Good thing indeed.
"You insensitive pricks! Do you have any idea how much that stings?"
The Healing Factor
is an amazing super power
, capable of feats from quick healing to re-growing whole limbs or even one's entire body
in seconds. Sadly, it's more passive and less visually impressive than Eye Beams
or even Super Strength
, both of which you can show off regularly with Mundane Utility
to clue in new readers or viewers that the characters have powers.
There's only one way to show off immortality
, after all.
So for writers who don't want to go the route of "Luckily My Powers Will Protect Me
" every issue, they have to find new and inventive ways for the hero to show off their regeneration, whether by their own clumsiness, being an accident magnet, or the target of lethal attacks
. Accidents usually include: deep cuts, lost limbs, third degree burns, and otherwise flirting with sure death.
The problem is that while redundant exposition is avoided, the character in question gets a reputation as clumsy to the point that should they lose their regeneration they'd die or be seriously crippled, prompting onlookers to go "Good Thing You Can Heal".
Another side effect of the trope is that normally non-fatal accidents suddenly become almost certainly fatal ones just so the character has a death to avoid: If someone with regeneration so much as trips
, you can expect them to end up a mangled heap of broken bones, many of them sticking out of their skin
. And don't ask what happens when they get a paper cut
This can even become canon
, as regenerating brawlers come to depend on their regeneration to the point they just use painful and suicidal tactics
because they can heal from it. Can also be justified as a healing character might be the first one to leap into harms way when needed because they'll live.
It also tends to escalate into a rather gorier version of The Worf Barrage
. Since the regenerator can take damage that would otherwise kill any other team member, it becomes their "job"
to be the target of a "No One Could Survive That
" at the hands of the Monster of the Week
or recurring baddy because Immortal Life Is Cheap
. It shows that the bad guy is ready and willing to kill, without actually having somebody die. At its worst, it can break Willing Suspension of Disbelief
by having the regenerator come back from being completely incinerated (Shapeshifter Baggage
is usually involved when that much mass is lost), or a character with clones casually killing them
It's not even limited to characters who can heal; any character who can come back
from a normally crippling injury
for any reason is subject to this trope. Most noticeable with Cyborgs
, who tend to take damage primarily to their repairable or replaceable parts despite a reasonable expectation that their remaining flesh would be more vulnerable.
It's generally a safe assumption that a character who uses this trope a lot has the Required Secondary Powers
of Feel No Pain
or at least reduced
pain. As even though they can regenerate that doesn't mean they can't feel
the wound(s). And as anyone who has recovered from an injury can assert, healing doesn't exactly feel great all the time either. Or, it could be blessed with suck
— yes, he can heal supernaturally fast, but he feels all the pain at once.
A subtrope of Could Have Been Messy
, with "messy" as in "fatal". They tend to coincide if the one getting mauled is bloodless
(robots, golems, etc.) and has a Heart Drive
or other means of near-immortality
Related tropes include: Pulling Themselves Together
, Appendage Assimilation
, Fake Arm Disarm
and Losing Your Head
. Despite occasional griping, these characters tend to agree Living Forever Is Awesome
. When a character deliberately injures themselves to prove their Healing Factor
, it's Self-Mutilation Demonstration
Contrast Immortal Life Is Cheap
, where someone who can't die permanently gets killed repeatedly. Also contrast Sliding Scale of Undead Regeneration
, which can go from this to no healing
at all. The comedic version of this is They Killed Kenny Again
, where a character who isn't established as immortal is repeatedly killed (usually for laughs), and always brought back without any reason.
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Anime & Manga
- In Dragon Ball, Piccolo, and all Namekians, are established as having regenerative capabilities. He first demonstrates this During the 23rd Tenkaichi Budokai. Unless his head is destroyed, he can use these powers to regenerate himself.
- In the sanitized Saban/Ocean dub of Dragon Ball Z, Tenshinhan says his arm will grow back when Napa cuts it off. He's sent to the next dimension "before it can happen". Tenshinhan is human, and does not have this ability in the manga or the original Japanese.
- The dub producers likely took advantage of the aforementioned Namekian capabilities. When Funimation went back and redubbed the Saiyan/Vegeta saga, they removed this tidbit.
- Majin Buu can regenerate even if he's broken up into his constituent atoms, and when Goku and Vegeta escape from Earth as he blows it up he flies from planet to planet, blowing it (and himself) up and simply regenerating each time.
- Cell, the Trope Namer and Trope Codifier of From a Single Cell, loses a tail, an arm, and his entire upper body at various points before self-destructing and coming back from almost nothing.
- Subverted and Lampshaded in Mahou Sensei Negima!, when they used Cassiopeia to jump back seven days to fix everything and they appeared in the sky instead of the ground.
Chisame: You can't heal us if we went down with a splat, right?
Konoka: Th-th-th-th-this one's probably impossible~
- In the episode Abra and the Psychic Showdown of the Pokémon anime, Pikachu scores a major hit against Sabrina's Kadabra. Ash's Oh, Crap face when Kadabra uses Recover is quite entertaining.
- In the Pokémon Special manga, Koga's Arbok has the unique ability to regenerate any severed portion of its body as long as its head is intact. Unsurprisingly, attacks that would inflict only minor injuries on other Pokémon (being bitten by another Arbok, being tail-whipped) literally slice this Arbok in half.
- This was a Retcon added much later to try to tone down the level of the violence in the manga to be more in-line with the games and anime. Before the Retcon, we were lead to believe that one of the heroes totally sliced that Arbok in two and left it for dead.
- In Trigun, both Vash and his brother Knives have a very impressive regeneration capability. However, Vash appears to have less so, as his body looks like it was sewn back together very, VERY poorly. In the manga, it's shown that Plants in general have the capability to regenerate; however, it has a limit. Plants can only regenerate so much before it kills them. The way one can tell is by watching the color of their hair, as regeneration will cause their hair to slowly turn from its normal color to black. Once every strand is black, the Plant dies. Problem is, Vash is almost completely raven-haired by this point.
- Proven: at the end of the manga, both Vash and Knives' hair have gone completely black, indicating they're both a VERY short way from death. Knives' went as such due to reconstructing his body from almost nothing; he later uses his power to create an apple tree, and it's heavily implied that this finally killed him.
- The reason for Vash's lesser regenerative ability is that Knives replenished his own power by absorbing other Plants and taking their own power into himself. Vash, the Friend to All Living Things, would never have done this.
