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This character is immortal, but not because he is Nigh Invulnerable
or can regenerate any injury, even From a Single Cell
. He is immortal because he doesn't age, nor does he usually sicken. This character will never die from natural
However, he is just as vulnerable to injury as a normal person, and any normally fatal injury will prove fatal to him as well. There are sometimes instances where this trope occurs alongside Resurrective Immortality
, in which case putting him down permanently usually requires some especially extraordinary means.
This is frequently a racial trait of elves
and almost always a feature of robots
Frequently overlaps with Immortality Begins at Twenty
. Also frequently overlaps with immortality by Healing Factor
, to the point here it's more unusual to find someone with a Healing Factor without
slowed or stopped aging than with it.
If this trope is combined with invulnerability
, it becomes Complete Immortality
This is a subtrope of Immortality
Compare Long Lived
, Really 700 Years Old
Contrast Life Drinker
, which involves stealing lifeforce from victims to maintain immortality, rather than the non-aging being an innate trait to begin with.
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Anime and Manga
- Sasori from Naruto, due to the fact that he turned himself into a puppet.
- Edermask from Magician. Not even he knows exactly why.
- Tower Of God: Being in the Tower and using Shinsoo does that to you after a while.
- The Innovators, artificial humans from Gundam00 whose aging is controlled by gene manipulation and nanomachines.
- Master Roshi and Fortuneteller Baba from Dragon Ball, both having drank from the Fountain of Youth.
- A more literal case is King Piccolo who used the dragonballs to wish for eternal youth to rule the world for all time. Thankfully, he was still capable of being killed as when he fought Goku.
- The case for gods in the Saiyuki series.
- In Robotech, the Zentraedi apparently have biological immortality due to a protoculture - based genetic engineering, despite having a life expectancy lower than humans due to being a Proud Warrior Race and Martyrdom Culture.
- The demons of Chrono Crusade appear to be this. There's some indication that they do age, but if so it's very slowly—they look the same age even over a span of 60 years.
- Seine from Hekikai No Ai ON. Sadly, she's stuck forever in a 15-years-old body.
- Lyrical Nanoha
- A common trait of the Ridiculously Human Magitek programs in the series, such as the Wolkenritter, Reinforce, Agito, and the Materials. Whether or not they overlap with other forms of immortality varies, but all of them have lived since the days of Ancient Belka, with their apparent age changing only if they want it to.
- Strikers Sound Stage X introduces King Ixpellia. She has the same child-looking appearance she has now as she did when she ruled as Garea's figurehead king hundreds of years ago, although it is unknown if she has any other form of immortality since she's kept away from the front lines.
- The enigmatic magician Clow Reed from Cardcaptor Sakura, Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle, and xxxHOLiC maintained his fairly youthful appearance for the duration of his several-centuries-long life with his vast powers. His apparent counterpart, the Dimension witch, Yuuko Ichihara is similarly unaging, although the reason for it in her case is because Clow Reed accidentally trapped her in a state where she's neither truly dead nor alive.
- When Watanuki succeeds Yuuko as owner of the wish shop, he also ceases to age.
- In Princess Tutu, Mytho never ages after he escapes from the Story Within The Story into the real world.
- In Rebuild Of Evangelion 3.0, this is apparently a side effect of piloting an Eva: the pilot's physical age is fixed at that point. This results in a 28-year-old Asuka and Mari still having the 14-year-old bodies they had in the last film. Asuka refers to it as "the Curse of Eva".
- The Elves in ElfQuest (except for the Wolfriders, who for most of their history were more likely to die in battle with humans anyway) do not die of old age, however, sickness occasionally happens, e.g. Krim's first child died as an infant.
- Many immortals of the DC Universe, including the New Gods and the Amazons.
- Superman is often portrayed in this way, especially in Elseworlds stories.
- In the titular world of Felarya, everyone has this due to the magical properties of the world. Unfortunately for those who come to Felarya seeking immortality, it it very easy to die there.
- Doctor Strange got into a fight with Death itself, accepted its inevitability, surrendered to it, and Came Back Strong. He is told that, as a result, "death may only come from without, in battle — and not from within."
