->''"How could this happen?! I'm the star of the show!"''
--> -- '''Lina Inverse''', ''LightNovel/{{Slayers}}''

So, it's getting near the end of the episode, and the FiveManBand is in a heated battle against the forces of evil. Sure, it's a tough fight, but you know the team will pull through. RightMakesMight, and because of that, the villain doesn't stand a chance!

But then, out of nowhere, TheHero gets hit with a devastating blow and collapses in a pool of his own blood. His faithful companions, thinking "NoOneCouldSurviveThat" belt out a collective BigNo. [[CliffHanger Cue the credits!]]

This trope is when an episode ends with the main character appearing to have been killed. This is supposedly a very dramatic event, so writers typically save this one for late in a season. Problem is, while the TrueCompanions and the BigBad will think Our Hero Is Dead, [[LikeYouWouldReallyDoIt the audience isn't fooled]]. Contrary to popular belief, most viewers know that if the hero died, the story would be over. But even knowing the hero isn't as dead as he looks, it can still be shocking.

And sure enough, in the next episode, we learn that the hero's PlotArmor saved him. The rest of the band rushes to his side, finds out he still has a pulse, and the team retreats with the fallen hero slung over the shoulder of TheBigGuy to get him some [[AfterActionHealingDrama desperately needed medical attention]]. Then all the hero needs is some time to rest up, and they'll be back to fight another day.

Except, of course, when the character dies because RealLifeWritesThePlot, so that they can be TheNthDoctor'd or replaced by a SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute.

In short, a main character's DisneyDeath, used as a CliffHanger.

Subtrope of UncertainDoom. Contrast TheHeroDies, for when the hero ''really does die'', as well as DeadToBeginWith, when they're already dead at the start of the story. Also see FakeKillScare, where someone's death is faked to frighten a loved one.

This is a Death Trope, so '''beware of spoilers'''.


