->''(nervous laughter) "All the better! Cases are so much easier when the bad guy offs himself like that."''
-->-- '''WesternAnimation/DarkwingDuck''', after a villain gets fatally (apparently) HoistByHisOwnPetard in "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZd0OYd1P_w Dry Hard.]]"

Not to be confused with NoBodyLeftBehind.

While the [[MonsterOfTheWeek monsters of the week]] have the decency to be [[WhatMeasureIsANonHuman sufficiently inhuman]], [[MonsterOfTheAesop anthropomorphic]], [[FacelessMooks faceless]] and irredeemably evil that [[WhatMeasureIsAMook the heroes feel no guilt over slaying them]] (so polite!), ''human'' enemies are another story. What exactly is the hero to do when he captures Cleo the Necromantess? Tell the police to arrest her for stealing chunks of [[AnatomyOfTheSoul Soul Anatomy]] from {{Innocent Bystander}}s, cursing them to endless nightmares? It's hard to prove that in a court of law. And even if a high-ranking member of the police is a SecretKeeper who can get Cleo jailed for other charges, [[CardboardPrison what prison could hold her?]] Then there are the villains who are remorseless, sociopathic killers. You know that nothing but death will prevent Saul the Fingerchopper from killing again, but IfYouKillHimYouWillBeJustLikeHim...

When a hero is faced with someone who cannot be dealt with through legal channels, his morals come up hard against practical circumstances. [[ThouShaltNotKill Killing Saul]] is right out, but letting him go free will just result in more victims. The BigDamnVillains or [[AlwaysABiggerFish a killer even more evil than Saul]] won't always be around when you need one, and sometimes you can't [[SealedEvilInACan Seal Evil In A Can]]. TheChosenMany Corps or TheMenInBlack might occasionally come through and lock Saul up with their high tech/mystical imprisonment, but you can't count on that every day. And while the hero may [[HeroForADay have his powers lost/stolen]] every other episode, permanently {{Depower}}ing a villain is rarely ever possible for an unsympathetic villain. (And let's not even get ''into'' BrainwashingForTheGreaterGood...)

So an idealistic hero may find that the very morals he stands for are a serious hindrance to effective peacekeeping -- a tricky situation with no easy solution. He could be in serious trouble except for one helpful fact: a human villain about to be defeated usually goes straight for the VillainBall. Instead of begging for mercy and "playing nice" for a few episodes, Cleo and Saul will double down. When Saul is rescued from [[TakeMyHand hanging off the cliff's edge]] and given a LastSecondChance, he inevitably takes the opportunity to [[BackstabBackfire backstab the hero]] (who then reacts in self defense when he cuts Saul down). When Cleo is defeated while holding the ArtifactOfDoom, she will never simply drop the thing [[ISurrenderSuckers and 'surrender']]. She will scream "[[BigNo No!]] ThisCannotBe I just need ''[[DrunkOnTheDarkSide more power!!!]]"'', bringing on the SuperpowerMeltdown that destroys her.

In short, the heroes will not have to bear the burden of killing because these villains will inevitably cause their own downfall. Their excessive egos and poor planning will turn on them at exactly the wrong moment and get them [[HoistByHisOwnPetard Hoist By Their Own Petard]], sent to a FateWorseThanDeath, or [[KarmicDeath destroyed by their own death traps]]. They can also take themselves out nonfatally, ending up {{Depower}}ed, amnesiac, in a ConvenientComa, or trapped in a TailorMadePrison.

The purpose of this trope is to resolve the villain's menace without going into the moral complexity of what justifies taking a human life. As such, it often appears in series where killing would be wildly inappropriate for the target audience or tone of the setting, such as works for children. When it appears in more adult fare, it is there to enable a certain kind of hero -- a KnightInShiningArmor or someone with IncorruptiblePurePureness -- to deal credibly with Cleo and Saul without [[GreyAndGreyMorality tarnishing his image]].