- From the Marvel Universe, Nick Fury. His brand of immortality stems from the Infinity Formula, for which he was the lab rat during World War 2 (without his consent, he was half-dead at the time, having just stepped on a landmine). The formula took about a quarter of a century to work on his biology, and now, although being nominally 90 years old (born 1917-1918) he is physically in his 40s, 50s tops and will not age another day. He can however be wounded, and presumably killed; nobody really achieved that, since he's Colonel Badass, with an Eyepatch of Power.
- Nick Fury's Arch-Enemy Baron Strucker, the leader of the terrorist organization HYDRA, also has repressed aging thanks to a serum.
Film - Live Action
- The Fountain: Tom Creo has lived for 500 years without aging by eating the bark of a special tree.
- In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, drinking from the Holy Grail grants you this form of immortality. There's a downside, however: The elderly crusader explains that yes, you live forever - but only so long as you remain in the grail's sacred area. You must drink from the Grail periodically to rejuvenate yourself (hence why Indy and his dad aren't immortal despite drinking from it). Since it can't be taken from its sacred area, obviously you need to stay relatively close to that area to keep drinking from it.
- The puppets in Puppet Master are brought to life by an ancient Egyptian spell found by Andre Toulon. The spell apparently works on humans as well, but they are only invulnerable to aging. This also applies to the puppets as they can be damaged to the point of death.
- In Time features a humanity that has stopped the aging process, freezing everyone's age and physical abilities at 25. Time itself has replaced money as currency, meaning that the poor live day to day, while the rich can effectively become immortal.
- John Oldman from The Man from Earth says he is this, as he claims to be a 14,000 year old caveman who has survived until the current day while looking about 35 for no particular reason except he just hasn't died. He has no idea if he has a Healing Factor or not (having avoided situations where he could test that) although he does know that he doesn't scar. After initially claiming that he was lying all along, the last few minutes of the movie reveal that he is at least old enough to literally be the father of a coworker who looks to be in his 60s or 70s.
- The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion:
- The elves have an unending lifespan until the world ends, have the vigor and strength of a human in his prime even when thousands of years old (though they may outwardly age under years of torture, as Gwindor in Silm), and do not get sick. They only die if slain or by wasting away from grief. Even death isn't always permanent; after an elf's spirit has spent some years in the Halls of Waiting, if they have thoroughly repented and learned from any sins they comitted, they get re-embodied — this, however, is not an inherent power but a grace provided by the Valar (the godlike archangels of Arda).note
- Ainur (Valar and Maiar) are ageless within the world, and will continue in perfect youth until the end of the world.
- Ents are just as long-lived as elves, as Treebeard explains to the hobbits. They have a tendency to get sleepy and tree-like, but they never age.
- In the Blessed Realm of Aman, all animal and plant life remains in a state of youthful adulthood after reaching maturity. The Hounds of Oromė, which may or may not just be dogs, are as ageless as elves.
- Morc, in the De Dannan Isles books.
- The sorcerers of the Belgariad.
- The Immortals of Tamora Pierce's Tortall Universe books.
- The Amber Royalty from The Chronicles Of Amber are mostly this. They are quite tough and regenerate better than humans, but it's a very slow process (it takes four years to grow back burnt out eyes, for example). Serious wounds definitely can kill them, which happens on several occasions.
- The Remillard Clan from Julian May's Galactic Milieu series. Each one appears to stop getting older at a different age. They have minor regenerative powers, but they can still be seriously injured or killed.
- The majority of the Wilds from Trudi Canavan's The Age Of Five trilogy fall into this category. The most extreme example is The Gull - the oldest of the Wilds, who has the physical body of a prepubescent child.
- In the Indigo series, may be true of Indigo and Grimya—they do not age, but even they don't know whether they can be killed by injury or disease. At one point, Indigo is seriously ill and comatose, and Grimya worries that she will remain delirious forever if the disease "kills" her. (Indigo recovers, and the question is never resolved.)