- Koyomi Araragi, the main character of Bakemonogatari has a Healing Factor along with Super Senses as remnants of his previous vampirism. This is fortunate, since having his arm torn off is on the low end of the sort of things that happen to him.
- In Gankutsuou, it's really a good thing the Count is Gankutsuou's host. Thanks to that, he can survive being shot, being stabbed several times, having Gankutsuou's eyes pierce through his skull, and even being deliberately stabbed by Fernand's Humongous Mecha in an awesomely impressive scene. That doesn't prevent him from hurting like crazy though, as attested by his agonizing screams and his frequently passing out.
- In Blade of the Immortal, the main character, Manji, can regenerate from any injury. He is an excellent swordsman and notes himself that he used to be better but, due to his immortality, has gotten sloppy. In one fight, he's glad to have an arm lopped off by an opponent, because the loss of the weight made him just a tad faster, just enough so that he can now
best keep up with his foe.
- Now though? His skills are back up AND he's still immortal.
- Mermaid Saga. Yuta and Mana appear to find themselves in situations inexplicably designed to make them bleed as much as possible. Sure, there's some bloodshed to be had when dealing with immortal crazies, and they can't die unless they're killed in very specific manners... but did Masato really need to bind Mana's arms and legs with barbed wire?
- Rin in Mnemosyne seems very prone to being captured and tortured quite gruesomely and having things happen like her arm being shot off by a sniper rifle, being blown up with a massive charge of explosives, and even getting sucked through a running jet engine. Being immortal, she manages to walk them off, though not without quite a lot of pain in the process of regrowing/reattaching lost parts(understandably, the Turbine Blender took a while).
- In Fullmetal Alchemist, Ed's metal limbs get chopped off pretty often, but his real limbs barely get hurt. Similarly, the only place Al has never been hurt is the blood seal at the base of his neck, which is also the only part that Ed cannot repair.
- That's mostly because Ed often uses his automail arm to protect his fleshy parts because he knows they can be repaired, and Al takes special care to avoid taking damage to his bloodseal because any damage to it would kill him.
- In his first meeting with Al, Greed invokes this deliberately, having a henchman literally smash his face off with a big hammer to demonstrate the Homunculi's healing factor. In general, all the homunculi have a tendency to get sliced, diced, and shot to pieces throughout the series.
- In Baccano!, Czeslaw Meyer seems to be the only main character to repeatedly suffer being shot, having limbs ripped off, and other rather gruesome events as the show tries hard to Break the Cutie.
- The trope is also invoked in one episode, when Szilard drinks the Elixir of Life given to him and the others by a demon Maiza had just summoned. After drinking it, he suspects he's been cheated and demands the demon to prove that the elixir was real. He obliges by immediately slicing off the top of his head.
- The Guyver can regrow from the tiniest piece of material left on the control metal. And that's not theoretical: this actually happens to Sho in one of his very first adventures, and results in him being a clone of himself. He has to fight a monster that generated from his severed arm. The only thing that can destroy a Guyver is the destruction of the control metal which is what happened to Guyver II.
- This also happens in The Movie; The Guyver is killed halfway through, but the villains keep the control metal in order to study and duplicate it. Of course, they completely ignore the growing organic mass stuck to the thing until it's accidentally swallowed by a monster during a fight with some of The Guyver's allies, at which point he completes his regeneration at the speed of plot and cuts his way out of the creature's stomach.
- Another cast member, Aptom, can not only grow back completely, including memories, from the smallest smattering of his body, but he can even clone himself this way. However, he does require biomass to do so, which he gets from absorbing opponents - gaining their abilities and appearance in the process. Shades of The Thing here.
- Shows up a lot in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Part 4, since The Hero Josuke's Stand Crazy Diamond can heal damn near anything. The twist is that Josuke can't heal himself with this ability.
- It's explicitly stated that being or becoming a Stand user makes you tougher and lets you heal faster, thus allowing most of the cast (protagonists and antagonists alike) to suffer grievous bloody wounds, severed body parts, shattered bones and ruptured organs, and sometimes losing parts of their head, without a single "ow". In part 6 they go without a dedicated healer for a long time (Jolyne makes do by stitching up injuries with her thread) and the wounds are no less horrid.
- And in part 3 Joseph's artificial hand gets destroyed an awful lot of times.
- Dio's vampiric abilities lets him survive just about anything except sunlight and hamon. In part 1, he gets his head split vertically which only prompts him to push them together again, and later fights on effectively after his head's been severed completely.
- Similarily, "The Men in the Pillar" are walking body horrors and can do all sorts of squicky stuff without permanent damage.
- Giorno, the hero of Part 5, has a Stand that can turn inanimate objects into living tissue, allowing him to heal wounds and even replace lost body parts. Naturally, he usually sustains some pretty horrible injuries whenever he gets in a fight.
- Exemplified in the humor manga Hannah Of The Z, where the titular character's power is absurdly powerful regeneration — but her body is also comically weak in every other way, to the point where simply attempting to poke through the cap of a milk bottle or pick up a heavy object can cause her bones to break.
- Yakumo in 3x3 Eyes has been turned into a "wu", an immortal guardian of the last known Sanjiyan (Triclops) who regenerates even if he has been turned into paste. He cannot die until either the Sanjiyan, Pai, is killed, or she manages to find a way to release him from said condition. At the start of the series, he regularly gets beaten, chopped up, and blown up (it started when he was hit by a bus). At one point, he deliberately grabs a lighter and jumps into a fountain full of gasoline in order to kill a monster. Some of his deaths are simple random bad luck, like the aforementioned car accident; one wonders if he had that kind of bad luck before he was immortal.
- While everyone received injuries in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, the really serious ones, such as impalement and losing huge chunks of flesh, went to the Wolkenritter and the Combat Cyborgs, who can be repaired and/or have Healing Factors. Good thing too. As one Flashback showed, even with Healing Hands, a normal human who gets critically wounded would require almost a year to recover, and that's if they're lucky.
- Alucard's first fight in Hellsing has him purposely letting the enemy blow him into tiny little pieces so that they run out of ammo; immediately after, he heals and opens a can of whoop-ass. He has also survived having his head cut off. Integra actually mocks Anderson for thinking that decapitation can kill him. Seras has recovered between scenes from being shot in the chest with a 13mm round and being stabbed by several large bayonets at once. Father Alexander Anderson is a regenerator, specifically engineered to fight vampires and has survived both Alucard and several assassination attempts. Pretty much everyone else in the series, though, averts this trope.