Conveniently, this trope also keeps [[KilledToUpholdTheMasquerade the hero's secret identity secret if the villain had discovered it]]. The aftereffects of the {{Phlebotinum}} she was using (or even a simple TapOnTheHead) will [[LaserGuidedAmnesia immediately make Cleo forget any damning information she may have uncovered]]. It might even make her forget she ''[[IAmKirok is]]'' a villain.

A big part of the appeal of this trope is that it makes for a smooth but satisfying resolution. Once Saul has dispatched himself, the hero and his party can walk to the nearest BurgerFool and order a [[DeusExMachina Delicious Extra Meaty]] without feeling the slightest pang of guilt (well, except maybe over the empty calories in the fries). If they're particularly {{Nice Guy}}s, they might feel a little sad that Saul got himself killed/trapped/disposed of -- but whatever; it's not like he won't be [[ResetButton back in the next episode]] anyway.

Compare DisneyVillainDeath, which similarly disposes of a villain for good while leaving the hero's hands clean. If you were looking for the trope about a literally self-disposing body, see NoBodyLeftBehind.
!!'''As a DeathTrope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.'''

----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Johan Liebert of ''Anime/{{Monster}}'' holds a boy hostage and forces [[TheHero Tenma]] to make the SadisticChoice of [[ThouShaltNotKill killing him]] or letting the boy die. Then the boy's [[ChekhovsGunman father]] conveniently shows up armed and suddenly it's a moot point.
** [[spoiler: Johan actually lives, anyway...Tenma saves him.]]
* ''Anime/SailorMoon'': The major villains (QuirkyMinibossSquad and up) have a tendency to either kill each other off for various reasons (YouHaveFailedMe, YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness, EvilVersusEvil) or be destroyed by their [[HoistByHisOwnPetard own technology/attacks]], leaving the [[WhatMeasureIsANonHuman less human looking]] [[MonsterOfTheWeek Monsters of the Week]] and {{Big Bad}}s to be destroyed by the heroes. This is especially true of the Witches 5 from the ''S'' season. Eugeal is killed by Mimet, Mimet is killed by Telulu, Telulu is killed by her own plant, Byruit is killed by her own nanobots, and Cyprin and Petirol actually end up killing each other in battle. The Sailor Scouts never have to do a thing.
** Although Sailor Moon was the one who caused Byruit's nanocuff to backfire, and Sailor Jupiter and Sailor Mars tricked Cyprin and Petirol into killing each other
** Exceptions are Malachite/Kunzite and Emerald.
** Note that this is only in the anime; in the [[Manga/SailorMoon manga]], the Senshi had no qualms about killing the human/human like villains.
** The Sailor Scouts never seemed unwilling to kill them, it was just karma that most of the major villains killed each other. Sailor Moon tried to kill Jedite twice, and Neflite before Molly stopped her.
* [[RurouniKenshin Kenshin Himura]] was usually pretty good about making friends of enemies or convincing them to otherwise not be evil. But when he goes up against foes who are irredeemable, they usually get killed by someone else or wind up dying mid-battle.
* In ''Anime/MonsterRancher'', Naga is defeated by Mocchi, and is hanging onto the edge of a cliff. The heroes try to [[SaveTheVillain save]] him, but he lets go on purpose. The Fox channel skipped the episode because of this.
** Ironically they did not skip the episode where Undine jumps into the fire and ''burns to death''.
** General Durahan is taken out by his own troops who are loyal to Moo, whom Durahan has betrayed. And shortly before that, he kills Lilim.
** [[BigBad Moo]] appears to partially selfdestruct when he and the Phoenix destroy each other, based on this line:
-->'''Moo''': Now I understand. You and I are destined to eternal battle for as long as we live. In that case, I can't let you exist. Nor myself!