- The Returned can continue to live indefinitely if they are supplied with Breath once per week but are otherwise as vulnerable to injury as anybody else, as poor Blushweaver discovered.
- Anyone can live indefinitely if they have the Fifth Heightening or above, and in fact it's explained that the Returned immortality works like it does because a Returned has a single, immensely powerful breath that puts them automatically at this stage (People with less than that age more slowly, but the Fifth Heightening is when it stops completely). It's actually better than being a Returned since such people don't need a constant supply of Breath to live (though they do need to gather a lot of Breath in the first place to reach the heightening, their bodies don't consume it once they have it and they can use it indefinitely).
- The Immortal Vermin of Bruce Coville's Magic Shop series are this type. Bufo, the first of the Immortal Vermin to appear, says he can be killed, but barring such an incident, he will live forever. Jerome and Roxanne, the youngest of the Immortal Vermin, inform the protagonists of "The Skull of Truth" and "Juliet Dove, Queen of Love" of their status as "killable, but otherwise undying". (It may also be mentioned in the updated version of "The Monster's Ring".)
- In The Last Unicorn the title character is immortal but can be killed by anything from a dragon to a stray arrow.
- Norna-Gest from the Old Norse Tale of Norna-Gest gains this kind of immortality by exploiting the Exact Words of a norn's curse.
- Dragons in The Obsidian Trilogy are this. They do not age or get ill, but they can be injured and killed. If they chose to bond with a human or elven mage, they will also die when their bondmate does.
- In The Third Millenium: A History Of The World 2000 - 3000 A.D., The Emortals and Starpeople achieve temporary biological immortality through genetic engineering and the rejuvination procedure; most who don't die by accident will eventually die from a failed rejuvination, but they typically remain youthful to about age 400 - 500.
- In Lois Duncan's Locked in Time, Lisette and her children have eternal youth but not eternal life.
- Warlocks and vampires from The Verse of The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices. They stop aging at a certain physical age and stay young-looking and beautiful until they get killed off.
- The Lord Ruler from Mistborn. He can literally store up youth and health by using Feruchemy for later consumption, making him both ageless and virtually impervious to injury. In the end, Vin kills him by tearing away his storages - so she almost literally rips the vitality out of him.
- Also the kandra, at least as far as we know, they are also rather tricky to kill by injury due to their ability to close wounds using their shapeshifting powers, the best way to kill them seems to be acid.
- The Alex Benedict novel Polaris has the scientist Dunnager, who was seeking a way to halt the aging process and was reportedly very close to succeeding when he mysteriously vanished without a trace and his lab burned down. It turns out he did succeed, and a number of people rendered ageless by his work conspired to keep it secret.
- In Dirge For Prester John, no one who drinks from the Fountain three times will age beyond their third visit.
- In Max Frei's Labyrinths of Echo:
- Khrebels, the pure spirits. Effectively immortal, possibly vulnerable only to the destruction of their world.
- As the mysterious World's Heart pierces the planet like a rod, two entities inhabit the ends - the Spirit of Kholomi in Echo and an unnamed entity on the opposite end. Both are probably immortal unless the world is destroyed.
- Pure-blooded elves. This doesn't extend to their offspring with other sentients, leading to dramatic scenarios and the creation of Kharumba.
- True Magic users of sufficient power, e.g. Maba Kalokh.
- Ancient Magisters, e.g. Khabba Khän.
- The controlling entities in Iar Elterrus' 9 Swords Multiverse are each split into Will, Power and Knowledge. While Knowledge incarnates as one of the eponymous Swords and is indestructible and immortal, Power incarnates as an ageless dragon. In contrast, Will incarnates as a mortal human, which means that every coming of the entity has the same Power and Knowledge driven by a new Will.
- In Vadim Panov's Secret City:
- Nav', although mortal and with some WeaksauceWeaknesses.
- Divine Lords of Tat'. While vulnerable to both regular and magical harm, their power levels and personal brands of Taking You with Me which inflict damage on geological scale serve as a strong deterrent.
- Possibly the Asura, although their surviving contemporaries, Nav' and Tat', are unreliable sources of information at best.
