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[[quoteright:322:[[Franchise/{{Batman}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/jokerfall_001_2536.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:322:"Do you have any idea how many suits I go through because of these situations?"]]
->''"I know Darth Vader's really got you annoyed,\\
But remember if you kill him then you'll be unemployed"''
-->-- '''Music/WeirdAlYankovic''', "Yoda"

Face it, some {{Big Bad}}s stay popular enough it might be a bad idea to [[KilledOffForReal kill them for real]]. So they may stick around or keep coming back, but too much of this can start to [[TheWorfEffect undermine a (super)hero's perceived effectiveness]]. While a work focusing on a single hero or group can HandWave this as perhaps what's necessary to end the villain for good being [[ThouShaltNotKill beyond their moral code]], it can get more egregious if the fictional universe starts to get larger and more interconnected, and the villain keeps pissing off more and more people. This leads to the question of why some of those ''other'' folks [[AntiHero with a lot]] [[KnightTemplar fewer qualms]] against killing haven't put a bullet in them yet.

This ends up being a question of whether the villain is just that good, or the writers are delaying things and stretching [[WhyDontYouJustShootHim the patience of the audience]]. (Or maybe it's just that AWizardDidIt.)

Aside from rationalizations given in the story itself, most reasons for trope are outside the story in the form of ContractualImmortality:
* The villain is very popular and lucrative, so franchises with indefinite continuity are hesitant to get rid of them. Particularly the {{Trope Namer|s}}: every would-be Franchise/{{Batman}} writer dreams of writing a good Joker story and to get rid of him with any sense of finality would seemingly rob future writers of such a coveted opportunity. Ironically, a villain could also be ostensibly lame, and killing them off is seen as too 'serious' a treatment rather than just [[PutOnABus putting them on a bus]] or a cheap attempt to [[TonightSomeoneDies ramp up the stakes]].
* The story exists in a particular continuity or on a [[ComicBookTime sliding timescale]]; the ''actual'' time the villain has been around for a particular story may be smaller than we suppose. Again regarding the {{Trope Namer|s}}, it may seem like the Joker's been mass-murdering people for however-many-decades in Real Time, but in the comic book universe it's only been a handful of years at most.
* The villain, especially those in a RoguesGallery, are so heavily identified with a particular hero their exploits are specific to him out of a kind of authorial respect (e.g. Marvel's Carnage is heavily identified with {{Spider-Man}}, but is both [[WhatMeasureIsANonHuman monstrous-looking]] and much less popular lately, and thus can be killed).
* The struggle against a single major villain is the SeriesGoal and if that villain is defeated, [[FailureIsTheOnlyOption the series would be over]]. If this is the case, then the GrandFinale will occasionally revoke Joker Immunity.
* The series is being shown in AnachronicOrder, and their death has already been shown. [[SavedByCanon This can apply to any character,]] not just villains. On the flipside, if their death has not been shown, but a time after they have died is, they're immunity may be [[DoomedByCanon revoked at anytime.]]
* The villain is a real person RippedFromTheHeadlines and who isn't dead yet. You rarely see UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler, UsefulNotes/BenitoMussolini, or Hirohito killed off in a WartimeCartoon.

Note that in all cases this immunity can and will be revoked if the character is waning in popularity; victims of VillainDecay can become outright CListFodder for any author wanting to show off. Also, when the next step in the SortingAlgorithmOfEvil appears, the dethroned villain is liable to lose his Joker Immunity ([[MakeWayForTheNewVillains often at the hands of the new villain, showing how badass he is]]).

Compare: VillainExitStageLeft; MoralDissonance; CardboardPrison; TailorMadePrison; and occasionally VillainSue. For the heroic equivalent, see InvincibleHero. Also see JustEatGilligan when it's not a direct villain that's the problem. See also VillainBasedFranchise for one of the products of this kind of thing. See also PopularityPower, where a character will get things his way because of his popularity, and KarmaHoudini, where the villain escapes temporal as well as cosmic punishment. See also SuperheroMovieVillainsDie for when characters known for Joker Immunity have more permanent stays in the afterlife when adapted to the silver screen.

Has nothing to do with [[Series/KamenRiderDouble Kamen Rider Joker]].


* JokerImmunity/ComicBooks


[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* A subversion comes in the form of Friend, the evil mastermind BigBad of ''Manga/TwentiethCenturyBoys''. He's responsible for near every bad thing that happens in the story and has hidden personal ties to the [[LukeIAmYourFather heroes]] but even he can't survive a gunshot to the chest. This happens exactly halfway through and they reveal his identity soon after.
* Team Rocket of ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}''. You have to wonder why Ash simply won't tell the police about them. Considering they could get arrested for stalking ''alone'', you'd think he would have at least considered it.
** They do go to jail once (ironically when they are framed by Butch and Cassidy), but escape by digging a tunnel.
** In fact, this is ironically only thing they are better at than most other members of Team Rocket, it seems; avoiding incarceration. Of course, one could say that other members of the organization probably deserve it much more. (A few of them do things [[EvenEvilHasStandards that sicken even]] James and Jesse.)
** As time goes on, they've [[VillainDecay become less of a threat and more of a joke]] compared to the bigger and incredibly threatening StoryArc villains of the particular arc. Even in the many cases where a group of officers are exposed to their presence, [[VillainExitStageLeft they either escape single-handedly]], or the officials in question ignore them for the bigger threat. One episode had an Officer Jenny go after Team Rocket but was disappointed to see them escape but remarked that there were more dangerous members of Team Rocket around she had to take care of.
** They end up in at the end of episodes in often inescapable situations, [[{{snapback}} yet they always return without any explanation as to how they did]]. Also, they survive what would have killed Ash and the gang, such as falling into the river directly under a boat, falling over a waterfall, and at one point James gets knocked over a cliff into a canyon by a boulder, and should have been crushed to death or at least killed by the fall. Twice they survive a fall that THEY THINK is going to kill them: Once in Haunter vs. Kadabra, when Haunter makes them fall over a balcony toward a concrete road, and another in ''Anime/{{Pokemon 2000}}'' where they let go of Lugia and [[SoftWater supposedly fall to their deaths]], yet clearly survive the fall and return in the ending sequence to throw another sledgehammer at the fourth wall. Likely the most grim example is an episode where they're trapped in a freezing ice cave, exhausted, and struggling to stay awake, a panicked Meowth shouting to them that they'll likely freeze to death if they fall asleep. (The episode ends on that note, and exactly how they got out of it, we may never know.)
** Even Giovanni, the boss of Team Rocket, is immortal. In ''Mewtwo Strikes Back'', Mewtwo blows up Dr. Fuji's lab and [[GoryDiscretionShot kills him]]. He later blows up [[http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Team_Rocket_HQ#In_the_anime Team Rocket headquarters]] after Giovanni pisses him off. The entire building is a pile of rubble by the time Jessie, James, and Meowth get there, and Giovanni & his Persian just get up without so much as a scratch.
** They TookALevelInBadass in the Best Wishes arc, and often don't bother with Ash and his friends most of the time; just concentrating on individual missions.
* ''Manga/InuYasha'' was infamous for its repeated use of Naraku, who after a hundred episodes was ''still'' causing trouble (it can even be safely said that he's the ''only'' antagonist still standing, and has been for several hundred issues). By that point, probably ''half'' of feudal Japan wanted his head, yet he still managed to stay alive. He also lasted through nearly all of the original manga too. Naraku's ability to cheat death was so infamous that Rumiko Takahashi, the author, had [[spoiler:Kagome wishing what was left of his spirit ''out of existence'' along with the Shikon no Tama]] to assure readers that he was DeaderThanDead.
* The three main bandits in ''VisualNovel/KoihimeMusou.'' Simply why can't the Black-Haired Bandit Hunter just kill them?
* [[AGodAmI Aizen]] from ''Manga/{{Bleach}}''. He was the BigBad for about 400 chapters. He's [[spoiler: been defeated]], but he's still not dead, leaving the possibility for a comeback…albeit a somewhat vague one, since [[spoiler:he was DePowered as a result of his defeat; he obtained and keeps complete immortality, but he's otherwise powerless.]]
* Orochimaru from ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' just won't stay dead or sealed, even if he can be PutOnABus for quite long periods.
* [[spoiler:Johan Liebert]] as shown in ''Another Monster'', three years after ''Anime/{{Monster}}''.
* [[spoiler:Michio Yuki]] in the end of ''Manga/{{MW}}''.
* Katsuhiko Jinnai and the Bugroms from ''Anime/ElHazardTheMagnificentWorld''. They always ran away so they could return in the sequels or the next episode depending if you watch the OVA or TV version.
* A minor example is Divine, Aki's EvilMentor from ''Anime/YuGiOh5Ds''. His confrontation with Dark Signer Carly ended with him plummeting about thirty stories from the top floor of the Arcadia building; [[UnexplainedRecovery somehow, he survived]], and appeared in a later episode, only to be [[JustDesserts swallowed by Earthbound God Ccarayhua.]] WordOfGod claims that, despite not appearing again, he survived that too, recovering along with the other victims of the Earthbound Gods, but that doesn't mean he was a KarmaHoudini; he was quickly caught by Sector Security and hauled to jail.
** Yami Bakura from the [[Anime/YuGiOh original series]]. By the Duelist Kingdom arc, he is thought to be sent to the card graveyard by the end of his debut, only to come back to confront Tristan of getting Mokuba's body as a new vessel but he gets knocked out and the Millennium Ring, the item where he resides, gets tossed aside. This doesn't stop him from coming back in the end of the arc. Later he appeared during the Battle City arc, only to get his soul banished to the Shadow Realm by Yami Marik, but like everyone he banished, he returns to normal when Marik is defeated. In the last arc, multiple versions of him return as the BigBad, only to be finally destroyed for good along with Zorc.
* Hao from ''Manga/ShamanKing''. He's been defeated and killed in ages past over and over, and still keeps coming back. Even at the end of the series, [[spoiler:after becoming the Shaman King, he's not turned good, but merely been convinced to wait a bit and see how humanity is doing, instead of just killing everyone outright.]]