- Kenji Murasame in his appearance in Giant Robo is so known for this it earned him the nickname 'Murasame the Immortal' and is instrumental to the finale.
- This trope defines Claymore. Offensive-type Claymores can lose an arm or leg, and simply hold the severed limb to their stump and have it heal. They can even regrow lost limbs, though the limb becomes regular, human strength. Defensive-types are nigh immortal, capable of regrowing lost limbs in minutes and routinely surviving distractions like being nearly cut in half. Odds are if you like a character who's a Defensive-type, you're going to see her get fucked up routinely.
- More specifically, high-level Defensive-types are able to regenerate quickly. The lower-ranked ones may take over a day to regenerate a lost limb, and even longer to recover from near-bisection. Only one character has been shown to regenerate her lost limb(s) in mere minutes, and that's due to special circumstances. Normally, it takes an extreme outpouring of power and effort to regenerate limbs or heal from extensive damage, along with recovery time afterwards. For Offensive-types, even reattaching limbs takes long minutes of uninterrupted concentration. Which can be problematic when enemies refuse to show Mook Chivalry during fights and consider a lost limb a good opportunity to finish their opponent off.
- In Ghost in the Shell, cyborgs can recover from (or rather, be repaired from) pretty much any injury that doesn't affect the brain. The Major, in particular, has a tendency to get limbs (and in one case, her head) blown off, but other characters are not exempt from this.
- Twice, if you're counting both the TV series and the first movie.
- Naruto's Healing Factor thanks to the demon fox has lead him to having some of the most extreme injuries in the series, including having an electrified hand shoved through his chest TWICE and all of his skin burnt off. Tsunade also qualifies, being stabbed and slashed repeatedly by Orochimaru during their fight and shrugging it off with her Genesis Rebirth technique.
- However, Naruto and Tsunade downplay it later on, as the attacks get more powerful due to Sorting Algorithm of Evil but unlike others on this list their healing powers haven't. Said injuries happened quite a while ago and they have yet to be matched.
- What about Orochimaru HIMSELF? His regenerative powers have let him survive getting set on fire while bombarded with shuriken, having his face ripped open, getting his neck broken, having one arm torn off, his whole body getting ripped into two pieces, getting pounded into the ground head first by a giant Breath Weapon, and having sword repeatedly cut the pieces of him apart; it's always been sealing techniques that had any permanent effect. It doesn't even seem like he's even TRYING to avoid half this stuff.
- Jugo and Suigetsu also seem prone to rather insane injuries to demonstrate their Nigh-Invulnerability, like getting hit with a blast that destroyed a mountain or getting impaled through the chest, smashed into a wall, and crushed under rubble all in a row.
- Kisame averts this though: he is able to heal himself by fusing with Samehada but he avoids getting injured enough to use it until a very long time after he is introduced.
- Karin has finally surpassed Tsunade as a medic with Heal Thyself powers. Sakura is at least on par with Tsunade by the finale of the Fourth Ninja War.
- Obito has lost four right arms over the course of the manga. The first was his actual arm, with the subsequent ones being cloned Zetsu tissue. He can regenerate the entire arm to combat readiness within minutes.
- dear has Kisara who is immortal. In one practice match, he impales one of his hand onto the opponent's blade in order to disarm and win.
- In Basilisk, Tenzen is the big bad of the Iga clan and his unique special ability is immortality including full regeneration. Because of this, he is killed by at least five different ninjas of the rival Kouga clan (and several times elsewhere), making him appear the least competent of the ten ninjas. And Oboro later unlocks the key to kill him... by using her Piercing Eyes right when he's reviving himself. Enjoy your messy and painful death, buddy.
- Creed from Black Cat is defeated a number of times, fatally if not for his immortality.
- Gunnm/Battle Angel Alita. Not a direct application of this trope, since neither Gally nor her gigantic cyborg foes regenerate per se. However, since the in-universe rule of thumb is that as long as the brain is intact, it can be grafted into any kind of body overnight, it amounts to the same thing. Coincidentally, every fight she's in features lots and lots of dismemberments, slashfests and Ludicrous Gibs - on both sides. Good thing she can bolt those legs back on.
- In D.Gray-Man, Allen Walker has a healing factor that only applies to his left eye and left arm. Guess what happens? And Kanda Yu would have been dead a while ago if he didn't have regenerative capabilities.
- Happens to all sorts of characters in One Piece. Buggy the Clown is the only person who has been literally cut to shreds by Zoro and Mihawk (despite both being capable of doing so to anybody) - naturally, he can survive that injury quite easily. Similarly, Kizaru stands around while Scratchmen Apoo slices off his forearm and legs, only to regenerate in a beam of light shortly afterward.
- The Crusniks of Trinity Blood, to an almost absurd level. When main character Abel Nightroad gets into a fight, especially in his Crusnik form, he's almost guaranteed to get mangled in some way. If someone pulls a gun, he usually takes at least one bullet. In one instance, he survives having the left half of his torso, including an arm, a wing, and (presumably) his heart obliterated by a tank. He regrows them in a matter of moments by having the nanomachines in his blood actually eat the charred hunks of flesh before returning to his body, much to his enemy's horror. Father Tres, being an android, has a similar propensity to take damage (a flame-wielding vampire once hit him point-blank in the face), though not to the same extent.
- In an even more extreme example, Big Bad Cain Nightroad survives being thrown out of a space station, burning to ash upon entering the atmosphere, and subsequently hitting the ground. Granted, regenerating from that took him about 900 years, but the fact that he survived it at all (not to mention the fact that he can live for 900 years) is a little over-the-top.
- Moka's mother in Rosario + Vampire, Akasha. She survives being cut in half at one point, and it's implied by the method used to seal Alucard that her regeneration might be at From a Single Cell levels. Since he's nearly died from Taking the Bullet multiple times, Tsukune might count as well, albeit only by injection of Moka's blood. However, he's implied to be more compatible with the process than most humans.
- Free of Soul Eater is of the clumsy/accident magnet variety. Amongst other things, he accidentally freezes himself. Part of it is his own fault, though. He knows he's completely immortal, so he doesn't really even bother with trying to protect himself.
