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Try Not to Die
Mr. Incredible: Shut it down, do it quickly, don't destroy it...
Mirage: And don't die.

When heroes are about to go Storming the Castle, or facing impossible and deadly odds, "Try Not To Die" is the common prayer. Not, "Knock 'em dead!" or the more emotive "We're counting on you", but this simple, plaintive request... which goes a long way to saying just how bad the odds and low the expectations are of the adventurer and his friend or loved one.

Compare How Dare You Die on Me!.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • This was the basis of an ad campaign for cellular phones, where one character would be in the process of dropping dead, while someone else would be standing over him, berating him for dying because the new phone was about to come out and he'd miss it (along the lines of, "What are you stupid, having a heart attack before they release this phone?"), ending with the tag line, "Try not to die."

    Anime and Manga 
  • Death Note: L has one in the "Bang!" scene.
  • In Hellsing,
    • Integra orders Walter to 'come back alive at any cost'. He does, but...well, let's just say he took her literally.
    • She also gives a variant of this just before Alucard vanishes. *sniff*
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex:
    • The Chief to the rest of Section 9 after he learns they've been betrayed.
    • Also, Batou to the Major in episode 21. Not an unreasonable thing to say, since this is moments before she attempts to take on a powered exoskeleton with nothing but sidearms.
  • In Kino's Journey, this is Kino's most important rule of being a traveler. Kino tells it to a guy trying to be The Atoner, and to the woman who didn't appreciate the guy thinking he could get off the hook that easy.
  • This is said quite a lot in the Gundam metaseries, usually phrased as an order before a battle.
    Graham Aker: (wingman blows up) "I thought I told you not to die!"
    • A variation occurs in Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket, where Garcia asks Bernie not to die when they go forward with the operation to destroy the NT-1 - because if he does, Garcia will be the lowest-ranked member of the Cyclops Team again.
  • The Naruto dub takes us full circle. As the Chuunin Exam escalates into the Forest of Death, the instructor gives a final bit of advice:
    Anko: Just don't die!
  • In a late episode of Digimon Tamers, Terriermon, in the dubbed version at least, cheerfully says to the others, "Try not to get killed while we're gone!" when the team had to separate during a fight.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Manga: This is the only order Roy Mustang gives to his team just before they begin their rebellion in Central. Later, Hawkeye repeats this order after her throat is slit in an attempt to force Mustang to perform Human Transmutation and she's bleeding to death. The Gold-Toothed Doctor wryly notes that if immortality were that easy, he's wasted his entire life.
    Hawkeye: I won't die... I've... been ordered not to die, you see.
    • Also said twice by Riza Hawkeye to Mustang- once at her father's funeral and the second time when she's reassigned to Fuhrer King Bradley's personal guard.
  • Genkai from YuYu Hakusho has one of these before seeing a bunch of warriors, Yusuke and Kuwabara included, off into the Dark Forest as part of her trial. After explaining what the forest is, she tells everyone that they have two hours to get to a tree on the other side of the forest. "Best of luck, I hope you don't die."
  • Kenji in 20th Century Boys, as he and his friends head off to fight the giant robot on New Year's Eve: "If you think your life is in danger, run away as fast as you can. Please don't die!" This is echoed later on by many other characters in appropriate moments.
  • "Don't die." is probably said, on average, once per episode in Ginga Densetsu Weed.
  • In the final season of Legend of Galactic Heroes, Reinhard orders Mittermeyer not to die.
  • In Baccano! Miria tells this to Jacuzzi before he goes to confront the Rail Tracer. Notable because she's a Cloudcuckoolander, and said this with deadly severity.
  • Bleach:
    • When Orihime tells this to Ichigo to stop him from hating himself, this becomes the turning point of the fight between Grimmjow and Ichigo.
    • Also the main gist of the prayer/oath that Renji chants when he, Ichigo, Rukia, Ishida and Chad split up during the beginning of the Hueco Mundo arc.
  • Also invoked by Misato in the last line of the first episode of Neon Genesis Evangelion.
  • In Yotsuba&!, when Yotsuba heads next door on her Roaring Rampage of Revenge, Jumbo tells her to "Come back alive." Knowing, as always, the cultural trappings but not their true meanings, she replies, "Even if I die, I'll come back alive."
    "So how did the revenge go?"
    "I died!"
  • Kiddy Grade - Éclair to her troops in a flashback: "one final order: don't get killed."
  • This is said to Guts a couple of times in Berserk, most notably when Guts gives Casca a path to escape from an ambush by an enemy army and Casca tells Guts that she would return with help, but until then...
    Casca: ...DON'T DIE!
  • A Certain Magical Index:
    • During the invasion of Academy City by Vento of the Front, Misaka shouts this to Touma as he goes to fight Vento while Index goes to find out how to free Kazakiri from her forced "angel" mode and Misaka stays to fight off some Mooks.
    Misaka: It's about the penalty game!
    Touma: You said what!?
    Misaka: It's that when you listen to what someone says! Since it's still valid as of today you know, you'll certainly save your friend and come back!! Got it!?
    Touma: I'll surely follow it! So don't you die on me as well!!
  • In Fate/Zero, prior to his ultimately suicidal charge against Gilgamesh, Rider orders Waver Velvet to live. It saves Waver's life not long after when Gilgamesh, who is powerful enough to squash Waver like a bug with barely any effort at all, wonders casually if Waver plans to attack him - Waver's response impresses Gilgamesh enough to let him be.
    Waver: If I challenge you, I will die.
    Gilgamesh: Of course.
    Waver: That won't do. I have been ordered to live.
    Gilgamesh: [nods, and turns to go] Your loyalty is splendid! See to it that it never fades!
  • In Attack on Titan, as the titans invade Trost, Mikasa asks Eren not to die after he tells her to follow orders instead of trying to defend him. He doesn't do a very good job.