[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* The quote above comes from late in the first season of ''{{LightNovel/Slayers}}'', as Lina narrates over her NotQuiteDead body.
* In ''Anime/DigimonXrosWars'' episode 53, [[spoiler:Shoutmon dies towards the end of the episode. This is ruined when you reach the "next episode" preview, because [=Shoutmon X7=] is there and Shoutmon's silhouette is at the episode title]].
** Subverted, in that [[spoiler:Deckerdramon and Beelzebumon did die in the episodes that spoke of their "last cry". They pretty much remained dead until the finale revival]].
* Happens to the title character of ''LightNovel/ShakuganNoShana'', late in the first season.
* One of the few things to be played straight in ''Anime/ExcelSaga''. The next episode's theme was "no gags", but Excel still survived getting shot [[spoiler: by Il Palazzo]], mainly because it went through her shoulder area. Must have just missed her lung.
* In ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'', Ed is impaled by a metal beam after a fight with Kimblee, and collapses from blood loss, while, miles from there, Al collapses, saying he can feel his soul being pulled away. The chapter ends with a shot of both brothers unconscious while Winry yells Ed's name.
** In [[Anime/FullmetalAlchemist the 2003 anime version]], Ed is killed moments after Envy's true form is revealed. There was one more episode that followed, showing Al sacrificing himself to bring Ed back to life, and then Ed doing the same for Al, leaving the two brothers on opposite sides of The Gate.
*** And before that, Ed, in his alternate universe counterpart's body, is killed when a [[DeathFromAbove WWI zeppelin crashes into him]]; this is what brings him back to save the day.
* Subverted in ''Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann'' with Kamina, who pulls the standard "seems to die but then gets back up" only to collapse ''again'', this time for good, shortly afterward. Turns out he wasn't the hero.
* Played straight in ''LightNovel/FullMetalPanic''. Sousuke is apparently killed in a rocket blast while hiding behind water faucets in the school yard. The next episode reveals that he simply jumped into one of the classroom windows without so much as a scratch.
** In the novels, it's shown that he ''did'' suffer some minor injuries, and was saved from worse damage only by his bulletproof uniform. Also, he was knocked unconscious by the blast of the explosion -- even with the wall in between.
*** Funny you should mention that. In the ''One Night Stand'' novel (which covers the Behemoth arc from the {{anime}}), it is revealed at the end that Gauron was actually not very far away from Sousuke&co. at the time. He and one of his associates from Amalgam were taking notes and video footage of the Behemoth, because their organization had built the giant AS and wanted to know how it would fare in battle. The associate was disappointed by the results (destroyed in less than 15 minutes). Gauron, however, was simply elated because he had gotten the chance to see "his precious boy" again. So much so, that his partner was literally rolling his eyes in the background.
*** Not only was he elated. As mentioned above, Gauron had filmed pretty much everything concerning the Behemoth and Takuma. Which means that Amalgam has a video featuring a giant AS, while Gauron has a video ''featuring Sousuke''. Think about it for a second.
** This happens again in the end when Sousuke is [[spoiler:left on the island with a nuke speeding his way. It detonates, of course, and he is presumed dead. Luckily, Al is one intelligent AI, and shields them.]] Now, all that's left to do is have an adorable reunion with Kaname.
* ''Manga/RosarioToVampire'''s ninth episode ends with Tsukune defeated by a ManEatingPlant and laying in a pool of blood, a PillarOfLight erupting over the Witch's Hill where the story is taking place. He's back to normal by the next episode.
* About halfway through the ''Manga/SoulHunter'' manga, Taikoubou is killed by Choukoumei. The chapter even ends with ClosingCredits (apparently written by Choukoumei, seeing as how he's listed as the hero). Then the next chapter begins with a new manga series (also written by Choukoumei) until the remaining good guys put a stop to it. It later turns out Taikoubou wasn't killed, and another villain sacrificed himself to save him.
** It happens again towards the end of the series, with Taikoubou dying during the TournamentArc. Really this time. He comes back a few chapters later by [[FusionDance combining with one of the villains]].
* Yusuke Urameshi of ''Manga/YuYuHakusho'' during his fight with Sensui. Turns out he's part demon. [[DeadToBeginWith Yusuke also died at the beginning.]]
* Happened in ''Manga/RurouniKenshin'', at the end of the episode ''The Age Chooses Shishio''. The hero stays down for half of the next episode before getting up again to finish the fight.
* While in the games not many people really notice, in the ''Manga/KingdomHeartsI'' manga, Beast and the six remaining princesses are shocked when they realize the Keyblade master had just dissolved into thin air. Especially since they needed him to seal the keyhole. However, as soon as Beast says "The Key-bearer is no longer..." Sora's voice answers from the doorway: "No longer what?"
* One episode of ''Manga/OnePiece'' during the Arabasta arc ends with Luffy being impaled by Crocodile. He's shown to be alive one or two episodes later, but the rest of this crew is lead by the bad guys to believe that he's dead for a awhile until he makes his long awaited return.
* Both played straight and averted in ''{{Manga/Pluto}}''. Being a retelling of a famous ''Manga/AstroBoy'' story, one can't actually expect Atom to ''stay'' dead and, sure enough, it looks like he's finally back. Of course, as this is also a [[KillEmAll Tezuka story]] written by [[AnyoneCanDie Naoki Urasawa]], anyone else is free game [[spoiler:including Gesicht, the ''main character'' -- although that's likewise a ForegoneConclusion to anyone who read the original story]].
** Speaking of Astroboy, that particular plot point didn't come from the original "''World's Strongest Robot''" arc, but instead was based on the finale of the ''Blue Knight'' saga, which ended with Astro losing his head & half his upper torso in a HeroicSacrifice to protect the evil Count Burg from being killed by the Blue Knight's final desperation attack in his own death-throws. The subsequent "''Astro Reborn''" arc had several failed attempts to revive him before Dr. Tenma finally resurfaced & pulled it off, but with Astro losing all his memories & briefly doing a FaceHeelTurn.
* In ''Anime/MacrossFrontier'', the 24th episode ends with the protagonist Alto Saotome being destroyed, with the path of his explosion following that of Ranka Lee's arm, resulting in the expected reaction montage. In the next episode, once [[BigDamnHeroes SMS]] returns, we find that Alto ejected as he passed through the illusion and is 'safe' amidst some debris until such times as his VF-25 is brought back out to him.
* In the fourth episode of the ''VideoGame/GateKeepers'' OVA, Ayane is [[WhyDontYouJustShootHim shot from behind]] on the way home after defeating one of the QuirkyMinibossSquad. The last thing she sees before fading to black is her bell, after which she spends the next episode and a half in a coma.
* At the end of the third season of ''Anime/YuGiOhGX'', the main character Judai is the only one that doesn't return from the Duel Monsters world (well, Misawa didn't return as well, but no one cares about him -- he was DemotedToExtra). However, he returns one episode later, saying he went on a journey to 'grow up'.