* In ''Anime/{{Pokemon}} Diamond and Pearl'', Cyrus, the season's antagonist, walks into a portal leading to a dimension he possessed Dialga and Palkia to create, despite the fact that the dimension was slowly vanishing due to Dialga and Palkia being released, thus killing himself. (Even if Dialga and Palkia directly destroyed the dimension sooner than it would have taken to disappear on its own)
* In ''DragonBall'', when Staff Officer Black learned that Commander Red, leader of the Red Ribbon Army, was going to use the almighty Dragon Balls to ''wish himself taller'' and made all the sacrifices of his men thus far look like they died for the sake of dog crap, it set him off enough to put a bullet right between the commander's eyes in utter disgust for his moronic leader, saving Goku and company the trouble of taking him down.
* In ''DragonBallZ'', virtually all of Frieza's henchmen are offed by Vegeta except Bund and Vug (killed by Krillin and Gohan), a few mooks who are killed by three Nameks, Blueberry and Raspberry (who are killed by a giant crab), any who remain on Planet Frieza or travel with King Cold (killed by exploding building and Trunks, respectively), and some mooks who are killed by Frieza or Captain Ginyu, which also fits the trope.
** Dr. Gero has his head crushed by Android 17
** Nappa is killed by Vegeta for losing a battle to Goku
** Majin Buu kills Babidi when he becomes tired of his abuse
** [[AssholeVictim Van Zant]] is the first victim of Evil Buu. And when he becomes Super Buu, [[FamilyUnfriendlyDeath Smitty gets it]].
** Averted with Cell. He self-destructs, but is able to regenerate FromASingleCell.
* The final battle of ''Anime/KillLaKill'' has Ryuko foiling [[spoiler:Ragyo Kiryuin]]'s EvilPlan and wanting [[spoiler:her to come back to Earth safe, since she's her mother]]. In response [[spoiler:Ragyo [[BeatStillMyHeart rips her own heart out of her chest]] and crushes it, spreading away the remaining Life Fibers]] in a possible SequelHook. For an anime called KILL la KILL, the heroes sure don't do a lot of killing...
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* This trope is extremely common in superhero comics to prevent the hero from becoming a killer. Often involves the superhero's imperiled secret identity. Some ''ComicBook/SpiderMan'' examples:
** The original ComicBook/GreenGoblin (who was especially dangerous because he knew who Spidey was) getting impaled by his own glider in ASM #122. (He got better, later).
** The Jackal (Miles Warren) having a meltdown after being unmasked by Gwen Stacy's clone and ending up being killed (along with the Spider-Man clone) by his own bomb at the ending of the original Clone Saga in ASM #149. (It was not the last we saw of either).
** The burglar conveniently having a fatal heart-attack in ASM #200 moments after Spider-Man took off his mask and showed him he was the nephew of the guy he murdered in ''Amazing Fantasy'' #15.
** Carrion (Professor Warren's clone), who also [[KilledToUpholdTheMasquerade inconveniently knew Spider-Man's secret]], killed by his own Spider-Amoeba in ''Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man'' #31.
* The Composite Superman, a SilverAge enemy of Franchise/{{Superman}} and Franchise/{{Batman}}, [[SuperpowerLottery possessed all the powers]] of the ComicBook/{{Legion Of Super-Heroes}} and knowledge of the heroes' secret identities. He defeated them and demanded that they give up being heroes, and they actually considered it(!), but the powers then ''faded away'', leaving him without even the memories of ever having been a villain! (This actually happened ''[[FleetingDemographicRule twice]]''!)
* The MarvelUniverse gives us {{Thanos}}, who routinely comes dangerously close to complete universal domination, only to screw up in some fashion at the last moment and engineer his own defeat. This behavior is noted by both Vision and Adam Warlock in ''The Infinity Gauntlet,'' wherein after taking on almost everyone in the Marvel Universe, [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu including Eternity himself]], he decides to become a disembodied presence and leave his body sitting on his throne, allowing his alleged granddaughter to simply grab the titular CosmicKeystone from his inert form with no resistance at all. Adam Warlock then talked Thanos into making a temporary HeelFaceTurn with a HannibalLecture wherein he accused Thanos of deliberately--albeit subconsciously--sabotaging himself and giving up the power he knows he has no right to wield.