- The last couple of Osara, king and queen of the common Os'. This is at least partially caused by Nav' meddling.
- "Flying Dutchman's" crew - they are ageless and maybe truly immortal until they either voluntarily leave the ship or fulfill the Curse Escape Clause.
- Various elves in contemporary russian fiction, too many to count.
- The huntresses of Artemis in Percy Jackson and the Olympians have this when the young girls swear their lives to the goddess, age can't kill them. Only if they fall in battle can they die.
- Dorian Gray from The Picture of Dorian Gray had this because his painting aged and took the physical effect of his sins instead of him, though No Immortal Inertia kicked in when his Soul Jar was destroyed.
- In Andre Norton's Dread Companion, Kosgro observes that the people in this world do not die unless killed. Kilda contrasts this with very long-lived but still mortal aliens that she knows of.
Mythology, Legends, and Oral Tradition
- Norse Mythology: The Ęsir and Vanir are immortal in this way, so long as they continue to eat the Apples of Idun.
- As above the huntresses of Artemis have this when the young girls swear their lives to the goddess, age can't kill them but they can be slain.
- GURPS uses Unaging for immortality. This means only that the character will never grow older or die of old age it confers no resistance to disease or harm. Other forms of immortality require additional powers.
- In Warhammer 40000, nearly everyone but non-Space Marine humans and the Tau.
- In both Earthdawn and Shadowrun, dragons and Immortal Elves have this quality. Dunkelzahn was apparently tens of thousands of years old, and some immortal elves were thousands of years old in Shadowrun.
- "Longevity: Immortal" is an option for the Life Support power in Champions
- Likewise, in Mutants & Masterminds, Immunity (aging) is just a 1 point power. If you want true immortality, you need to buy into ranks of Regeneration to account for things like rising from the dead.
- Dungeons & Dragons has two variants on this trope: Monks and Druids gain the Timeless Body ability, which causes them to no longer age physically (or at least do not get any penalties for aging) until they drop dead when they reach their species' maximum age (thus invoking the Old Master trope). Two races, Elan and the Killoren, have no maximum age and will visibly age to a certain point (venerable age for Elan, old age for Killoren) but never die of old age. Combining either race with either class leads to this trope. There's also an epic feat that adds half your maximum possible age to each age category (a stadium where your character gets visibly older), which has the same effect on them.
- KANE LIVES IN DEATH!
- The angels from Tales Of Symphonia. The Cruxis Crystals halts the aging process, which is why Mithos Yggdrasil still looks more or less exactly the way he did 4000 years ago. Even Expheres slow the aging process considerably, in addition to the basic skill upgrades they give. Presea even brings up the possibility of a world of exosphere-preserved Immortals to Lloyd, who gently reminds her that they're Powered by a Forsaken Child.
- In On the Way to a Smile, the short story "Case of Nanaki" reveals that Vincent Valentine was made biologically immortal by Hojo's experiments. As a result, he'll live at least as long as Nanaki. However, given the events and nature of Dirge of Cerberus, it's safe to assume he can still be killed.
- Night elves used to have this form of immortality, before sacrificing it to save the world from the Burning Legion. Draenei may also have this form of immortality (Velen is explicitly stated to), or they may just be extremely long lived. Demons also have this type of Immortality (at least one quest states that at least some of them have Type IV as well).
- Dragons, or at least the Aspects, seem to be undying as well. Or were until they recently had to relinquish it, anyway.
- The 27 True Runes of Suikoden grant this type of immortality, in addition to various abilities based on the aspect of existence that the True Rune governs (for instance, instant death attacks for the Rune of Life and Death AKA Soul Eater, or powerful destructive attacks that also hurt the user for the Rune of Punishment).
- The Elder Scrolls:
- The Nerevarine of Morrowind becomes this, as a consequence of having Corprus but getting negative effects cured. If brought to sufficient heights of power, they can also gain enough regenerative power to leave this trope and enter another.
- Dragons in Skyrim are this, being quasi-angelic entities who can never truly die unless their soul is absorbed by another dragon or a Dragonborn. Paarthurnax in particular has been waiting on top of the Throat of the World for Alduin's return since the Dragon War many thousands of years ago.