* In ''VisualNovel/HigurashiWhenTheyCry'', Keiichi dies in just about every arc. Though the emphasis on him as the "main character" isn't as big as deal as other shows. [[spoiler:Rika]] is the [[DecoyProtagonist true]] main character and also dies in about every arc.
* ''{{Anime/Maburaho}}'' plays with this; the entire second half of the season deals with the {{Harem}} trying to bring him back to life from ghost-hood.
* This happens in episode 5 of the first ''Anime/TenchiMuyo'' series. The cast spends most of the next episode thinking Tenchi's dead, but he shows up just in time to face the BigBad.
* The second-to-last episode of the first season of ''Anime/GhostInTheShellStandAloneComplex'' ends with the Major's [[YourHeadASplode Asploding]]. Good thing she wasn't in the body at the time. The Tachikoma do one in each season, although more for philosophical reasons than for dramatic ones.
* Ulquiorra of ''{{Manga/Bleach}}'' blew a giant gaping hole in Ichigo's chest after curbstomping him. He was probably legitimately dead. Orihime didn't care for that and Ichigo is currently some sort of berserk hollow... thing... that doesn't seem to be related to/act like his own inner hollow. The fight turned one sided in the other direction and ended in approximately four seconds.
** Turns out this is just Hichigo's latest evolution. Ichigo also, technically, was killed by Urahara back when he was training to rescue Rukia, when the maniac cut his chain-o'-fate. According to the rules, he's now a dead guy periodically wearing a live body that just happens to be his own. This luckily does not seem to have side effects (although the story seems to have totally lost track of his body long ago.)
* The 12th episode of ''{{LightNovel/Baccano}}'' is titled "Firo and the Gandors Fall to Murderous Bullets," [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin which they totally do]]. Of course, [[ForegoneConclusion anyone remembering the first episode]] ([[AnachronicOrder set a year after]]) knows that they don't stay that way.
* ''Anime/MazingerZ'': The "Kabuto Kouji Dies In Lava!" episodes (yes, they did this ''twice'', though the second time was done with tongue firmly planted in cheek) are so infamous for this that they border on MemeticMutation.
* At the beginning of the Piccolo Daimaou saga of ''Manga/DragonBall,'' everyone believes Goku has been killed by Tamborine (and cannot be resurrected, as his friends don't find his body). Of course, he wasn't quite dead after all.
** Happens with Goku several times outside his two real deaths that mix TheHeroDies and HeroicSacrifice together. There's the Jackie Chun fight where he transformed a giant monkey and was apparently hit by a fully powered Kamehameha (turns out Chun destroyed moon instead to cause Goku to revert back to normal); his apparent death from Taopipi after getting hit by a Dodonpa blast (his 4-star Dragonball took the brunt of the attack); and most infamously there was his seeming death when Namek exploded (later revealed that he managed to get on one of the Ginyu Forces' ships and escape at the last second).
* Occurs in ''Manga/TheVisionOfEscaflowne'', where one episode ends with a worrying volume of Van's blood dripping from the cockpit of an entirely unresponsive Escaflowne -- the implication being that he just bled to death after the recent battle. The next episode opens with the reveal that he's still (barely) alive, but things do ''not'' start looking up from there.
* ''Manga/TwentiethCenturyBoys'' contains one of the longest, most effective uses of this trope. At the end of the first arc the everyman hero Kenji apparently dies in an explosion. Throughout the entire middle third of the story he is nowhere to be seen, leaving us to believe he was simply a DecoyProtagonist as the narrative shifts unto his niece, Kanna. Then, fifteen in-story years and ten volumes later, he reappears out of the blue, having [[TookALevelInBadass taken several levels in badass]], in what is one of the [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome most awesome scenes in the series]] - just after the series' DarkestHour, no less!
* ''Manga/ChronoCrusade'' mixes this with TheHeroDies. Due to her DealWithTheDevil, it's a ForegoneConclusion that Rosette ''will'' someday die--so when she drops dead after a particularly taxing fight while Chrono's powers are unsealed, it's very easy for the reader to actually ''believe'' it. And she is, in fact, dead, but her soul is able to be returned to her body soon afterward.
* ''Anime/TigerAndBunny'': [[spoiler:Kotetsu is apparently killed (accidentally) by Barnaby while defeating H-01 at the end of episode 24. His powers ran out just a moment too early to jump out of the way.]]
* In chapter 253 of ''Manga/FairyTail'', ''[[spoiler:the entire main cast is apparently wiped out by Acnologia]]''.
* This happens quite a bit with the titular character of ''{{Manga/Guyver}}'', mostly to get across the point that he can recover from pretty much anything. The best example is Sho's first apparent death, which he survived by the unit cloning him from the tiniest shred of Guyver material left on the control metal.
* In the 11th volume of ''LightNovel/HighSchoolDxD'', [[spoiler: Issei Hyodou]] apparently dies in an alternate dimension and the only clues that were given were the [[spoiler:eight [[ChessMotifs pawn pieces]] returned to Rias.]]
* ''Anime/CowboyBebop'' had its twelfth episode, "Jupiter Jazz pt. 1", end with Spike getting shot. The following one revealed he'd been hit with a tranquilizer.
* The anime of ''VideoGame/DevilMayCry'' plays this trope, like many others, as absolutely straight as possible. Dante is shown [[ImpaledWithExtremePrejudice brutally impaled]] in a CrucifiedHeroShot as the credits roll silently over the end of the second-to-last episode of the show. However, it ''continues'' to invoke it all the way through to the last third of the final episode, even unto having [[AdorablyPrecociousChild Patty]] deliver a truly [[TearJerker heartwrenching]] [[PleaseWakeUp plea]] to Dante's apparently lifeless body, set to a reprisal of [[NostalgicMusicBox the music box theme]] from the first game that damn near makes you wonder if...
-->'''Patty''' - "Dante! Wake up, run away! No way you'd die from a little wound like this, right? Please wake up and take down the demons like you always do!... I'm sorry... I'm so sorry!.."
** Of course, the audience is fully aware that [[spoiler: she's [[HealingFactor completely]] [[ClimacticBattleResurrection right]] ]].
* Happens twice in the {{Light Novel|s}} versions of ''LightNovel/ACertainMagicalIndex''. First at the end of Volume 1, when Touma's memories are erased permanently, as Touma is essentially a different person now. Then, at the end of Volume 22, [[spoiler: when Touma vanishes without a trace after defeating ArchangelGabriel]]. He comes back safe and sound at the end of the next Volume.
* Played straight in ''Manga/AttackOnTitan'', but unlike most examples here, many in the audience were ''quite'' shocked because it happened very early in the series.
* ''Manga/TokyoGhoul'' managed to pull a particularly cruel example of the trope, ending the original series with Kaneki's apparent death at the hands of the legendary Ghoul Investigator Arima. An ambiguous conversation even implies he has been turned into a new [[HumanResources Quinque]] for Arima, while a file shows that he has been "Erased". It isn't until several chapters into the sequel that he is confirmed to be alive as AmnesiacHero Haise Sasaki -- Arima's protege and CCG's prototype for a SuperSoldier program.
* Joseph Joestar, the protagonist of ''Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventure'' part 2, appears to die after his fight with Kars but shows up alive and well ''at his own funeral'' just before the end. Given [[TheHeroDies what happened to his grandfather]] in the first part, his survival was a fairly genuine surprise.