* ''ComicBook/MortadeloYFilemon'': It's a rule in the comics that when a villain really tries to destroy the pair for real, he will fail miserably and get himself owned. A notable example is "El seņor todoquisque" the bad guy is a man who can disguise himself and, in the first half of the album, humiliates our heroes in very painful ways. However, when he decides to take care of them himself and goes to the TIA, his plans brutally backfire on him, and, at the end, he goes insane.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Rio 2}}'', Big Boss gets eaten whole by a giant serpent.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheBoxtrolls'', Archibald Snatcher's obsession with upward nobility and [[DeathByGluttony insistence on cheese-tasting]] despite his ''violent'' allergies causes him to explode into a cloud of nasty yellow mist.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* All of the ''Film/{{Batman}}'' films since 1989 used this trope extensively, at least [[WhatMeasureIsAMook regarding named villains]]. Batman and Robin (and later Batgirl) never, ''ever'' kill. Their opponents are beaten by falling to their deaths trying to kill the heroes (Two Face, in two movies), killed by another villain (Schreck and The Penguin by Catwoman, Bane by a more heroic Catwoman) driven insane from overdosing on {{Phlebotinum}} (Riddler), and captured in {{Tailor Made Prison}}s (Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy). The only one who dies (mostly) by Batman's hand is the Two Face from Film/TheDarkKnight, but in that case Batman was only trying to tackle him to stop him killing a child and he fell as a result. Stretched a bit in ''Film/BatmanBegins'', where Batman refuses to deliver a killing blow to Ra's al Ghul but nonetheless leaves him to die as the derailed train on which they're riding crashes, the derailment having been caused by Jim Gordon under instruction from Batman.
* Used in all three ''Film/SpiderManTrilogy'' movies to remove the villain while allowing the main character to keep to his [[ThouShaltNotKill code against killing]].
** The first Green Goblin is HoistByHisOwnPetard (impaled by his glider as per the comics above, Dr. Octopus and the New Goblin die due to RedemptionEqualsDeath, and Eddie Brock kills himself by diving into the Venom symbiote just as Spidey's about to incinerate it. It's lampshaded by Aunt May in the third entry after Peter thinks he's killed Sandman [[WeaksauceWeakness with water]]: "Spiderman doesn't kill people!"
** The accidental but somewhat convenient death of the burglar in the first movie - removing as it does the threat of Spider-Man's identity being compromised right at the start of his crime-fighting career - can also be seen as a case of this.
* In the MarvelCinematicUniverse, fate conspires so that the heroes rarely kill their own big bads.
** In ''Film/IronMan2'', Ivan Vanko blows himself up after being defeated by Iron Man, though he could've been taken into custody or attempted an escape, mainly because he was confident in his success and had nothing else to live for.
** In ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger'', the Red Skull accidentally [[NoBodyLeftBehind destroys/teleports/somethings]] himself when he tries to handle the Tesseract.
* In ''Film/EllaEnchanted'', the BigBad Sir Edgar defeats himself with the poisoned crown he planned on using to kill his nephew and heir by putting it on during his MotiveRant at the end of the movie.
* A common theme in the ''Franchise/IndianaJones'' films as its more or less the lust for power that does the villain in while Indy wises up and leaves well enough alone. It has been pointed out in some movie reviews that in three out of the four films, Indy could have stayed home and let the villains destroy themselves with no negative repercussions (aside from initially rescuing his father and Marcus in the third film).
** ''Film/RaidersOfTheLostArk'': Belloq and his Nazi cohort opened the Ark of the Covenant themselves and its powers then disintegrated them a very painful manner.
