Unwanted Revival

"What exactly do you think you're doing? ... Young man, I am dead. I was killed in what, for me at least, were fairly unpleasant circumstances. It hurt. It was deeply upsetting and painful. However, it happened. I am dead. If you bring me back to life, my death will have no meaning... I lived a good life, and it ended. Would you take that away from me?"
Fiddler's Green, The Sandman

A character is dead, or comatose, and for whatever reason isn't happy about being revived from that state.

It also applies to less lethal circumstances - a character who deliberately vanished by hiding or faking their death is unhappy to have to return.

See also Unwanted Rescue, Came Back Wrong.

Obviously, to be brought back from the dead somebody has to have already been dead, so this is technically a Death Trope. This means there are unmarked spoilers below, so tread at your own risk.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The commentary on Afro Samurai mentions that rather than be given an Emergency Transformation, Jinno would have preferred to die after the battle at the Bodhi tree. Unfortunately for him, an Emergency Transformation is exactly what he got.
  • In one chapter of Franken Fran, Fran brings a girl back to life at the request of the girl's boyfriend, who had murdered her in a fit of rage. But the only way Fran could see it happening is by basically cutting out part of her brain and putting vital organs in her skull so that her head could survive independently, though with quite a bit of her memory gone. She can't talk and is utterly dependent on her boyfriend... until Fran eventually gives her the bigger body the boyfriend kept asking for whereupon this trope gets subverted. It's revealed that the guy wasn't her boyfriend, but an insane stalking killer that didn't even know the girl's name. The killer finds words scribbled by the girl under the bed and learns too late that she did not forget that part. We then cut to outside the room where we see the girl's head attached to a monstrous body that she's very happy about since she can now get her revenge.
    • In an earlier chapter, something similar had happened; In order to save a girl whose body had been completely mangled, Fran had to perform a complex operation that basically turned her into a giant caterpillar with a human head; She wasn't exactly pleased initially, until it came to light that she would eventually cocoon and emerge more or less as she was before.
      • And then she turned into a giant insect and ate the one guy who honestly loved her and watched out for her because that's how mantises have sex.
    • And there was also the time Fran saved a boy who had committed suicide by turning him into a living theme park mascot. This one turned out for the better, actually... after she transfers his brain into another body, anyway.
    • Hell, with Franken Fran - who believes strongly in the Sanctity of life, but is either uncaring, or too absorbed in the Scientific process to care for the Quality - this is one of the most commonly occurring Tropes in that series.
  • Somewhat subverted in the end of the Houshin Engi manga, where everyone thinks that Taikoubou (now known as Fukki) had died fighting Jyoka. This seems to suit Taikoubou fine, and he decides to spend the remainder of the manga avoiding them and playing hide-and-seek. Yes, he's a tease. The subversion comes in that it's never shown that they find him.
  • Lucy, to a certain degree, whose alternate personality had been living a relatively happy life ignorant of her past and her coming back would mean ending it.
  • Ga-Rei brings Yomi Back from the Dead (again), Sesshouseki not included. She's fully aware of what she did under its effects, verging on Death Seeker as penance for her crimes.
  • In InuYasha, Kikyo ends up getting revived after 50 years by an Ogress, who uses Kagome's reincarnated soul to revive her. Needless to say, she ends up immediately killing the ogress, angrily asking why she revived her.
  • Monster plays with this trope in multiple ways: Johan experiences an unwanted revival when Tenma accidentally saves him from the damage of his Suicide by Cop, and Nina experiences an unwanted revival when Johan comes back for her after being gone for nearly a decade.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, Kaiser Ryo repeatedly mentions that he is a Death Seeker, and actually manages it in Season Three, only to be inexplicably resurrected in Season Four, to his confusion and somewhat displeasure.
  • Shiki is quite possibly the poster anime for this trope. People who are "lucky" enough to come back rarely want it.
  • Naruto provides several different examples of this thanks to the Edo Tensei technique. The fact that it includes being under someone else's control and (often) Fighting Your Friend doesn't help. Examples include the first and second hokages, Zabuza and Haku, Azuma, and many, many others.
  • D.Gray-Man has anyone revived by the Millennium Earl being turned into an Akuma, so it's understandable why they would be upset with being brought back.
    • In fact, this is part of the Earl's philosophy, he leaves the revived level 0 Akuma with just enough free will to let them rail at the loved one who accepted the bargain before he brainwashes them into killing said loved one, who's usually now broken enough to not try to escape.
  • In the first anime of Fullmetal Alchemist: Ed and Al's mother, or a homunculus who resembles her (the anime is somewhat unclear as to what she actually is). She didn't want to come back to life and decided murdering them for revenge was the only way to make up for this.
  • In the Dragon Ball Z non-serial movie Wrath of the Dragon, Tapion gets freed from a magical music box sealing him, thanks to the titular Dragon Balls, and to say he isn't pleased is an understatement. Turns out Tapion himself is the can of Hirudegarn, a hideously powerful monster. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero for the good guys who helped the weird little old guy free him.
    • Otherwise defied in the series proper: the Dragon Balls can't revive someone who doesn't want to return.