[[folder:Fan Works]]

* Referenced in ''Fanfic/TheTwoSidesOfDaringDo''. Apparently, Yearlings audience complains about Ahuizotl having this sometimes. It's also justified with the real Ahuizotl; he's actually immortal and ''can't'' die.
* ''Fanfic/SoulEaterTroubledSouls'' gives Medusa Gorgon a case of this. [[spoiler: Seriously, she survives expulsion from Rachel’s body via Majin Hunter by using the same spell she used to live in her battle against Stein and Spirit. Now, she is the ArcVillain of one of the fic's darkest Story Arcs. This woman ''refuses'' to stay dead.]]


* Pretty much sums up the main character in any SlasherMovie VillainBasedFranchise, including [[Franchise/ANightmareOnElmStreet Freddy Krueger]], [[Franchise/{{Halloween}} Michael Myers]], and [[Franchise/FridayThe13th Jason Voorhees]].
** As a matter of fact, the ending of ''Film/ANightmareOnElmStreet1984'' was specifically altered to allow for this. Creator/WesCraven was NOT happy.
** Lampshaded by Chucky in ''Film/BrideOfChucky''. When he is about to be shot at near the ending, he gloats that he'll always come back whenever he dies.
* Jaws from ''Film/TheSpyWhoLovedMe'' and ''Film/{{Moonraker}}''. On numerous occasions he'd just dust himself off after surviving some catastrophic disaster. HandWaved because he's obviously MadeOfIron. (the HeelFaceTurn in ''Moonraker'' also pretty much exempts him from the trope at that point).
** The last shot of ''Film/LiveAndLetDie'' showed voodoo master Baron Samedi laughing on the engine of the train that Film/JamesBond was on, even though he was shown being thrown into poisonous snakes.
** Blofeld, who twice appears to die (in ''Film/OnHerMajestysSecretService'', he even comes back in the same movie!). Then ''Film/ForYourEyesOnly'' killed [[WritingAroundTrademarks "him"]] off to "solve" a legal dispute. In ''Film/{{Spectre}}'', Blofeld is back after many years of absence. Of course, they were not going to kill him off after just one film, so [[spoiler:he gets arrested by M after Bond decides not to shoot him point blank when he himself encourages Bond to kill him.]]
* Applied to all the [[MonsterMash classic Universal and Hammer movie monsters]], including those that [[Film/TheWolfMan1941 would've far preferred]] to [[Film/BrideOfFrankenstein just stay dead]].
* [[Film/{{Thor}} Loki]] is becoming the Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse's version of this, [[spoiler:having survived all three films he has appeared in, with an apparent death in both ''Thor'' movies]].
* ''Film/SuicideSquad2016'' has a classic "Joker death" a little over halfway through the movie, with his helicopter shot down with him seemingly inside. To the surprise of absolutely ''no-one'', he shows up alive and well [[spoiler: in the final scene.]]
* The ''Film/DoctorMabuse'' films apply this trope to the extreme. Mabuse [[spoiler:dies in ''Film/TheLastWillOfDrMabuse''; the rest of the movie concerns an insane/possessed psychologist enacting his plans]]. In the '60s films from ''Film/Die1000AugenDesDrMabuse'' onward, he dies in seemingly every installment but comes back for each sequel. Until [[spoiler:he finally [[KilledOffForReal dies for real]] in ''The Terror of Dr. Mabuse''... then comes back [[AssPull as a ''ghost'']] in the next movie]].
* In ''Film/FlashGordonSerial'', Ming the Merciless had the annoying tendency to not stay dead. In the first movie, he supposedly fakes his death by walking inside a crematorium, the implication that he still lives is that they NeverFoundTheBody. In the second movie, he is trapped inside a chamber and bombarded with death rays, only this time, the characters know he is dead this time ([[TakeOurWordForIt though his body is now shown to the viewer]]). In the third movie, he inexplicably returns to life once again and is finished off by Flash crashing a spaceship into his tower while locked inside it.