- Kim's magic turns out to be based on healing, so as you might expect she gets impaled rather abruptly just before showing this.
- Freezing, Pandoras regularly experience absolutely brutal maiming even in training exercises, never mind real battles. They have the ability to regenerate and specialized infirmaries exist to actively restore them to full health. Even so, it comes with a price — regenerating fatal wounds or lost limbs shortens their (potential) lifespan in the process.
- Yukiko Hirohara from 11 eyes.
- In Cyborg 009, we only find out that Princess Ixquic is a Robot Girl when she pulls a Diving Save for Joe aka 009 and she suffers a huge injury in her arm, which heals itself almost immediately and reveals the robotic limbs hidden behind her synthetic skin.
- InuYasha: Inuyasha is so good at healing or withstanding even terrible injuries that the manga tends to lampshade just how bad his wounds are when he struggles to recover from injuries as a way of indicating just how dangerous the fight he's been in was (such as when he's injured by his brother). This is particularly notable when he's in trapped in human form or when his injuries are so bad it takes his Super-Powered Evil Side to heal them.
- Quon of Towa No Quon recieves injuries that would be fatal to just about anyone else almost Once an Episode.
- In Vamp, the vampires can heal from almost anything, and the characters tend to make use of this by beating each other bloody with their super-strength.
- Since Death Is Cheap in Angel Beats! (due to being set in the afterlife or purgatory), nearly every cast member has died at least once, and it's almost always played for Black Comedy.
- In Attack on Titan, the title creatures are regularly maimed and mangled in every fashion imaginable. Unlike the unfortunate humans they prey upon, nothing short of cutting out their nape will kill them. Likewise, the Titan Shifters suffer injuries that would leave a human crippled for life, if not outright dead. The stronger ones easily shrug off severed limbs and Slashed Throats, and one soldier states that decapitation is probably the only certain way to kill them.
- The second half of Kill la Kill gives us Ragyo Kiryuin, who possesses powerful regenerative abilities thanks to being fused with Life Fibers. As a result, her first battle with the protagonists features her getting stabbed in the back and crucified without much inconvenience on her part. We also learn Ryuko has that same regenerative ability, and actually invokes this trope in the penultimate episode, taking an otherwise fatal injury to get past Ragyo.
- In Blue Exorcist, Rin's regenerative powers are used as an excuse by Arthur Auguste Angel to justify cutting his foot off with Angel's BFS during a trial. Before that, Rin had been impaled by a zombie hand from his own teacher and stabbed in the shoulder with a sword.
- Wolverine from the X-Men combines his regeneration with Made of Iron to be pretty damn careless. In one instance, his entire body, save his adamantium skeleton, was incinerated by a Wave Motion Gun, and he regenerated from a handful of brain cells left in his cranial cavity. Said skeleton is actually an example. Should he ever lose his healing factor, the metal in his skeleton will kill him.
- On one occasion in Ultimate X-Men, he had another mutant blast him with fire in order to break him out of his restraints, which burned off much of his skin and hair (but not his Magic Pants). This was — of course — done since he could (and would) regenerate from the damage.
- They're really going all-out in the Ultimate universe. When Ultimate Wolverine was possessed by Proteus he got hit by a truck. The aftermath is never explicitly shown but implied to be so gruesome that the X-Men have to wait a few minutes for Wolverine to regenerate his mouth and vocal cords before they can talk to him again. When his mind got swapped with Peter Parker's, Peter accidentally cuts off one of Wolvie's fingers so the writers can show it growing back. When Wolvie gets ambushed by some mercenaries with an unexplained grudge against him the leader spends a long time shooting him in the forehead just to torture him. He also gets shot a lot. So much so that he often doesn't even notice until after the battle when he realizes he still has bullets lodged under his skin. Apparently the guards at the Weapon X program used to entertain themselves by shooting Wolverine over and over so they could watch him regenerate.
- When Wolverine went after the Hulk in the Ultimate universe. Hulk at the time was at peace (literally sitting on a throne, surrounded by riches, fine food and drink, and half-naked servant girls). He was a little upset at Wolverine for disturbing him... And ended their fight by tearing him in half at the waist and throwing his legs on top of the mountain. This is resolved in flashback: the introduction would be Wolverine dragging his torso up the mountain to find his lower half, not before he bleeds to death, but before his body heals in such a way that he would have to cut himself apart to again put himself back together.
- This is also how Marvel lampshades Logan's near-constant cigar smoking: the Healing Factor "makes it okay". In-depth explanation: Wolverine cannot get cancer. If one of his cells turns cancerous, the surrounding cells will immediately team up and beat the cancer out of it. He's THAT violent.
- In one comic he drives several Nazi death camp commandants crazy by just letting them execute him over and over again and turning up again later as if nothing's happened. At one point he just stands in a gas chamber and refuses to die.
- This trope is also later subverted by Ultimate Wolverine. He loses his healing factor and becomes Cable. As Cable he has to rely more on planning and wits now that he can die from massive damage.
- The Wolverine Anime shows seems to have this in spades. While he does occasionally dodge, he spends quite a bit of time losing huge chunks of skin and flesh. At one point, he's knocked to the floor and loses a chunk of forehead big enough to show his skull.
- The comparatively minor character Shatterstar from the spinoff X-Force has correspondingly less extreme healing abilities... but he needs them, because his signature attack is stabbing himself through the gut to impale somebody standing behind him.
- Robotman in the All-Star Squadron comics was a non-healer example; he'd constantly get his arms and legs sliced off, since he has a robot body and they can be fixed. The Doom Patrol Legacy Character version underwent similar travails.
- Similarly, Red Tornado of the Justice League tends to be the official team sacrificial lamb since he can be rebuilt rather easily.
- Minor Marvel character in New Mutants Wolfsbane has a 'healing factor', which means she has been knocked unconscious (with a rifle butt!) and recovered with a short headache ('the lord didn't make me pretty, but he gave me a thick skull'); it was implied that she survived being slashed with a Katana by the Silver Samurai, and her friend Dani Moonstar's defence of her while down gained the Samurai's respect, so he left them alive.
- In Preacher 'V-word' Cassidy can regenerate back from anything given enough time; blood merely speeds up the process. At one point, he's captured by the villains after pretending to be Jesse, and after they realize he's practically invulnerable, trap him in a pit and shoot him over and over with a rifle. By the time Jesse rescues him, he's got one leg, one arm, and no genitals, at least for a while. When describing past events he mentions overdosing on heroin and being buried, eventually waking up in his coffin, forced to vomit up the embalming fluid and feed off insects until his organs regenerating enough to dig out of his own grave, the whole process taking over a month.