[[folder: Comic Books]]
* Mind you, characters in long-running comic book series are killed and resurrected so often that it might count as [[FirstLawOfResurrection its own]] [[DeathIsCheap trope]].
* In the ''Comicbook/SwampThing'' comics, at the beginning of Creator/AlanMoore's run, the eponymous character is shot through the head and his body frozen. Moore used this as an opportunity to dissect the character both literally and figuratively, then have him resurrected with the reveal that while you can kill a human by shooting it through the head, the same won't work on a plant that just ''thought'' it was human.
* The Wally West ''Franchise/TheFlash'' series memorably killed off Wally right before issue 50 ''and'' issue 100. Before issue 150, the ''previous'' Flash got killed as a change of pace.
* Comicbook/{{Supergirl}}:
** In ''Adventure Comics #402'', Supergirl has lost her powers and got shot. A mook briefly examines her fallen body and declares that she's dead. At the beginning of the next issue, though, Kara comes around.
** ''Comicbook/DemonSpawn'': After villain Nightflame steals Supergirl's soul, two of Linda's co-workers examine her motionless body and declare she's dead. Before the end of the issue Supergirl's soul returned to her body.
** In ''Comicbook/RedDaughterOfKrypton'', the [[Franchise/GreenLantern Red Lanterns]] get this reaction when Supergirl removes her Red Ring (Red Lanterns die if they take their rings off). Two pages after, Kara revives when her enemy foolishly dumps her into the Sun.
** In ''[[ComicBook/Supergirl2011 Supergirl (Vol. 6)]]'' #23, Cyborg Superman steals Supergirl's body to restore his, killing her in the process. Supergirl gets her body back in the next issue.
** ''ComicBook/{{Bizarrogirl}}'': At the end of an issue, Bizarrogirl turns Supergirl to stone and ComicBook/JimmyOlsen screams Bizarrogirl has killed off her. The next issue, Kara shows she is alive and well.
* Creator/PeterDavid did this to Comicbook/{{Aquaman}}. He was planning to keep him dead for a while, but had to settle for one issue since he was leaving the title.
* ''Comicbook/FantasticFour''
** Neatly {{subverted|Trope}} in an issue in which Ben Grimm is killed... a couple of pages ''before'' the cliffhanger. The ''actual'' cliffhanger is Reed Richards announcing that he's found a way to bring Ben back to life.
** Johnny Storm dies in a BolivianArmyEnding against Annihilus' forces, and he actually ''stays dead''. For a year.
* ''[[{{Comicbook/Hellboy}} Hellboy's]]'' heart is torn out by the Queen of Blood and falls into hell, while his body turns to dust.
* Franchise/SpiderMan was considered dead for a month, and this was when he had ''four'' ongoing titles and none of them actually featured him, and dealt with the concept of his death.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* At the end of chapter 70 of ''Fanfic/ChildOfTheStorm'', [[spoiler: Harry]] is killed by ComicBook/{{Daken}} after succumbing to rage inspired by the death of [[spoiler: Luna Lovegood during a HYDRA attack on Hogwarts]] and his combat strategy is reduced to AttackAttackAttack. He returns, however, in chapter 71. The twist is not that he returns, but how: [[spoiler: he's resurrected and possessed by the absolutely enraged Phoenix, before going on a positively biblical rampage]]. As for why, it's revealed first that [[spoiler: Lily made a deal with the Phoenix to protect Harry,]] and as part of that [[spoiler: merged with Her, becoming the White Phoenix of the Crown]].
* The first chapter of the Gearing Up arc in ''FanFic/KyonBigDamnHero'' ends with Kyon being shot. The scene's effect is diminished by having in a previous scene a future instance of him telling Koizumi [[StableTimeLoop this is a predetermined event]].
* In ''FanFic/FalloutEquestriaProjectHorizons'', Blackjack [[RasputinianDeath dies]] after [[EyeScream losing her one remaining eye to grenade shrapnel]], [[CastFromHitPoints firing off a powerful gun that dangerously irradiates its user]], being [[ColdBloodedTorture tortured]] and [[RapeIsASpecialKindofEvil gang-raped]] for hours (during which she [[MessianicArchetype forgave her attackers]]), having [[AnArmandaLeg all four legs amputated due to gangrene]], and finally succumbing to a [[HeartTrauma heart attack]]. And then she [[BackFromtheDead wakes up]] [[FauxSymbolism three days later]] with enough [[ArtificialLimbs cybernetic]] [[ElectronicEyes implants]] to rival [[VideoGame/DeusExHumanRevolution Adam Jensen]].
* [[spoiler:Ichigo]] in FanFic/SoulChess.
* The ''FanFic/PonyPOVSeries'':
** [[spoiler: The G3 timeline ends with Strife killing most of the heroes (Minty and Princess Rarity being the only ones she doesn't kill directly). Though all of them are given {{Reincarnation}}s in the [[CosmicRetcon new timeline]] in some form, as they weren't on the "delete" list (Strife only did it to give them the chance to make a LastStand instead of fading away with no chance to even try and save their world).]]
** [[spoiler: "Angry Cruel Love" ends with [[BadFuture Dark World!]]Twilight having her Element ripped out by Angry Pie, being left to die of RapidAging and seemingly dying at Trixie's grave.]]
* ''Fanfic/GameTheoryFanFic'' ends with Precia and all her allies, including Nanoha, falling into Imaginary Space. [[spoiler:Except that they didn't; Precia actually collapsed the Garden of Time into Imaginary Space to [[FakingTheDead fake their deaths]], and had already successfully revived Alicia without traveling to Alhazred.]]
* In one of the most shocking moments in ''Fanfic/TheKeysStandAlone: The Soft World'', George drowns in the Hungry Sea after the boat they're in falls apart and his ring sticks. However, he wakes up at the beginning of the next chapter, which leads to an even more shocking moment.