* Subverted by Creator/CSLewis in ''Literature/PrinceCaspian'', and played up in the movie version, [[spoiler:with the villains' failed plan to resurrect The White Witch.]]
** Then played straight when she (maybe) comes back in ''Literature/TheSilverChair''. However, it could be, and likely is, a different witch -- there's not really anyone left at the end of ''Prince Caspian'' to go through on Nikabrik's plan to resurrect the White Witch. Same race of "Northern Witches," though.
*** It's not actually possible for another of her race to exist, as the White Witch is the only refugee of a dead world, [[GenocideFromTheInside which she made that way]].
* In ''Literature/WarriorCats'', Tigerstar takes this to the logical extreme, since he keeps appearing even though he died in the first series. However, his limited interaction with the living world makes him much less of a threat then when he was alive, and his involvement in the earlier books of [=tPoT=] was somewhat lacking. Eventually - after four series - they do manage to finally make him DeaderThanDead.
* Averted in the ''MagicTheGathering'' novels for the ''Ravnica'' setting. The leader of House Dimir (Ravnica's BigBad) was actually arrested (and killed) at the end of the first book. This actually bites Our Heros in the butt in the third book, when it's revealed that the reason why [[TheWorldIsAlwaysDoomed Ravnica has experienced a rash of major disasters]]: because the complex system running the world was dependent on having a BigBad being a BigBad.
** Lampshaded too:
-->'''[[TheHero Agrus Kos]]''': So I should've just [[spoiler: let [[BigBad Szadek]] drain [[CosmicKeystone Selesnya's]] life away?]] That makes no sense.
-->'''Grand Arbiter Augustin IV:''' [[LampshadeHanging It is a paradox.]]
** Yawgmoth would almost fit the trope, if anyone cared about the Onslaught cycle.
* In the ''Literature/HarryPotter'' books, the SeriesGoal is to defeat Lord Voldemort, so obviously he can't be killed until the end of the last book.
* ''Literature/ArtemisFowl'' and Captain Holly Short will stop being tormented by Opal Koboi when readers stop finding her mania amusing. And considering all she's survived so far, it doesn't look like that world's most insane pixie will be going anywhere any time soon.
** Finally revoked in the final book, [[spoiler: where she gets a rather nasty death in which her black magic essentially eats her from the inside out]].
* Visser One in ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'' ended at least two books in some kind of highly ambiguous, possible-death situation only to reappear in later books.
* Downplayed by Count Olaf in ''Literature/ASeriesOfUnfortunateEvents'', as he is rarely in explicit danger; what he repeatedly avoids is arrest, which serves the same goal as ordinary Joker Immunity. The straight form of this trope is subverted in ''TheEnd'', where he dies in the [[ArcNumber thirteenth chapter of]] [[ThirteenIsUnlucky the thirteenth book]], [[spoiler: and there's still [[TheStinger one]] chapter left]].
* The Man in Black (a.k.a. Richard Fannin, Randall Flagg, Marten Broadcloak, etc.) from ''Franchise/TheDarkTower'' seems to have a form of this. He always turns up again even if defeated, and none of the protagonists are able to kill him. [[spoiler: Mordred, however, gobbled him up cause he was hungry, effectively ending his immunity.]]
* [[AxCrazy Soul]][[ChronicBackstabbingDisorder catcher]] from the ''Literatur/BlackCompany'' series is the Joker of literature. There seems to be nothing that can kill [[spoiler:her]] off, and even if an opportunity presents itself the good guys always find a reason not to do it, even though [[spoiler:she]] ends up to be the major reason behind any kind of grief they run into.
** [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin The Limper]] has this, too. He manages to escape punishment by both the good guys ''and'' the bigger villains, and if he doesn't he just comes back in one form or another. [[spoiler:Until it stops being funny and he is killed off for real.]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* Off-and-on BigBad Scorpius was only supposed to be part of a two episode arc on ''Series/{{Farscape}}'' but ended up sticking around and becoming very popular and kept returning, even after being shot and buried on screen. He even earned a PromotionToOpeningTitles after we learned that he's actually a WellIntentionedExtremist with an enemy in common with the heroes.
** The show makes a big point of how Scorpius is a CrazyPrepared MagnificentBastard, so much so that it'd be unrealistic if he ''didn't'' keep surviving.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** The Master. The eighties started to show him in apparently fatal situations at the end of each story, and he was seemingly seriously killed off in "Planet of Fire," in the MadeForTVMovie, in "The Last of the Time Lords", and in "Death In Heaven". No one ever expects it to stick. He died ''twice'' since the show's revival. The first time, he came back thanks to his supporters. However, his second on-screen death involves him ([[spoiler:or, rather, her]]) being vaporized by [[spoiler:the Brigadier-turned-Cyberman]]. But by then the character's immortality was so well-established that both the actor and the show producer were promising a reappearance in the next season within a matter of days.
*** In fact, "The Magician's Apprentice" and "The Witch's Familiar" hangs a huge lampshade on this. The Doctor did not believe that the Master died and the latter actually shows us how [[GenderBender she]] survived the events of "Death in Heaven".
** The Daleks rival the Master for the amount of times they've been "killed off completely," with a total of seven times. In order: "The Daleks," "The Evil of the Daleks," "Remembrance of the Daleks," "Dalek," "The Parting of the Ways," and "Journey's End." (They also get nearly wiped out in "Doomsday" and "Evolution of the Daleks," though in both cases [[spoiler:a survivor or four escapes using "E-MER-GEN-CY TEM-POR-AL SHIFT!"]]) Thankfully, Creator/StevenMoffat left out an escape route for the Daleks in the first story under his tenure.
*** In the case of "Day of the Doctor," some fans claim [[spoiler:you can see a Dalek vessel being blown away from the explosion when Gallifrey seemingly goes boom]]. Given the time-frame, this might be the Emperor's ship from "The Parting of the Ways," or the pod containing the titular alien from "Dalek."
*** The Doctor lampshades this trope in "Victory of the Daleks" when, after being so ''sure'' he (well, his clone) had properly genocided them all in "Journey's End," he finds them not only alive, but merrily strolling around Blitz-torn London posing as Allied weapons. He eventually flies into a hysterical fit of rage that can pretty much be summed up as "for God's sake, not ''AGAIN!!!''" and [[ShoutOut takes a leaf out of his old companion Ace's book]] by whaling on one of them furiously with a [[WrenchWhack giant wrench.]]
*** Creator/RussellTDavies openly admitted this was the case with the Daleks in a featurette for "Army of Ghosts". As '''the''' defining ''Doctor Who'' villain, they'll ''always'' be brought back at some point no matter how complete the destruction may seem, because you just plain can't have the Doctor without the Daleks.
** Davros, the Daleks' creator, was genuinely intended to suffer a permanent KarmicDeath at the end of his first story by the writer and the then showrunners. This turned out to be non-permanent, and since then he's survived apparent death at least once. Creator/RussellTDavies responded with a ShrugOfGod when asked if he had survived the ending of "The Stolen Earth"[=]/[=]"Journeys' End", [[Recap/DoctorWhoS35E1TheMagiciansApprentice which was later conclusively answered]].
** The Cybermen are frequently killed off or otherwise sealed away, though due to severe AnachronicOrder of their stories and [[http://tardis.wikia.com/wiki/Cyberman_%28disambiguation%29 multiple factions]] of Cybermen this can muddle things incredibly. It's justified on their part- even if the Cybermen themselves are wiped out, they are living contingency plans. If any form of their technology survives- from a ruined Cyberman husk that lost its organic half or a single Cybermite survives a planet being blown up, it can find and convert and/or assimilate something into a Cyberman, who will in turn do the same and multiply to replace those who were lost.
** Time Lords themselves are living examples of this trope because they can regenerate into new bodies. Even when a 12-regenerations cycle limit was set in "The Deadly Assassin," it has been broken by both the Doctor and the Master, the former because [[TheShowMustGoOn he got a new cycle]], the latter because he knows how to cheat death in malicious ways.
* ''Series/{{Heroes}}''' Sylar for whom the universe will bend over backwards to let continue killing people and acquiring powers. Possibly the most ridiculous case is the Volume 4 opener where [[spoiler:a squad has been given orders to shoot to kill, and instructions on how to make it stick... and when they get the shot, managing to take him by surprise and everything, ''they use tasers'']].
** Even more egregious given that he was ''[[DeathIsCheap "dead"]]'' at the end of Volume 3 and then re-appeared without so much as a {{handwave}} at the start of Volume 4. After a number of Volume 4 episodes they did handwave it, but it was pretty stupid even for a handwave.
** In the penultimate episode of Volume 4, [[spoiler:he gets knifed in the back of the head by Danko, only to get right back up in complete violation of the show's MagicAIsMagicA for regeneration]].
*** Which was handwaved in the finale as his shapeshifting allowing him to [[spoiler:move "the button" that turns the brain off. Um, as in the ''brain stem''??]]
** In the Volume 4 finale, the heroes [[spoiler:finally render him unconscious and have this one chance to end him for good. But Angela and Noah collectively grab the IdiotBall and order Matt Parkman to erase his memories and force him to assume Nathan Patrelli's life (whom he had KilledOffForReal). This genius idea only holds for 4 episodes before Sylar reverts, and meanwhile a [[Film/FightClub Sylar Durden]] hallucination has been tormenting Parkman.]]
** In Volume 5, not one but '''two''' major characters try to take him down with {{heroic sacrifice}}s. [[spoiler:Neither work. Nathan's, which involved jumping off a building, ''was undone before he even hit the ground''.]]
** Making this even more ridiculous is how he was originally intended to die at the end of the ''first'' Volume, involving him being impaled through the chest.
* Murdoc the Assassin in ''Series/MacGyver''. He keeps "dying" in over the top ways (died in a collapsing building, took a fatal dive off a mountain after cutting his own rope, plunged into a fiery pool after being electrocuted, been careless with dynamite, drowned in a flooded mine shaft, drove a Jeep off of a cliff) and even if he's pronounced dead each time, [[NeverFoundTheBody they never find his body]] though [[NooneCouldSurviveThat he couldn't possibly have survived that!]] It's never adequately explained how he just keeps surviving certain death. After a while, [=MacGyver=] simply assumes that if there isn't a body, Mudoc will turn up to try to kill him again eventually, an expectation that causes him increasing tension in time, and understandably so.
* Series/{{Buffy|TheVampireSlayer}} had lots of opportunities to kill [[EnsembleDarkhorse Spike]] and Dru, but she kept letting them get away.
** Darla is actually killed about four times over the course of ''Series/{{Buffy|the vampire slayer}}'' and ''Series/{{Angel}}'' (if one counts siring as "death"), but only the last one [[KilledOffForReal takes]].
** Faith gets stabbed in the gut and thrown from a building, but only winds up in a coma. Of course, she's not the first Slayer to cheat death, so...
* Apophis is like this in the early seasons of ''Series/StargateSG1''. When they finally manage to make his death stick, [[spoiler:Anubis]] takes on the mantle.
-->'''O'Neill:''' Son of a bitch! Someone's gotta teach that guy how to die.
* Ben Linus from ''Series/{{Lost}}'' is too adored by the fan base to get rid of. He [[ILied lies]], [[TheChessMaster manipulates]] and murders to his hearts content. He's tried to kill Locke so many times we lost count, [[spoiler:and he succeeded in season 5]]. Sayid has been the only one [[spoiler: that actually tried to kill him. This is more of a WhatTheHellHero-moment seeing as Ben is just a kid at the time, and it is heavily implied this attempted murder is what makes Ben what he is today]]. The writers make up for all this though by having him beat up a lot.
** By the end of the show he killed (directly or indirectly) four of the main characters, namely [[spoiler:Charlie Pace (by giving Mikhail the order to do it), Michael Dawson (by killing Keamy and triggering the explosives), Charlotte Lewis (by initiating time-travel which fried her brain) and John Locke (straight)]] and several supporting allies, [[spoiler:including Jacob himself]], and the audience ''still'' adores him!
* ComicBook/LexLuthor in ''Series/{{Smallville}}''. He's been shot, stabbed, and mindwiped. He's had the Fortress of Solitude collapse on his head reducing him to an EvilCripple, and been blown up in a truck explosion shortly afterwards. The series concludes with his resurrection from the dead, which was of course, a ForegoneConclusion.
** It's been suggested but not outright confirmed that it's Lex's GreenRocks-given ability.
* "Dead Larry" Sizemore of ''Series/BurnNotice'', partly because of his badass spy skills and his [[EvilMentor relationship]] to TheHero, partly because he's ''just too cool to kill off''. [[spoiler:In the season 5 summer finale, it looked like death had finally caught up with him... and then a newspaper article said that two people had been found dead. [[NeverFoundTheBody There were three people in that building.]] Of course, he was literally ''inches'' away from the bomb that supposedly killed him, so there might not have been enough left to recognize.]]
* Weyoun in ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'' got a version of this. In his very first appearance, he was killed at the end of the episode. The character proved popular, however, and eventually the show brought him back... or, rather, a clone of him ([[HandWave the Vorta, apparently, have good cloning technology]]). We eventually meet five different clones of Weyoun throughout the show's run.
* Multiple episodes of ''{{Series/Merlin}}'' end with Morgana unconcious or incapcitated yet Merlin and the other good guys never take the oppurtunity to finish her off, despite the tremendous damage she has wreaked.
* Damon from ''Series/TheVampireDiaries''. Sooo Damon. Heck, just rename it Damon Immunity.
** Katherine fits this better.
** Forget Damon and Katherine. Klaus fits it even better, considering that he even got his own spin off show, ''TheOriginals''.
* James Horton in ''{{Series/Highlander}}'' seemed to die twice, but came back. (the first time, Joe got him to a hospital, as his brother-in-law, he didn't want to stand and watch him die. But he then came back after appearing to die a second time. Macleod finally did off him the third time)
* On ''{{Series/Alias}}'', both Julian Sark (whose constant escapes eventually become a RunningGag) and Arvin Sloane (who, at one point, manages to survive [[spoiler:his own execution]]) enjoyed this immunity.
* In ''Series/TheWalkingDead'' the Governor seems to have this, to the intense displeasure of at least a non-neglibile portion of the fandom. [[spoiler:His immunity is eventually revoked in the Season 4 mid-season finale, where he is KilledOffForReal during another attack on Rick's group at the prison.]]
* Zig-zagged with Moriarty in ''{{Series/Sherlock}}''. He manages to survive the stand-off in the Season 1 finale, but is apparently killed in the Season 2 finale; most expected this death to stick, seeing as he was KilledOffForReal in the ''Sherlock Holmes'' story it was based on. However, [[spoiler: he ends up returning in the Season 3 finale, something which surprised ''everyone'' in-universe. However, this may have been subverted by "The Abominable Bride," wherein Sherlock implies that Moriarty is actually dead and someone else is using his image.]]
* Jerome Valeska on ''{{Series/Gotham}}'', who might well become the series' incarnation of the Joker, is stabbed through the throat and dies. He gets better a season later, which is even ''more'' of a hint that he might someday become the Joker.