- He also recovered from being shot by the Saint of Killers, which is possibly even more remarkable considering that the Saint's guns, forged from the Angel of Death's sword, are supposed to be able to kill anyone, even immortals.
- Deadpool, the Merc with a Mouth. His regeneration ability is actually in part derived from Wolverine's own. A high tolerance of pain and insanity allow him to frankly not care about any damage he receives and keep fighting regardless. Only problem is, his brain is constantly in flux as a result, which is why he's... unstable.
- Deadpool is... thrilled to meet up with Alex Hayden (Agent X), who can also regenerate. Deadpool shows his affection by spelling out messages with Alex's entrails, and also stealing his pancreas just because he can.
- Deadpool has jumped face first into concrete from a 10 story building to try to "fix" looking like Tom Cruise.
- Deadpool has also jumped into a malfunctioning nuclear reactor to stop it from going nuclear.
- In Cable & Deadpool, Cable's preferred method of getting Deadpool to leave him alone, at least at first, is to telekinetically blow up his brain, resulting in a nasty looking headwound and Deadpool being down for about an hour.
- Pretty much the entire reason for being for Mr. Immortal, who can come back from any fatal injury... and has no other powers.
- Lampshaded by Cyborg in Titans #5, after his latest self-repair: "There. I am walking, with my new feet on the floor. Let's see if I can go the weekend without getting them blown off."
- The titular heroes of Bill Willingham's supernatural superhero comics Elementals got mangled fairly regularly. Being that they were dead already, it was only a temporary inconvenience.
- Jack in Jack of Fables. It is explained that this is partially the result of some karmic payback the universe owes him for making himself nearly invincible. The universe hates to see invincibility exist without a purpose, so it punishes him at every opportunity.
- All of the Fable-folk have this ability which is directly proportional to the popularity of the Fable in question. Snow White recovered from a sniper bullet through the brain in a matter of months. Goldilocks healed up nicely from an axe to the head, a fall off a cliff, getting hit by a truck then falling off ANOTHER cliff into a river where she proceeded to drown repeatedly and get eaten by the local aquatic fauna after she was found by Mr Revise in Jack of Fables. Jack, since he's THE Jack of Tales (even though he's the antecedent to Wicked John) can heal from most things almost instantaneously. Most other fables can be killed but if they're just injured you can expect a fairly speedy recovery. Fables that die are given a burial in the Witching Well.
- The DCU's Lobo, who was originally created as a parody of Wolverine and character types like him. He is able to regenerate from even one remaining drop of blood. In one issue of his book, he resorts to blowing himself up just to take out all the enemies surrounding him.
- Find a Doom Patrol story where Robotman doesn't lose at least one limb. Go ahead, I'll wait.
- In an early solo story, Robotman tracks an escaped killer through a booby trapped island, and rips off all his limbs to use them as various tools. He tears off his own leg and warps it into a giant key to open a door that he could have obviously just broken down, since he was strong enough to TEAR OFF HIS OWN LEG AND WARP IT INTO A GIANT KEY.
- Played hilariously straight in the Last Hero Standing story set in the Marvel Comics possible-future M2 universe. The Hulk, under Loki's influence, goes on a killing rampage against the Avengers Next and various other future heroes. Despite his massive strength, insane rage, and lack of holding back, he does no permanent damage to anyone. What he does do is pound Wolverine into the dirt (who, of course, can regenerate), tear off Spidey's prosthetic leg and Thing's robot arm, shatter the Big Brain (a robot) into pieces, and break the arms and head off Vision (an android). So every injury is repairable. He hits a bunch of regular heroes too, but they just get knocked flying.
- The Savage Dragon can regrow lost limbs, continue talking after getting holes blasted through his chest, and has fought without skin on at least two occaisions all due to his healing powers.
- The Marvel character Darkhawk can heal by transforming into his human form and then changing back again. He discovered this after having his heart/amulet ripped out by a villain named Tombstone.
- X-23 and Daken are beginning to give Wolverine a run for his money.
- X-23, at least, is a better healer than Wolverine because she isn't constantly fighting massive adamantium poisoning. However this is somewhat subverted in her case, in that her lack of a full adamantium skeleton means she's much less durable than Wolverine, and more vulnerable to injuries that can disable or outright kill her. Laura will at times take advantage of her ability to heal if necessary, but she generally relies more on Waif-Fu to avoid getting hit in the first place, or her assassin skills to avoid a direct confrontation altogether.
- Everyone in the X-Men suddenly started getting injured more in battles shortly after they were joined by Elixir, a mutant whose power is to heal himself and others. It's almost like they were deliberately being more careless just so the new guy could feel more useful.
- In the pages of New Avengers, the Sentry ripped Carnage in half and threw him into the sun. Of course Carnage came back about five years later. How? It turns out that because the Carnage symbiote is part of Cletus Kasady's bloodstream, it was able to put Cletus in a coma and keep it alive, nearly dying to do so. Considering the random stuff Carnage, Venom and other symbiotes have done, this is completely believable compared to some other resurrections.
- In Oh God Not Again, Harry encounters a Sphinx in a maze and well,
Sphinx: Right. Do not worry, though, as I am not permitted to kill you. That said, healers can work all sorts of miracles these days.
- George in With Strings Attached can shapeshift from “himself hurt” to “himself not hurt.” He recovers from a broken ankle, various cuts and scrapes, and finally multiple fractures after he falls through a roof. He has to be conscious to do this, so if he were killed he wouldn't get better. (Then they'd have to tote him off to the resurrectionist.)
- In Calvin and Hobbes: The Series, Jack has an auto-repair system that functions like this, thanks to living with Dr. Brainstorm.
- A villainous example occurs with Shadow.
- In Neon Genesis Madoka Magica, Sayaka's Healing Factor is the only thing that kept her alive after Sachiel burned most of her skin off (including her arms). Sachiel himself has a somewhat subverted example of this. Sayaka keeps lopping his limbs off, until she realizes that puncturing his lungs has about the same effect it would have on a human being, and that he has a hard time regenerating more than one body part/organ at a time.
