner goes homicidally berzerk in a drug-induced homicidal rampage after he went rogue due to resentment at being ejected from the team due to his continued drug habit. Cue implied Cradling Your Kill as Gunner whispers his dying message to Barney in exchange for a decent burial in an apparent Death Equals Redemption. In the epilogue, he is miraculously still alive and back to normal in a happy reunion with the rest of the team, a fact which is even lampshaded by Barney commenting on it, with Gunner replying that he's thankful that he was still spared by his friend despite everything that happened.
In The Philadelphia Experiment, the protagonist David Herzeg dives back into the time vortex after breaking the mechanism that was keeping a 1943 Navy destroyer and a 1984 Midwest town suspended in hyperspace. After the vortex collapses, Allison is wandering through the freshly restored town in 1984 when David appears out of nowhere, having not only survived but magically returned to his Love Interest.
Marv and Hartigan both get these in Sin City where the characters suffer a dramatic wound and the screen goes black for a few seconds. We then cut to them surviving in one way or another.
While picking up the defeated Commando Elite in his yard in Small Soldiers, Alan sees an inanimate Archer. He starts to repeat himself and Alan thinks his chip was fried, but Archer and the rest of the Gorgonites survived.
In Independence Day, our two heroes set off a nuclear explosion in the alien mothership and try to Outrun the Fireball, but it catches up to them. Cut to their friends on the ground having their victory celebration interrupted by news that they had lost contact with the heroes. We get about five seconds for the mood to set in before they see something on radar, drive out to the desert and find them walking away from their crashed ship unscathed.
In Killer Klowns from Outer Space, the Klowns' spaceship blows up at the end of the film with Dave and the Terenzi brothers on board. All three of them are alive and well a minute later.
In Two of a Kind (1983), the fate of the universe hinges on whether a morally dubious couple (played by John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John) can make sacrifices for each other out of their newfound love, which would prove to God that humans are redeemable. She keeps him from going to prison for his attempted bank robbery that started the Earthly plot, but what about him? In the climax, with minutes left to go before God starts over with everything, she is taken hostage by a robber (actually a disguised Satan, whose existence is at risk!) and his attempt to save her leaves him dead. This proves a sufficient sacrifice, and not only does God spare the universe, He also brings the dead lover back to life.
The Dark Crystal has female lead Kira die in hero Jen's arms, but she is then revived at the very end.
Ghostbusters ends with the heroes defeating Gozer, but tragically Dana and (to a lesser extent) Louis have seemingly died after being transformed into Gozer's demonic dog minions and then getting burnt to a crisp. The team barely has time to mourn before learning that the two are still alive, and human, inside the now destroyed demon husks and proceed to help them break out.
Yes, even Lucio Fulci did this at least once (shenanigans of the living dead notwithstanding, of course) — City of the Living Dead has this happen early on, as Mary Woodhouse is presumed dead of shock and is taken straight to a cemetery for burial before regaining consciousness after finding herself six feet under. If not for Peter Bell, she would've suffocated to death for sure.
In Iron Eagle, Chappy gets shot down during the mission, and Doug is forced to go alone. However, it's later revealed that Chappy was picked up by American forces after he got shot down.
In the sequel, Doug is shot down by Soviet pilots in a dogfight within the first few minutes of the movie, but in the fourth movie, it is revealed that he had ejected from his plane, but was later captured and held prisoner by the Soviets.
In Godzilla (2014), the nuke that was dropped on Godzilla in the beginning should've killed him, right? Nope, he lived through it. This happens twice in the last battle, both times coming out alive but exhausted after a long and brutal fight with each of the Mutos. The first time occurs when he's buried by a skyscraper after crushing the male Muto against it. The second time occurs when he literally collapses to the ground after killing the female Muto, and stays there well into the next day before waking up.
In Legion, the archangel Michael is killed but reappears in the end due to God's intervention.
In the Discworld novel Moving Pictures, Gaspode the Wonder Dog makes a Heroic Sacrifice to save the Disc from the Things from the Dungeon Dimensions. In the first draft he was killed, but this was rewritten following reader feedback, and Gaspode went on to become a recurring character. Given the theme of the book, and the method used to revive Gaspode... possible Lampshade Hanging?
In Lords and Ladies, it looks like Granny Weatherwax has given her life to help defeat the Queen of the Elves. When Nanny Ogg and Magrat go through Granny's personal affects, they find an envelope with a piece of card in it: Granny's old "I ATEN'T DEAD" sign. Nanny realizes this means Granny wasn't dead, but off Borrowing (in this case, a swarm of bees).
In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry is struck by a Killing Curse, but does not really die due to unknowingly becoming an extra Horcrux. However, his friends back at Hogwarts do not know this at first and fear that their hero is gone for good.
In the same book, Hagrid is apparently killed by an acromantula in the Battle of Hogwarts, but he later turns up with the Death Eaters in the Forbidden Forest as a prisoner.
In The Night Land, after the hero has been through hell and back to bring his beloved home, and despite the best efforts of the Redoubt's finest doctors, she dies anyway and has a tremendous funeral attended by the entire human race. Then she comes back to life without explanation.
In Voltaire's Candide, roughly every few pages a character is "brought back to life".
Lampshaded in the musical version with the song "You Were Dead, You Know."
In The Lord of the Rings, Frodo is stabbed by an Orc and stung by Shelob, appearing dead both times, but is saved by his mithril armor and Shelob using paralytic poison instead of a fatal one, respectively. Gandalf dies from his exertions after killing the Balrog, but is sent back by the Valar to finish his task.
A casual passage in The Silmarillion, coupled with a passage in The Lord of the Rings where Gandalf lists (some of) the names he's been called in the past, reveals that not only is he the setting's equivalent of an angel, he used to hang out with the sister of Mandos, the Keeper of the Halls of the Dead. It's all in who you know.
Valashu in the Ea Cycle narrates his own Disney Death in first person. He falls into afterlife for half a page or so and then gets promptly resurrected. After all, he couldn't very well write about his adventures if he remained dead.
In The Wheel of Time series, the climactic battle with Rahvin resulted in the death of some major characters. Rand proceeded to use really powerful balefire to kill Rahvin, which killed him irrevocably and had the convenient effect of undoing everything the villain did in the last hour or so. Everybody's okay!
In Robert Aspirin's Myth Adventures series, it was almost a Running Gag to have a character (usually Aahz) appear to be dead/gone and then reappear later as a surprise...
A Song of Ice and Fire manages to * combine* this with being a series where Anyone Can Die. Multiple chapters end with a POV character seemingly "dying"... Only for a later chapter to reveal that they survived. Combined with the fact that lots of people really DO die, this has spawned a ludicrous number of Epileptic Trees.
Guy Gavriel Kay's The Lions of Al-Rassan wrings every possible bit of suspense, drama and angst out of Diego Belmonte's death... then Ishak the legendary doctor appears and "wishes to examine the boy".
Jurassic Park ends with Ian Malcolm apparently dead, even referring to the difficulty the others are having in getting his body sent back to America for burial... But in The Lost World 1995 we learn that he survived.
In Mossflower, the big final duel ends with it looking like Martin is dead since he's covered in blood as well as hundreds of cuts from Tsarmina's claws. But he's just in a coma and is healed up by the last chapter.