- Being a Mortal Kombat champion grants this type of immortality until the next Mortal Kombat tournament, which is usually a generation away from the previous one.
- As the Ultimate Life Form, Shadow the Hedgehog is ageless, most likely due to the genetic material contributed to Project Shadow by his biological "father," Black Doom. The reason behind this was that Shadow's creator, Professor Gerald Robotnik, wanted to study immortality and use the fruits of his research to find a cure for his granddaughter (and Shadow's surrogate sister) Maria, as she was terminally ill and suffering from a fatal disease known as NIDS (Neuro-Immuno Deficiency Syndrome).
- The Dragons in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword are implied to be this way. You find the Thunder Dragon's remains in the present, and travel back in time to find out he's sick and dying. After healing him in the past, he's simply absent in the present, but does show up for the song, so he likely just changed residence instead of dying.
- Dark Souls has multiple types of beings that are The Ageless. The Everlasting Dragons, the Lords and the Gods, and undead that can maintain their humanity.
- About 95% of the returning characters are this in Soulcalibur V, despite the fact that SCV makes a Time Skip of seventeen years. The only characters who have aged physically are Siegfried, Mitsurugi and Hilde (40, 46 and 35 respectively). The rest got some convoluted excuse for why they look exactly the same as they did seventeen years ago. Some have accused the Time Skip of doing nothing but replacing almost all of the stalwart, fan-favorite female characters with teenagers.
- Fujiwara no Mokou and Kaguya Houraisan in Touhou are described as being "eternal", completely untouched by the flow of time. As well as being perpetually young, it comes with the added caveat they simply can't die: being eternally unchanging means they rapidly regenerate from anything, even clearly fatal wounds. Needless to say, the violent Cycle of Revenge between the two has been going on for quite a while with no significant progress, despite constant "successful" assassinations from both sides.
- Ghouls and Super Mutants in the Fallout series. The former can still suffer from mental degeneration, which results in them becoming zombie-like "feral" ghouls.
- As revealed in Hyperdimension Neptunia V, any CPU can get killed through any means, however they won't ever age at all.
- The fae races of Drowtales, (drow, light elves, faeries) provided they live with enough other fae to generate a surplus of mana. Otherwise they will suffer from mana deprivation and will start to age much like humans do. One audiobook explains that fae do in fact have a finite natural lifespan (implied to be somewhere around 1000 or upwards), but most don't live long enough to ever get close to it.
- In A Magical Roommate, Oracles live for as long as they want. They can be killed by outside forces, but otherwise, they will live until they decide to die - unlike their counterparts, Sages, who do die of old age.
- Im Sinfest, Monique craves this.
- In Jackie Chan Adventures anyone with the Dog Talisman is immortal.
- Most incarnations of the Transformers. And good luck with the fatal damage.
- Technically Transformers DO age. There are a few bots that are notably elderly looking and not quite as swift as the other bots such as Kup, Alpha Trion, and Sentinel Prime. One or two have even been shown dying of old (as in they've been around since nearly the dawn of time) age. However a Transfomer's life span is insanely long, lasting eons. Optimus Prime is at least several miliennia old, and is generally depicted as the equivalent of a human's late 30s.
- As old age is rarely a concern in an action-oriented series, it hasn't been addressed whether aging can be avoided through proper maintenance, or how a full-body rebuild/transplant would affect it. Additionally, by the time a transformer is old enough to be considered old by their standards, they're a full-blown Time Abyss, leaving the implication that transformer aging is more mental than physical.
- This occurs in Real Life among several different species. Biologists know this phenomenon as biological immortality and negligible senescence. Jellyfish are the most well known example. Cracked's 6 Unassuming Animals That Are Secretly Immortal lists others, such as lobsters and turtles.
- Scientists in Real Life have been attempting this type for a very, long, time, the most recent and well-known being Aubrey de Grey. Many believe that humans will eventually attain it. There are a substantial number of people who believe that the first bicentenarian-to-be has already been born, and is possibly already an adult.