- While it's never been shown in the anime canon, this is a common piece of Axis Powers Hetalia Fanon, supported by the fact that in the manga, Russia survives his heart falling out on a regular basis, and China has a scar directly over his spine from when Japan stabbed him. It's so prevalent that "consensual guro" is quite popular among certain sections of the fanbase, with characters treating killing each other like a form of S&M.
- Forgive Us Our Trespasses, a Fullmetal Alchemist fanfic, invokes, exploits, deconstructs and plays this trope straight with Vengeance, whose power is basically turning herself into a living bomb.
- In the Pony POV Series Dark World, the mane six have been given Complete Immortality by Discord to serve as his Co-Dragons. Once memebers begin to break free, they make good use of the fact they can regenerate From a Single Cell so long as their Element of Chaos is intact, both being willing to take more damage due to it and actually harm themselves if it'll give them an advantage. In fact, Rarity's Healing Hands ability from her Element of Desire lets her take injuries from others into herself, which her Healing Factor quickly deals with. On another occasion the Valeyard's trap in case Twilight tries the Memory Spell on him implants a copy of his personality that tries to pull a Grand Theft Me. Twilight has the others smash her head to kill it, then regenerates a new one free of it.
- Navarone doesn't deliberately set out to get himself injured, but he does end up taking far more damage after gaining his Healing Factor in Diaries of a Madman.
- Rampage in Fallout: Equestria - Project Horizons can regenerate from anything thanks to the Phoenix Talisman inside her. She's been shot, drowned, fed through a wood chipper, disintegrated, and at one point chained up as a self-replenishing buffet for psychotic cannibals. Her own allies have been known to blow her head off from time to time because it's a reliable way of snapping her out of a psychotic episode.
Film - Animated
- B.O.B. the gelatinous goo blob/jello thingy from Monsters vs. Aliens gets crushed all the time as a result of his ability to reform himself.
- Wreck-It Ralph: In order to save themselves from quicksand, Felix and Calhoun need to keep the taffy laughing so that it stretches down towards them and they can get out. Felix's solution is to get Calhoun to punch him in the face repeatedly. She's hesitant to continuously abuse him for no particular reason, but he reassures her by showing that, using his magic hammer, he can even fix himself.
- Earlier in the same movie, Ralph accidentally breaks off a piece of the ceiling, which falls on Felix and kills him. Fortunately he immediately gets better, as he has extra lives in his own video game.
- Scamper from Igor demonstrates his Healing Factor in practically every scene he's in, mostly because he hadn't actually wanted to be re-animated via Mad Science and keeps trying different ways of killing himself.
Film - Live Action
Live Action TV
- This is also something of an Actor Allusion, as Charisma Carpenter, who plays Cordelia, had received that injury herself earlier in her life. In fact, the manner of Cordelia's injury was written so that Carpenter's real-life scar could have an accurate in-universe explanation.
- The phrase also shows up in "The Ring", after Angel gets a sufficiently serious beating to leave Wesley and Cordelia basically carrying him home.
Cordelia: Angel, you don't look so...well it's a good thing you heal fast!
- Angel sustaining (and quickly recovering from) an injury that would kill a normal human is pretty much a Once an Episode thing. Probably the most blatant example is "Apocalypse, Nowish": Angel is staked in the neck and thrown off a building, and in less than a minute, we see him looking fine. Even within the show, only a few minutes could have passed.
- Buffy, Faith and Kendra (Slayers, basically) also heal faster than regular humans, which can lead to awkward questions posed by those not in the loop. For example, in the season 2 episode "Ted", the police wouldn't believe Buffy hit her stepfather in self-defense, because she had no bruise where he had hit her.
Myths & Religion
- Prometheus was chained to a rock and an eagle tore out his liver every day until he was rescued. Boy Prometheus, it's a Good Thing You Can Heal now isn't it? Of course, the regeneration was part of his punishment for giving humans fire-so that his liver could be torn out every day for the rest of eternity and not just once.
- Ares would be injured a bit in Greek Mythology...thank you Diomedes for stabbing him.
- Norse Mythology has several instances of this. Odin hangs himself (for three days), stabs an eye out, and stabs himself with a spear to get knowledge. Loki gets chained down and has a snake drip poison/acid on him.
- In BIONICLE, the Toa Mata could regenerate their decayed flesh and organs after awakening from a millennia-long coma. Presumably other characters can do this too, provided that their organic parts weren't removed by force, and their metal pieces are still intact. Nocturn is a character who could even regrow an arm after Pridak had torn it off, but he wasn't able to grow a new tentacle (this is why he uses a launcher in that hand instead).
- In a general case, games that provide a health bar either allow Regenerating Health, or allow quick and rapid healing by using one of the healing items (carried potions, medikit pickup, hamburger, etc.) This is more of a practical abstraction rather than being a character's superpower.
- The character Yoshimitsu, who has appeared in every single Tekken game, has healing abilities beginning in Tekken 3. He can heal through meditating, or through draining lifeforce from an enemy. Like Shatterstar, he has an attack where he stabs himself, inflicting damage but is able to hit an enemy for even more damage with it. He is also able to spin while in this state to further damage someone hit with this attack, with his sword still in him. Yoshimitsu can also spin away from his opponent at an incredibly rapid speed, an attack that requires expending his own life to do, and which causes him to lose his balance and faint temporarily if done excessively.
- Yoshimitsu from the Soul Calibur series has similar techniques including flying into the air, lighting his sword on fire, then stabbing it through his own chest and dropping out of the air onto your opponent for massive damage to both you and your opponent. You can regain your health in identical ways to Tekken.
- Played straight in Xenosaga. Albedo has a powerful healing factor (he can regrow his own head!), but is driven to madness upon the knowledge that he cannot be killed while his brothers can.
- The player can do this in Planescape: Torment. Since the main character can't die, and has a Healing Factor as part of the parcel, they can willingly allow themselves to be mangled in all sorts of ways. You can allow a woman to pay for the privilage of fatally stabbing you, snap your own neck to prove a point not once but twice, allow a hag to claw out your eye to give you power, remove a magical ring from the dead finger it's stuck on by biting your finger off and sticking the dead finger onto the stump, allow a mortician to sew up your wounds, have a crazy dissectionist cut your various body parts open (including pulling out your own intestines and cracking open your skull), gouge out your eye to put a preserved one in its place, and gain spells from a Pyro Maniac wizard by allowing him to burn your finger, hand, eyeball and intestines to charred cinders.
