Immortality Seeker

When a character quests for eternal life. Sometimes it's given to them, sometimes it isn't. Sometimes it's given to them and they regret the consequences, but their desire and actions towards immortality are what count towards this trope.

Originally, this trope could be used for heroes and villains alike, as evidenced by quests for the Holy Grail and The Epic of Gilgamesh. Later it became one of the typical goals of an Evil Plan and thus the methods of achieving it were nasty, vile, and despicable. When heroes seek it they usually ultimately learn An Aesop and refocus their goals.

See Immortality (and in particular Immortality Inducer) for ways to achieve it and Living Forever Is Awesome and Mortality Phobia for why they want to achieve it. Supertrope to Immortality Immorality, where seekers of immortality tend to resort to bad deeds to achieve it. Contrast Who Wants to Live Forever? for people that have immortality and hate it. Also Death Seeker for those seeking death instead. Not to be confused with Glory Seeker, someone who might want to go down in history, but doesn't seek literal immortality.

Courtesy of The Epic of Gilgamesh, this trope is Older Than Dirt.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Baccano! features this with the original 1711 immortals who summon a devil to obtain the elixir of immortality. By the 20th century some of them question if it was a such a great idea (though they have a method to commit suicide if they decide to go with it). Others still think it's awesome.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Garlic Jr. is a movie villain who successfully obtains immortality. He was also so stupid that he provided the very means to seal him away both times the hero fought him, when it was literally the only way to stop him. You have to be spectacularly stupid to foil yourself the same way twice.
    • In Dragon Ball Z, Vegeta and Nappa invade Earth so they can use the Dragon Balls to become immortal, and therefore enjoy an eternity of combat. Later, both Frieza and Vegeta go looking for the Namekian Dragon Balls for the same reason - Frieza because it's the one thing he doesn't already have, Vegeta so he has a chance of overthrowing his former boss. He teams up with Goku and his friends to prevent Frieza from succeeding. To the surprise of no one, after Vegeta makes his Heel–Face Turn, this particular ambition is forgotten because by this point he's more focused on defeating Goku.
    • Keep in mind Vegeta primarily wanted immortality because it meant even if Frieza beat him within an inch of his life, he could crawl back and try again. And given the nature of Saiyan physiology, Vegeta would get stronger each time until reaching a level that exceeded Frieza. With Frieza gone, he didn't have a want or need for it.
    • Dragon Ball Super: Zamasu obtains immortality before he goes through with his plans. While Supreme Kais are already extremely Long-Lived, he knew that what he was planning would take many times his natural lifespan, not to mention the threat of very powerful enemies he'd need to survive and overcome. Turns out even immortality can be undone by Zen'O, however.
  • Mori Koran from Flame of Recca
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • The reason Ling Yao and May Chang come to Amestris. They want to bring the secret of immortality back to Xing in order to obtain the position of Emperor/Empress for their respective clans.
    • This is also Greed's primary motivation, because he's, well greedy. Incidentally, Greed is already damn close to immortal, but "close" isn't enough to satisfy him.
    • In the backstory, the king of Xerxes wanted to be immortal, and it's the reason he creates a giant transmutation circle that dooms his entire country and turns them into a Philosopher's Stone. He played right into the Big Bad's hands as a result, and was died anyway for his troubles.
    • The Big Bad, on the other hand, becomes immortal as merely the first step to a much larger goal.
    • Dante, the Big Bad from the first anime version, plays it straight.
  • Smug Snake Kurt Godel of Mahou Sensei Negima! is this. When a child who recently became immortal is being discussed, everybody else focuses on the "will outlive loved ones, probably won't be able to have children, is quite possibly going to be in early puberty for eternity" aspects, but Kurt zeroes in on the "can become a king and rule forever with zero fear of assassination" aspect.
  • Naruto
    • This is one of Orochimaru's biggest motivations. His obsession with immortality drove him to create jutsu that can raise the dead and another to possess the bodies of others. Strangely this is only a means to an end. His real ultimate goal is to learn every jutsu. No, seriously; he needs to be immortal because there are far too many to learn them all in a normal human lifespan.
      • Except the above is In-Universe Motive Decay. Original he just wanted to live long enough to have his parents reincarnated and meet them. Problem was that his experiments slowly drove him insane. After a resurrection and Tsunade healing him he had a Heel–Face Turn...maybe. His motives are rather ambiguous enough that it could just be an Enemy Mine.
    • Sasori, who turned himself into a human puppet in order to attain eternal life and an undecaying body as part of his philosophy that "true art" resists the passing of time (ironically he was also the first bad guy to be killed in the second season, a fact his partner, Deidara, who in turn lives by the completely opposite philosophy that "true art" is innately ephemeral and thus explosions make the best art of all, lampshaded).
    • Kakuzu, a ninja in his early nineties who can extend his own lifetime indefinitely by stealing and replacing his own old, worn out organs with younger, healthier organs from people he defeats,
    • Hidan, Kakuzu's partner, who maintained his immortality by killing others.
  • The goal of at least one character in each volume of Phoenix is this.
  • From Magician, This is pretty much what most of those chasing the immortal wizard Edermask in the hopes of getting him to divulge the secret to immortality are. Ironically Edermask's goal is to find out this secret too.
  • Desparaiah in Yes! Pretty Cure 5 is one of these. She succeeds, and explains that she did so because she didn't want to grow old, but she still feels unhappy and filled with Despair, being her namesake.
  • In Fairy Tail the Movie: Phoenix Priestess, this is the goal of the villains through attempting to capture a phoenix. One of them, Dyst, has a fairly silly or tragic (depending on your point of view) reason for wanting immortality. As a child, his pet weasel died and he tried to bring him back. Upon finding out that there are no spells to bring back the dead, Dyst became terrified of dying and vowed that he would find a way to live forever. His quest eventually turned him into a vile, twisted individual.
  • This trope is basically the plot for Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva.
  • One Piece: One of the main reasons when the Ope-Ope Fruit is considered the ultimate Devil Fruit is because it has the ability to induce eternal youth on someone, at the cost of the user's life. Doflamingo was absolutely livid when his brother foiled his attempt to gain the fruit, and was so intent on gaining immortality that he wasn't above brainwashing Law into doing it (something that a young Law overheard during the confrontation).
  • In Uratarou, princess Taira Chiyo is used as Human Sacrifice by her clan and cursed to die at the age of 16, so she is looking for a way to become immortal.
  • Overlord: Khajit's original motivation for studying magic was resurrecting his dead mother. But when he learned there simply wasn't enough time in a human life to learn all the spells required, he strove to become a lich instead (the one other character we see able to resurrect the dead is a vampire). Unfortunately for him, this involved killing a great deal of people, and earned Ainz' attention.