Stormbringer in Avalon: Web of Magic seems to die at the end of the sixth book, but the ninth book reveals that she was just trapped on an astral plane... or something. Regardless, she's alive.
This also happens to Ozzie in the twelfth book. For such a sunshine and rainbows series, it manages to pull off this trope amazingly convincingly.
Cruelly played with in Deeper of the Tunnels series. The hero's brother Cal appears to get a bridge dropped on him halfway through. However, he is later discovered to be Only Mostly Dead and is able to recover. He rejoins the other heroes for the climax... only to die in a hail of bullets at the end.
In R.A. Salvatore's Drizzt novels set in the Forgotten Realms, this happens a lot. Out of the five heroes, Regis is the only one of them who hasn't been presumed dead at least once.
The rat in one picture book of The House that Jack Built.
In Dance of Death, part of the Agent Pendergast novels, the character of Margo Green, who was the main character in the authors' first two books, is stabbed and apparently killed by Pendergast's brother Diogenes. The very end of the novel reveals that she survived and Pendergast allowed the rest of the world to believe her dead so that his brother would not attempt to target her again. As revealed in the next book, this fails, but she still lives anyway.
In Cemetary Dance, Pendergast is shot by the novel's antagonist and eventually collapses from blood loss. The final chapter makes it seem like he passed away from his wounds for 2-3 pages before revealing he's sitting there alive and well in his hospital bed.
Early on in Cold Vengeance, Pendergast is shot by Judson Esterhazy and is left to die in the Moores of Scotland. Nearly a hundred pages is spent with the supporting cast mourning his "death" before it's revealed he survived, though he's still very weak from the affair.
Catching Fire: Peeta Mellark after walking knife-first into a force field during the Quarter Quell.
Rana is crucifed at one point but was Only Mostly Dead and so she survived with help.
Kalak is yanked underwater by a squid monster and would have drowned if not for his deal with Mordak.
One of the goblins is squashed by Ravage's corpse and stops breathing, but was only unconscious. He comes too soon after.
In BIONICLE Chronicles #4: Tales of the Masks, Pohatu is presumed dead after being buried in a collapsed cave. The even softensthe ice-hearted Kopaka so much that he's ready to hand over the Mask of Shielding he's found the cave to Pohatu's people... and Pohatu's there to take it from him, apparently having survived the cave-in thanks to the mask extending its power over him before the rubble hit.
The Book of Lost Things: The Huntsman, who returns safe and sound at the end after apparently being killed by the Loups early on.
A good Mutant Enemy example is Lorne's head asking for the praising and extolling of his virtues. For whatever reason, his particular variety of demon can survive decapitation—the body needs to be mutilated. The bad guys didn't forget to, though—the Groosalugg, knowing Lorne was Cordelia's friend, switched his body with a soldier.
In an episode of Sliders, crooner Mel Torme helps the Sliders with their mission, only to apparently die in a car bomb. He inexplicably resurfaces at the end, though, to wish the Sliders well on their way.
Another episode had a rather cruel example of Disney Death, the characters land in a world run by the Russians and help the Resistance in one of their operations. During the pull out though female protagonist Wade Wells is shot and mortally wounded. The other main characters start to grieve for her till she suddenly appears right behind them alive and well. Turns out it was her double from this particular alternate earth that got killed not her.
The same method of death happens in another episode with Arturo. This was just stretched out for years after the show ended. It took the Word of God to clear things up.
"All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues" used a very cheap Disney Death, when Charlie was found strung up by the neck, not breathing, and with no pulse, but after a particularly protracted CPR session, Jack was able to revive him. Some fans decided to blame the unlikely event on the possibly magic island (similar to A Wizard Did It). Shannon suffered a similar death scene in "Hearts and Minds", but the sequence was shown to have been a hallucination suffered by her brother Boone under the influence of an unnamed drug prepared and administered without his knowledge by Locke.
There's nothing especially remarkable about any Lost examples though because the series runs on Death Is Cheap.
In season 4, the Kahana explodes with Jin on board. A few episodes later, he's clinging to shipwreck. Similarly in season 6, Lapidus is whacked round the head as the submarine sinks from the Man in Black's bomb and Lapidus is presumed dead by viewers, but resurfaces, clinging to debris very dehydrated several episodes later. Jin and Sun do die in this incident however.
Plus there's the man in the eyepatch who survived all sorts of various fatal incidents. Including impaling.
The robot version happened to K-9 in the "School Reunion" episode of Doctor Who, although it is unclear if this is the same robot rebuilt (with the same personality and memories) or just another robot of the same model.
Also in the Doctor Who original series serial SurvivalThe Seventh Doctor has a head on collision on a motorbike with the enemy, resulting in a huge explosion which we see nobody escape from. Ace begins to mourn his death after she finds his hat and his umbrella laying on the ground. We soon after find out he's somehow just ended up face first in a pile of rubbish with his backside in the air.
In the finale of series 5/season 31, there are two. In 1996, Centurion Rory is presumed dead from pulling the Pandorica out of the fires of the Blitz during World War II. He's actually the night watchman of the museum holding the Pandorica. The Doctor also gets one. He travels back in time a few minutes faking his death from a partially powered Dalek raygun. He uses this as a diversion to travel back to the Pandorica to jump start the universe in a Big Bang Two. Geronimo indeed.
In "The Doctor's Daughter" Jenny takes a bullet for the Doctor near the end of the episode. After the Doctor has accepted that she won't regenerate, he leaves her body with her fellow soldiers and goes off in the TARDIS. Suddenly she pops back to life, apparently none the worse for wear (seemingly due to the Terraforming process that was still ongoing), and takes off in a stolen spaceship (like father like daughter, apparently). The Doctor, however, is unaware that she came back to life.
Technically, whenever the Doctor is about to regenerate in front of a companion who doesn't know what he's about to do counts, as they have no idea he's going to be alright, if a bit different.
"Let's Kill Hitler" plays this trope straight. The 11th Doctor has been poisoned by a brainwashed River Song to the point of no regeneration. After he's died, River redeems herself by sacrificing her regenerations to bring the Doctor back to life.
There are also a few instances of this trope happening to Doctor Who companions:
In "The Ice Warriors", Victoria witnessed Jamie's apparent death at the hands of an Ice Warrior. However, while the man with Jamie was killed, Jamie himself survived.
In "Planet of the Daleks", the Third Doctor believed Jo had been killed when the Daleks blew up the Thal spaceship in which she was hiding. In fact, she had been rescued at the last minute by a Spiridon named Wester.
Following the Thals' missile strike against the Kaled City in "Genesis of the Daleks", the Fourth Doctor believed Harry and Sarah Jane (whom he had sent to warn the Kaled leaders) had died in the attack. In fact, they had been waylaid by Mutos and never even reached the Kaled City.
This trope was subverted in the Fifth Doctor story "Earthshock", which ended with Adric being Killed Off for Real
In "Trial of a Time Lord - Mindwarp", the Sixth Doctor was shown a scene in which Peri, her mind hijacked by an alien, was apparently killed. However, it later emerged that the scene in question had been fabricated and Peri was "alive and well and living as a queen".