- Hilariously, although you can't die, you can kill people in a number of increasingly ridiculous ways. The most well-known and memorable is when you convince a man that he doesn't exist, and he simply poofs out of existence when he realizes that he believes your logic. And it doesn't count as murder, because...he never existed!
- Dark Samus. It took the destruction of one and a half planets to finally kill her.
- Robots and Reploids from the Mega Man franchise can be rebuilt after pretty much any damage, except when they need to die for real. In one game, Proto Man is cut in half twice. Zero has been blown up, reduced to a head and torso, lasered through the chest, split into three parts that get passed around like trading cards...
- Sigma exists as a sentient computer virus allowing him to come back even if his body is completely destroyed. Which of course means it has to happen in every game in the Mega Man X series. Hell, Mega Man X5 begins with Sigma allowing himself to be killed just so he can spread the virus around.
- In Fate/stay night, Shirou takes frequent and painful abuse from enemy Servants no matter what you do — but he takes noticeably less of it in routes where his contract with Saber gets broken. This is because Shirou has unknowingly been imbued with Saber's lost Noble Phantasm, Avalon, which will heal him from any damage as long as he's connected to her. Without her, it's just there.
- Dante in the Devil May Cry series: he gets stabbed and impaled so many times and then shrugs it off that it's just funny...but only in the cut scenes...that don't involve his fights with Vergil in DMC 3 where he actually DOES get hurt...but then gets better by going Devil Time.
- Many Characters in the Final Fantasy series, particularly Dissidia, know that they can come back to life, & use it to their fullest advantage. Sephiroth, Emperor Mateus of Palamecia, & Garland although, he uses time travel are notable examples.
- In World of Warcraft, there are sometimes very high places that would take a long time to climb back down from. Of course the solution is obvious, and several classes have abilities to make it a perfectly survivable tactic, including the Priest's Levitate, Rogue's / Druid Cat-Form's reduced falling damage etc. Warlocks and Shamans don't have these... but they do have the ability to occasionally self-ressurect, leading to a lot of Warlocks and Shammys going 'splat'.
- Then there is Divine Intervention, a Paladin skill that kills the Paladin but makes the target invulnerable when things go badly. The saved ally can then ressurect the Paladin and the others.
- Sadly, Divine Intervention was removed from the game in patch 4.0, back in 2010. At least for players. NPC paladins can still use it in cut scenes though!
- Demonstrated in this Awkward Zombie comic.
- There's been a ton of video games that make use of Wolverine's ability to regenerate, but the most recent one, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, is the first to show grievous bodily harm actually occurring to him, up to and including parts of his face and torso being completely torn off, only for them to slowly come back. For game balancing issues, he has two health meters; his "internal vitals" meter regenerates more slowly, so you're in trouble if you get that far gone. His shirt rarely survives this punishment, though his pants never suffer quite so much.
- Actually the [[Magic Pants]] is sort of justified, since he is attacking military soldiers who are trained to target the chest area, where all the vital organs are, not the legs, though his pants should be at least torn up from all the shit he went through.
- The Konami title Neverdead turns this into a game mechanic. The protagonist, Bryce, is an immortal who can survive violent dismemberment by picking himself up piece by piece.
- Less prominent than most examples here is Chidori in Persona 3. She's a messed-up girl with a bad habit of cutting herself, but her wounds heal rapidly.
- Albert Wesker in the Resident Evil series has a virus that allows him to basically survive anything, such as getting hundred tons of metal to fall on him with barely any effect. Rocket Launchers only stun him while there able to take down a Tyrant in one hit.It took two rockets, lava, and a hundred attacks to finally obliterate him. Even after all that, some fans suggest he somehow managed to survive.
- On a lesser scale, the Regenerators in Resident Evil 4 can regenerate any body part, including their head, unless their hidden Plagas are taken out.
- Both Vorcha and Krogans in the Mass Effect universe can heal: Vorcha heal very quickly as a natural ability, which gives them a somewhat horrifying appearance from the mass of scars they receive, and Krogans are so naturally tough and resilient that their anatomy allows them to continue functioning even when they shouldn't be capable, while their body heals the injuries. Both can have their regeneration shut down (temporarily, but permanently in the games based on how combat works) through inflicting incredible amounts of simultaneous, wide-spread damage (the Warp biotic effect) or burning them.
- Wrex forgets that most species don't have this ability. This leads to an amusing conversation in the second game, where he initially seems to be under the impression that Shepard survived being spaced because of this.
Wrex: Ah, the benefits of a redundant nervous system!
Shepard: Yeah, humans don't have that.
Wrex: Oh... it must've been painful, then.
- Dungeons & Dragons of course has "Fast Healing" and "Regeneration". The difference: Fast Healing heals any damage, but cannot restore limbs; Regeneration can regrow anything including the head but has something that bypasses the regeneration (Usually fire.)
- Mutants & Masterminds includes a "Regrowth" feature that can be bought on Regeneration and Healing that allows one to regenerate lost limbs and other bits of the body. Handy, except that there's no way in the rules for one to lose limbs or bits of the body, so the only time this comes up is when the GM wants to make the Regrowth seem useful.
- In the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, Splatterman was once dropped through a mulcher. He regenerated. Calling his power a "Healing Factor" just doesn't seem to get the message across...
- Mr. Easter's life is a series of one big catastrophe after another, all of which land him in the morgue. Of course, one of his powers is coming back from the dead after three days.
- The Shadow of Less Than Three Comics quasi-fame. Puts himself in obvious danger to save time, and to intimidate his enemies. Once leapt through the windshield of an oncoming car, to force the driver to crash, sending the two of them flying thirty-feet, breaking several bones, just to find out who the guy worked for.
- Tennyo in the Whateley Universe has such a phenomenal regeneration ability that literally nothing seems to stop her. She once had her leg blown off by cyborgs with vulcan cannons, and she regrew the leg by the time it took her to fly over and grab the cyborgs. If you think that's good, Carmilla had her head chopped off and just grew a new one, but she's an Eldritch Abomination.
- Taken Up to Eleven by Tennyo later on, as the above example is only her base-line healing factor. When she gets mad, she has regrown entire limbs and parts of her face in time to continue up an attack she was already doing, before she even realized the body parts were missing. Other characters have theorized that she isn't being healed so much as restored from a master copy woven into the very fabric of the universe.