    Comic Books 
  • Hob Gadling of The Sandman claimed he would become immortal by... not dying. Fortunately for him, Death and Dream were in the same tavern, and Death agrees to leave him alone so Dream can meet him at the same tavern every century. Overall, he's glad he's lived so long despite sometimes sinking very low, and he sees that the world is getting better.
  • Agents of Atlas member Ken Hale sought and acquired Age Without Youth by killing (and becoming) the legendary Gorilla Man.
  • An obsession with becoming immortal was what drove DCU Mad Scientist Professor Ivo's early schemes. Then he got what he wanted, unfortunately.
  • Batman foe Ra's Al-Ghul is either this or Heir Club for Men. Sometimes both. At his worst, he combined the two to try to claim a fresh young body for himself. He's staved off death for centuries via the Lazarus Pits, but his ultimate goal was to find a way to cheat death permanently.
  • Form The Mighty Thor family of books comes Sigurd (the Ever-Glorious), who exemplifies that not even coming from an extremely long lived and functionally immortal godly species makes someone immune to this trope. At this point he lost ageing past his late twenties early thirties, gained even more invulnerability, and it's not enough; he intends to not die ever or if it's unavoidable have reincarnation or resurrection handy.
  • In Athena Voltaire and the Isle of the Dead, the Spanish explorer Fontenda searched for the Fountain of Youth, and found it. However, it eventually started to dry up, so he stored as much of its water as he could. The barrels in question are what de Vargas is looking for — because de Vargas is really Fontenda, desperate to regain the water.
  • In Seven Soldiers: Bulleteer, the titular heroine gained her unbreakable skin as a result of her scientist husband trying to preserve his own body in a metallic compound. Ironically, the compound ended up killing him.
  • Anderson: Psi-Division: Judge Elan Fauster, leader of the occult department within Psi-Division, desires immortality. He retrieves the Half-Life psychic virus from Judge Anderson's mind so he can use its power to acquire the secret to eternal life. This causes a plague within Mega-City One that kills more than a million people. Fauster succeeds in his goal, but is then thrown inside a virtual reality prison on the Chief Judge's orders where he'll spend the rest of his days in constant torment.
  • General Immortus is a foe of the Doom Patrol (and the reason for its founding). His main motivation is to recreate or replace the Elixir of Life that was responsible for his unnaturally long lifespan and that he has lost.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animated 
  • Heavy Metal 2000: The villain's goal is to reach the fountain of youth so he can become immortal.
  • DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp: Merlock used to be the genie's master centuries ago before the genie's lamp was lost to him. The reason he survived for so long is because his first wish was for the genie to make him immortal. So, having already achieved this goal, his only real objective in the present is to retrieve the lamp and Take Over the World.