    Comic Books 
  • Kane Creole, a second gen Expy clone of Elvis Presley from DC Comics' Thriller, becomes a criminal who robs banks while singing an Elvis-like song. He kills the people that cloned him, claiming that "They robbed my grave."
  • In the semi-canon Transformers Mosaic comics, an interesting possible story details the ultimate fate of UK-Marvel Galvatron after the Time Wars: After drifting in timelessness while near death, finally at peace, he is dumped on Cybertron in the distant past, where a group of trying-to-be-helpful cybertronians repair him, giving him his "Gold Megatron" look that he had once, despite his wish to die peacefully. He was forced to relive his descent into insanity again.
  • Superman villain Hank Henshaw / Cyborg-Superman has long been a Death Seeker, as his origin story was a take on the Fantastic Four Gone Horribly Wrong, and he was forced to see his friends and loved ones die while knowing he truly couldn't. After joining the Sinestro Corps, it looks like he might finally get his wish, and he thanks those who are about to kill him. Then his servants find his disembodied head floating in space, and as they begin the process to reconstruct him, he sheds a single tear...
  • In the Spider-Man books, Kraven the Hunter has become such a character, being brought back to life by his ex-wife Sasha in a flawed ritual that has made him more like an undead. He wasn't exactly happy about it, and ended up killing her and most of the people she worked with.
  • The Punisher MAX story "Six Hours to Kill". At the end of the six hours, he's just annoyed, wondering why the hell he isn't dead yet, and when he feels it coming he calls it the most beautiful thing ever. And then the people who killed him bring him back. He says he wakes up and realises he's still in hell.
  • Dirk Anger of Nextwave is not particularly happy that he was brought back from the dead as a zombified corpse. Or that his organization won't even feed him brains.
  • Fiddler's Green from The Sandman is brought back from death by Dream, only to politely decline. Not because his life was in any way unhappy, but rather because without death, it would have no value.
  • Thomas Edison's reaction when Atomic Robo revives him, since he's become a sentient manifestation of the Odic Force. The worst part is that he didn't realize how much time had passed or that he had even died; when he returns to consciousness, he's still reacting to the moments just before his death. The last image of that issue is his former laboratory lit from the inside by an eerie glow.
    You shouldn't have brought me back.
  • The last resurrection of Thanos, given he was incredibly happy being dead with his girlfriend Death, was so unwanted he spent several days in a blinding Unstoppable Rage, one bad enough for him to level a planet with several billion incredibly violent inhabitants in a few hours. Of course, given Thanos' main goal in life is to be with Death, all his revivals are unwanted revivals.

    Fan Works 
  • The Hill of Swords has Shirou despising Tiffania for reviving him after the Battle of Saxe-Gotha.
  • In Rias Gremory's God Slayer, Godou Kusanagi falls in battle, but is happy because he will finally be reunited with his loved ones. Then Rias Gremory inadvertently summons him and upon seeing his corpse, decides to "save" him by reviving him with her Evil Pieces. Though Godou is extremely upset, he doesn't blame her for not realizing he wanted to die, and decides to accept his new lease on life.

  • In the 60's movie The Brain That Wouldn't Die (featured on MST3K), a woman is decapitated in an automobile accident, then her surgeon boyfriend reanimates her head. She is unhappy with this state of affairs and spends the rest of the movie nagging her boyfriend about it.
  • Gabriel in The Prophecy resurrects the very recently deceased to do things like drive him around, or work computers or anything else an angel doesn't know how to do. Unfortunately, he has a tendency to choose people who were happier being dead.