    Comic Books 
  • The Runaways have "Try Not To Die" as their team motto.
  • Wraith Squadron in the X-Wing Series has one of these. Wedge Antilles finishes his briefing with this instruction, and Kell Tainer responds by pretending to type it into his datapad.
    Kell: "No... get... killed. I'll try to remember."

    Fan Fiction 

    Film -Animated 

    Film -Live Action 
  • The film Forrest Gump: As Lt. Dan tells his platoon, "Two standing orders in this platoon: one, take good care of your feet; two, try not to do anything stupid, like getting yourself killed."
  • The James Bond film GoldenEye:
    M: James?
    Bond: Yes, ma'am?
    M: Come back alive.
    • And this is after she told him she had no compunctions about sending him to his death, as long as it was worth something.
  • The Last of the Mohicans:
    "Stay alive, no matter what occurs!"
  • Speed: Da Chief frequently advises people:
    "Don't get dead."
  • From Full Metal Jacket:
    Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: If your killer instincts are not clean and strong you will hesitate at the moment of truth. You will not kill. You will become dead Marines. And then you will be in a world of shit because Marines are not allowed to die without permission!
  • Passchendaele. "There's only one rule. Don't die."
  • In the movie Rookie of the Year, a kid basically gets a major-league pitching arm by accident. He signs with the Chicago Cubs, and soon after that is forced to take a turn at bat (since the Cubs play in the league without a Designated Hitter). The batting coach is called in to talk strategy with him.
    [Walks up. Looks at kid, starts to advise him, stops. Thinks again.] "Don't die."
  • A twisted version, from the the movie Thirteen Days:
    "The president has instructed me to pass along an order to you: You are not to get shot down."
    "Uh, we'll do our best, sir."
    "I don't think you understand me correctly. You are not to get shot down under any circumstances. Whatever happens up there, you were not shot at. Mechanical failures are fine, crashing into mountains, fine. But you and your men are not to be shot at, fired at, launched upon.... If you are fired upon, the President will be forced to attack the sites that fired on you. He doesn't want to have to do that. It's very important that he doesn't, or things could get very badly out of control."
  • Team America: World Police parodies this (like everything else) were Gary is promised sex if he promises not to die. He emphatically states "I PROMISE I WILL NEVER DIE." and they immediately go through a pretty explicit sex scene (don't worry they're marionettes.)
  • In American Dreamz, a fresh recruit in Iraq asks the more experienced soldier riding next to him in a jeep for any tips. The tip he receives is "Don't get shot". The troop commits this to memory, and a bullet promptly comes through the side of the jeep and wounds him.
  • A variant in Gladiator:
    Senator Gracchus: "And you stay alive - or I'll be dead."