In Kamen Rider Dragon Knight the term venting is used to describe the disintegration of the losing Rider at the end of a battle. By saying that the Riders were trapped in a void instead of dead, it enabled lost Riders to be pulled back in for the climactic battle at the end of the series.
In the Power Rangers RPM finale, Venjix breaks into Dr. K's lab, hacks her computers, and downloads everything to do with the Rangers. Using this data, he can not only "delete" megazords out of existence, but also the Rangers themselves. He finishes the first of the two episodes by "deleting" Gem and Gemma (Gold and Silver), but with help from Tenaya, Dr. K is able to retrieve their data and reassemble her first two friends to help defeat Venjix once and for all... or did they? The final scene of the series is one light on one of the Rangers' morphers lighting, red like the Venjix Eye, with the big V's theme music playing. One good Disney Death deserves another.
Its source material, Engine Sentai Go-onger, also features an example: in GP35, Yogostein turns Sousuke into a bronze statue, seemingly killing him off... until the next episode, where he's revived and defeats Yogostein in a one-on-one duel.
In Tensou Sentai Goseiger, Buredoran embodies this trope and is a rare villainous example. Not counting his reappearances in movies, he seemingly dies twice. First as Buredoran of the Comet and second as Buredoran of the Chupercabra when he's revived as BuredoRUN after being Only Mostly Dead. He's finally killed for good, ...for the time being, after his reveal as Brajira of the Messiah.
Rather mean subversion in Ghost Whisperer: At the end of season one, Melinda's best friend (and the only main character other than Melinda at this point) realizes that she, not her brother, is the ghost and she was killed in the plane crash earlier in the episode. The season two premiere reveals that she was merely in a coma, thus allowing her spirit to wander (as has happened at least once before) and she has a very good chance of recovery. Then Melinda wakes up; it was a dream and her friend really is dead. She has remained dead ever since.
Another rather mean subversion in Ugly Betty in the beginning of the second season. Throughout the whole episode Hilda and Santos are shown in her bedroom going over details of their impending marriage, him having only been injured when he was shot. However at the end of the episode, it is revealed that it was all in Hilda's head, and that Santos really is dead.
Ashes to Ashes has one in the episode "Charity Begins At Home", with Shaz via CPR though it is actually a pretty well done and relatively believable. It's also quite violent as it leads to a very brutal beating of the "murderer".
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Buffy comes to find her mother unresponsive on the couch, not breathing. She calls 911, she performs CPR, her mother gasps. Cut to the ambulance taking them to the scene in the hospital where Buffy's mom is so glad that Buffy came home when she did, or else—wait, why are we cutting back to the CPR? Oh. Well, the paramedics have arrived, and so we get to see them bring her back to the... They call the coroner. Harshest subversion of Disney Death ever.
Also played straight with Cordelia in the season 3 episode "Lover's Walk".
Heroes has two characters (Adam and Claire) whose power is essentially to always have a Disney Death: they come back to life, assuming that something isn't preventing them from regenerating, and if the thing is removed they regenerate as normal. This also allows Peter and Sylar to gain similar powers, from their abilities to absorb powers of others. To make matters ridiculous, it's revealed that if anyone is given a transfusion of Claire's (or Peter's) blood, they regenerate as well. This allows characters that have been definitely killed off to come back if needed (it may be that you can receive this transfusion even if you're dead — HRG must have been cold before he got his transfusion).
On the flip side, Mr. Lindermann has the ability to heal others which includes, apparently, bringing people back to life. As long as Linderman is nearby (and willing), anybody can have a Disney Death.
The Middleman episode "The Boyband Superfan Interrogation" plays the Robot Disney Death relatively straight (though with tongue firmly in cheek, as with everything on the show). Ridiculously Human Robot Ida is destroyed defeating the villain's scheme, given a hero's funeral — and then Wendy finds a box with a brand-new Ida robot inside. It is never mentioned again.
It is implied again that they can just 'get a new model' when Ida malfunctions in a later episode, although they don't realize this (or know how) until it's far too late, leading Wendy to start making an impromptu Video Will. Naturally, she gets out of danger at the last minute.
Partially subverted in Babylon 5. After calling down a nuclear bomb on his own position and jumping down a huge hole, Captain Sheridan really is dead. However, he's frozen at the moment of death by Lorien, the first living being ever to come into existence, who tells him he can "breathe on the remaining embers" of Sheridan's life. This means he gets to live for the remaining two years of the series, but Lorien's action only bought him twenty more years, so that he'll die at age 66.
The first season finale of Robin Hood, where Marian is mourned, avenged, and then discovered to be still alive. (Setting the scene for a major audience shock when she died in the second season finale.)
In the series finale of Battlestar Galactica of all places. During the battle in the first half of the episode, Helo is shot and severely wounded while rescuing his daughter Hera from the Cylons. His wife Athena tearfully leaves him behind to save Hera (and at that point she wasn't the only one shedding tears), at which point he doesn't appear for the rest of most of the episode...only to turn up alive on Earth at the end of the episode, living happily with his family. He even had the standard Disney Death walking stick to at least acknowledge that he was injured earlier. Strange to see this trope in such a dark Anyone Can DieCrapsack World, but if any couple deserved a happy ending on that show it was them.
ADA Alexandra Cabot from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is shot and declared dead in Season 5. At the end of that episode, Stabler and Benson are brought out to a secluded spot, where they meet Cabot, who has only been injured and are informed that she is going into Witness Protection. They are the only ones who know, creating some trust issues with Cragen when she reappears.
In the episode "Doppleganger" in Stargate AtlantisRodney Mckay dies from a entity that kills people in their sleep, while John Sheppard is trying to save him. Turns out, the whole thing was really John's Nightmare, and the character wakes up in the real world, perfectly fine, minus a technical cardiac arrest.
In the series finale, Ronan is killed by the Wraith in order to up the stakes for the remaining characters and then gets Ass Pull'd back to life (also by the Wraith, because they're a bunch of morons).
Used twice (well, almost) in the third-season finale of Blackadder. First, The Duke of Wellington fires a cannon at Edmund, but it is revealed a moment later that the cannonball was stopped by a cigarillo case. Several minutes later, (though this is actually a subversion) Wellington shoots the Prince Regent and, while Baldrick mourns him, the Prince gets up and reveals that he, too, had a cigarillo case, searches for it in his coat, realizes he left it on the dresser at home, and dies for real.
Spaced. Mike is shot by a paintgun to "save" his friend Tim. Tim sobs hysterically as Mike passes out in his arms and vomits yellow paint (Mike not Tim). Cut to the two of them walking out of the paintball centre, happily reminiscing the game.
Stargate SG-1: Daniel Jackson has several of these. Considering he dies over twenty times in the series and all the movies, it's fairly understandable.
The Sci Fichannel once had a "They're dead, no they're not, yes they are, no they aren't!" marathon.
Lucretia in Spartacus: Blood and Sand was stabbed through her stomach by Crixus and she managed to walk up to her husband and she fell over, seemingly dead. Then come the next season, she was fine and dandy. The whole thing was lampshaded where everyone thought that it was the work of the gods.
Season 2 has Jack captured by terrorists and brutally tortured to death. Yup, his heart actually stops and he's actually pronounced dead at the end of the episode. However, they manage to get a doctor to resuscitate him time at the very beginning of the following episode.