** ''Film/IndianaJonesAndTheLastCrusade'': Donovan drinks the wrong chalice (which he let Elsa Schneider, his assistant, choose) and rapidly ages to nothing. Shortly after, Elsa falls to her death in an abyss when she's concerned more about reaching the Holy Grail below her than saving herself.
** ''Film/IndianaJonesAndTheKingdomOfTheCrystalSkull'', Colonel Spalko wanted the unlimited knowledge, and she got more than she bargained for when she bursts into flames.
* The villain Mitch Leary in ''Film/InTheLineOfFire'' refuses to take his nemesis Frank Horrigan's hand and [[DisneyVillainDeath plunges to his death]] instead, in an IronicEcho of an earlier scene in which Leary saves Horrigan from dying the same way.
* Taking the place of [[AbsenteeActor Vincent Crabbe]] from the book, [[DeathByAdaptation Gregory Goyle]] is the one who casts Fiendfyre in ''Film/HarryPotterAndTheDeathlyHallows Part 2'', and while trying to climb to safety, grabs a loose chair and falls into the fire. Although his only intent was to kill Ron, he essentially killed himself.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* In earlier ''TheDresdenFiles'' books, [[WhatMeasureIsANonHuman human]] villains have a tendency to [[EvilVersusEvil kill each other]], be [[HoistByHisOwnPetard hoist by their own petard]] or killed by side characters... so Harry doesn't have blood on his hands and [[PowersThatBe The White Council]] doesn't get angry at him.
* In ''Literature/{{Stardust}}'' by NeilGaiman, there are two major villains, who effectively and elegantly dispose of each other when the heroes aren't even around. In the film version, three out of the five villains die at each other's hands.
* Likewise, the climax for Robin Cook's ''Vector'' has the two villains polish each other off.
* In ''TheBookOfTheDunCow'', Cockatrice is impaled by Chauntecleer's battle spurs and mortally wounded. He lunges one last time for the rooster and finishes himself off in the process.
* ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheDeathlyHallows'':
** Wormtail is strangled by his own silver hand as punishment for showing Harry a small impulse of mercy when reminded that Harry saved his life. This does not happen in the film, and the closest that is implied to a death scene for him is that Dobby killed him, who is on the heroes' side.
** Vincent Crabbe casts Fiendfyre in an attempt to kill Harry, Ron, and Hermione, unleashes far too much flaming destruction than he beckoned for, and accidentally incinerates himself (along with one of Voldemort's Horcruxes).
** Voldemort himself. Harry explains him that the [[InfinityPlusOneSword Elder Wand]] Voldemort uses is actually Harry's, due to a set of complicated magical rules concerning wand ownership. As a result of this, the Elder Wand will not kill Harry. Despite this explanation and the chance to repent, Voldemort still fires a killing curse at Harry, which reflects back towards him, finishing him once and for all.
* The ''{{Series/Lensman}}'' series has a subversion in that it's deliberately engineered by one of the heroes. Nadreck's solution to the problem of a Boskonian base is to get all the Boskonians to kill themselves and/or each other over the course of a few minutes. He ''is'' ashamed about it, but it's because he had to personally intervene to kill three of them himself when the shooting was all over; he considers this to be sloppy work.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* This was very common in the early seasons of ''Series/{{Smallville}}'' with the krypto-freaks. If they didn't somehow lose their powers they inevitably met a messy end at their own hands.
* A major trope in ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'', particularly during the early seasons. Human villains tended to fall into pits of their own monsters while Buffy tried in vain to save them. See especially "The Pack" and "Go Fish".
* In the ''Series/{{Angel}}'' episode "Supersymmetry". Fred attempts to kill the villain who, years earlier, had trapped her in Pylea, a demon Hell Dimension, [[HoistByHisOwnPetard by sending him through one of his own portals]]. When her boyfriend, Charles Gunn, intercedes, he explains [[IfYouKillHimYouWillBeJustLikeHim that if she kills him in revenge she will never be the same.]] ''Gunn'' then snaps his neck and throws him into the portal, and they tell the rest of the heroes that this trope happened and he fell into his own portal.