    Films — Live-Action 



  • Salmissra from The Belgariad
  • Harry Potter:
    • Lord Voldemort, due to a pathological fear of death. He's also adamant that only he should be allowed it, at one point stating "Only I can live forever" right before he kills Snape. He achieved this by repeatedly cutting out bits of his own soul (a process that involves murder) and storing them in Horcruxes, allowing him to endure as a spirit when his first body was destroyed. This ultimately resulted in a particularly karmic fate for him. Due to the fact that his soul was still split up when he did in fact die, he wasn't able to pass on to the afterlife, nor return to the world of the living. His life-long flight from death resulted in him being trapped in an empty limbo for the rest of eternity.
    • Only some methods of immortality require murder. The first book talks of Real Life legendary alchemist Nichoas Flamel, and concerns Voldemort's efforts to steal the Philosopher's Stone that allows making an elixir for immortality (though probably only Agelessness). The stone is destroyed at the end to prevent Voldemort getting his hands on it, with Nicolas and his wife Perenelle accepting death after living happily for centuries.
    • The tale of the Deathly Hallows in The Tales of Beedle the Bard is meant to teach the aesop that death is inevitable and that it's best to face it without fear and that someone who can do so is a true "Master of Death" because the fear of it doesn't control them. Dumbledore laments in his commentary that some wizards missed the point completely and believed the Hallows could grant immortality as the "Master of Death". Dumbledore and Grindelwald held this mad ambition in their youth before the death of Albus' sister during a duel between the former friends sobered him.
  • In Guild Hunter the vast majority of vampires were this, prior to their Making.
  • In Larry Niven's story "Cautionary Tales," a human looking for a way to live forever goes to the center of the galaxy and runs into an alien looking for the same thing. Tales of living forever are in all cultures, but only humans have "cautionary tales." The alien has been looking for far longer than the human...
  • In the Coldfire Trilogy:
    • Gerald Tarrant. So far, he's doing pretty good.
    • Also the Undying Prince, though they use very different methods- Tarrant is an Emotion Eater, while the Prince practices Grand Theft Me though he keeps his original body in a vegitative state in a tank- he needs it as an anchor even if he's not using it anymore.
  • In Journey to the West, Sun Wukong responds to almost every piece of advice from his mentor with (paraphrased) "Yes, but will it make me live forever?"
  • Robert Silverberg's The Book of Skulls. All four of the protagonists are looking for eternal life. Which ones are the villains and which the heroes for doing so becomes increasingly less clear-cut as the novel progresses.
  • Bella Swan from Twilight is called this by some readers of the series.
  • In Michael Moorcock's Dancers at the End of Time saga the humanity has reached immortality with little cost (at least immediately apparent), and consists of a few hundred near-omnipotent individuals who mainly seek to have a good time, having given up the old morals and social standards as useless, since nothing they do can actually harm anybody else in any significant sense.
  • This is the goal of the Howard Foundation in Robert A. Heinlein's "Future History" timeline. Founded by a rich man who found himself dying of old age in his forties, it embarked on a program of human eugenics (before genes were even understood) by the very simple method of paying people with long-lived ancestors to marry and have children. Hundreds of years later, this eminently practical program produces humans with more than double the typical lifespan. Forced to flee Earth on an experimental spaceship due to public jealousy, the Howards return decades later to discover that, in their absence, humans have invented treatments that can prolong life enormously. Multiply this by the Howards' inbred longevity and you have a recipe for near-immortality. The longest-lived human, Lazarus Long, is nearly 2,500 years old by Time Enough for Love and shows no signs of stopping.
  • In The Secret History, Julian argues that this is what every human secretly wants, and it becomes a recurring theme throughout the book. Too bad Bunny ends up murdered, Charles tries to kill Henry, Henry kills himself, and Francis attempts suicide.
  • Felix Jongleur and the Grail Brotherhood, the main villains of Otherland, are a group of superpowerful billionaires who seek to become effectively immortal by uploading their minds into a massive virtual reality simulation that just so happens to be powered by devouring children's minds.
  • Discworld has Alberto Malich, a wizard who endeavored to become immortal by performing the ritual to summon Death in reverse, thinking it would keep Death away. Turned out that just summons you to Death. It did work out for Alberto after a fashion: he became Death's housekeeper and servant, and since time doesn't flow in Death's domain, he can basically live as long as he wants.
    • The Light Fantastic gives us Greyhald Spold, a wizard who attempted to cheat death by hiding himself in an elaborate, magically-sealed box that would prevent Death from reaching him... but forgot to put any air holes in it.
    "Dark in here, isn't it?"
  • Darth Bane attempts to gain immortality by continuously transferring his soul from body to body as they became old and frail.
  • In Mistborn, the Lord Ruler not only desired immortality, but he found it. And ultimately, he gets killed when the device he's using to keep himself immortal gets ripped out of his body.
  • Septimus Heap:
    • Subverted with Etheldredda, as she takes the immature potion of immortality that makes her only a Substantial Ghost and gets eventually destroyed by Marcia Overstrand in the end of Physik.
    • Doubly Subverted with Marcellus Pye, as he first makes a potion without a critical component that gives only Age Without Youth. Septimus finally makes the complete potion and passes it over to the ailing Marcellus.
  • The Alex Benedict novel Polaris has the scientist Dunnager, who has made it his life's work to find a way to halt the ageing process.
  • Examined in James H. Schmitz's The Demon Breed when Ticos Cay explains why he does indeed want to live forever. (Or to start off with, at least 1000 years).
  • Alec Lightwood in The Mortal Instruments, looks into this when he begins to angst over the fact that he is mortal and Magnus is immortal, but flatly rejects the use of dark magic or becoming a vampire as options.
  • In The Long Mars, third book of The Long Earth series, the mysterious billionaire Douglas Black is revealed to be one. As extra time is something his fortune can't buy him (yet), he installs himself on an expedition across the parallel Earths in search of a "fountain of youth". While eccentric and reclusive, he's never shown to do anything worse than irritate his captain in pursuit of his goal. He settles on an Earth with higher oxygen and slightly lower gravity; he himself admits he has no idea if it will help, but it's worth a shot.
  • Discussed in the essay On Fairy-Stories by J. R. R. Tolkien, with an interesting Perspective Flip:
    "And lastly there is the oldest and deepest desire, the Great Escape: the Escape from Death. Fairy-stories provide many examples and modes of this … Fairy-stories are made by men not by fairies. The Human-stories of the elves are doubtless full of the Escape from Deathlessness."
  • Vampire Academy:
    • Lucas and Moira Ozera were Moroi royals who willingly turned into Strigoi. They wanted to become immortal. Ironically they were killed by guardians not long after "awakening".
    • This is the established motive for most Moroi who willingly turn into Strigoi. Human Vampire Vannabes have the same motive.
  • The main character in The Epic of Gilgamesh is trying to do this after the death of his friend Enkhidu.
  • All of the characters in "The Masque of the Red Death" are throwing a masquerade ball in a sealed up mansion specifically because they are trying to avoid the eponymous Red Death outside.
  • In Ghost Hunter, the final part of The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness, the Evil Plan of Eostra the Eagle Owl Mage is to steal for herself Torak's power as a spirit walker and use it to live forever by using bodies one after another.