  • In American Gods, Shadow gets brought back to life after his Heroic Sacrifice (by a woman named Eostre) and complains that he would have preferred staying dead. Somewhat justified by the fact that he got to choose his own afterlife.
    • Similarly, there's Shadow's wife, Laura. By dropping a magical coin in her coffin, Shadow brought Laura back from the dead... as a zombie. She's cold all the time, never eats or sleeps, feels no remorse about horribly killing people, and just wants Shadow to make it all right. Though at first she wants to be alive again, in the end she opts to return to being dead when given the choice.
  • Robert Sheckley had a short story about a guy fighting in a war where both sides learned to resurrect their soldiers. He has been killed 9 times already and the 10th time should be legally his last, finally allowing him to rest. He is killed, resurrected, and told that since the enemy has raised the resurrection limit to 15 times, he'll now be resurrected 4 more times. So he goes out and makes damn sure to get himself shot in the head, believing they can't repair brain damage. It turns out, they can... and he got a medal for his "heroism". A very depressing read.
  • Weis & Hickman's The Death Gate Cycle has a character with a resurrection rune enscribed on his skin. He's condemned to never, ever die. (He's also condemned by the same magic to never ever kill, negating much of the Badass Normalry he exhibited previously.) Thankfully he's set straight at the end of the series.
  • Also from Weis & Hickman is the Dragonlance series where Raistlin reluctantly returns from the dead a few times to help save the world before leaving it again.
  • A variation occurs with Discworld's Granny Weatherwax. Whenever she's "borrowing" (piggybacking her mind on that of an animal) she appears to be dead or in a coma, and being 'woken up' from this is extremely disorienting and annoying, so she has taken to hanging a sign around her neck that says "I ATEN'T DEAD"
  • Some Biblical scholars think that Jesus had to raise his voice to Lazarus in order to get him to come out of his tomb because Lazarus wouldn't have listened and come back from the dead otherwise, he was having too much fun living in peace in the afterlife. Though this is certainly debatable as the last mention of Lazarus in the Bible is of him having a celebratory dinner with his family and friends over his revival from the dead, he must have been the life of the party and the one everyone talked about.
  • King Of Infinite Space portrays an asteroid colony full of "deadheads": people who'd had their heads cryogenically frozen after they died, then were later revived in nanoassembled bodies. At least one of them was a musician who'd been unwittingly signed up by one of his fans, and seems rather put out that he wasn't allowed to just die in his own time.
  • In Mogworld, Jim was in the middle of going into the light, surrounded by angels and so on, when "some git" resurrected him. The rest of the book is about him being a Death Seeker / Heaven Seeker.
  • In The Wheel of Time, Ishamael is the Dark One's Dragon and the Starter Villain. He dies in the third book. Later in the series the Dark One's new Dragon, Moridin, shows up, demonstrates a lot of the same mannerisms, and is eventually revealed to be none other than Ishamael reincarnated. The Dark One is a notoriously Bad Boss, so other Forsaken wonder why Ishamael/Moridin isn't punished for his failure. Turns out that Ishamael is a Death Seeker. Being brought back to life was his punishment.

    Live Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer, singing: "There was no pain, no fear, no doubt, till they pulled me out of Heaven. So that's my refrain. I live in Hell 'cause I've been expelled from Heaven. I think I was in Heaven. So give me something to sing about. Please give me something."
  • Sliders did this in a first season ep where Rembrandt's double was the equivalent of Elvis, and a lot of fuss was kicked up over our Remy suddenly showing up. The local version of Rembrandt came around to set the record straight and was actually willing to let him take over until he realized how much cash was in the mix, stealing Remy's thunder at his return show, much to Remy's disappointment.
  • Supernatural is all over this (and Death Is Cheap). Dean and Sam keep yelling at each other about it, though it has more to do with each of them endangering themselves for the other than the place they were in being so good (Dean was in Hell, and Sam was stuck with the devil, which was arguably worse). It got so bad that Sam asks specifically not to be brought back from the hole with Lucifer, and Dean reluctantly agrees. In season 6, while not specifying it, Samuel and his family at least didn't ask to be brought back, let alone to work for the new self-appointed "devil".
    • Of course, the one time a Winchester does leave well enough alone (Sam during Dean's stint in Purgatory), he still gets chewed out for it. There's just no winning here.
    Dean: Good. That's good, no, we - we always told each other not to look for each other. That's smart, good for you. 'Course, we always ignored that because of our deep, abiding love for each other, but not this time, right Sammy?
  • In Torchwood, Owen Harper isn't very happy when Jack uses the resurrection gauntlet to bring him back. Understandable, being a walking corpse isn't much of a life.
  • Central to the premise of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is Agent Coulson somehow being up and about after he was impaled during The Avengers. As far as he's concerned, he stopped breathing for nearly a minute and Nick Fury faked his death, but it's hinted there's more to it than he knows. It turns out he was dead for days, and his "resurrection" involved an untested drug derived from an alien corpse and a robot implanting false memories into his brain while he repeatedly begged the doctors to let him die.
  • In the X-Files episode "Miracle Man", this was Leonard's motivation for the murders. He hated how, even though he was brought Back from the Dead, he was left disfigured by burn scars, and so he turned against the Hartleys and tried to discredit their ministry by poisoning the people Samuel was healing.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Very much in effect in the Kamigawa block in Magic: The Gathering. For example, here's flavor text of Yomiji, who Bars the Way (a resurrecting Kami):
    "As I died, I rejoiced. I would see my family again. But then I woke up back on the battlefield. Back in Kamigawa. Back in hell."
  • Averted in Dungeons & Dragons. If a spirit doesn't want to return to the living world, no resurrection spell will work, no matter how powerful. The soul being revived even learns the name, Character Alignment, and patron deity (if any) of the person raising him, and the nature of the spell or effect being used, allowing a well informed decision.
    • Of course, there's nothing to prevent someone from manipulating the resurrector, mundanely or magically. The protocol will tell the spirit the above information, and nothing else.