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* About halfway through ''WesternAnimation/ToyStory3'', the villains show their [[BeneathTheMask true colors]] and lock up Andy's toys. In order to keep them compliant, they show them Woody's hat, and claim he was killed when trying to leave.
* Used in ''WesternAnimation/TheNightmareBeforeChristmas'' when the HalloweenTown citizens thinks Jack was shot down and killed (well, okay, [[DemBones Jack was dead already]], but there's apparently a DeaderThanDead scenario).

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* The climax of ''Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbeanDeadMansChest'', when the hero of the series, Jack Sparrow, gets pulled under along with his ship by the Kraken, thanks to Elizabeth. He DOES die, but the rest of the group simply goes to the afterlife and brings him back.
* Subverted every which way in ''Film/DeadMan'', in which William Blake (Creator/JohnnyDepp again), whose heroism itself is arguable, is shot early on. [[spoiler:It is indeed fatal, and he spends the rest of the film trying not to get killed while he is, in fact, in the process of dying. It's implied that the film ends with his very last breath.]]
* In ''Film/ThePrincessBride'', the kid who's listening to the story can hardly believe it when Fezzik pronounces Westley dead. He asks his grandfather, "Westley is only faking, right?" but gets no reply. A few minutes later, it's revealed that Westley is OnlyMostlyDead.

* Deliberately and effectively subverted in Creator/PhilipKDick's novel ''Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said'', where [[spoiler:the main character is killed halfway through and the plot basically falls apart for the rest of the novel]].
* When the release of ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheDeathlyHallows'' was nigh, the biggest question was: '''Is Harry going to die?''' Whole news reports were made about the pressing issue, and some people even made protest groups and petitions ''begging'' Creator/JKRowling not to kill off our favorite lightning-scarred, bespectacled brit. While this may seem like [[SeriousBusiness people were taking this too seriously]], remember that this is a character who we all grew up with, so his death would feel like the death of a friend or sibling.
** So, ''does'' [[TheChosenOne Harry Potter]] die? [[spoiler:As it turns out, he was supposed to die from the very start. Harry sees, through Snape's memories in the Pensieve, that Dumbledore has discovered that Voldemort accidentally manifested a piece of his soul in Harry's body once the Killing Curse backfired on him, which is why Harry could speak Parseltongue and share Voldemort's thoughts. So Harry needs to die in order to fully destroy Voldemort. Thus, Harry approaches Voldemort and lets the Dark Lord use the Killing Curse on him. Harry wakes up in [[AfterlifeAntechamber a sort of "limbo" between life and death]], which takes a form that Harry can understand - in this case, it's a train station. Dumbledore, who has been waiting for Harry there, tells Harry that he has a choice - to take a train, onward, into death, or to return to the living and finish what he and Voldemort started. Harry chooses the latter option and proceeds to destroy Voldemort.]]
* Retroactively done by the ''Literature/SherlockHolmes'' stories; Holmes' DuelToTheDeath and plunge into the Reichenbach Falls with Professor Moriarty was supposed to see him KilledOffForReal -- however, Holmes was so popular with the public that Conan Doyle kept being [[FlameWar bugged]] by people to bring him back to life. Conan Doyle eventually got so sick of it that he capitulated and wrote "The Empty House", which revealed that Holmes had faked his death all along. This is especially interesting because the original story made it very easy to bring him back (no one [[KilledOffScreen actually saw him die]], they NeverFoundTheBody, etc). Even though he was supposed to be KilledOffForReal, modern audiences reading that just know he's coming back.
* This ostensibly happens to Literature/JamesBond at the end of Creator/IanFleming's ''Literature/FromRussiaWithLove''.
* In Creator/LoisMcMasterBujold's ''Literature/MirrorDance'', [[spoiler:Miles Vorkosigan takes a needle grenade to the chest during a covert operation, killing him. He's later revived thanks to the miracle of [[HumanPopsicle cryogenics]] -- but he's dead for several months, which causes major problems for his friends and family]].
* The end of ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'' novel ''Literature/{{Changes}}'' sees [[spoiler: Harry Dresden]] killed. The title of the next book? ''Ghost Story''. The ghost in question? [[spoiler: Harry.]]
* Literature/AlexRider is shot in the heart at the end of ''Scorpia''. [[spoiler:Turns out the sniper missed by a millimeter. The thing that saved our hero? ''A curb.'']]
* At the end of ''[[Literature/TheLordOfTheRings The Two Towers]]'' [[spoiler: [[DemonicSpiders Shelob]] seems to kill Frodo, and the ring gets to Sam]].
* In ''Literature/{{Brimstone}}'', Aloysius Pendergast is sealed inside a wall to suffocate to death in the final few chapters by [[spoiler:Count Fosco]]. In the very last chapter, [[spoiler:His brother Diogenes begins working to break him out]].
* At the end of ''[[Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire A Dance with Dragons]]'' [[spoiler:Jon gets stabbed by several other members of the Night's Watch]]. We've yet to see whether he survives or not. Whether or not it is obviously an example of this trope depends on how essential you think [[spoiler: Jon]] is to the overall plot.
* In ''Literature/{{Pact}}'', [[spoiler:Blake Thorburn gets into a fight with a demon and loses, being made an {{Unperson}} in the process]]. There's a denouement chapter of various characters reacting to the sudden absence, with his DistaffCounterpart Rose Thorburn becoming his successor as Thorburn Heir, before the narrative abruptly shifts to [[HeroOfAnotherStory Goblin hunter Maggie Holt]] for seven chapters. After that, though [[spoiler:The next chapter takes place from Blake's point of view, revealing that instead of being eaten he's fallen into an EldritchLocation called The Drains, which serves as the CantRefuseTheCallAnymore moment for his [[TheHerosJourney Hero's Journey]]]].