    Live Action TV 
  • Marcus of Babylon 5, when hearing the phrase "Who wants to live forever" when about to undertake something dangerous, responds "I do, as a matter of fact." Ironically, he pulls a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Doctor Who: the Master and Borusa, and a few one-off villains like Lady Cassandra and Professor Lazarus. It doesn't go well for any of them, since "everything has its time" is a recurring theme (especially in the revival). The Master gets away with Joker Immunity. Incidentally, the novels give one of the Master's pseudonyms as 'Koschei' - as in Koschei the Deathless listed above.
    • In Torchwood: Miracle Day, Angelo is one, mainly because he wants to spend the rest of his life with Jack. The Three Families also, for a more sinister example, after witnessing Jack's immortality.
  • Richard Alpert on Lost makes a deal with Jacob to live forever because he's terrified of dying and going to {{Hell} because he accidentally murdered a man. Eventually, he comes to regret his choice.
  • House of Anubis has the Victor and his society, as well as Rufus Zeno. Victor's father had been after it as well, which meant Victor's basic goal was to finish his father's dream. Other members of the society had different goals as well; While most were selfish, it is known that Jason was dying of a degenerative illness, and would have died young unless he obtained the immortality. It is unknown what Rufus's larger goal was, but he was certainly more ruthless about it, willing to kill people if it got him what he wanted. Later, Rufus' goals became even more ambitious.
  • Extant: Yasumoto is seeking the alien intelligence in the hope to extend his life. It's later revealed that he's already over 150 years old after already coming in contact with an alien substance.
  • Sleepy Hollow: Malcolm Dreyfuss, the Big Bad of Season 4, spends half the season trying to piece together the Philosopher's Stone, so that he can use it to become immortal, as a means of Loophole Abuse to escape his Deal with the Devil (if he never dies, his soul isn't forfeit to Hell). He eventually succeeds, and driven mad, moves up to plans to Take Over the World.