* Terrorists often martyr themselves in ''Series/TwentyFour'', most notably Habib Marwan, the BigBad of Season 4.
* In the episode "Flashpoint" of ''WalkerTexasRanger'', two rouge Irish terrorists, a man and a woman, jump out a skyscraper window after sharing a kiss, choosing to become martyrs over life imprisonment.
* A HerculePoirot sketch on ''Series/ThatMitchellAndWebbLook'' had the detective calling the SummationGathering and eventually pointing out that the perpetrator is the woman who, over the course of the scene, has inexplicably [[EvilIsSexy got sexier]], [[GoodSmokingEvilSmoking started smoking]] and started speaking in an "evil voice". Ultimately she shoots herself rather than go to jail. "It is better zis way: some courts, zey do not accept ze evil voice as evidence."
* ''Series/{{Justified}}'' likes to play with this trope. In the opening scene of the series, US Marshal Raylan Givens confronts Tommy Bucks, a PsychoForHire who tortured and brutally murdered a man in front of Raylan. Raylan has no jurisdiction over the crime and no evidence to arrest Bucks for another crime so he instead told him to leave Miami in 24 hours "or else". Right before the time is up, Bucks pulls out his gun and is subsequently shot down by Raylan. Afterwards, Raylan wonders if he would have been capable of murdering Bucks if Bucks did not draw his weapon and made the shooting 'justified'. Throughout the series Raylan is faced with moral choices that resolve themselves because the bad guys kill themselves, each other or force him to act in clear self-defense. This culminates in the finale of season 4 where a mobster threatens Rayaln's family but is GenreSavvy enough not to 'self dispose' so Raylan [[spoiler: gets a second mobster to kill the first mobster for him]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Radio]]
* In ''AdventuresInOdyssey'' Dr. Blackgaard, already near death due to infection by the virus he had hoped to threaten the world with, stays behind inside the Whit's End building as the bombs he planted there are activated.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theater]]
* In ''Theatre/LesMiserables'', Javert's entire worldview is [[VillainousBSOD shattered]] when Valjean saves his life from the rebels. He decides he simply [[DrivenToSuicide can't live]] in a world where criminals can be good people, and jumps off a bridge.
--> '''Javert''': And does he know, that granting me my life today, this man has killed me even so?
* ''Theatre/SpiderManTurnOffTheDark'': During the FinalBattle, the Green Goblin tries to spite Spider Man by dropping a piano from the top of the Empire State Building onto the bystanders below. However, since Spidey had webbed the Goblin to the piano earlier in the fight, he ends up dragged to his DisneyVillainDeath.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theme Parks]]
* The hijacker on ''Ride/TheGreatMovieRide'' at [[Ride/DisneyThemeParks Disney's Hollywood Studios]] ends up offing him/herself when he/she attempts to steal a cursed jewel, which gets him/her roasted into a skeleton.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Fawful, the BigBad of ''Videogame/MarioAndLuigiBowsersInsideStory'', self-destructs in a final attempt to destroy the Mario Bros.
* Boomer and Buzzar commit suicide in a DisneyVillainDeath when they are defeated in ''Videogame/SuperMarioRPG'' and ''Videogame/PaperMario'', respectively.
* In ''Videogame/TheLegendOfZeldaMajorasMask'', Garo Master blows himself up with a bomb to "[[NoBodyLeftBehind die without leaving a corpse]]".
* In ''Mother 3'', Porky seals himself in the Absolutely Safe Capsule with no escape, yet he is now ageless and cannot die and must remain for eternity. FateWorseThanDeath indeed. Also a "[[TearJerker tragic]]" example with the Masked Man, whom the protagonist cannot even attack against, uses attacks that the Franklin Badge reflects to [[ICanNotSelfTerminate break]] [[DyingAsYourself Free]].
