Often in the first chapter or story arc of a series, Anyone Can Die
. The main characters are not established yet and so when someone dies it is quite surprising since everyone was given equal character development. Of course, the death of friends and family motivates the survivors, who go on to become virtually immortal
from there on out, not suffering a casualty ever again
, except in the most highly dramatic way.
The inverse of Sacrificial Lamb
. Will usually result in a First Episode Spoiler
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- In Elfen Lied, many an anonymous guard is violently killed in the opening sequence, but surprisingly enough, so is the clumsy-but-lovable secretary Kisaragi, who you would've thought was well on her way to being a developed character.
- In Outlaw Star, "Hot Ice" Hilda appears to be an important character at the beginning of the show. Unfortunately, her ship is destroyed while being pursued by pirates. She tries to use a cable wire to pull herself to Gene Starwind's ship, but it just so happens to snap at the last minute. As she floats into the nearest sun, she leaves our Designated Hero with the parting words, "Outlaws never go down easy, no matter what happens to them."
- Uncle Ben was killed off in the first appearance of Spider-Man and has remained largely dead. Meanwhile, Aunt May has managed to even come back from the dead. Apparently, Spider-Man forgot to ask for his uncle back when making his deal with the devil.
- In X-Men, Thunderbird was killed off in the issue after he joined the team. All other X-Men involved either are still alive or have failed to stay dead.
- In the opening of the first Mission: Impossible film, Ethan Hunt's whole team is killed off, including characters played by big-name actors Jon Voight, Kristin Scott-Thomas, & Emilio Estevez.
- Voight got better, but you don't find that out until later.
- Transformers: The Movie: Tons of established characters are killed off in the first battle but from there on out no one can permanently die.
Live Action TV
- Original Battlestar Galactica: Billions are killed in the Cylon attack but once safely away, the fleet manages to avoid substantial losses for quite a while.
- Red Dwarf starts with everyone dying save a single survivor; Everybody's Dead, Dave. Not only do the entire crew of the titular spaceship die, but the entire human race goes extinct while Dave is a Human Popsicle. The first episode is appropriately called The End.
- In Stargate SG-1 Kawalsky seems set up to be a main character, but dies at the end of the second episode.
- Star Trek: Voyager: Half the crew dies right at the beginning of the series. They never lost more than a handful after that unless there was a Reset Button handy.
- Almost everyone who survived the first season of Heroes became virtually immortal in season 2 and after. The characters introduced from the second season on weren't that lucky.
- The entire first episode of Survivors involves introducing several characters and then watching most of them die off into the tiny handful that would make up the cast for the rest of the series, as a plague which wipes out 90 percent of the world hits.
- Goblins: A whole goblin raiding party is wiped out killing many, many characters. Since then the survivors have gone on to slaughter anything that looks at them the wrong way.
- The Order of the Stick: Half the Linear Guild was lost the first time they met the OotS gang. Since then, the three survivors have consistently made it away while their newer members tend to get Put on a Bus or killed. (Though other characters have not been so lucky, notably poor Miko.)
- While the Player Character of Dragon Age: Origins can't get killed other than by a standard Game Over during the first two major missions (Origin and Ostagar), his/her Player Party members can and will, so don't grow too attached to them. A case in point: PC's mother in the Human Noble Origin, Daveth, Ser Jory, and whichever companions you get in the Tower of Ishal depending on your class in Ostagar, Mhairi in the first mission of Awakening. While your companions may die later in the game, it is always a properly foreshadowed event.
- Straight and Subverted in Dragon Age II. You WILL lose a sibling at the end of the starting level. And possibly another at the first timeskip. Your mother dies around halfway through the game. Also, you have the option of killing a permanent party member at the start of the final mission.
- Subverted in a different Bioware series: anyone can get killed in Mass Effect. In the first game, you will lose one of your first two party members before the end; in the second, bad choices can get everyone killed (including you); in the third, your actions in the first two and your choices here may kill effectively everyone from the first two (and some of those with you if you really err). Nobody is safe forever.