To be alive, you basically need two things: a living spirit/mind, and a fully functioning body. Note that clothing is not included in there. When people are born as babies, they're naturally Naked on Arrival
, and the same often goes for resurrections, unless the force that brings people back to life is feeling extra generous to give them a spare set of clothing on top of that. When it's not, expect Shapeshifting Excludes Clothing
to precede this trope in some manner.
This trope can be symbolic of the character's rebirth into the living world, of course, or serve to show how fragile life is by having them be vulnerable upon being thrust back into the world. Fanservice is also a contributing factor.
May often involve a Fetal Position Rebirth
. The super trope to this is Naked on Arrival
Note that there may be spoilers
ahead: we're going to have to talk about death if we talk about resurrection.
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Anime & Manga
- Battle Angel Alita: In the final book of the pre-Last Order series, Alita is destroyed saving the Earth, and is effectively "regrown" out of the resulting "tree's" nanomachine system. In the last frames, Figure pulls her out of a cocoon and she falls out, nude.
- Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust gave us the Vampire Carmilla, reviving herself out of pure blood, naked in a casket.
- Not immediately apparent, but the hero of Guyver is killed when his control metal is ripped out of his head and his body consumes itself. A new body later forms from the control metal itself, but when the Guyver armor recedes, he's naturally without clothing.
- Yu-Gi-Oh!: Yami Yugi's Fetal Position Rebirth during the Doma saga. Of course, it got cut by the North American dub.
- Fullmetal Alchemist. Alphonse Elric at the end of the manga. They were nice enough to throw a blanket over the severely-malnourished body though.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion
- Shinji gets absorbed into his Eva which leaves his plugsuit behind, which can be seen floating in the plug. Later on, the Eva's core spits him back out naked. Makes sense when you consider that he's literally coming out of his mom a second time.
- Surprisingly averted in End of Evangelion where both Shinji and Asuka come out of Instrumentality with their respective clothes: Shinji with his trademark white shirt and black pants, Asuka with her plugsuit and lots of bandages. Doesn't make sense since their physical bodies were destroyed (when Instrumentality begins, we see piles of clothing soaking in pools of LCL that's actually the wearer's physical body broken down into primordial soup) and Shinji's clothes should be in Unit-01's entry plug which is currently floating in outer space.
- Played straight at the end of Rebuild 2.0: Rei was wearing her plugsuit when Zeruel ate her Eva but is naked when Shinji rescues her from the Angel's core.
- Fushigi Yuugi After summoning the spirit of Suzaku, Miaka's first wish was to return Yui, who had been absorbed by Seriyuu a few epsiodes ago. As her brother and his friend were headed to her location, they see a light and from there was Yui, who was without clothes.
- InuYasha: This happens to Kikyō for her resurrection, since her bones had been used to essentially create a golem. By the time they track down her Reincarnation Kagome to put her soul into the new body she's acquired a set of traditional Miko clothing.
- Dragon Ball: Averted by Polunga when he revives Krillin after Namek and throws some clothes on him "as a bonus."
- Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl: Averted in the manga, but played straight in the anime when the now-female Hazumu is revived after being crushed by Jan-Puu's spaceship form.
- Soul Eater: Asura, who then makes Improvised Clothes out of his own skin'', and f if that wasn't gross enough said skin had actually been the bag holding him during his imprisonment.
- Happened to Clare from Claymore when she was brought back from her fusion with the Destroyer (where she existed as a consciousness only while her original body was dissolved), when she was brought back to perfectly recreated original body she was not only missing her clothes but also the stitches that were keeping shut the wound across the entire front of her body.
- In Dog Days, when Valério Calvados and Adelaide Grand Marnier are revived from their tombs, they emerge naked. The witnesses to both revivals freak out, but they just nonchalantly create new outfits with their magic.
- Narutaru: After getting blown up by some missiles, Shiina is reborn, completely naked, on the shore of her grandparents' island.
- Kagerou Project: When Takane is killed, she awakens in the digital world completely naked. She then undergoes a Transformation Sequence when she becomes Ene.
- When Rogue fell into the Siege Perilous, she was wearing Ms. Marvel's costume. When she was reborn in Uncanny X-Men #269, she was naked (in the sequence of panels she first appeared as a skeleton, then grew muscles, then skin).
- New 52: In Supergirl #23, Supergirl's body is dissolved by a machine, leaving her clothes lying in a pile. In Supergirl #24, her body is restored by the same machine, but she has to manually put on her clothes.
- Also in issue #23, when Cyborg Superman becomes fully biological, his cybernetic parts fall off and he is left naked. He stays naked for the duration until he makes himself a cyborg again in issue #24.
Films — Live-Action
- Leeloo in The Fifth Element is reconstructed From a Single Cell, and naturally clothing doesn't come with that, though the machine puts bandage-clothing on her shortly afterward.
- Jackie Chan's character in The Medallion is brought back to life by said magic medallion when he was already at the morgue, his clothes removed from the autopsy. Averted a while later in the movie, when he does the same thing to bring back his love interest shortly after she died (still clothed), his partner even protests saying right away: "But when he came back, he was NAKED!"