Additionally, late in its fourth season Tony Almeida is take hostage by the assassin Mandy and when CTU corners the two of them she seemingly blows them both up. Everyone is in shock and Tony's wife Michelle grieves, but Jack is eventually able to figure out that Mandy faked their deaths and he and Curtis are able to truly save Tony in time.
The ending of the second season of Veronica Mars has the season's Big Bad Cassidy detonating a remote bomb aboard a plane that presumably has Veronica's dad on it. However, it turns out that her father drove home and he wasn't on the plane.
Every other person dies once a season in Supernatural, but they always seem to make it back fine. Dean, Sam and Castiel alone have died a collective 20 times on-screen (with Dean dying an additional 100+, non-shown times in the time-loop episode). Why does anybody even try to kill them anymore?
A rather nasty example comes in Michael Jackson's Ghosts. His hero, Maestro, asks the mob of kids and grown-ups (the latter wanted to run him out of town) if they still want him to leave; while only the evil mayor does, Maestro agrees to go and smashes himself into the floor, crumbling into dust before the horrified crowd's eyes and reducing one of the boys to tears. The mayor is happy to be rid of him and makes to leave, but then the Maestro (in his ghoul form) appears as a giant face in the doorway, and the mayor runs away screaming, smashing through a window. Turns out Maestro just wanted to scare everybody, and the crowd is happy... except for viewers who realize the Fridge Logic that the mayor might be actually be dead or at least horribly injured, and that the hero traumatized everybody just to trick one person who (by that point) had a darn good reason for wanting him out of town — he'd been the victim of magical torture by the Maestro.
Myths & Religion
Well, let's state the obvious. Jesus dies and comes back. Maybe it was handled in an incredibly gory and un-Disney like fashion, but He does come back. Twice.
There are also less obvious miracles. Lazarus, Tabitha, and the daughter of Jairus were all resurrected, thus making their first deaths Disney Deaths.
Actually, everyone who dies is eventually going to be resurrected whether or not they're Heaven-bound, making every death that ever was a Disney Death.
After Ragnarok. The world is devastated and everyone is dead. Wait, there are survivors?...
In one story, he was stomped "flat like a bear rug" and it took him a couple of years to restore himself to normal.
In another story, Coyote dies twice trying to stop a hunter (each time having shape-shifted into a different animal and walked into the hunter's traps to lure the hunter into a false sense of security), then instead of dying a third time, transforms into a bear and kills the hunter.
In an episode of The Shadow called "The Blind Beggar Dies, The Shadow suspected that Spike and Marty were setting a trap for him, so he stood behind them and use "ventriloquism" to make his voice sound like it was near the door, tricking them into thinking that they killed him.
In Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 this is what happens to the named characters in most narratives accompanying games - they are knocked out, sent through accidental warp portals, teleported away just before death, badly wounded but recovered by medics after the battle, temporarily banished to the Realm of Chaos or any number of fates that can be recovered from. It even makes it clear in the rules that casualties don't automatically equate to dead. When a character dies, it's usually a major event or storyline progression and doesn't stop them being used in historical refights, but this is strongly tempered with Status Quo Is God (as well as the fact that if the characters stay alive, people will keep buying the models),
In the opera Paul Bunyan, Hel Helson, suffering from an inferiority complex, is egged on by his four cronies to fight with Paul. Paul wins, of course, and Helson is knocked unconscious. A sort of funeral procession ensues. Then Helson wakes up, makes friends with Paul, and dismisses the cronies.
Elphaba and Fiyero in Wicked, who fake their deaths and leave Oz, never able to return, although Glinda and all other denizens remain in the dark about this. Doubles as an example of Spared by the Adaptation, since in the novel, both do indeed die.
Twistedly raised as a possibility in the 2013 musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as part of the show's Black Comedy. In this version, Augustus, Violet, and Veruca and her dad all face the possibility of Death by Adaptation. Augustus is swept away by a pipe to be turned into fudge; Violet, having swelled into a giant blueberry, explodes in a shower of purple glitter; Veruca and her dad are sent down a garbage chute to an incinerator. According to Willy Wonka, Augustus and Violet can be rescued and restored, respectively, so she could get a Disney Death. But that's only going to happen offstage. If she's lucky. And she may be Not Quite Back to Normal if she is. The audience will never know...
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker has this with Paz. Even though she was ejected from an exploding Metal Gear Zeke that she hijacked into the Caribbean Sea, Paz can still be seen in the Personnel files. Snake even hints at the possibility that Paz survived, as he noted to Chico in a briefing file that she took scuba gear with her when she was ejected. It has also been stated that Paz might appear in Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes.
Near the end of Star Fox Assault, quite a few Disney Deaths ensue in the build-up to the final battle.
Every death in Assault other than the Aparoid Queen ends up being this. Even Pigma and Oikonny, who were seemingly dead, came back in Star Fox Command.
Pigma didn't exactly come back as a person, but more of some kind of mechanical, borderline Eldritch Abomination thing, and he seems to have died at the end of Command.
In Super Mario Sunshine, the robot pump FLUDD is seemingly destroyed in the final battle, and guess what? He/she/it comes back.
The Lumas, and to a much lesser extent, Mario/Luigi, Peach, and Bowser at the end of Super Mario Galaxy, as a result of the universe being destroyed and recreated due to Bowser's galaxy collapsing.
A largely ignored Robot Disney occurs in Final Fantasy VII. Talking Animal Cait Sith agrees to remain inside the Temple of the Ancients, 'solving puzzles' to make it shrink so it can be picked up and taken by the characters — naturally, this means anyone inside will be crushed. But Cait Sith is actually a robot, with a backup copy lurking nearby in case of disaster, which was why he agreed so readily (although his pre-death speech suggests he is genuinely able to feel sad about dying, even knowing a duplicate will come along). The temple shrinks, Cait is crushed, and 'Cait Sith Number Two' approaches, identical to the first - and naturally arrives at the worst possible time. It's been theorized that the game does this to increase the shock of the death of another main character later on. This copy is not only at the same level as the one that just died, but also has all of his equipment, which is completely impossible.
Completely impossible? When nearly all the armors and weapons can be found readily in stores? You may have a point about the materia, but presumably they removed it from him before he went in.
Dirge of Cerberus implies that Weiss received this fate. Despite being defeated by Chaos Vincent, as well as Omega being destroyed, the 100% ending (the Genesis Ending) has Genesis arriving to pick up Weiss and states to him not to go yet, as they still have more to do before taking off with him.
Final Fantasy IV, known for having not just one but many, many Plotline Deaths, also has a few Disney Deaths. Cid is given one when he leaps off of the airship and detonates a bomb in order to let the rest of the party escape from pursuers-you later find him, not just alive but in good enough shape to upgrade the airship. Yang also has one when the Tower of Babil explodes-he seems dead, but if you go down into one of the underworld dungeons, he's alive but comatose and being tended by Sylphs. You can wake him up from his coma by hitting him in the face with a frying pan.
In fact, despite the large number of Plotline Deaths, only two characters are ever dead for good. Many of the others don't rejoin the party, but even the pair that gets turned to stone makes an appearance by the end.