    Literature 
  • Discworld:
    "One obey orders, two give it to the enemy good and hard, three don't die! I intend to assist you in the execution of all three!"
    • In Feet of Clay, Vimes orders Corporal Littlebottom to not let go of the slippery pole she's clinging to and fall in the giant vat of molten candle wax down below.
    • In another Watch novel, Lady Sybil says to Vimes "Try not to get hurt", and he replies with something like "I always do, dear. The criminals don't always co-operate, though."
    • General Tacticus welcomes fighting a man willing to die for his country, it means the both of you have the same goal in mind.
  • In The Wheel of Time, the Aiel's standard way to say good night is "Sleep well and wake." (As in, live long enough to wake up tomorrow.)
  • In David Gemmell's Legend, as the unstoppable horde reaches the thin line of defenders, the reluctant hero asks Badass Grandpa Druss: "Any last words of advice?"
    Druss: "Live."
    He does.
  • The last line of Radiant Shadows is Devlin telling Seth "Try not to die, brother."
  • Haymitch's repeated line of "advice" for how to survive The Hunger Games: "Stay alive."
  • Aphrodite and Stevie Rae have these moments occassionally in The House of Night. Used to show serious character development given that Aphrodite treated Stevie Rae like she was only good for being a snack and Stevie Rae tried to kill Aphrodite, twice, before her humanity was restored.

    Live Action TV 
  • This exchange, during the series finale of Angel.
    Illyria: Try not to die. You are not unpleasant to my eyes.
    Gunn: Uh, thanks. You... try not to die too.
    Angel, "Not Fade Away"
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Buffy to Faith:
    "First rule of being a slayer? Don't die!"
    • Also, Willow
      "It's part of our whole mission statement. Don't get killed!"
  • Heroes, Bob to Mohinder:
    "As of now, your blood is the only cure for that virus. Try not to get yourself killed."
  • Burn Notice: In the third season premiere, Fi tells Michael "I'm glad you're alive, try to keep it that way." Considering everything that happened in the second season finale, this almost seems understated.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: A variation: "I am Chief Miles Edward O'Brien, I'm very much alive and I intend to stay that way!" That one was actually a subversion of the Jem'hadar's standard "I am dead" Rousing Speech.
  • Star Trek: Voyager: Played straight in an episode when Tom steps into a "non-lethal" bout with a Klingon warrior.
    B'Elanna: Today would be a very bad day to die.
  • In the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles episode "Attack of the Hawkmen" Indy leaves his war buddy Remy with a hug and an order to stay alive. Made all the more poignant by the fact that "The Minstrel Boy" is playing in the background.
  • An episode of Stargate SG-1 has Daniel tricking Lord Yu into believing he is his personal slave, and accompanying him to a meeting of all the Systems Lords.
    Yu : Do not embarrass me by allowing yourself to be killed.
  • Doctor Who: In "A Good Man Goes to War", Amy says this to Rory.
    Amy: No offense, yeah, but you let them all die first.
    Rory: You're so Scottish.
  • Game of Thrones. Tyrion and his mercenary swordsman Bronn exchange these before the Battle of the Blackwater; they immediately try to cover this Friendship Moment with some mutual snarking.
    Bronn: Don't get yourself killed.
    Tyrion: (shaking hands) You too, my friend.
    Bronn: Oh, are we friends?
    Tyrion: Of course! The fact that I pay you doesn't diminish our friendship!
    Bronn: Rather enhances it, I think.
    Tyrion: Ooh, 'enhances'. Fancy words from a sellsword!
    Bronn: I've been livin' with fancy folk.
  • In the eighth season finale for Bones, as Booth prepares for his next encounter with serial killer Pelant, Brennan ( who had just proposed to him) tells him, "You are not allowed to die."