  • The narrator in Xanadu by Rush.


    Other Sites 

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Dungeons & Dragons, Liches are wizards who made themselves undead in order to avoid dying. Their Immortality Immorality is completely Justified by the fact that drinking a potion containing babies you killed yourself is part of the process.
    • Of course, at least in third edition one wonders why they bothered - there are several other kinds of immortality easily reachable (in game terms) that don't involve leaving you as a rotting corpse.
    • Unfortunately, even with magic, being a lich is only a half-measure of immortality. DnD liches have to contend with their sanity and intelligence decaying away over the one thousand years that basic lichdom lasts. After that they are nothing more then a floating skull, or Demilich. Demiliches are beings of absolutely incredible power, having lived long enough to learn every secret of magic that ever existed, but are also without exception batshit insane and utterly consumed by mindless insanity and loathing for everything. As far as immortality is concerned, Demiliches are virtually impossible to either destroy or permanently kill. But, ya know, the whole 'mindless insane bodiless skull forever' might be a bit of a downside.
    • Depending on which sourcebook you're reading at the moment, anyway. There are very nearly as many variations on lichdom and the lichification (is that a word?) process as there are books in the D&D line of tabletop RPGs. One variation, for example, requires zero babies, but instead a ritual involving the heart of a sentient humanoid that must be performed every 100 years. There is no obvious rule why this would mean a human heart instead of an orc or troll, or a convicted murderer. The same sourcebook says that demiliches are so decayed because they spend all their time traipsing through other planes of existence via astral projection or some such thing (whether they're likely to be insane after who knows how many millennia of existence lies in the eye of the beholder).
    • There is a less evil and more described way to become a Lich described in the Power Class: Alchemist mini-supplement.
    • There are a breed of Liches known as Baelnorn Liches who are exclusively elven, and limited only to non-evil alignments. Unlike most Liches, they do not do what they do in order to live forever to gain power. Instead, through a divine ritual, their immortality is gained by swearing to become an eternal protector of elves and their lands.
    • In OA7 Test Of The Samurai, the evil Za-Jikku tries to become immortal by changing the world's atmosphere to a substance that will let him live forever. Unfortunately, breathing it will kill all other creatures who haven't prepared as he has.
      • So he's basically trying to turn the air into shinsoo then?
    • On top of any drawbacks whichever method the above chose, there's also the problem that the inevitability of death is supposed to be an universal law, and those laws have enforcers. In this case, huge, armored humanoid robots that'll get briefed as to how to undo this immortality, find the offender, chase after him relentlessly and beat him to death until they're sure he's not coming back.
  • In GURPS, there are some spells that can "steal youth," take months off your life, or halt aging. They are generally so expensive and limited as to not be worth it (the potion version of the Youth spell takes almost a year to make, any failure in making it causes the user to age faster, and it only takes one year off your life.) If permanently enchanted on a wearable item, the Halt Aging spell has such a ridiculous energy cost that even a Great Wish won't be enough to make one. (The book notes: "Kingdoms have been toppled for possession of such things...")
    • In the powered by GURPS Scenario Transhuman Space you can become immortal by uploading your mind into a computer (if you have the money), though your biological body will die in the process, or before.
  • From Warhammer 40,000, this is the ultimate goal of many Chaos Space Marines and many of the mortal followers of Chaos as well. They hope to achieve this by gaining the attentions of the Ruinous Powers and becoming a Daemon Prince. Fortunately for the rest of the galaxy (and some of the other followers of Chaos), the attrition rate for this is very high.
    • The Imperial Saints may arguably be the Good Counterpart.
    • The Necrontyr had short and miserable lives thanks to evolving on a radioactive wasteland of a planet. When they met the Old Ones and realized that immortality was a thing, they asked the Old Ones to share the secrets of immortality. The Old Ones said no. That didn't end well.
  • There's a spell in Unknown Armies that lets you get the answer to any one question if you pull it off. The answer to "What could make the Freak forgive Dirk Allen?" is "Immortality".