* Playing this trope for laughs with its feline nuisance is the [[RunningGag entire point]] to the song "[[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin The Cat Came Back]]". Subverted in versions where the cat ''does'' die eventually; however, it expires for reasons unrelated to its owner's over-the-top efforts to dispose of it, and [[DoubleSubversion its ''ghost'' still comes back]].
* Played for laughs in "Scary Song," by the Frankenstein Drag Queens from Planet 13: "The boogeyman only wants to take your life / Can't kill him off, he'll just come right back in Part 2."

* In [[Myth/NorseMythology Norse folklore]], Thor repeatedly battles the Midgard Serpent, yet prior to [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt Ragnarök]] it always escapes.
* Similarly, in [[Myth/EgyptianMythology Egyptian Mythology]], Set is spared the [[RoaringRampageOfRevenge full wrath]] of [[YouKilledMyFather Horus]] when his mother Isis takes pity on him, and he is allowed to flee. Thus in the Eyptian mythos, evil could be defeated temporarily, but never permanently.
* The Mark of Cain in ''Literature/TheBible'' is often interpreted as having given him this. In the text itself, however, God never states that Cain ''won't'' get killed, just that if he does, whoever responsible is going to get a FateWorseThanDeath.

[[folder: Pro Wrestling]]
* Wrestling/TheUndertaker is the embodiment of this Trope in the world of Wrestling. During his career, he has been locked inside several flaming caskets, been buried alive, had his career 'ended' following high profile matches and actually 'died and ascended to Heaven'. Despite this, he always returns, once Mark Callaway's nagging injuries have recovered or his holiday time is up.
** Even explicitly stated as being [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWnHzu2xFvI "The Man Who Can't be Destroyed"]] during promos for his match against Wrestling/MarkHenry at Unforgiven 2007.
* Wrestling/{{Edge}}, anyone? For Christ's sake, the man got sent to ''Hell''! And yet he managed to benefit from both this trope ''and'' KarmaHoudini!
* Wrestling/VinceMcMahon is the ultimate example of this trope. Justified in that he's the owner of WWE in both RealLife and Kayfabe, making him the only person who can revoke his own immunity, while everyone else can potentially be released (though it's HIGHLY unlikely in the case of certain people). Considering that he plans on running the company until the day he dies and that his character survived events such as limo explosions (with the real life intentions being merely temporary breaks from television before invoking this trope again), this one ain't being revoked.
* Subverted with Wrestling/KaijuBigBattel, when they really did kill off their big bad and {{series mascot}}, Dr. Cube. He was later brought back with time travel by the Flood of Wrestling/{{Chikara}}, only to reveal the Cube they got was an imposter wearing his helmet.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons''
** The tarrasque embodies this trope as the memetic "nigh-invincible monster" of the game. It takes a Wish spell on top of massive damage and disintegration to make them stay dead. With wish gone in fourth edition, the description of the tarrasque outright states it to be impossible to kill permanently without ''launching it into outer space.''
*** There's a campaign setting dedicated to the fact that it never dies, and a civilization that defeated it turns it into a never-ending food source (who cares that its blood mutates people that are exposed to it?)
** Strahd von Zarovich has his own personal Revolving Door Afterlife. He's played the starring role in two 1st Edition modules, a pick-a-path book, an entire 2nd Edition campaign setting, and a 3rd edition hardback adventure; in most he winds up destroyed at the end, yet it never seems to take. Ads for the hardback actually urged 3E gamers: "This time, make sure he's DEAD dead!", yet the Count's back ''again'' in 4E, for a boardgame and appearance in ''Open Grave''.
* The Quori in ''TabletopGame/{{Eberron}}'' are designed to be this: They are spirits possessing mortal vessels and the death of the host does not kill the inhabiting Quori. Their actual bodies live in a plane of existence (Dal Quor) that cannot be reached by normal planar travel, and only the death of it's actual body will kill a Quori, making them the ideal enemy to throw at the party repeatedly. Oh, and to make things tougher, time in Dal Quor goes by a lot faster than on the material plane, meaning Quoris gets a lot more planning time then the party has access to.
* Numerous characters in ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' can and ''have'' been killed, but due to the general nature of [[HyperspaceIsAScaryPlace the Warp]] this is rarely permanent.
** Eldar Phoenix Lords live on within their armor, their spirit inhabiting the next person who wears it until they are killed.
** Lucius [[MeaningfulName the Eternal]] (and most probably other Champions of the Chaos Gods) is effectively immortal, as anyone who kills him ''becomes him'', becoming yet another person [[AndIMustScream trapped within his armor]].
** The Daemon Princes and Greater Daemons (also present in ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}''), which can never be killed, only banished to the Warp where they can be summoned again.
** The Tyranid Swarmlord could also count, in a sense. While it can die, its consciousness will be reabsorbed into the Hive Mind and stored until the Swarmlord is needed again.
** Any Tyranid Tyrant also counts, although unlike the Swarmlord, they're tied to their particular hive fleets, and Hive Fleets can be destroyed.
** It's implied that Kharn the Betrayer is one, as he was actually killed during the Siege of Terra by imperial forces, but Khorne deemed him too worthy a champion to slip into the realm of the dead and granted him a Perpetual Body. However this was never verified, mainly because ''no one else has been able to kill him since''.
* Vlad von Carstein from ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}'' had a magic ring that would allow him to resurrect every time he was killed, so no matter how many times the Empire thought they put him down, he and his undead hordes would return. Unfortunately for Vlad, his son [[AmbitionIsEvil Mannfred]] betrayed this secret to the Empire, who sent a master thief to steal the ring before Vlad was destroyed for real during the Siege of Altdorf.
* In ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'', the nation/world/culture/force of Phyrexia has Joker Immunity. It affected the storyline of most of the game's sets and was the unambiguous villain of a dozen of them, but was finally defeated, apparently for good... but [[FromASingleCell one single drop of oil]] on Mirrodin was enough to ultimately turn that world into New Phyrexia. Worse yet, [[ParanoiaFuel any plane Karn has been on is potentially infected]].
* [[{{Literature/Dracula}} the Count]] in ''[[{{TabletopGame/Rippers}} Rippers]]''. He is given a handwaved escape from the climax of the book, temporarily fooling the heroes into thinking he was slain while really misting himself as he was staked. Apparently having another vampire lord rise to villainy wouldn't have proven sufficient motivation for the Harkers to form a group of hunters in the setting. Nope, just an excuse not to have to make up another villain.
* The Servitors of the Apocalypse in ''[[{{TabletopGames/Deadlands}} Deadlands]]''. The designers, understandably, didn't want PCs making things difficult by slaying them all, so they made up the most difficult quests possible, e.g. Stone can only be re-killed by the bullets that killed him (which are in him), Reverend Grimme can only be killed by his original magic stick (which he threw into the sea and is not the one he carries), etc.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Axel from ''Franchise/KingdomHearts''. He seemed to die towards the end of ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsChainOfMemories,'' only to come back in ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'' (though his [[DemotedToExtra screentime reduced significantly]]), seemingly die in the prologue, then come back ''again'' and ''actually'' die towards the end of the game when Sora travels to the [[VeryDefinitelyFinalDungeon World That Never Was]]. He was scheduled to actually die in the prologue; it was his popularity with the fans that bought him some extra time. He returns in ''[[VideoGame/KingdomHearts3DDreamDropDistance 3D]]'', now going by his old human name of Lea.
** The main villain, Xehanort/Ansem seems to be falling into this one as well. Sora killed his Heartless in the first game, but ''Chain of Memories'' makes it clear that he's still bumping around inside Riku's mind. He returns in two forms in ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'' with his Nobody, Xemnas and Riku taking his form, having somewhat lost his battle with his Darkness. Both are defeated by the game: Xemnas is dead for good, and Riku is back to normal. However, according to WordOfGod, this just means his Nobody and heart will merge to form a whole person again (like Axel / Lea), and Xehanort will eventually be back for another round. The prequel game reveals that [[spoiler:he's been doing this for a while now, having stolen Terra's body after being defeated for the first time.]]
** Maleficent is killed in her dragon form in the first game, but when her pet Diablo brings her cloak to the three fairies their sheer terror of her is apparently enough to resurrect her. She then does the same for Oogie Boogie. The [[UnexplainedRecovery really confusing]] case is Ursula showing up again.
* ''Franchise/CarmenSandiego'', hands down. She can't be caught, at least not for long. (It was possible for her to be captured in the kid's game show if the contestant won, but she'd have freed herself by the time the next one started.) It was the same in every medium she appeared in, she was just too slippery to hold.
* Bowser from the ''Franchise/SuperMarioBros'' series seems to enjoy complete immunity to death. Otherwise it's very hard to explain how he comes back from being [[VideoGame/NewSuperMarioBros melted to a skeleton in lava]], getting [[ComicBook/SuperMarioAdventures crushed beneath a giant wedding cake]], or [[SuperMarioGalaxy falling into a star]] or just about every single Mario story without actually ever being killed off for real.