Final Fantasy VI also has one of these moments, depending on how you play the game. If the player decides to kill Cid in the World of Ruin then Celes will commit suicide by throwing herself off a cliff, an idea conceived after being told others had effectively ended their lives in this manner. However, we find her waking up on the beach after having been nursed back to health by a bird! ...who just happens to have Locke's bandanna bandaging it's wing, signifying there ARE others also alive after the apocalypse of their world.
Also, Shadow has one of these after Kefka kills Leo. Rather than being unconscious, though, he's gone missing (to the Disc One Final Dungeon to take on the baddies, even though he is injured, because he is a BadassNinja) and, since his dog Interceptor is injured, your party assumes he is dead. Serves as revenge fuel against the Empire, as if there wasn't already enough of that. He will die for real if you don't wait for him during the Apocalypse.]]
A little over halfway through Chrono Trigger, Crono is killed off by an attack courtesy of the planet-destroying monster Lavos, leaving the game without its main character for an extended period of time. In the meantime, the remainder of the party sets to work on reviving him using judicious use of time travel and a clone won in a carnival game.
Subverted in Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, when the robot Thursday is saved by the ghost the main characters have put to rest... only to be immediately broken again by Flonne.
Later, just before the Final Boss, Flonne is turned into a flower by Seraph Lamington for what appears to be an incredibly stupid reason. In some of the Multiple Endings, this death is for real; in others, it turns out to be a Disney Death.
In the Infocom text adventure game Planetfall, the cleaning robot Floyd 'dies' heroically sacrificing his life to obtain an essential keycard, complete with an eulogy given by the PC. At the end of the game he reappears, repaired. In the next game, he becomes Brainwashed and Crazy and you have to kill him for real.
Parodied in the Infocom text adventure game Leather Goddesses Of Phobos, in which your sidekick Tiffany (or Trent, depending on your character's gender) heroically sacrifices themselves about half a dozen times to help you out, complete with a silent moment of loss and mourning on your part, before they turn up again in the very next area, having survived through increasingly implausible coincidence.
Geist does this twice with the same character. The first time, he is swallowed whole by a boss monster, then escapes from its stomach when you kill the boss monster, causing it to burst open. The second time, his helicopter is shot down, but he appears at the end of the game with no explanation of how he got there.
In Tales of Symphonia, this happens to your entire party at one point. They all supposedly sacrifice themselves to allow Lloyd to get to Colette, but either Zelos or Kratos shows up to save each and every one of them
Played for Laughs in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. On Keelhaul Key, Admiral Bobbery is assaulted by some of the local spirits and appears to be on his last, stubby little legs. Barely clinging to consciousness, he begs you to fetch the Chuckola Cola he brought along with him, to drink in honor of his late wife. After Bobbery chugs to Scarlett's memory, he promptly... starts snoring. Your partner, realizing he was confused and overdramatic at worst, encourages you to give him a sound whack on the head to rouse him. He goes from asleep to fighting stance in .7 seconds flat.
This also pops up in the post-game in a more serious fashion, where it turns out that TEC survives having his hard drive deleted and then blowing up, and Grodus survives having his head and body destroyed separately. No clue how on either one of those.
When talking to TEC after beating the final boss, he mentions that he saw a bright light and heard Princess Peach's voice before being resurrected. It is possible that Peach, while breaking temporarily free from the Shadow Queen's grasp to send Mario her power, also uses a portion of her power to save TEC. This is actually what many fans believe. No clue about the other one, though. Another Disney Death case is Lord Crump who is blown into space.
Super Paper Mario does this a lot, namely with Peach, Bowser, Luigi, Luvbi, and Nastasia.
Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time/Darkness/Skyends with the hero character being knocked out of the time line when s/he changes the future (yep, the main character is from The Future). However, after your partner cries his or her heart out to Bidoof before the end credits, Dialga decides to grant you partner his or her greatest desire - which is the revival of your character. It's not like you could reach the postgame content if you were dead, huh?
Hydreigon in Gates to Infinity also comes back to life in the ending, despite being frozen solid and then shattered.
Surprisingly averted in Super Robot Wars. A character rarely dies without much fanfare and usually gives a protracted speech before death, or at least everyone else remarks about said death. Otherwise, the character simply retreated. In some cases, doomed characters can be saved from their fate (and sometimes brought over to the player's side) by a set of specific actions, some quite byzantine.
The bit where they tend to avert character deaths of popular or important characters, especially Gai Daigouji from Martian Successor Nadesico... though then there's poor Schwartz Bruder from G Gundam, who rarely gets to live.
After the fight against the final boss of Golden Sun: The Lost Age, it is revealed that this monster was in fact created from the parents of some playable characters (the father of Isaac, and the parents of Jenna and Felix), whom they thought already dead. By defeating the boss, they also killed their parents. However, they are alive and well during the last minutes of gameplay, with only a cheap explanation (the Psynergy of Mars Lighthouse is supposed to have revived them) as to why they are not dead.
Cheap explanation? Not so much. Saturos and Menardi set this up way back in the first game by using the Venus beacon to bring themselves back from the brink of death. It still counts, though, because nobody but the Wise One realized it would work.
Played straight in Mass Effect 1. The group, having just defeated Sovereign, is fleeing from an incoming chunk of Reaper. Cut to the two party members with you, as a C-Sec officer and Anderson pry open one of the chunks that was a near-miss to reveal them. Anderson asks where Shepard is, they shake their heads, and all parties involved get a crushed expression - cut to the side, where you see a form moving toward the group through the wreckage. Swell of music, Shepard mounting the top of the biggest chunk, with a huge "I just punched out Cthulhu" grin on his/her face. Cut to final sequence.
Also seen in Mass Effect 2 with the same character. (Early game spoilers) Shepard's ship is attacked, despite being in the "undetectable" stealth mode. Shepard gets the majority of the crew out alive but is unable to get in an escape pod before the ship blows, and then goes through the ship exploding, the space suit failing, and the massive heat friction endured by entering a planet's atmosphere. Shepard actually does die from the experience, but a certain organization from the first game invests a lot of time, effort, and a lot of money in restoring body and brain to life. It takes two years, but they do it.
Kirby Super StarUltra not only manages to retcon Marx's death into this trope but also uses it as the explanation for his power boost in the True Arena (What's left of Nova merge with him.). And then he dies for good.
Any time Mega Man X's Zero gets blown to pieces. Don't expect it to last long. Then he actually does get killed off at the end of Mega Man Zero 4.
Speaking of, in Mega Man Star Force, Luna gets blown up and the next part of the game is focused on bringing her out of this state. It's played around with since the last entity that was fixed is completely devoid of personality, implying that or something worse might be Luna's fate. Luna makes a full recovery and is back to her campaign in the very next portion of the game.
The credits show that Ace is also alive and well, despite the whole self-destruct thing.
Actually both cases are justified, It is due to the brotherband between the characters and Luna that the power of the brotherband had helped save Luna. Ace became noise and he was sent to Meteor G by King. This lead to them getting his data and recreating him like Luna.
Played straight and averted in The Force Unleashed. Played straight when the apprentice gets thrown out the window of a star destroyer and when something similar happens to Rham Kota (sic) and averted with PROXY and the actual death of The Apprentice.
Played for Laughs (and a bit of heartwarming) in the sequel when PROXY and Starkiller are reunited, each saying "I thought you were dead!" to the other at the same time.