    Video Games 
  • Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri almost makes this trope casual, until you see the consequences of Clinical Immortality.
  • Daniel "Bachelor" Dankovski from Pathologic is a rare heroic version.
  • Tons of people in the Nasuverse.
    • Michael Roa Valdamong from Tsukihime who first became a vampire and later invented a method to reincarnate with his own personality (and vampirism).
    • Nrvnqsr (pronounced "Nero"), also from Tsukihime, who also became a vampire, although later started to consider himself a research project on Chaos.
    • Zepia Eltnam Oberon in Melty Blood who became a vampire (notice a pattern?) in order to have infinite time to research a way to save the world from its inevitable doom. Then he decided that vampirism wasn't good enough to accomplish this, so he became a recurring phenomenon instead. It's a little confusing how that works.
    • Gilgamesh from Fate/stay night, modeled after the original.
    • Zouken from Fate/stay night, who originally prolonged his life to reach a goal but later went insane and forgot why he did it in the first place. Failed to become a vampire and thus suffered the "immortality without youth" drawback of Who Wants to Live Forever?
    • True Assassin from Fate/stay night.
    • In Fate/Zero, Norikata Emiya, the father of Kiritsugu Emiya, was a researcher who tried to create an immortality potion via time manipulation. All it did was transform the imbiber into a Dead Apostle.
  • In Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, the Big Bad suffers from impending death from "consumption" (tuberculosis), and seeks eternal life— at the expense of the world. In the game's end, the Big Bad offers to share eternal life with the hero— who of course refuses it, in order to turn back time and bring everyone back to life.
  • In Tales of Symphonia it is revealed that Mithos Yggdrasill and his companions found a way to stop individuals' biological clocks, essentially locking their bodies in the age they please. At the end of the game, it is revealed that he intended to convert all living beings in his universe to this state in order to reduce discrimination brought about by humans against half-elves for their human-like appearance and their naturally long life cycles.
  • Quite a number of characters from Touhou:
    • Kaguya Houraisan ordered her vassal to concoct the Hourai Elixir, a potion of immortality, on a whim and drank it on a whim, leading to her exile from the moon. As a Lunarian, Kaguya was already ageless, but now she's immune to all other forms of death as well. Hourai immortality is completely irreversible, and is described as removing the very concept of death from a person.note  Said vassal, Eirin Yagokoro, might have also drank the elixir, but that's less clear. Fujiwara no Mokou (who was previously an ordinary human) also drank the same elixir of immortality, some of which Kaguya had left behind as a gift to the Emperor of Japan. Mokou stole it from the soldier tasked with throwing it into a volcano and drank it in a moment of weakness, something she's regretted ever since. Well, moreso the murder of the soldier than the immortality. The Elixir remains in the immortal's liver, leaving another option for would-be immortals.
    • Protagonist Marisa Kirisame has been known to perk her ears up at mention of easy routes to immortality but so far hasn't had the patience or the nerve to follow through. She's also rejected several forms of immortality: she's specifically trying to keep her humanity while also being immortal, so any method that turns her into a youkai is out, she has little patience for religion (disqualifying her from the Soul Jar ritual the Gensokyo Taoists used to become sort-of-immortals), and she'd like to keep the option of attacking Hourai immortals off the table: not only would it require to rip out and eat their liver, it would also bar her from dying forever, and she's not dumb enough to think she might not regret it down the road. For example, in Gensokyo the afterlife is a physical location, and Hourai immortals are forever barred from entering it.
    • Tenshi Hinanawi achieves de facto immortality by beating the crap out of each shinigami that's sent to claim her.
    • The Buddhist priest Byakuren Hijiri abandoned her teachings after her brother died and instead desperately pursued immortality and eternal youth, which she managed to achieve through black magic and becoming a youkai. She later rediscovered Buddhism though and therefore presumably doesn't feel the pressing need to preserve the immortality she already achieved.
    • Former Emperor and Historical-Domain Character Toyosatomimi no Miko was apparently obsessed with extending her reign forever and researched immortality using Taoist magic. Ironically, the use of alchemy gave her mercury poisoning and she eventually settled for a lesser form of extended life.
    • As well as a number of other characters who actively chose to become immortal during their lifetimes, although less emphasis is put on that as a motivation (Alice, Kasen, Seiga, etc).
  • In Marathon, this is Durandal's motivation. Yes, he's an AI and therefore already technically immortal so long as he keeps his hardware maintained, but he plans to outlive the universe and transcend reality, becoming truly immortal in every sense of the word. He fails... though he does live to see the universe's natural end.
  • In Sword of the Stars, the Suul'ka were willing to enslave their fellow Liir so they could live forever in space. Liir don't die of old age, but they keep growing until the Square-Cube Law kills them. The Suul'ka are crazed Liir Elders who said "fuck that" and forced the younger Liir to build them giant spacesuits, so they could live without gravity holding them back.
  • Played with in Ring Runner: Flight of the Sages. If someone gets old enough they get a condition called wanderlust, when their soul becomes bored with the universe. If they don't do increasingly "interesting" things, their soul will eventually leave their body while their body drops dead. Every character who has wanderlust but still wants to keep living therefore engages in activities that would be more appropriate for a Death Seeker, because that's what keeps souls interested.
  • In Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs, the true villains, the Societea, are a group of elderly former thieves that got back together in the hopes of obtaining the legendary Golden Armor to stave off their impending deaths and enable them to Take Over the World.
  • Seath the Scaleless from Dark Souls went mad trying to discover the secrets of the scales of immortality the rest of his dragon brethen possessed. Granted, it's got to suck being the only mortal born to a race of immortals. Seath arguably just wanted to know why he was different. Tellingly, he continued to research the scales even after he helped Gwyn slaughter the rest of his "immortal" brethren and was given the Primordial Crystal, an Immortality Inducer, as a reward.
  • In the Cube Escape series, Rusty Lake: Roots reveals that the Vanderboom family has had several men who attempted to create an elixir of immortality. Drinking the elixir has a big catch, though: it either turns you into a Bird Person with bizarre memory-related powers or kills you stone dead. Well, stone dead unless you can somehow convince several of your descendants to perform a complex resurrection ritual and even then, you are going to suffer.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • According to old Aldmeri religious beliefs, the creation of Mundus was a cruel trick by the malevolent deity Lorkhan which forced limitation upon the other et'Ada ("original spirits"), robbing them of their Complete Immortality and trapping in the prison of mortal suffering that is Mundus. As the Aldmer (and through them, the Altmer or "High Elves") believe that they are they descendants of these spirits, they are constantly both suffering with dignity (as their Top God, Auri-El, taught them) while looking for a way to restore that which was taken from them. This is the motivation of the religious extremist Thalmor in the 4th Era around the time of Skyrim, attempting undo creation to return their spirits to true immortality. (Understandably, the other inhabitants of creation, including other Altmer, see this as a bad thing.)
    • This is one of the two most common reasons that wizards will opt to become liches. By sacrificing their humanity and very lives, they gain the undead form of immortality in addition to immense magical power. Mannimarco, a series' recurring character, was said to be the very first to become a lich, doing so for exactly this reason. (It was one step in his plan to eventually reach Complete Immortality, with him desiring to truly become a god. He eventually did... sort of...
  • Many, many people in the Mystery Case Files series are Immortality Seekers. The series seems to love that trope really much.
    • Charles Dalimar was the first one met by the Master Detective, in the first three Ravenhearst games. Aided by his creepy son Victor, he built an Immortality Inducer that used the souls of other people to keep him alive.
    • Then the Master Detective crossed paths with Winston Malgrave in The Malgrave Island, who seeks to collect magical rejuvenating dust so he can remain young forever.
    • Fate's Carnival introduces Charles Dalimar's father Alister, whose obsession with eternal life can be traced back to the sixteenth century. He used different methods in four consecutive games, and was helped by his granddaughters in the last two. Guess it runs in the Dalimar's blood.
    • The medical prodigy Jacob Huxley, in Broken Hour, was obsessed with creating a device that could grant eternal life. He succeeded and implanted it on his dying wife (and on her father before that to test it). Too bad Meredith pretty much wanted to die because of her children's deaths and went completely unhinged, killing him and his assistant before committing many, many murders to keep her immortality.
    • Richard Galloway, in The Black Veil, is a subversion. He is already immortal after being graced by Ankou, and the player is lead to believe his schemes are meant to keep his eternal life. But it turns out he flat out wanted to die, and his last words were that seeing Death coming for everyone but you is incredibly painful.