- Jesus is shown naked when he resurrects at the end of The Passion of the Christ.
- Ella in Cowboys and Aliens.
- In Roger Zelazny's Jack of Shadows, if anyone gets killed before exhausting his finite supply of lives, he is resurrected naked in the Dung Pits of Glyve at the east pole (It Makes Sense in Context) of the planet.
- Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings. Word of God clarified that when Gandalf said, "Naked I was sent back," he wasn't speaking figuratively.
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Voldemort's first words upon stepping out of the cauldron he was resurrected in were, "Robe me." In the film version, a fresh set of suitably-black robes was apparently part of the resurrection package.
- In Philip Jose Farmer's Riverworld series, the entire population of Planet Earth from all times and eras is resurected for a surprise Afterlife on the Riverworld. On the Day of Awakening, everyone is reborn naked. This causes a lot of Angst for those from the Victorian and other prudish eras.
- In a non-post-death example, in the novelisation of Alien the crew of the Nostromo comes out of hypersleep in this state of undress.
- Likewise in the Halo universe novels characters are naked upon awaking from cryosleep, except for Spartans who are sometimes frozen in their armor.
- In the Doctor Who episode "The End of Time", when The Master is being restructed by a cult using his ring, he is shown from the top up without a shirt.
- Cylon Resurrection works this way in Battlestar Galactica, since the Cylons are basically Artificial Human clones.
- Stargate SG-1
- When Daniel comes back from Ascending to a Higher Plane of Existence, this trope is in full force. When Daniel later gets the chance to discuss this with another ascended being, she mentions being brought back to life was entirely his idea, but when he protests she admits that the naked part wasn't, so apparently that's just how it works.
- He does it twice, and the second time it's played for laughs, with O'Neill lampshading that he always comes back that way.
- This is what happened to the title character of John Doe, after PHOENIX successfully yo-yoed him into Heaven and back again.
- Angel: When Wolfram & Hart resurrected Angel's dam, Darla, she came back nude.
- As did Angel himself in the third season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Technically, he came back from a hell dimension, not actual death, but it was used in the same way.
- Desmond in the LOST season 3 premiere is an arguable example. Arguable because we still have no freaking clue as to what really happened there. He probably didn't die, but he did have a near-death experience that should have resulted in his death, and he woke up without his clothes anyway.
- Claire in Heroes, because her clothes had been removed for autopsy. When the branch lodged in the "no Healing Factor if this gets screwed with" part of her brain was removed, she woke up and gave everyone a good scare. However, she's still covered with a cloth at the time — sorry, no Fanservice.
- In Star Trek: Voyager, when the Doctor is building a holographic body for the (female) Vidiian doctor, the reconstruction shows the skeleton being constructed, then travels up the body as the musculature is added (looking like a text-book diagram), to finally settle on her face as the skin layer is finally added.
- In the Supernatural episode "Devil May Care" (S09, Ep02), Abaddon returns in the restored naked body of her former vessel.
Religion and Mythology
- In Islamic eschatology, the resurrection of the dead will result in everyone being naked, i.e., without any sort of status symbol and thus equal before God. Given that that they're about to be judged for an eternity in either Heaven or Hell, it's presumed people will be too distracted to leer.
- In Mortal Kombat 9, Sindel is revived from a skeleton; we see the muscles and blood vessels forming on her bones, but the camera sticks above the chestline once she has skin.
- In Chrono Cross, Serge is very much naked after the Dragon's tear grows a new body for him. He somehow gains a full set of clothes by the time he walks out to greet his companions.
- In the Hitman games, the Anti-Villain protagonist Agent 47 can strip most male NPCs of clothing down to their underwear after he sedates or kills them. While they cannot be fully naked, it's amusing to see them waking up (if they were sedated) in a dark alley in underwear and running around covering their crotch.
- In Narbonic, when Caliban and Mell are respectively kicked out of the afterlife onto Earth, they're both starkers.
- The Order of the Stick: When Roy, the leader of the Order of the Stick, is brought back to life, he's totally nude and covered only by a blurry section near his crotch. Roy says to Belkar that if he could spend some time being dead, they could tolerate a little full frontal.
- This trope was fully exploited in Crushed: The Doomed Kitty, a now-defunct webcomic by the Supermegatopia brothers. Crushed was a female adventurer, and every time she died (which was often), she'd resurrect at the Temple of Infinite Lives, without all her equipment and clothing. She'd have to go back to her previous body to get it all back, just like in Diablo. This also applied to every other adventurer in the comic, and total party wipes were quite common, resulting in a small horde of naked people popping into existence at the temple.
- Tanica, Rina and, in the backstory, Sarin in The Dragon Doctors. Especially Tanica, who had no clothes on revival despite her transformation appearing as bark growing over her, clothes and all.
- In Tales Of Gnosis College, Professor Corwin's human-reconstitution technology just happens to work this way.
- Dhur of MeatShield is brought Back from the Dead this way too, in a Terminator shout out. He also has lost all body hair, which seems to distress him more than the nakedness.
- In Dungeons & Denizens, whenever Min gets killed by whatever means, he wakes up naked in Seidistica's office (much to his horror). This has also happened to Gazdar at least once.