* Happens to Marian in the second-to-last episode of the first season of the 2006 series of ''Series/RobinHood''. It happens again in the finale of the second series. [[spoiler:This time she stays dead.]]
* ''Series/TwentyFour''
** Happened to Jack Bauer in season 2, and again in the season finale of season 4. In both instances, Bauer was clinically dead for a few minutes before being revived, which lead to the [[MemeticBadass fun fact]] "Jack Bauer died for his country and lived to tell the tale. ''Twice''."
** There's also a cliffhanger roughly midway through the fifth season where Jack manages to catch the current villain but the time he takes doing so leave them both getting caught up in an explosion. They both survive.
* ''{{Series/Bones}}'''s third season featured an episode where Booth gets shot and the screen blacks out at the end.
* This happens twice in ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer''.
** In the last episode of season 5, Buffy makes a HeroicSacrifice and is literally dead and buried. It takes a lot of AppliedPhlebotinum in the first episode of season 6 to bring her BackFromTheDead.
** In late season 6, Buffy and one of her friends (Tara) are shot at the end of the episode. The next episode, Buffy gets all better. Tara, a recurring character, [[AnyoneCanDie not so much]].
** There's also the season 1 finale, during which Buffy drowns fighting the Master. She gets revived by Xander, but her temporary demise activates the next Slayer, Kendra.
* ''{{Series/Supernatural}}''
** Subverted in the Season 2 episode "All Hell Breaks Loose Part 1", in that Sam ''really does'' die at the end of the episode. Played straight, however, in that he is brought back the next episode when his brother Dean [[DealWiththeDevil sells his soul]] for him.
** And subverted again in the Season Three finale where Dean dies and will stay dead. ([[ContractualImmortality At least until September 18th, anyway.]])
** Played straight at the end of the first season which saw the Winchester family getting crashed into by a truck.
* The Doctor of ''Series/DoctorWho'' is pretty much unkillable being the {{Trope Namer|s}} for TheNthDoctor, but that doesn't stop the writers:
** Done in "The Underwater Menace" when the Second Doctor returns to the sinking Atlantis because [[SaveTheVillain he's decided he can't leave the villain Professor Zaroff to die]]. There's a brief scene of Jamie and Polly mourning him and wondering what they can do now before he emerges, revealing he's fine (although failed to save Zaroff). This was before the writers had puzzled out what exactly regeneration was, so his death was quite possible.
** In the penultimate episode of the new Series 4, a Dalek finally gets a shot in. Fans were worried about the [[Creator/DavidTennant actor]] leaving the show rather than the character dying, in fact since it wouldn't have ended this story the uncertainty probably made this a more effective use of this trope than a potential death.
** The Tenth Doctor's regeneration storyline, "The End of Time", seriously exploited the fact that [[OhAndXDies the audience knew the Doctor was not getting out of this one alive]] thanks to a highly public Doctor recasting. Multiple times in the climax of the story, the Doctor suffers severe injuries, [[SuperWindowJump does suicidal stunts]] and makes many {{Hubris}}tic decisions, all of which underline [[{{Determinator}} the Doctor's desperation to win this one]] as well as exploit the tension as the audience waits for whatever is going to kill him. Then the 45-minute mark is reached ''without the Doctor dying'', and just when the audience (and the Doctor) are marvelling at how thoroughly he's cheated death, the story quietly presents the Doctor with the obstacle that will kill him, and the episode is extended to allow the Doctor a farewell tour.
** In the first episode of the 6th season (within the first 15 minutes!) we watch a scene of an astronaut apparently killing a future version of the Doctor. Amy and co. carried on adventuring with a past-Doctor. [[spoiler:As it turns out, the Doctor was a MobileSuitHuman with a miniaturized Doctor riding inside. ItMakesSenseInContext.]]
* ''Series/CSIMiami'' did this to Horatio for a season cliffhanger. Not only does the show revolve around H's character, but for extra special LikeYouWouldReallyDoIt bonus points, regular ''Series/{{CSI}}'' also killed off one of their regulars, and we knew that one ''would'' stick thanks to a RoleEndingMisdemeanor, so it seemed suspect that ''both'' shows would go through with it.
* Happens repeatedly in ''Series/{{Farscape}}''. Every main character has "died" at least once, but only [[spoiler:Zhaan's (and arguably D'Argo's)]] deaths were permanent.
* Played in the ''{{Series/Monk}}'' two-parter "Mr. Monk Is On The Run", in which Monk has been convicted of a murder he didn't commit. The first part ends with the police cornering Monk on a pier. Monk attempts to escape, but Stottlemeyer shoots him in the chest twice and he falls into the lake. The second part begins with him crawling back to the shore. Turns out he was wearing a bulletproof vest, and he and Stottlemeyer planned the whole thing to get the police off Monk's back while he solved the case.
* After being BroughtDownToNormal in ''{{Series/Smallville}}'', Clark was fatally shot in "Hidden". Jor-El resurrected him because of his destiny but with a need for an EquivalentExchange, as seen in "Reckoning".
* In one of the season one episodes of the BBC's ''{{Series/Merlin|2008}}'', Merlin 'dies' after drinking from a poisoned goblet to save Arthur. He is still revived, however, by the magic Gaius did moments before.
** Subverted in the season one finale "Le Morte De Arthur", where Arthur is dying from the bite of the Questing Beast, but Merlin and Gaius both rush to save him by offering their lives in place of his. Merlin ultimately kills Nimueh, saving both himself and Gaius while still delivering the price required to save Arthur.
* Killing Fox Mulder at the end of the season had become somewhat of a staple in ''Series/TheXFiles'', but one case stands out: in the end of season four he has a mental breakdown, kills himself, and ''Scully confirms that he is dead''. However, in season five, it is revealed that the two of them have planned it all out to fool the traitor in the FBI.
* ''Series/{{Arrow}}'''s third season winter finale ends with Oliver dueling Ra's al Ghul to the death and losing.
* ''Series/{{Revenge}}'''s third season opened with an InMediasRes scene of Emily being shot and falling off a boat. The winter finale ended with the full scene in context, then Emily's BloodSplatteredWeddingDress washing ashore without her in it.
* ''Series/{{Rizzoli and Isles}}'' had this happen to Jane Rizzoli at the end of Season 1. She gets shot and collapses to the ground. At the beginning of Season 2, they try to make you believe Jane is dead by showing the 'grief' of her friends.

* ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger''. In an interesting subversion to the trope, you don't even have to bring the victim back to life to finish the game, and doing so triggers one of the MultipleEndings.
* In ''VideoGame/HalfLife2'', if you happen to die with some rebel buddies next to you, they'll provide some parting words (before you have to start over from the last checkpoint, of course) that tend to echo the sentiment of this trope, such as "He's... he's dead!", "Now what?", and "Dibs on the suit."
** The execrable ''VideoGame/{{Daikatana}}'' did the same. Superfly's laments were probably the highlight of the game.
** And in the episodes that continue the events of ''VideoGame/HalfLife2'', Alyx has some strange habit of saying, "Look out!" or some variant thereof ''the second you die from whatever you should be looking out for.''
* ''VideoGame/TalesOfMonkeyIsland: The Trial and Execution of Guybrush Threepwood'' ends with Guybrush being killed by [=LeChuck=], who turns out to have been faking his HeelFaceTurn. Guybrush returning to life takes up much of the plot of the fifth and final episode, ''Rise of the Pirate God''.
* ''VideoGame/SyphonFilter: Logan's Shadow'' ends on a CliffHanger with Lawrence and possibly Teresa KilledOffForReal and Xing attempting to [[CPRCleanPrettyReliable resuscitate]] Logan. According to John Garvin, the series has ended, so it's more of a BolivianArmyEnding.
* ''Franchise/TombRaider: The Last Revelation'' has Lara at the end of the game utterly exhausted from all the running, jumping, and fighting. She is merely a few feet away from the temple's exit when Von Croy appears before her. Still thinking Von Croy is possessed by the evil god, Set, Lara hesitates to approach him, but Von Croy shows he is back to his normal self and urges her to grab his hand. The temple collapses around Lara, forcing Von Croy to leave her behind and buried alive. This was supposed to be the end of the Tomb Raider series but [[ExecutiveMeddling/VideoGames Edios demanded more games]], so Lara's demise was changed to show that she was still alive at the end of ''Chronicles''.
* ''{{VideoGame/Halo 3}}'': After Chief is believed to be dead, Admiral Hood tells the Arbiter "Hard to believe he's dead." The Arbiter replies with a simple "Were it so easy." Then we find out that the Chief's still alive, just drifting in space.
-->'''Chief (to Cortana)''': Wake me, when you need me.
* ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'' starts with Shepard dying. Although s/he gets better (two years later), it's possible to have him/her KilledOffForReal in the suicide mission at the end.
* In ''{{VisualNovel/Ever 17}}'', no matter which of his routes you take, Takeshi always dies at the end; his death sets off half the plot, and he eventually gets better.
* This is essentially the setup for the premise of the flash game series ''VideoGame/{{Sonny}}''. The player character already died prior to the first game's start, being resurrected by some unspecified experiment. Also, the first (or depending on the game, only) sentence on the Game Over screen reads, "You're dead, Sonny."
* In ''VideoGame/LufiaCurseOfTheSinistrals'', the Sinistral of Death Erim spends the entire game plotting to bring Maxim to Doom Island so she can personally kill him there. She succeeds...then out of BecomingTheMask promptly pulls a HeelFaceTurn and revives him. [[spoiler:This gets her shanked by Daos.]]
* Happens in cut content in ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublicII''. After the destruction of the (also cut) Genoharadan base, your team was to believe your own character killed in the explosion, and they would lament their death and inevitable doom of the galaxy.