Done in Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals. Dekar, the world's strongest man, has a temple dropped on him, with a miniboss holding him with magic so he can't get away. He eats it, and comes back in the end, clearing a path for your dirigible to reach Doom Island.
And then subverted in the ending, which hit especially hard if you hadn't played the first Lufia.
In Snatcher, Metal Gear uses himself as a target for a Kill Sat beam. He comes back, but in the form of whatever console the version of the game you're playing is on.
Ada Wong also "dies" in both of her scenarios of Resident Evil 2, only to return to throw the player a rocket launcher during the penultimate battle. She lives on to be one of the driving forces behind Resident Evil 4.
In The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past Link's uncle gives a speech about his and Link's time together before he passes out. During the end credits it shows that he's alive and well in the house.
Well, Link had just been granted unlimited wishes by the Triforce, and bringing his uncle back from the dead wouldn't be a surprising choice for one of them.
Played with in Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge, when one puzzle with a time limit will cause Guybrush to die if he runs out of time...until the player is reminded that the entire game is told in flashback to Elaine, who doubts Guybrush's claim that he died and gives the player another chance at the puzzle.
Happens to Ryu himself at the end of Chapter 2 in Ninja Gaiden Black.
In Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack In Time, Alistair Azimuth shoots Ratchet in the chest. You can actually hear his heartbeat slowing to a stop before he plummets off the edge of the platform. However, it's reversed when Clank uses the Great Clock to turn time back six minutes.
In Wild ARMs 2, Brad was presumed dead by everyone half way through the game when he offered to sacrifice himself. Later on he was revealed to be alive and rescued his friends from danger by firing a railgun weapon at his enemy ship. He rejoins the party after that.
Drakensang 2: The River of Time essentially is a "retelling" of the events of the game by Forgrimm to Kladdis (who wanted to know about her parents). On a TPK, you get treated to either of a variety of scenes like "That cannot be right — I was just seeing whether you were listening" — "Just kidding" and similar exchanges, before the game offers to reload at an earlier point.
Maria Messa in Ys II, when she is "sacrificed" by Dalles. Ys IV: Mask of the Sun does this to Leeza, Lilia, and Adol himself. Also, Adol's near-drowning at the beginning of The Ark of Napishtim.
In the one Sega GenesisStar Trek game, Data was the most useful of the command staff for this reason — it was very hard, if not impossible for him to get severely injured and taken off active duty. He would just get repaired, as opposed to others who have a good chance of getting that injured. All of the other command had a We Cannot Go On Without You as either Picard is injured (he always seems to be severely injured) or he resigns in guilt over causing them to get hurt. Thus the player could send only Data and his death wouldn't matter.
In Metroid: Other M, Anthony Higgs is slapped into a pit lava by Ridley's tail. At the first ending of the game, Anthony comes out of nowhere to escort Samus back to her starship, accompanied by a flashback showing how he escaped certain death.
The creators of Other M took into account how Phantoon's death sequence could be taken as him fleeing... after the main game, Phantoon takes over the Bottle Ship and is fought as the True Final Boss.
In Sonic Unleashed, Sonic defeats Perfect Dark Gaia and then dies of exhaustion, but is revived by Chip/Light Gaia.
He didn't die, he fainted, but he was 'Near' death.
Namco uses this trope a lot in their Tekken series. The Mishimas have all been thrown off cliffs in some morbid test of strength, presumed dead but not. Even Jin's mother, Jun Kazama has "died" and returned with little explanation. Tekken 5 tried to sell the death of Heihachi only he didn't die. Even the Soul Calibur series has had examples of this, such as Li Long.
"DEAD" status in the Dragon Quest series shows that characters are really killed by having you tow their coffins around. But all of them can be resurrected at a church for a small to high medium fee. Plotline Death includes a loss of body or death from old age, and dead residents of a Doomed Hometown do not gain this perk, however.
In Dragon Quest IV, Orin/Oojam performs a Heroic Sacrifice to help Mara/Maya and Nara/Meena escape. The game gives all indication that he is dead, with the standard "No response, seems to be a corpse" message. But later on, you find him wounded at the inn in Frenor/Vrenor.
In the NES version of Double Dragon II: The Revenge, Marian is killed off in the game's opening sequence, only to wake up perfectly fine after the final boss battle.
She does stay dead in the original arcade version though.
In Portal 2 co-op whenever one of the robots "dies" they just come back through a vent.
Originally subverted in Fallout 3 (Either you or a NPC had to die to finish the main quest), but the Broken Steel DLC changed this sacrifice into a 2 weeks coma. However, Sarah still dies for real if you send her in to activate it.
In the first episode of Sam & Max: Season 1, Max throws Jimmy Two-Teeth out the window to his (presumed) death. He later re-appears in their office unharmed.
In season 3, a subversion. In the final episode, Max becomes a giant monster and eventually has to be destroyed. Sam wanders around the city aimlessly mourning the loss of his best friend all the way through the end credits. Then suddenly, a Max from an alternate timeline (from the previous season) appears, and reveals that in his universe the same events happened although in his world Sam was the one that became a monster and died. This Max then takes the previous one's place. So the Max of this world actually is dead, but we technically still have him since the alternative universe is the same character with just a few slightly different experiences.
In the final episode of Season 3, Sal the Cockroach dies inside monster Max's body, but during the post-credits scene as the camera pans upward to the sky, you can see a giant cockroach crawling up a building if you look closely. Could this mean that Sal somehow survived?
Unless you screw up quite royally, this is Nanako's fate in Persona 4. If you do screw up, you die.
In the best ending for Heavy Rain, it seems like Ethan is too late to save Shaun from drowning and collapses in tears. Then Shaun starts coughing...
During the final main campaign mission in Borderlands 2, "The Talon of God", Mordecai and Brick are apparently killed during the attack on Heroes' Pass when their hijacked transport is shot down, but they appear in time to celebrate your victory after you defeat the final boss.
In Advanced Variable Geo 2, Tamao, Yuka, and all of the game's characters, including Chiho, who appears to be fatally wounded from Miranda's gunshot, all combine their attacks to destroy Miranda's getaway plane and kill Miranda herself, though at the cost of Chiho's life. The Stinger then shows Tamao and Yuka visiting Chiho's grave... Until a hand suddenly touches Tamao's shoulder and as she turns her back, she smiles and the game ends, implying that Chiho survived the plane crash.
In Metal Slug 3D, Oguma pulls a Heroic Sacrifice to stop Lieu as Marco and his soldiers escape in a helicopter, despite Marco's protests. The Stinger, however, reveals that Oguma survived, and he is last seen talking to Rumi Aikawa as the game ends.
In Project X Zone, Arthur apparently sacrifices himself in the climax of the chapter Operation Crackdown. In the next chapter, as some of the group begin to mourn his "death", he promptly comes back, revealing that he can survive anything as long as he has his armor on, subverting Armor Is Useless.
In Saints Row: The Third during the prologue when The Boss and Shaundi are escaping Philippe Loren's plane, Johnny tells them over the intercom from behind the flight deck door that he'll see them back in Stilwater, when gunshots and the sound of a body dropping are heard and he suddenly goes silent. In Saints Row IV it's revealed that the body getting shot was a random Morningstar goon that Johnny was using as a Human Shield against Loren; Johnny was actually abducted by Zinyak, who believed that Johnny was powerful enough to destroy his whole empire, and Loren threatening The Boss that Johnny's corpse was the beginning was just him taking the piss to get the Saints to back off.