** Oddly, it's implied through dialogue that Bowser did die prior to ''VideoGame/LuigisMansion'', at Mario's hands no less.
** The "thrown into a star" example (''VideoGame/SuperMarioGalaxy'') is particularly weird. [[spoiler: Bowser apparently "dies," but then again, the entire universe is sucked into a black hole, resulting in a Big Crunch and a new Big Bang, recreating everything... So he DOES die, he's just regenerated with everything else.]]
*** They actually have good reason for wanting him around; in ''VideoGame/SuperPaperMario'', it is revealed he is one of four heroes (with Mario, Peach, and Luigi as the other three) who will stop Count Bleck and the prophecy of doom that threatens to destroy all worlds. Near the end, when [[spoiler:Bowser is seemingly crushed]], Peach says she isn't worried about him because he isn't easy to get rid of, and has survived worse. [[spoiler:Sure enough, Bowser survives due to his tendency to fall through the floor.]]
** Seriously played with in ''VideoGame/NewSuperMarioBros1'' where [[spoiler:he's killed 3 times over the course of the game but actually has to be brought back to life.]]
** Also played with in ''[[VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiBowsersInsideStory Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story]]'' where you have to save Bowser from otherwise-certain death by activating his body's special desperation HulkOut.
** Lampshaded in ''VideoGame/PaperMarioTheThousandYearDoor''. During the ''Super Mario Bros.''-style side-scrolling stages where you play as him, Bowser has infinite lives.
* In the same vein as Bowser, rival team Star Wolf in the ''VideoGame/StarFox'' series are more resilient than any major villain. Even the ex-members manage to come back in ''VideoGame/StarFoxCommand'', and in the default ending, Star Wolf manage to attack the enemy base in an ''acidic ocean'' and come back in one piece.
** Similarly, Star Wolf trio lured the Aparoid underlings away from Star Fox so that the player could finally finish off the Aparoid Queen. At the end, they thought Star Wolf was done for, but [[spoiler:then they saw Peppy alive with some minor bruises, making Fox smile and saying that Wolf and the others are alive and well.]]
** In subversion to this, in Mission 7: Corneria in ''VideoGame/StarFoxAssault'', during the part where Fox rides Wolf's Wolfen. If Fox fails to protect the Wolfen, Wolf actually dies as his ship explodes, while Fox falls to his death while yelling.
* ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'': Ganondorf/Ganon continues to appear in the series no matter how many times he gets killed. It's been an actual plot point since ''VideoGame/ZeldaIITheAdventureOfLink'', where the goal is to prevent him from being resurrected by his minions. At least in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime'', which shows Ganondorf's origins, he isn't killed, but [[SealedEvilInACan sealed in another dimension]], [[JustifiedTrope explaining]] his presence in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker'', which takes place long after he breaks out of the seal.
** So far, [[spoiler:the ''Wind Waker'' timeline is the only one where Ganondorf has stayed dead]].
*** [[spoiler:The ending of ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincess'' seemed to indicate that he was KilledOffForReal in the "child" timeline as well]], but [[spoiler:this Ganondorf reincarnates just in time to [[HijackedByGanon hijack]] ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaFourSwordsAdventures'', only to be sealed away ''again'', to menace some as-yet-unreleased future volume]].
** Just to clarify, Ganondorf is the only character in the Zelda series with this kind of immunity. Link and Zelda get old and die after every couple of games, and the next one stars a new version of them in the distant past or future. Ganondorf is pretty much the same person in every game, meaning that he seems to have all the time in the world to achieve his final victory.
** ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword'' [[spoiler:seemingly gives an explanation for Ganondorf/Ganon's inability to fully die; he's part of a curse laid on Link/Zelda and all of their descendants by BigBad Demise, though the Triforce of Power also seems to play a part in it as well]].
* Gilgamesh from ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyV''. He survived getting tossed into the void, and EXPLODING himself on an enemy. And he has appeared in half the games in the series (with a few retcons). In ALL of his appearances save for 8, he gets his ass handed to him by the main party and apparently recovers enough for the next game where the cycle restarts again. Now this is all despite the fact that most of the time he is portrayed has utterly incompetent, which is the reason he got his ass hurled into the void in the first place.
* ''In Videogame/FinalFantasyVII'' Sephiroth has died a total of three times so far and keeps coming back for more. The novellas [[http://thelifestream.net/ffvii-advent-children-complete/3881/on-the-way-to-a-smile-lifestream-black-and-lifestream-white/ Lifestream Black and Lifestream White]] deal with the specifics in further detail - basic idea is that as long as Jenova cells exist in some way on the Planet, Sephiroth can use their shapeshifting powers to craft a new body for himself. Besides that, as long as he can maintain his sense of self to avoid dissolution, TheLifestream can never claim him and he'll float around the planet for eternity trapped between life and death. Sephiroth's penchant for avoiding death has carried over to the spin-offs: in ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'' and ''VideoGame/DissidiaFinalFantasy'' he's defeated but isn't killed, because [[TheOnlyOneAllowedToDefeatYou only Cloud is capable of killing him]].
* M. Bison in ''Franchise/StreetFighter'' may be getting this despite his most chronologically recent death [[note]] ''[[VideoGame/StreetFighterIV IV]]'' [[{{Interquel}} takes place]] a year after ''[[VideoGame/StreetFighterII II]]'', the game in which he "died," and a few years before ''[[VideoGame/StreetFighterIII III]]'' [[/note]] having his soul sent to hell. Additionally, Akuma's DynamicEntry with his Shun Goku Satsu on Bison was {{retcon}}ned, according to WordOfGod. In ''[[Anime/StreetFighterIVTheTiesThatBind The Ties That Bind]]'', a canon animated feature that came with ''IV'', Bison is shown killing himself to prevent capture at the hands of the heroes, [[AsLongAsThereIsEvil his soul hovering around post-mortem until]] [[CloningBlues a suitable replacement body was made]] (much like in ''[[VideoGame/StreetFighterAlpha Alpha 3]]''). His fate after ''IV'' is still undetermined, although Urien's cryptic remarks with Chun-Li in ''3rd Strike'' at least suggest that Shadaloo was dismantled in the interim. With Bison set to return in ''VideoGame/StreetFighterV'', it remains to be seen if death will finally stick this time. [[spoiler:By all accounts, it does.]]
* Revolver Ocelot, the only surviving boss from from ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid'', went on to plague Snake in every subsequent game. [[VideoGame/MetalGearSolid2SonsOfLiberty In his second appearance]], he evades doom by wearing a kinetic shield, making him literally immune to bullets. [[VideoGame/MetalGearSolid3SnakeEater The prequel]] focused on his early career in Spetnaz, [[ForegoneConclusion so you can assume he's safe in this outing]]; but even then, Creator/HideoKojima can't leave well enough alone, lobbing bullets, bees, rockets, explosions, planes, and who knows what else at poor Ocelot. He survives everything, even a few tight scrapes with Big Boss himself, who consciously spares Ocelot's life (as he feels a certain kinship with a fellow "[[spoiler:Son of The Boss]]"). Ocelot [[spoiler:finally dies in ''VideoGame/{{Metal Gear Solid 4|GunsOfThePatriots}}''.]]
* [[Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog Doctor Robotnik/Eggman]] hasn't even been in ''prison'' for his crimes (except for the [[VideoGame/SonicAdventure2 one time]] he broke in deliberately...)
** Not to mention all the inescapable explosions he's been caught in where he survives with nothing but a coat of ash on him. He has apparently survived the repeated crashes or explosions of his enormous bases with little more than AmusingInjuries in nearly all interpretations of the franchise (his Death Egg burst into flames and crash landed on Angel Island in the climax of ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog2'' only for ''VideoGame/{{Sonic 3|AndKnuckles}}'' to reveal he nearly immediately started work on his next scheme just following that).
** Seemingly subverted in three of ''VideoGame/ShadowTheHedgehog'''s endings, where it's implied that Shadow broke his neck after defeating him. [[DoubleSubversion Double Subverted]] when these endings were subject to CuttingOffTheBranches.
** Inverted slightly for the [[Comicbook/SonicTheHedgehog Archie comics]] depiction. In the ''Endgame'' arc Julian Robotnik is indeed killed by his vengeful minion and nephew Snively, twenty or so issues played with the concept of other villains and problems following his defeat, only for a second Robotnik from an alternate timeline to enter and take over from his position (this Robotnik would later take the modern "Eggman" form seen in later games and continues being the BigBad to this day).
* Dr. Albert W. Wily from ''Videogame/MegaManClassic''. When Mega Man finally lands his ass in prison, he easily breaks out of it (albeit six months later).
** In ''VideoGame/MegaMan7'', Mega is literally a trigger-pull away from killing Wily once and for all, but when Wily brings up the first law of robotics (A Robot must never harm a human) he hesitates just long enough for Bass to save the day (or Wily, whatever). In ''8'', after Mega's apparent sanity break, Wily never actually gets cornered, so Mega doesn't get to try killing him again (Duo takes care of things, keeping Mega from a final blow). ''9'' apparently has Mega back to his non-killing attitude for no readily apparent reason, but then, considering he lost his charge shots ''and'' his slide ability, it's no wonder he's lost a few other things.
** Sigma keeps getting killed in the ''VideoGame/MegaManX'' series (sometimes dying twice in a single game!), but he just will not die due to his form as a sentient computer virus, and since he's in the future with robots galore, there's no shortage of things to body surf into. However, he ''finally'' gets it revoked in ''VideoGame/MegaManX8'', where after getting blown up on the ''Moon'' of all places, he finds that there's nothing left to jump into on its barren surface, and dissipates harmlessly and somewhat anticlimactically.
** Doctor Weil/Vile from the ''VideoGame/MegaManZero'' series. Notably, his Immunity is explicitly part of his ability set, [[spoiler:eternal life and NighInvulnerability (of the regeneration/regrowth variant) being punishment for his earlier crimes.]] [[NiceJobBreakingItHero Nice Job Breaking It, Humanity.]] Hell, [[spoiler:even when it seemed like the ColonyDrop at the end of Zero 4 had finally killed him, his remnants popped up again as the driving threat in the ''VideoGame/MegaManZX'' series.]]
* Ridley in the ''Franchise/{{Metroid}}'' series cruelly and sneakily subverts this, with gamers noticing around 2012 that these scenarios were cases of NeverFoundTheBody. He has appeared in all games in the series apart from ''VideoGame/MetroidIIReturnOfSamus'', ''VideoGame/MetroidPrime2Echoes'' and ''VideoGame/MetroidPrimeHunters''. Often serves as [[TheDragon the]] [[OurDragonsAreDifferent (literal)]] [[TheDragon Dragon]] to a specific game's BigBad, but he is considered to be Samus' ArchEnemy more than any of the other {{Big Bad}}s (including Mother Brain), as he is personally responsible for the attack on Samus' homeworld that resulted in the death of her parents. Appearances listed in order of the universe's internal chronology:
** He is seemingly killed for real in ''VideoGame/{{Metroid|1}}[=/=][[VideoGame/MetroidZeroMission Zero Mission]]'', and accompanied by a robot double in ''Zero Mission'', but ''[[VideoGame/MetroidOtherM Other M]]'' possibly hand waves this by showing he's ''really'' good at playing dead, even if he needed a robo boost to survive.
** He is then revived as Meta Ridley in ''VideoGame/MetroidPrime'', and guards the entrance to the Impact Crater. Torizo Statues knock him off a cliff, and Torizos aren't known to be that effective in the first place, and the player never actually sees him die.
** Meta Ridley is apparently "killed" again at the start of ''[[VideoGame/MetroidPrime3Corruption Corruption]]'', but returns as the guardian of the Pirate Homeworld Leviathan as Omega Ridley. Players noticed his shadow flying away for a sneaky split second.
** He is killed yet again (as his original form, somehow; possibly hand waved by his armor becoming pure Phazite, which like all Phazon was destroyed) in ''VideoGame/SuperMetroid''. This is later confirmed in a buzz killing way to be his KilledOffForReal moment as his returns had become a running gag. However...
** ... a cloned Ridley appears in ''Other M'', gets wounded by Samus, and consumed by the Metroid Queen. Dies a lot quicker than the slippery bastard the original was.
** The clone's drained, frozen husk turns up in ''[[VideoGame/MetroidFusion Fusion]]'', is consumed by an X, and is later fought as [[BodyHorror Ridley X]]. He never really comes back, it's just an X mimicking him, and like the suspiciously ''Super Metroid''!Tourian-like area he appears in, is likely for {{Fanservice}}.
* Eliphas the Inheritor of ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}: VideoGame/DawnOfWar''. He's suppose to be dead in Dark Crusade, but due to his popularity he was somehow resurrected for Dawn of War II ''Chaos Rising''. He gets killed there to then he's resurrected again. Likewise for the [[LargeHam wonderfully hilarious]] Gorgutz, who canonically didn't win any of the campaigns he appeared in, but keeps getting away; he's not shown up in Dawn of War II yet, unfortunately, but there's no evidence he's dead either.
* SNK's Geese Howard is an odd example; in the continuity of ''VideoGame/TheKingOfFighters'', he's alive and well, but in his home continuity of ''VideoGame/FatalFury'' and ''KOF''[='s=] own AlternateContinuity, the ''Maximum Impact'' series, he's dead. And even then, he's appeared in games where he's canonically dead in the form of "Nightmare Geese," a much more powerful "spirit" version of his normal self.
* ''VideoGame/MonkeyIsland'''s Ghost Pirate [=LeChuck=]. As the Voodoo Lady notes, true evil can never be destroyed completely, as [=LeChuck=] seems to find a way to come back again in every new game. The inverse of this occurs in ''VideoGame/TheCurseOfMonkeyIsland'', where Guybrush begs [=LeChuck=] not to kill him, because [[MediumAwareness if Guybrush dies, they can't make any more Monkey Island sequels, and LeChuck would be out of a job]], and to prove his point, he ask [=LeChuck=] if he's ever heard of [[VideoGame/{{Loom}} Bobbin Threadbare]].
** Notably, [=LeChuck=] does get genuinely killed at the end of each game (except 3, where he was just [[SealedEvilInACan sealed away]]), and resurrected by different means in the next. Kind of like [[Film/ChildsPlay Chucky]]. Hmmm.
*** In [[VideoGame/TheSecretOfMonkeyIsland the first game]], he was already undead, and [[NoodleIncident it was never quite explained how]].
*** In [[VideoGame/MonkeyIsland2LeChucksRevenge the second]], he was revived by voodoo as a zombie.
*** In [[VideoGame/TheCurseOfMonkeyIsland the third]], he became a demon by mastering a hellish portal.
*** And in ''[[VideoGame/TalesOfMonkeyIsland Tales]]'', he has a voodoo spell secured in the Crossroads, the pirate afterlife.
* Arguably Dr Neo Cortex from the ''Franchise/CrashBandicoot'' series who has survived numerous supposedly inescapable demises, then again due to the slapstick nature, the large majority of the series' RoguesGallery is the same [[spoiler: par maybe the Evil Twins being eaten by Evil Crash in ''Videogame/CrashTwinsanity'')]]. It helps that Cortex and a lot of other villains take the role of IronButtMonkey.
* Destroyman is ''sliced in half'' by Travis Touchdown in the first ''VideoGame/NoMoreHeroes''. This doesn't stop him from returning in the sequel (as two separate people with cybernetics replacing the missing halves). Also, Dr. Shake, Letz Shake's machine, survives being chopped in half and is revealed to be fully sentient in the second game. Suda confirmed that the machine is sentient and it's not Letz Shake, who died in the first game.
* Zig-zagged with Dracula in the ''Franchise/{{Castlevania}}'' series. He spent most of the series being defeated and resurrected over and over again, before [[spoiler:finally being defeated off-screen in 1999... and then being reincarnated as Soma Cruz in ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaChroniclesOfSorrow''.]]
** Not only this, it is hinted that Dracula gets stronger each time he returns. Still, given how hopeless the Belmont family's job seems, only one of them has tried to refuse the legacy bestowed on them and try not to fight him - [[YouCantFightFate he learned the hard way that he couldn't.]]
* Mara Aramov from the ''VideoGame/SyphonFilter'' series gets [[BoomHeadshot headshot]] twice, but survives until ''Dark Mirror''.
* Every character EVER in ''Franchise/MortalKombat''. For a game that's all about killing your defeated opponents, none of the heroes ever manage to permanently put down the villains, unless they're being replaced by someone bigger and badder the next game.
** And don't forget [[VideoGame/MortalKombat9 the reboot]]. [[TheHero Liu Kang]] punches through [[BigBad Shao Khan]] at the end of the ''VideoGame/MortalKombat2'' story. We see the wound from the chest through the back and everything. Shao Khan collapses, his lieutenants all surrender before Liu Kang, Outworld is free! No wait, the next scene shows Shao Khan limping back to his throne, surrounded by his loyal minions as they immediately announce their next plan to take over Earthrealm. Even when [[spoiler:the Elder Gods intervene at the end of the game to help Raiden finally eradicate Shao Kahn]] does ''VideoGame/MortalKombatX'' imply he's ''still'' alive and kicking. In a sense--[[spoiler:one MirrorMatch exchange for Ermac suggests the emperor's soul is now part of [[ManySpiritsInsideOfOne the myriad collection of fallen warriors]] comprising his being]].
* King K. Rool in ''VideoGame/DonkeyKongCountry''. Many, many games (three SNES platformers, the Nintendo 64 game, most spin-offs prior to ''VideoGame/DonkeyKongCountryReturns'') and despite going through things that would kill any normal individual (blown up, punched through windows, attacked by sharks, caught in a volcano, electrocuted and attacked by the Kongs multiple times), he keeps coming back for more. Yes, even after his actions destroyed his home country.
* Averted in ''VideoGame/DeusEx'', where nearly every boss can be killed before the big confrontation. Sometimes they can be killed while they are still aligned as friendly and through surreptitious and underhanded ways.
* ''VideoGame/{{Executioners}}'': The Executioners defeat the FinalBoss Cannibal Ed Bujone. Ed blows up the factory with dynamite strapped to in a TakingYouWithMe manuever, but the Es escape. Later, the Es are at a restaurant, ordering a fine meal to celebrate their victory. The waiter suddenly says the CatchPhrase, "So much meat, so little time!" The Es can only look up in horror as their waiter turns out to be Ed, alive, well(?), and letting out an EvilLaugh. WordOfGod outright stated that Ed is his favourite character, which would explain how he survived and returned so quickly.
* [[VideoGame/CommandAndConquer Kane]]: Survived from the 1950s to the 1990s without aging, survived an Ion Cannon strike, a metal pole to the chest, and all the while manipulated the Scrin into invading Earth.
* Albert Wesker from ''Franchise/ResidentEvil''. He gets impaled by a Tyrant in the end of the first game, but it's just used to activate the virus that he injected himself early on that gave him his powers. In ''[[VideoGame/ResidentEvil5 5]]'', he manages to survive from Jill's HeroicSacrifice. [[spoiler:That is until he dies for real in the end.]]
** Come to think of it, the only villains who manages to escape being killed are [[VideoGame/ResidentEvil2 HUNK]] and [[VideoGame/ResidentEvil3Nemesis Nicolai]].
* Speaking of Wesker, his ''VideoGame/HouseOfTheDead'' [[CounterpartComparison counterpart]], Caleb Goldman is one, for he has appeared in ''4''. [[spoiler:It becomes subverted when it turns out that his appearances are just flashbacks and recorded messages.]]
** [[AwesomeBosses/VideoGames The Magician]] proved so popular that he returned as a second-to-finall boss in 2 and special boss in 4.
* With green hair and laughing maniacally while mocking people, Hazama IS the Joker of the ''VideoGame/BlazBlue'' series. Made even more so by the fact that he is already dead but kept alive by people's hatred of him. ''[[VideoGame/BlazBlueChronophantasma Chronophantasma]]'' seems to try to finally defy this, [[spoiler:by having him get hit by Hakumen's Time Killer, which eliminates every time he had until the heat death of the universe, meaning that he WILL die, and his boss Izanami is probably on the boat of "just leaving him to suffer and die." But... it's a fighting game, not including Hazama or Terumi in the roster is going to piss off those who like playing as them... so they're probably gonna be back either way.]]
** [[spoiler:The fourth installment, ''[[VideoGame/BlazBlueCentralFiction Central Fiction]]'', is bringing back everyone's favorite ghost in both his Hazama and Terumi forms, and it gave him another form: Susanoo, by hijacking Hakumen's armor unit. In the end, however, Ragna managed to find a way to yank his soul of out that unit, and then [[DeaderThanDead evaporate said soul from existence]]. Seeing that this would be the end of the current saga about Ragna and the Master Units, looks like Terumi's warranty is ripped to pieces to the point it's impossible to put it back together again. Although Hazama (now separate from Terumi) had a better luck by dropping himself into the Cauldron, but if he ever reappears, he'd be on his own rather than antagonizing Ragna again.]]
* Wild Dog from the ''VideoGame/TimeCrisis'' series. Despite being blown up in every game you fight him, he always comes back for more. Even lampshaded by Alan and Wesley in the third game.
-->'''Wesley:''' "Wild Dog?!"\\
'''Alan:''' [[WhyWontYouDie "Don't you ever die?!"]]
* ''VideoGame/RocketKnightAdventures'': Although the BigBad always dies at the end of each game, [[TheDragon Axel Gear]] does not.