* In ''Uncharted 3'', Rameses, though wounded by Nate, shoots the window of an underwater portion of the ship, causing it to flood and drown him. Although Nate is able to escape.
* In ''[[VideoGame/PokemonGoldAndSilver Pokemon Heart Gold and Soul Silver]]'', it was [[WildMassGuessing popularly believed]] that the unlockable encounter with Giovanni led him to commit suicide by jumping off a waterfall, due to the radio static in that scene sounding like a splash. This has been repeatedly refuted by WordOfGod, and [[{{Jossed}} disproven completely]] by Giovanni's appearance in ''Black 2 and White 2''.
** On the other hand, Ghetsis ends up in VillainousBreakdown-induced catatonia after being defeated in ''Black 2 and White 2'', for the non-lethal variant.
** In ''VideoGame/PokemonXAndY'', [[spoiler: Lysandre fires the Ultimate Weapon. Afterward, it's made ambiguous whether he's dead, or ''immortal and BuriedAlive forever''.]]
* In ''MegaManZero'', Hidden Phantom, although not exactly a straight-out villain, detonates his own body when he fails to subdue Zero before he reaches Copy X. More startling is the fact Phantom is the only one of the Four Guardians to try a suicide attack on Zero, indicating he may be the most ruthless of them all combined.
* At the end of the first ''VideoGame/GoldenSun'', Saturos and Menardi throw themselves into Venus Lighthouse rather than accept defeat by Isaac & Friends. Subverted with a vengeance ([[RoaringRampageOfRevenge literally]]) in ''The Lost Age'' when it turns out [[WellIntentionedExtremist they weren't exactly villains to begin with]].
* Subverted and inverted in the ending of ''Super VideoGame/MeatBoy''. Dr. Fetus seems to be killed by his own DyingMomentOfAwesome, but then he pops up again, only to be crushed helpless by Bandage Girl.
* In ''{{VideoGame/Xenoblade}}'', the plot begins as a revenge quest to kill robot "Metal Face," who has killed countless humans. But when the heroes discover that [[spoiler: Metal Face is actually a human named Mumkhar piloting the robotic suit, they decide to let him go, despite having a chance to kill him, since the heroes decide that killing a human is always wrong. Mumkhar takes this opportunity to fire a blast at the heroes. But the blast misses and hits a spire that falls down and impales him and pins him to a falling platform, killing him.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* In ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'', Damien's VillainousBreakdown upon realizing [[spoiler: Grace can match his power and]] he might ''not'' be a living god drives him to use his fire powers to immolate himself [[spoiler: and Grace]]. If he is a god, he'll survive it; if he isn't, [[DrivenToSuicide he doesn't want to]].
* {{Subverted}} in ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick,'' where [[SmugSnake Kubota]] cleverly surrenders right before [[TookALevelInBadass Elan]] is going to kill him as revenge for [[spoiler:Therkla's murder]]. Kubota realizes that he can probably raise sufficient reasonable doubt to get acquitted in a trial, and that Elan is too heroic to kill him in cold blood. DoubleSubverted, however, because Vaarsuvius ''isn't'' that heroic.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Lampshaded and averted in ''WesternAnimation/DarkwingDuck'' in the episode where the Liquidator debutes. When CorruptCorporateExecutive Budd Flood falls into a pool of chemicals, Darkwing tries to reach him with a pole, only for the pole to melt. Darkwing is a little upset about it, but tries to hide it by telling Launchpad that "it saves a lot of time when the villain does himself in like that!" [[spoiler: (Budd is ''not'' dead, however; the accident turns him into the Liquidator, making him far more of a threat than before.)]]
* ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'' Doofenshmirtz evil schemes tend to backfire on him all the time, in fact there are times that when Perry is not around his own inventions get destroyed on their own.
[[/folder]]

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