In the conclusion of Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete, Alex and Luna apparently sacrifice themselves to stop Lunar's corruption, only to turn up alive and well one cutscene later.
At the end of Season One of The Walking Dead, Kenny dives into a horde of Walkers to distract them so that Lee can progress. In the decisions screen, he's stated to have been "lost to the horde" rather than outright dead. Unsurprisingly, he shows up in Season Two, with the handwave of having gotten lucky.
"Stop and Smurf the Roses": Chlohydrous, annoyed at the Smurf's beautiful woodelf (and mute) friend, Laconia, sets out to kill Laconia by destroying her very life source: flowers. Indeed, Laconia does "die" after Chlohydrous casts a spell, growing sick as the flowers die off in groups. The other Smurfs do come to rescue Laconia (along with Papa and Natural), but even after they defeat Chlohydrous, it may be too late for Laconia. The other Smurfs prepare for Laconia's funeral, laying her on a lilypad ... but then, she is revived after Papa Smurf reverses Chlohydrous' spell.
"Smurfquest": As the Smurfs rapidly age in their quest to restore the Long Life Stone, Grandpa Smurf (introduced in this episode) dies just as the elements are being placed in the Stone's box. While the other (now elderly) Smurfs mourn Grandpa's death, the stone goes through its restoration cycle, and it isn't long before the other Smurfs' youths are restored ... and Grandpa is brought back to life.
A good example of a Robot Disney Death in He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002) episode "The Roboto Gambit", where the episode's title character sacrifices himself to foil an evil plan, complete with a death scene. Later, Teela mourns that she should have appreciated Roboto's courage and resourcefulness when she had the chance. However, Man-At-Arms immediately states that she will have that opportunity, as he presents the good-as-new Roboto, whom he just repaired.
Woody Woodpecker pulls this on purpose on the classic short The Loan Stranger. Specifically, he tricks the Loan Shark into thinking he smashed Woody's skull with a single punch, killing him right there, in order to get the Loan Shark to tear up the loan he had been trying to get Woody to pay back the whole time.
Duck Dodgers uses it, and then subverts it. Dodgers' Robot Buddy performs a Heroic Sacrifice by hurling itself against a comet and knocking itself to pieces. Dr. I.Q. High is confident that the robot can be rebuilt. But Dodgers really didn't like his Robot Buddy in the first place and "accidentally" breaks the remaining parts. Somehow he comes back later, gathers all the other one-shot villains from previous episodes, and plots Dodgers' demise, only to end up going through the same thing again.
Ben 10: Secret of the Omnitrix had two. Hoverboard's pilot Gludo was blown to pieces by Vilgax, and Gwen was eaten by an evil plant. Both were rare examples of actually convincing Disney Deaths, thanks in no small part to the fact that they actually used the word "dead" in reference to both characters.
Parodied in the Christmas SpecialRobbie the Reindeer in Hooves of Fire: Robbie's mentor, Old Jingle, appears to die tragically in his arms. Then Jingle starts snoring.
Danny Phantom had the main character's destabilized Opposite-Sex Clone die by turning into goo even after he used the antidote to cure her. Cue hero mourning over the bucket of goo, then her head pops out and eventually her whole self — now stabilized.
In Invader Zim, Zim throws rubber piggies into the past to ruin Dib's life. Replacing the defibrillator with pigs appears to seal Dib's fate, complete with a flat line. Cue Professor Membrane fixing him, not only keeping him alive but provoking a We Can Rebuild Him moment where Zim's plan backfires.
In the episode of South Park with the hippie music festival, the mayor shoots herself in the head when she finally realizes the gravity of her folly. She later reappears when they're using the giant drill with a bandage on her head, ready to take command at mission control.
For some reason headshots are often non-fatal in South Park: see also Bill Gates (shot in South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, reappears with a Band-Aid on his head in "The Entity"), Britney Spears, the scientist in "Night of the Living Homeless", and Kenny.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) LOVES this. Done with Michelangelo in season 3, Leonardo at the end of season 3 (The Tonight Someone Dies commercial didn't hurt matters either), done with April, Casey, and Mikey's cat in season 4 (this one a case of All Just a Dream), done with Leo's entire family during a two-parter in season 4 (both the audience and Leo learns of their surprisingly logical survivals in pt 2 through flashbacks), and Casey and April again in season 7 (complete with ominous commercial promising "a Very Special Episode"). A number of supporting characters stay dead for multiple episodes.
The animated Legion of Super Heroes did this in its first season, with Brainiac 5 handing Superman a little piece of himself before running off on a suicide mission. Clark can't both do his part to free the rest of the team and save Brainiac, and when they find him, he's mourning Brainy's lifeless body. The Genre Savvy Legionnaires promptly ask who has the back-up disc.
The episode "Hereafter" is a particularly prominent example; all of part 1 deals with Superman's apparent death and the reactions to it, and then part 2 explains how he survived.
Teased towards the end of "The Brave and the Bold" when the League tries to stop nuclear missiles from hitting Gorilla City. Wonder Woman stops a missile from exploding but she appears to be crushed under some rubble. Somber music plays, the League and gorillas look on sadly, and Batman frantically searches for her while shouting her name. She emerges a minute later with the guidance system.
Yumi gets thrown into the Digital Sea in the Season 1 episode "Cruel Dilemma". Fortunately, at the beginning of the episode, falling candy just so happens to complete the materialization code Jérémie'd been working one since forever for Aelita. Loop Hole: He can use it once since he doesn't know what to press. He actually has to think about it before deciding to use the one-shot on Yumi and not Aelita. As such, Yumi becomes un-deleted and can be rematerialized.
Same thing with Aelita in "Just in Time". She does a Heroic Sacrifice, but thanks to a hair Jérémie managed to materialize at the beginning, he can bring her back (without her memories of the episode, though).
In "The Key", XANA takes the keys of Lyoko from Aelita's memory, and in turn kills her lifeforce. She dies, until, oh wait, her father (who was supposed to have been killed by XANA already) appears from the abyss of Lyoko and savez her!
Speaking of Franz Hopper, all evidence gathered (and Jérémie's rude remarks to Aelita) says that Franz killed himself saving Aelita in said incident above, until Season 4, when he suddenly lives again as a ball of glittery purple and pink energy. Apparently he can't stay out of the Digital Sea for too long (even though the Digital Sea is supposed to delete everything thrown into it), or else he'll get attacked by XANA real fast. He eventually dies in the Series Finale.
Transformers Armada: Optimus is blasted into dust by the Hydra Cannon, but is resurrected 3 episodes later. Earlier, Smokescreen sacrifices himself, but is rebuilt as Hoist.
Happens to Optimus at least once in most films and series.
Death seems cheap in the series Ace Lightning, at least for the "videogame" characters. Also subverted in one episode when Ace is surprised to learn from Mark that when humans die they can't come back in a similar fashion. This does not make Sparx's "death" any less traumatic...