* Both used and averted in ''Webcomic/TheAdventuresOfDrMcNinja'', which is partially inspired by Batman. Certain villains won't seem to die at the end of the story arc despite the Doc not considering prison an option for his foes, including Ronald [=McDonald=], Dracula, and King Radical. However, in the "DARE" arc, which was more inspired by 80's action movies, the villain dies [[spoiler:[[http://drmcninja.com/archives/comic/17p58 NOT!]]]]'', and Doc shows no mercy toward pirates.''
* Oasis from ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'' fits this trope perfectly, regularly returning from the dead. The comic even {{Lampshade|Hanging}}d the trope after another of her deaths. "Yes, a dynamic character with a proven ability to return from certain death falls from a great height leaving no sign of a corpse? Yeah, We'll never see her again."
* The cast of ''Webcomic/{{Adventurers}}'' are aware of this trope. When [[BigBad Khrima's]] fortress is destroyed in an accident fairly early in the strip, Ardam asks Drecker if he thinks they've seen the last of him. Then they both burst out in laughter.
* Jack Noir/Spades Slick of ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}''. We have seen four different incarnations of the same Archagent, and the only time one of them was seen dead was in an averted timeline. [[spoiler: Creator/AndrewHussie even goes so far as to somehow rescue Spades Slick from the destroyed A2 universe and nurse him back to health in an as-of-yet unspecified location.]]
** Played literally with the revelation that Gamzee cannot die, not because he's God Tier, but because '''he's a clown.'''
* [[InvertedTrope Inverted]] in ''CrushedTheDoomedKittyAdventures''. As MMORPG characters, the protagonists can't be permanently killed; they just respawn at the nearest temple. Villains and monsters, however, have but one life to live. The first BigBad's plan is [[spoiler: permanently undoing this, allowing the villains' greater numbers to win the day]].