    Web Comics 
  • In Erfworld, the Big Bad, Charlie used a Dangerous Forbidden Technique to survive an assassination attempt, which came at the price of making him an enemy of the Genius Loci that is Erfworld and literally fated to die. Now a Cosmic Plaything and terrified of death, he has made living forever his main goal.
  • Girl Genius: Van Rijn sought to trap The Muse of Time in order to force from her the secret of immortality. Although it's been hinted that this was not done entirely for his own sake.
  • Gray Mann's ultimate motive, in the Team Fortress 2 supplemental webcomics. Everything he has done so far has been in search of Australium to fuel his life extender. It's later revealed that his quest is a futile one, since there's too little Australium left. Even the administrator's more efficient life extender will only grant her a few more years. The administrator herself is not an example, since she just wants to have enough extra time to settle some old debts. Gray's not the only one either. The Classic Team Fortress Team are fully aware they are growing old. Classic Heavy rips out Gray's life extender so he and his team can use the Australium to extend their own lives.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Xanatos of Gargoyles fame. What good is all the money and power in the world (of which he has quite a bit) if he can't enjoy them forever? He's tried a number of things, but he's never been desperate enough to use them without testing on someone else first. He eases up on this after Hudson reminds him of Demona and Macbeth, who actually are immortal and fairly miserable, and follows this up by asking him an Armor-Piercing Question concerning the legacy Xanatos will leave behind. Xanatos eventually decides that his family is more important.
  • in the Totally Spies! episode "Soul Collector", the school's principal, Mr. Smith, is revealed to be an 800 year-old explorer" who had been using the "stones of Sumatra" to drain youth from people's souls, hoping to become immortal. Instead, the girls break the stones, causing him to [[NoImmortalInertia crumble into dust from old age. Serves him right.
  • Lex Luthor acquires this as a secondary goal in Justice League Unlimited. In "The Return", he expresses envy at the immortal Amazo's lifespan - both because his own achievements will be forgotten in a few generations, and because Amazo will be able "to see where it's all going." At the end of the Cadmus arc, he attempts to download himself into a copy of Amazo's body made with Cadmus resources. While this turns out to have been partly due to the influence of Brainiac, he proceeds to willingly fuse with Brainiac because it's another shot at godhood.
  • Super Sunday: In "Bigfoot And The Muscle Machines", the ultimate goal of the antagonist Ravenscroft, a ruthless elderly millionaire, in his quest to find the Fountain of Youth. Indeed, he briefly turns into a younger man after accomplishing his goal and drinking of the Fountain's water, but his immortality is short lived as Yank ultimately rams a monster truck into the Fountain, destroying it. The effects of the Fountain wear off quickly, and it isn't long before Ravenscroft flees, unaware he's walking into an alligator-infested swamp, presumably meeting his fate.