- Veldron of Super Stories regenerates when fatally injured. Unfortunately others seem to take this as an invitation to hurt him or put him in danger, assuming he'll just heal and not realising that he has to be just about dead for the power to kick in.
- Stone Burners, Olivia have been shot, pummeled, thrown through a wall and suffered through broken bones. She got better.
- Khalid Shamoun of Survival of the Fittest: Evolution has the ability to regenerate himself from things that would normally kill him. It's even invoked by the scientists, when it's revealed that he was the kid from the prologue who got shot for mouthing off, to demonstrate that rebelling would result in death. It becomes a Deconstructed Trope, however, in that it's shown that his ability to regenerate is failing more than usual in recent history.
- Bartleby Tales directly addresses the Power Perversion Potential in this—as early as the first chapter, a character not only survives swallowing a live grenade, but actually gets off on being blown to pieces and reassembling himself.
- In Worm, this is Taylor's justification for how she deals with Lung, the regenerating gangleader who transforms to a stronger form the longer he fights.
- Prolecto succubi can heal from just about anything. While they don't get cut in half often, they DO get beat up a LOT. They can, however, still feel pain, especially Vivian.
- In Legion of Super Heroes: while Superboy ignored a distress call thinking it was frivolous, Brainiac 5 got blasted with a surprise shot. In slow motion, with the hand itself going flying off and the still sparking stump shown as Brainiac falls into a Pietà Plagiarism in Lighting Lad's arms. Thankfully, he's a Do-Anything Robot with telescoping extensions, so he could heal right quick. Didn't make the let down any easier to take though.
- Kim Possible has an interesting example about this trope. Shego has only ever used her claws to slice Kim's clothing when Kim was wearing clothes that were self-repairing. The second time, Shego sliced through the battle suit and cut Kim enough that it resulted in blood. After the battle suit regenerated itself, Kim's wounds were never seen ever again. Apparently the battle suit healed not only itself but also the wounds of its wearer. Weird...
- Swampfire in Ben 10: Alien Force. Those Lasers go right through him... then the holes immediately close. This has become part of Ben's basic fighting style with him.
- No, it also tickles him so at least he gets some sort of side-effect.
- Don't forget Goop, the green, goo alien. Because he has no skin or any other form of protection it is reasonable that he gets obliterated and then reforms.
- In the "Coon & Friends" trilogy of South Park, it's revealed that Kenny coming Back from the Dead isn't just a gag, but an actual superpower. That he's had to use his power hundreds of times by the time he's turned ten is apparently a coincidence.
- In an episode of Spongebob Squarepants Spongebob had Patrick shave him down so he would be rounded instead of square. Of course, Patrick being an idiot, he shaves Spongebob down to his brain scaring everyone including the Flying Dutchman, at the end Spongebob tells a frightened Patrick "Don't worry it'll grow back". He can also regenerate his limbs if they get ripped or burned off.
- Notably, he has ripped off his arms 40 times in one episode, recovered from being completely liquified, taken a thousand punches in the face, gotten dragged through a field of giant clams, cheese graters and educational television, and has been ripped in half. Ironically, the latter event occured in an episode that revolved around Spongebob never leaving his house for fear of hurting himself after smashing his hip.
- In at least one other episode, he ripped himself in half (as part of a victory dance).
- This is all justified though; there are some species of sponges with incredible regenerative abilities. We're talking put in a blender and still capable of putting themselves back together.
- Transformers wobbles back and forth on this. You have Optimus Prime being dismembered in Transformers Generation 1 and being okay, but a few shots to the torso kill him one movie later. Beast Wars Waspinator explodes so much that Rattrap has a collection of his parts, but Dinobot dies just with minimal injuries. In one episode of Transformers Animated people live with just their heads, in another a stab to the gut nearly kills you dead.
- These can be justified by Transformers having different anatomy: Dinobot died because he was low on energon but continued to fight anyway. In Animated most of their important parts appear to be inside their heads and body, so a stab to the gut could be fatal while being decapitated would be the equivalent of cutting/disconnecting the cord connecting a computer and the monitor (debilitating, but reversable).
- After Starscream gains immortality from an AllSpark shards he become a complete magnet for injury. Right after this happens Megatron proceeds to kill him five times in one episode.
- In Teen Titans, when Slade came back, one of the first things that happened was Robin unleashing a series of vicious kicks to the head that he would probably have not got hit with earlier. From his reaction and the cracking noises when he straightened his head, it seems they broke his neck.
- However, it's latter shown that while he was brought back to life his flesh wasn't, so it's probably a lot easier to break his bones.
- Cyborg often loses arms and legs, thanks to his mechanical nature. In the third-season finale, he is almost completely dismembered during a battle with the also-cybernetic Brother Blood. Naturally, he gets better.
- Hulk Vs. Wolverine: Logan cuts off Deadpool's arm. In several pieces. Deadpool, as usual, is completely unfazed by this (although he is upset about losing his favorite gun), and has to get the parts aligned just right for it to re-attach properly.
- Wolverine in the X-Men animated series.
- And let's not forget one of the Animated X-Men's memories of his past is a secret mission during World War II along Captain America. Their superior tells them they have to storm an enemy base from an helicopter and it must be done really fast. "How fast?" "You aren't going to use a parachute". Cap'n knows he can do it, but he looks worried at Logan (didn't have the adamantium bones yet), who reassures him he'll be ok. They then jump, Cap'n stands like nothing happened, and sees the poor soldier in the ground, with his legs terribly broken. He's going to go for help, but Logan tells him it's ok, then he regenerates, stands and tells Cap'n they have a mission to do.
- XR stands somewhere between this, They Killed Kenny, and Iron Buttmonkey in Buzz Lightyear of Star Command. Thanks to easily repairable parts, the "X" no longer stands for "eXperimental," but "eXpendable." (It helps that he often deserves it.)
- Gargoyles: Goliath frequently mentions that their stone sleep during the day allows them to recover from nearly any injury. They get beat half to death just before dawn very frequently, much more often than the human characters are beat half to death at any time of day.
- In Loonatics Unleashed Tech E. Coyote inherited his famous ancestor's regenerative ability (oddly none of the others have), and it gets tested often.
- It's a common gag in classic cartoons where a character's head is blown off in someway, only to spontaneously regenerate and carry on as if noting happened.