* Antimony falling off the bridge, ending Chapter 7 of ''Webcomic/GunnerkriggCourt''. This was also the end of the first, self-published, print volume of the comic.
* Phobia, at the end of ''Webcomic/GastroPhobia'', chapter 6, fell from the top of a tree and was knocked unconscious. And Klepto couldn't wake her up. Then night fell and, according to the AltText, she was eaten by wolves.
* Roy in ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'' literally died--thank goodness he lives in a universe where DeathIsCheap, even if it took a few months to get his corpse to a cleric for resurrection.
* A chapter of ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'' shows Agatha apparently being picked up and fried by a clank. The story then switches to another POV for a while.
* This happens in ''Webcomic/DanAndMabsFurryAdventures''.
* ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'' did this very dramatically with [[spoiler: two main characters]] at the end of the chapter "bROKEN"; some people were actually convinced, while others were deep in HesJustHiding. [[spoiler: The truth was something in between.]] A much less serious one was at the end of a single comic (in the middle of the story, but in this case the daily nature of the webcomic was clearly exploited to make it a cliffhanger), where it appeared that Oasis had broken Torg's neck. Two days later it was shown that [[spoiler: the snapping sound was really Bun-bun eating celery.]] And in one of Bun-bun's fights with Santa Claus, the rabbit ended up in a warehouse rigged to explode and wasn't heard of again for a while.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* At the end of his review of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII'', [[WebVideo/TheSpoonyExperiment the Spoony One]] was killed by the game's main character, Squall Leonhart, at the bidding of MadScientist Doctor Insano. Fortunately, there was enough squishy gray protoplasm left of Spoony to bring him BackFromTheDead.
* As of his review of ''Literature/{{IT}}'', WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic has been killed by balloons.
* Spoony and the Critic have nothing on their fellow reviewer {{WebVideo/Phelous}}, [[TheyKilledKennyAgain who almost always dies]] OncePerEpisode (or is DeadAllAlong, or is killed at the start and the Phelous from the next episode shows up to do the review, or...); even when he cameos he has a nasty habit of not surviving long.
* Chapter 16 of the 2010 ''{{Website/Neopets}}'' story arc, "The Faeries Ruin", ends with Hanso [[TakenForGranite turned to stone]] after destroying the artifact.
* ''[[Machinima/RedVsBlueTheRecollection Red vs. Blue: Reconstruction]]'' ends with [[spoiler:the death of the series' protagonist, Church]]. Played with, in that [[spoiler:Church really does die and stay dead]], but in the next season [[spoiler: aversion of him comes back in the form of a LivingMemory]].
** [[spoiler:Agent Washington]], the {{deuteragonist}} of ''Reconstruction'', [[spoiler:is shot in the chest and has his fate left ambiguous, but is revealed to be alive (though imprisoned)]] in the following season.
* Following the climax of ''Literature/{{Worm}}'', Taylor in shot in the head and apparently killed by Contessa. It turns out to have merely incapacitated her, and Contessa {{De Power}}ed her and sent her to an alternate reality to give her a chance to start her life over.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* [[{{Franchise/Transformers}} Optimus Prime]] does this [[http://tfwiki.net/wiki/The_many_deaths_of_Optimus_Prime a lot]]. However, he's nice enough to wait a few episodes before coming back. Except in ''Animated'', where he died [[FirstEpisodeResurrection in the pilot movie]] and came back in ''seventy-five seconds''.
* Played straight in ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'', when Aang gets struck by lightning and killed in the second season finale, only to be brought back to life afterwards. Almost everyone in-universe thinks he's died, which becomes pivotal to the plot. But Azula, the one who blasted Aang with lightning, isn't fooled.
* Enzo in ''WesternAnimation/{{ReBoot}}'' get this in "Game Over", when the User wins a game he was playing. The audience isn't fooled because we see him change his icon right before losing, but the people in Mainframe believe he dies. Next episode Enzo is back, but {{timeskip}}ped into a badass adult and nowhere near Mainframe.
* Happened in the penultimate episode of ''WesternAnimation/SupermanTheAnimatedSeries''. In it, Superman had been captured and brainwashed by Darkseid into attacking Earth. Eventually, Lois confronted him and was able to get him to regain his memories... about one second before the government blasted him with a kryptonite missile.
* This happened to ''WesternAnimation/AeonFlux'' a lot, as in in [[OncePerEpisode every single episode]] during the silent shorts. During the half-hour episodes [=Æ=]on tended to survive, with some partial exceptions: One episode where a copy of her kills the original (which was planned all along), another where she's trapped in a sea of paralytic fluid at the end (although the fluid could be neutralized), and another where she seems to die multiple times, but [[MindScrew nobody knows what the hell was literal in that episode anyway.]] [[spoiler: Explained somewhat in the video game.]]