Season three: To earn their Enchantix powers, fairies have to sacrifice themselves for someone from their realms. While trying to retrieve the time-turning tears of the Black Willow, Flora dives into tainted water to save her little sister. She gets caught in the vines at the bottom and presumably drowns. Then the Willow "cries" into the river; Flora is returned to the moment before she died and obtains her Enchantix.
There was another one in season 3, Tecna was believed to have died after closing up the Omega portal. She managed to survive thanks to her new Enchantix powers.
The aversion: In season four, Nabu sacrifices himself to close a dark abyss the Wizards have created to suck up the fairies of Earth. Aside from a couple animation goofs, Nabu doesn't return at the end of the season, so it looks like he is dead for real. This hasn't sat well with the fans. And it also created some Fridge Logic, since Bloom seems to have forgotten her healing powers.
Happened a couple times to Underdog, such as being electrocuted, chained up, and thrown in a lake in A New Villain. Then again...
In the Tom and Jerry episode Heavenly Daze Tom gets hit by a piano and dies, ending up in heaven, but he won't be able to pass through the gates without Jerry's forgiveness. Tom is given a set amount of time to receive Jerry's signature on a certificate of forgiveness, but gets it seconds too late, and falls down to Hell. Turns out to be All Just a Dream and Tom suddenly hugs a bewildered Jerry.
In "Wushu Were Here", Joe and Anna thought Fred got killed by a monk, but it turned out that Fred wasn't dead, and in fact a monk never kills.
In "Dude, Where's My Karma?", the kids thought Fred ate something poisonous, but turns out he was only sleeping.
In "The Good, The Bad and The Goofy", Joe thought Sam and Fred drowned in a rapid river turns out they were alive.
In The Simpsons episode "One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish" Homer eats fugu which is poisonous if cut incorrectly. When Dr. Hibbert is unable to determine for sure whether Homer indeed ate toxic portions of the fish – he merely accepts the word of the sushi chef – he tells Homer that he has 22 hours to live (24, minus the two hours it took to perform tests and contact the chef). Homer is left to make a list of things to do before he dies. That night, Homer falls asleep in an armchair while listening to the Bible-on-tape ... although with his head suddenly drooping and arms falling limp, plus a dark music cue to underscore the moment, the viewer is led to believe that he possibly did succumb to the poison. The next morning, Marge finds Homer and fears the worst when she sees him lying still in the armchair; she begins to cry and caress him ... only to touch his drool, which is still warm, making her realize her husband is still very much alive. Homer realizes this too when he is awakened by his wife holding him.
Happens to Ilana in "The Demon Within" episode of Sym-Bionic Titan. Technically also happens to Octus later on, only it takes two episodes for the character to be revived.
In the U.S. Acres "No Laughing Matter", the aliens from Clarion get killed by laughing at Roy slipping on a banana. In the Quickie before "Much Ado About Lanolin" (a later episode), Orson, Booker, and Shelldon watch a show about the Clarion aliens, whom are revealed to (still) exist at the end of the Quickie by coming out of the TV.
Speaking of Much Ado About Lanolin, in that episode, the fake Lanolin, Lanolina, disappears with sparkles after kissing Orson.
In Snow Wade and the 77 Dwarves, Snow Wade dies after eating the poison apple. His last words? "Uh-oh, I'm doomed." He also holds his stomach while doing this.
In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "A Bird in the Hoof", Celestia's allegedly "sick" pet bird Philomena burns to ashes in front of a shocked Fluttershy... shortly before it is revealednote after the fact that she is actually a phoenix that was just about to rise from her own ashes. There is absolutely no clue to this whatsoever.
In the season 4 premiere, Twilight, thinking that Luna has turned back into Nightmare Moon, sobs over the body of Princess Celestia, after she is struck by Nightmare Moon. It is only after Celestia recovers and activates the Elements of Harmony does Twilight realize that she is witnessing the night Nightmare Moon was banished.
The Powerpuff Girls does this to the titular trio in both "The Rowdyruff Boys" and "Knock It Off".
In the last episode of Avatar; the Last Airbender book 2, Aang is struck by Azula's lightning. Luckily, Katara has some spirit water that she uses to heal him, but it doesn't work right away and we don't learn that he survived until the first episode of the next season.
A "Crosses the Line Twice" computer-add showed how horrible a businessman's life was before he got his new computer, including a staff member shouting "Business is terrible!" before jumping out though the window, and being called that his wife left him and his dog died. After he gets his computer, his wife calls him that she's back and the dog was pretending, and the businessman comes back in a wheelchair and bandages, saying how business is picking up.
Done with bears in The Far Side. In the middle of a funeral, the "corpse" sits up and berates the mourners, "I was hibernating, you idiots! Don't you ever check for a pulse?"
Many characters in Monty Python and the Holy Grail receive what ought to be fatal blows, only to keep on coming. Most memorably seen in the Black Knight ("It's just a flesh wound!"), but repeated in variations throughout the movie by other characters ("I'm not dead yet!")
Another memorable moment has the Genre Savvy King of Swamp Castle actually managing to subvert the typical Disney Death and lampshade it at the same time by acknowledging that a man previously stabbed in the head by Lancelot is now suddenly on a road to recovery and then ads in that suddenly he died without explanation... and the man he describes proceeds to do just that!
In Scary Movie 3, Brenda is killed in the first act. In Scary Movie 4, she is inexplicably alive. Cindy even remarks that she thought she was dead. Brenda simply replies that a lot of people thought that.
In National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1, the Jon Lovitz character (modeled after the Joe Pesci character in the Lethal Weapon films) dies early on, only to return a few scenes later. When asked how he got back, he replies, "I thought this was the sequel!"
In Last Action Hero, when the Schwarzenegger character receives a fatal blow in the "real" world, he needs the main character's help to get back into the movie world, where the same shot qualifies only as a "flesh wound".
Parodied in Kung Pow!: Enter the Fist: the Chosen One's mentor Master Tang, love interest Ling, rival Wimp Lo, and his beloved dog are dying. After imparting their "final wisdom" to him, it turns out Master Tang's not dead! And Ling's not dead either! And dog is fine!
Chosen One: Then surely Wimp Lo!... (he runs to Wimp Lo; we hear flies buzzing) Chosen One: ... oh.
In Muppet Treasure Island, Long John Silver tells Samuel Arrow, played by safety fanatic Sam the Eagle, one of the boats may not be safe, and tells him to go out to sea to make sure it is safe. He then tells Kermit (The Captain) that he was lost at sea. He comes back some time later and tells Jim, Gonzo, and Rizzo "Not to trust that Silver fellow."
Gonzo: Now he tells us....
One episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 has Crow developing the touch of death and accidentally killing Mike when he shakes his hand during one of the host segments, and this actually sticks for a bit when they return to the theater with Mike's corpse just propped up in his seat. After his body keeps falling on Servo, Crow shakes his hand again which brings him back to life. Upon learning they're still watching the crummy movie, Mike actually wishes Crow had left him dead.
My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has "Over a Barrel" where the settler ponies and a tribe of buffalo are feuding over land, eventually leading to the two groups fighting it out. The fighting then ends when both sides are horrified at the buffalo chief is taken out, but he then turns out to be just fine. Of course, it's not too surprising considering the thing that took him out was an apple pie to the face.