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Dr. Insano from ''WebVideo/TheSpoonyExperiment'' arguably becoming a BreakoutVillain for Website/ChannelAwesome as whole, has made a number appearances in other reviewers' shows as well as his series of origin, and his popularity and LaughablyEvil nature means it's unlikely he'll ever be killed off. Even Noah Antwiler departure from Channel Awesome hasn't removed him.
* From ''WebVideo/AtopTheFourthWall'', the series original KnightOfCerebus Mechakara, whose introductory arc ended with him getting turned to scrap, only for him to rebuilt by [[EvilOverlord Lord Vyce]] and sent after Linkara and destroyed a second time, with the episode's commentary by Lewis Luvhaug stating he had plans to use him again in the future, and sure enough, Mechakara returned in ''WebVideo/ToBoldyFlee'' with no explanation for his recovering, WordOfGod being he [[ItMakesSenseInContext regenerated with the magic coin]]. In short, it's unlikely he's finished.
** Likewise Lord Vyce; Linkara originally abandoned him in a parallel dimension, only for Vyce to turn himself into living data and infect Likara's RobotBuddy Pollo. After getting ThrownOutTheAirlock, he spends several real-world months uploading himself into Comicron-1[[note]]His old spaceship, which Linkara took over after Vyce's initial defeat[[/note]], making it look like Linkara's benevolent A.I. Nimue was going [[Film/2001ASpaceOdyssey HAL-9000]] on him. Nimue gets restored and apparently deletes Vyce in a BattleInTheCenterOfTheMind, but the end of the episode reveals that Vyce downloaded himself into the body of one of his {{Mook}}s and escaped. At this point the immunity gets [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]] by an angry Linkara, who rants that he's spent the last five years dealing with this villain and he's sick of it.
* Jack Slash from Literature/{{Worm}}. [[spoiler: [[JustifiedTrope It's actually a secondary power]] that even he doesn't know he has. He's able to subconsciously communicate with other Para-humans passengers which allows hims to both [[TheCorrupter manipulate their worst urges in order to turn them into monsters like him]] and alerts him to attacks by other para-humans.]] Between this, and Siberian and Bonesaw making him NighInvulnerable he is able to survive for 2 decades as an AxCrazy mass murderer carving his way across North America. [[spoiler: [[FateWorseThanDeath Even at the end of the story he's not technically dead]].]]
* ''WebVideo/AskThatGuyWithTheGlasses''. Ask That Guy has had a fatal heart attack, passed out from drinking his own blood, shot himself in the mouth, and been erased from existence by Doug Walker. He's always back by the next scene. [[spoiler:Until the finale, that is.]]
* [[http://www.scp-wiki.net/scp-682 SCP-682]] of the Wiki/SCPFoundation, as the entire ''point'' of 682 is that any attempt to kill it (or even send it to another universe) will fail.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In action shows geared towards kids, the hero rarely kills, for [[MoralGuardians obvious reasons]], allowing villains like Dr. Drakken from ''WesternAnimation/KimPossible'' or Dr. Claw from ''WesternAnimation/InspectorGadget'' to be let off the hook every time.
** Well, that, and both of the listed villains (among others, of course) are masters of VillainExitStageLeft and the CardboardPrison, assuming they even [[DiabolicalMastermind get directly involved]] to start with. In fact, the closest Gadget ever came to apprehending Dr. Claw was likely the show's humorous opening sequence (and even then, it was a booby-trap left by the villain).
** And in the case of villians like Dr. Drakken, or Dr. Doofensmirtz from ''WesterAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'', they can be a bit bumbling and comical, if not pathetically incompetent, and have someone else do the dirty work for them. Killing them would be unreasonable because they are AffablyEvil.
** In another case with Mumm-Ra in ''WesternAnimation/ThunderCats'', he's shown that the [[GodOfEvil Ancient Spirits of Evil]]'s power can allow him to survive AsLongAsThereIsEvil.
* Interestingly Disney seem to have granted this to Shere Khan of ''Disney/TheJungleBook'' (despite being killed by Mowgli in the original novel). [[Disney/TheJungleBook The Disney animated adaption]] and its sequel are among the very few films in Franchise/DisneyAnimatedCanon to omit a DisneyVillainDeath, while he is about the only villain not to be killed off in the live action adaption. He is also a recurring AntiVillain in ''WesternAnimation/TaleSpin'' and ''[[SpinoffBabies Jungle Cubs]]''.
* Instead of being sent to jail, most Batman villains are sent to an [[CardboardPrison easily escapable insane asylum]]. One episode of ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' featured a guard at the asylum fired for his (relatively minor, all things considered) abuses of the prisoners. He then [[JumpingOffTheSlipperySlope quickly became]] an incarceration-themed KnightTemplar supervillain called Lock-Up.
** Then there was Judgement Day, where a new vigilante called the Judge was giving more severe punishment to criminals, and actually trying to kill them. Batman pressures a politician who was helping the Judge, saying that the Judge would kill someone eventually. The politician fires back, saying that the people of Gotham just would not care if Two-Face, or Killer Croc or any super-villain gets killed off as opposed to being sent to a CardBoardPrison they'll just escape from. He gives Batman due credit, but he reiterates that the people want something permanent.
** Clay Face has had at least 2 on screen deaths only to get back up later.
** In ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyondReturnOfTheJoker'', HarleyQuinn was assumed to have perished in her final battle with Batgirl; even the now elderly Barbara Gordon doubted she could have survived. Turns out, she did (maybe hanging out with the Joker taught her a few things) but the experience ''did'' cause her to retire from crime permanently.
* In ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond'', the villain Mad Stan points out how he'll just break out of prison and keep coming back over and over after Batman foils his latest terrorist bombing, prompting Batman to beat him to death. [[spoiler:It was really Barbara Gordon getting a hallucination from the villain Spellbinder; Mad Stan was alive and returns in another episode.]]
** That said, Batman Beyond has a startling tendency to avert Joker Immunity a number of times, mostly because Terry is unable or unwilling to [[HoistByHisOwnPetard save villains from themselves]], most notably the returning members of Bruce's RoguesGallery: Mr. Freeze, Bane, Ra's al Guhl, and ironically the Joker himself in TheMovie. It's subverted with the new generation of the Royal Flush Gang, who go through more VillainDecay with each appearance until they completely fall apart.
** The most notable exception to that rule is Inque; Terry actually said "She's been dead before" at one point ("Inqueling").
* Averted with Professor Milo in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold'', who is eaten by his abused lab rats after being turned into cheese by the Spectre. Played straight with most the recurring villains.
* [[GalacticConqueror Vilgax]] from the ''WesternAnimation/{{Ben 10}}'' franchise. He's been strapped to a missile, thrown into the void of space, trapped in another dimension, and had a spaceship explode in his face ''three times'' -- but the squid-faced bastard ''just keeps coming back''. Even in another alternate timeline, when a grown-up Ben ''[[FamilyUnfriendlyDeath tore Vilgax to pieces]]'' and froze what was left, Vilgax was quickly revived and no less dangerous. Naturally, this is frequently subject to LampshadeHanging.
* Ernie the Giant Chicken on ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' always returns for another round of his eternal blood feud with Peter Griffin, despite having suffered a twenty-story fall (although Peter himself survived that), been eviscerated by an airplane propeller, suffered massive cranial trauma, and being set on fire ''WHILE'' being impaled up the anus by a giant spike.
* Psycho from ''WesternAnimation/MaxSteel''. The man has been blown up, infected with a deadly fungus while trapped in a burning building, '''thrown into space''', and he always comes back. To his credit, Max Steel is savvy enough to not question it and just deal with him whenever he shows up.
* Albert W. Wily's immunity is even more noticeable in the ''WesternAnimation/MegaMan'' Ruby-Spears cartoon than in the games; his Skull Castle is incredibly conspicuous and immovable, yet the military never once tries to attack it. To add insult to injury, he and his robots slip out of Mega Man's grasp ''every single episode'', no matter how close he was to finally apprehending him. It's a wonder Mega hasn't snapped yet.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Metalocalypse}}'''s Doctor Rockso the rock n' roll clown. [[CatchPhrase He does cocaine.]] He is also the [[CartwrightCurse only known friend of Toki who did not die before the episode was over.]]
* Dr. Doofenshmirtz constantly blows up with his [[SelfDestructMechanism inventions]] but is never seriously hurt. Some of the time, Perry the Platypus will save him when he is falling, but most of the time, he has terrible things happen to him and just lives. Of course, killing or even injuring Doofenshmirtz in a show like ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'' would [[StatusQuoIsGod hardly be a good idea.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/ReBoot'''s Megabyte has this in spades. He's in a city that doesn't have the capacity to delete him, protected by a Guardian who doesn't want to (Except for that one time.), and has a much more powerful sister who, despite having ample capability and opportunity to do so, doesn't. Even when they finally manage to get rid of him, he comes back, with whole new powers, and his sister conveniently taken out of the picture not long before.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons''' Sideshow Bob, but that's mainly a case of CardboardPrison.
** Well, that, and, as he explained to Edna Krabappel on a date once, he's [[HarmlessVillain never actually successfully killed anybody]] (Mrs. Krabappel looks more than a little [[EvilIsSexy disappointed]] to hear this).
** This is mutual, as when Sideshow Bob had the chance to finally kill Bart, he can't do it because he's grown accustomed to his face, owing his very existence to hating him.
** Mr. Burns is an apt representation of the trope with his constant polluting, corporate greed, and mere belligenrance. Part of the reason that he is still around is due to making a deal with the devil.
* ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsTheCloneWars'', ForegoneConclusion means that any character that's alive in existing material set after the series will survive, but it's most noticeable with Count Dooku and General Grievous, as no matter what attempts any of the protagonists make to catch or kill them, they always survive.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'', Slade plays this one straight, but with surprisingly good in-story justification. In the first two seasons, he's TheChessmaster, so the Titans never actually face him directly until the season finales. Season one gives him a VillainExitStageLeft, but season two (seemingly) averts this trope by ''actually killing him''. His only appearance in the third season is as a hallucination tormenting Robin, and he's specifically resurrected to serve as TheDragon by season four's new BigBad, Trigon. As a result, this is clearly a case of the writers wanting to keep the villain around because they like him, but it's always justified in-story (which is actually somewhat surprising, seeing as the ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'' team used plenty of tropes without bothering to justify them with anything but RuleOfCool).
* The Shredder/Oroku Saki/Ch'rell from ''WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles2003'' has survived so many instances where he was thought dead, only to come back, that even when he actually ''does'' seem to be KilledOffForReal in ''WesternAnimation/TurtlesForever'', Splinter ''still doesn't doubt the possibility of survival''.
** Even before his permanent death, when he once suffered a DisneyVillainDeath, in which he was left inside an exploding building after his exo-suit was disabled, the Turtles don't doubt he survived and display no surprise when he returned. His appearance in the season 3 finale ''Exodus'' had PutOnABus, in the form of leaving him on a remote ice asteroid light years away from any hope of rescue, likely intended to permanent, and he still returned.
* Most of the villains from ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers'' fall firmly into this category, but [[MauveShirt Henchmen 21 and 24]] really stick out because of the relatively short lifespan of [[{{Mooks}} henchmen]] in the series. It's even [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]] by them ''and'' The Monarch on numerous occasions, with the duo taunting a rookie that he ''will'' die on the mission and they won't [[spoiler:which, sure enough, he does]]), and The Monarch pointing out that their best talent is their rare ability to ''not'' get killed on missions.
** [[spoiler:It then gets cruely deconstructed when 24 is abruptly killed accidently by an explosion. 21 undergoes TrainingFromHell to become [[TheDreaded Two-Ton 21]], suffers mental stress over the death of his friend, and careens everywhere from henchman, special agent, superhero, and supervillain.]]
* Although they've never come close to actually dying, ''WesternAnimation/WinxClub'''s Trix seem to be masters of returning from impossible situations. They get turned into children at one point, but are their regular ages in their next appearance; they get trapped in an alternate reality in the end of the second season (with the items used to open the portal connecting the Magical Dimension to the one they're trapped in destroyed), but are somehow pulled out between the second and third seasons, with the season three premiere featuring them escaping imprisonment within the FIRST FIVE MINUTES; and in the fifth season, they start out imprisoned underwater without their powers (how they ended up in this situation hasn't been explained yet), and are released and have their powers restored by a prisoner shortly after he meets them. Not to mention that they've outlived a god (Darkar), an immortal (Valtar), and the spirits of their ancient evil ancestors (the Ancient Witches) with seemingly no ill effects except the loss of whatever power boost was given to them by their previous master. It's obvious that the reason for being the only villains that haven't been KilledOffForReal ''and'' to appear in multiple seasons is their massive popularity.
* ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'': Despite Finn's claims that he'll "slay ''anything'' that's evil", not once in the entire show have Finn and Jake even tried to kill The Ice King (unless you count briefly pondering whether or not to let Ice King save himself in "Ricardio the Heart Guy"). You could make the argument that Ice King is more deranged than outright evil, but Finn doesn't know that until late Season 3.