    Music 
  • A line in the lyrics of the X Japan song Born To Be Free is "Try to hide, try not to die."
  • "Don't Get Killed" by the comedy writer Andy Breckman.
    Oh my God, we're out of milk
    It's the middle of the night and we're out of milk
    The grocery store's four blocks away
    Good luck, Mary, don't get killed
  • Mitch Benn's version for celebrities is slightly different:
    Try not to die, whatever you do
    The same time as someone more famous than you

    Video Games 
  • Said very cheerfully by Moira Brown in Fallout 3. While she generally behaves in a batshit insane manner, some dialogue suggests this is just her way to cope with life in a wasteland. You can make her permanently like that with the right (wrong?) choices.
  • Star Fox 64:
    • Falco:
    "Don't go dying on me!"
    • Also:
      "Try to stay in one piece, huh, Fox?"
    • Also, Falco in Super Smash Bros. Melee:
      "Try to stay alive, huh Fox?"
  • Tales of Symphonia:
    • Kratos says this to Lloyd on the night before you enter the Tower Of Salvation — a somewhat ironic usage given he is The Mole and has no qualms with handing the party their asses the next day, even if he balks at actually finishing them off. One or two times after that as well, although this time, he wishes for Lloyd not to die to himself. He is Lloyd's father after all
      "Don't die, Lloyd" and "Don't die, Lloyd...before I do..."
    • Lloyd later says this to Regal right before his You Shall Not Pass moment, telling him that he doesn't want to experience the same pain of loss that he went through.
  • Used by Ayla in Chrono Trigger during the assault on the Tyranno Lair.
  • Snake says this to Otacon near the end of Metal Gear Solid.
  • And in Metal Gear Solid 3, Ocelot says "Don't you die on me yet" after Snake falls a very, very long way. It's part The Only One Allowed to Defeat You, part Ho Yay.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Greil mentions this relatively early in Fire Emblem 9, right before the final chapter Ike gives a speech and mentions how he finally learned what it means.
    • Henry says this word for word if he's a supporter during pair-ups in Fire Emblem Awakening
  • Boktai Baron Stoker of Lunar Knights takes a moment before his boss battle with Aaron and Lucian gloating about how his armor is supposedly invincible. The dialogue ends with this exact wording.
    Lucian: Come on. You're a vampire. Do you really think you can retain control over the power of the sun?
    Stoker: I intend to prove that with this very experiment. I beg you... try not to die too quickly, mmm?
  • In Normality, after Dai is shot and left to be captured by the Norms, Kent tells him these exact words.
  • One of the most prominent tagline in Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War is:
    "There's only one ultimate rule in war: Survive"
    • The briefings for the final levels of most of the games often end with the officer telling you to come back alive; Zero and 5 in particular both punctuate this with "anything less is not acceptable".
  • Used by Silvia to Travis verbatim in No More Heroes. Bear in mind, her usual parting statement (before her Catchphrase) before boss battles is predicting an increasingly high probability that he'll get killed.
  • Star Control II:
    • "Try to avoid getting gruesomely killed, Captain!" is one of the things Base Commander Hayes says to you as you depart. He seems perfectly cheerful when he says it, too...
    • Also, the traditional Spathi prayer: "Oh God! Please don't let me die today! Tomorrow would be so much better!"
  • Aribeth says something like this to you near the end of the original campaign of Neverwinter Nights if you choose the correct conversation paths earlier.
  • In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion expansion Shivering Isles, Sheogorath says this to the player before sending them off to "understand" the place.
    • Also, in regular Oblivion during the the Dark Brotherhood storyline, if you talk Antoinetta Marie before one of your missions, she says "Hope you don't get killed! I mean..."
  • In Skyrim, if you accept Jarl Skald the Elder's bounty to deal with a giant, he sends you off with "I'm counting on you. ...Try not to get stepped on."
  • Variation in Last Scenario:
    Matilda: You'd better come back alive. Otherwise I'll have no one to blame for this mess.
  • In the City Elf origin of Dragon Age: Origins, the PC will ask Duncan (a human) to leave the Alienage. Duncan refuses, pointing out there is little that the PC can do about it, as he is both armed and armoured. If the PC challenges him to a fight anyway, the main character's cousin (who has been listening in on this exchange) will say "Try not to die! I'll run for help!"
  • In Dragon Age II, it's a sign of the begrudging respect the Arishok develops for Hawke that he often ends their conversations in this way, instead of the "Begone!" he reserves for everyone else, including the Viscount.
    Arishok: Panahedan Hawke. I do not hope you die.
  • Gundam Vs Series: In Gundam Extreme Vs, Heero and Zechs say this to one another in Endless Waltz's opening movie. "Don't die!" "You either!"
  • In Jumper Two Editor, the default tip for help-boxes is "Don't die".
  • Crops up at least twice in the Golden Sun games, said usually by hapless secondary characters or currently-unavailable main characters. For example, Jenna calls out, "Isaac, Garet! Don't die!" at a suitably dramatic point not long before the pair hears the call. Given how blatant the lines are, this is potentially lampshade-hanging.
  • Immediately before the defense of Khoonda in Knights of the Old Republic II, the player is asked to give a Rousing Speech to the defenders. Part of the light-side option is "Don't get shot."
  • One of the hints shown in the loading screens of Duke Nukem Forever states: "Take Less Damage To Avoid Getting Killed".
    • Parodied with another one that tells you "if you died from falling off a high ledge, it's probably your own fault".
  • Used in Armored Core 4's infamously hard "Marche Au Supplice" mission. It's an optional mission that is not required to clear the chapter, but it is undoubtedly the hardest, with you taking on 4 NEXTs at once. While your Operator assures you of your ability to do that, the fact that she uses this trope is indicative on how hard it is.
  • Each boss of Catherine is introduced with the female announcer saying, in her usual deadpan tone, "[Boss's Name] has appeared. It's the killer. Do not die."
  • "Stay alive" seems to be a common farewell words in X-Universe.
  • Borderlands 2: The Dr. Zed vending machines occasionally say this verbatim when you exit from them.
  • In The Crooked Man, Paul tells David to come back safely. "I don't wanna go to my friend's funeral!"
  • In Mass Effect 3, if the player has made mainly decisions that Wrex doesn't like, he will say the following before you go to summon Kalros.
    "I know you're doing this for your own reasons, Shepard, but try to make sure you don't get your ass killed. I wouldn't know what to say at your funeral."
  • It's part of your final order in Metroid: Fusion:
    Ship's Computer: Samus, this is your last mission. Go to the Operations Room and adjust the station's orbit path to intercept SR388. Then return to your ship and escape. Move quickly, and stay alive. That's an order! Any objections, Lady?