    Real Life 
  • The pursuit of immortality is a perennial pursuit in mysticism. Western alchemists spent their lives seeking an immortality potion that was variously called aqua vitae, panacea, elixir, the philosopher's stone, or literally hundreds of other names.
  • As did Eastern alchemists, including Chinese Taoists. Their elixirs tended to be based on gold, mercury and other heavy metals, so the effect might have been more pickling than life-extending.
    • Emperor Shi Huangdi of the Qin Dynasty was an avid user of alchemical potions. The man probably would have lived longer had he not ingested so many heavy metals and other toxins over the years.
    • There were also some scriptures that recommended a kind of sexual vampirism to keep practitioners young. The general idea was to choose very youthful partners and sometimes to switch in the middle ...
    • Their is some evidence to suggest that GUN POWDER was one such elixir, ironically.
  • One of the primary goals of transhumanists today, through advances in science. Note that not all transhumanists desire immortality, though most do. Also they discuss the ramifications of an unlimited lifespan regularly and the general consensus is that the only cost would be that you'd effectively cease to be "human" to some degree (a fair price, many think).
  • The real life Ponce de Leon averts this trope. He went to Florida in search of gold and to expand the Spanish empire. Only after his death did wild stories of his search for the Fountain of Youth begin to appear.
  • Many mainstream religions include "Everlasting Life" among their benefits, including Christianity, which teaches that immortality was the starting condition. It was forfeited by Adam and Eve and Jesus restores it.

Alternative Title(s): So You Want To Live Forever