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • This may also be a common saying in Nigeria. Dunno if it's true though, which is why TV tropes must organize a fact finding mission post haste! Such a voyage would no doubt carry the name of the trope...
  • George Carlin comments in a standup routine; "I don't wanna die. I wanna live. That's the secret to life, you know - not dying!"
  • George S. Patton famously quipped, "I don't want you to die for your country. I want you to make the other poor bastard die for his country!"
  • There is a story of lecture from Marine training during WWII. "Every Japanese soldier you face has been told it is his duty to die for the Emperor. Your duty, is to assist him in accomplishing his duty in any way possible." Marine humor being what it is, the modern version of the joke replaces "Japanese soldier" with "terrorist" and "the Emperor" with "Allah."
  • You could say this is a deconstruction- before the invasion of Normandy in 1944, Major Howard (6th Airborne, first unit to arrive in France and engage the Germans) was visited by Montgomery, the overall British commander. Monty told him that 'whatever happens, bring the boys back home alive' (paraphrased) Howard later recalled that while he understood the brass didn't want a repeat of the Great War, he believed their duty was not to survive, but to accomplish the mission, and that's what Monty should have given the pep talk about. Part of the brass' concerns about keeping the troops alive and safe probably stemmed from the disastrous results of the Battle of France. An army which is beaten but escapes can come back to fight another day; an army which is wiped out or captured could spell the loss of the war.

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