    Video Games 
  • A major point in Tales of Symphonia's Big Bad's plot is the resurrection of his sister- a double take of this trope: Not only do all the forces of good not want her back (Even her fiance, Yuan), but for the brief moment when she does come back, she merely hands her brother the What the Hell, Hero? treatment he deserves, and then is relieved to go back to being dead.
  • Karurawaturei, princess of the Giryagina clan in Utawarerumono went missing ten~ years or so ago or more when her country underwent a civil war, leading to the near extermination of her clan. Her brother assumed she was dead, and she was fine with that. However, she's forced to return because she still cares about her people, revealing that she's still alive and well. After the war is over and her brother put in charge, she vanishes again so she can return to living a simpler life.
  • Planescape: Torment - By roughly halfway through the game, at least, this is the Nameless One's opinion of having been seperated from his mortality. Even discovering that his first incarnation committed deeds of such hideousness that an eternity doing good would not have spared him from the Blood War, he never contemplates not taking his mortality back and ending his inability to die. Granted, though, he pays a considerable price for his resurrection; he invariably draws tormented souls to himself, and, more darkly, whenever he is resurrected, someone elsewhere in the multiverse dies and becomes an undead shadow as their life is sucked away to fuel his resurrection.
  • Ziggy in the Xenosaga series most definitely did not want to be revived, going as far as replacing parts of his body piece by piece until he would become completely machine, and having his memories erased. Fortunately for MOMO, he didn't go through with it completely.
  • Occurs near the end of The Dig. You have to activate The Eye, but Maggie fears it will exact a price from them, and if she dies, she doesn't want to be resurrected with a life crystal since it wouldn't be her. If you betray her trust and revive her anyway, she'll panic and then jump off the top of the tower, killing herself. And at the end, when the aliens use Spacetime Six to bring back your friends properly, she slaps you.
  • A notable (and tragic) example in Breath of Fire IV with Fou-lu, who was meant to be the King in the Mountain. The Fou Empire wants him dead, due to being seen as 'inconvenient' and the acting Emperor Soniel prefers to keep the throne, spread propaganda that he's the 'Dragon of Doom' who'll destroy the empire. Only his shiisa-like dog wants him back, Bunyan/Babaderu being the only person commenting positively on his rule and was treated nicely by love interest, Mami. Then the empire use Mami as a Fantastic Nuke warhead, fueled under the assumption that Love Hurts, causing Fou-lu to snap and decides that Humans Are Bastards.
  • In Heroes of Might and Magic V, Nicholai is brought back to the land of the living. He is very pissed off at Isabel for bringing him back because 1) he was at peace in heaven with his parents and 2) he was brought as a bloodthirsty vampire and damned forever.
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution: "I never asked for this."
  • At the end of Prince of Persia (2008), Elika is furious after the Prince revives her. She did sacrifice her life in order to try and save the world from a dark god, after all.
  • Kabal from Mortal Kombat 9 appears in the game's story mode, where he's presented as a reformed Black Dragon member turned police officer. Then he gets torched by Kintaro during Outworld's invasion of Earthrealm. When Kano saves his life with the iconic respirator mask, Kabal isn't happy about it.
  • General Knoxx from Borderlands is a grumpy old soldier who's so disgusted with the army he's in that he just wants to end it all. The Vault Hunters help him in that regard. Then Claptrap's New Robot Revolution happens, and he's revived from the dead as Knoxx-Trap. He becomes depressed by this turn of events. Then he's revived again towards the end of the DLC and is even less happy about it than before.
    "I'm back! Wait...I'm back? Dammit."
  • In Soul Reaver, Raziel is initially angry about being resurrected by the Elder God, although this is mostly because he is now a soul-eating wraith.
  • Pokémon X and Y gives us AZ's Floette, brought back to life and given immortality. The problem is, in order to do so, AZ had to sacrifice the lives of countless other Pokémon. It's speculated that this is the reason it chose to leave him, only coming back after 3,000 years had passed.
  • Merak of Azure Striker Gunvolt, due to representing sloth, is disappointed about being revived as it means he'll have to fight you again.
  • Mortimer from Twisted Metal Head-On is this. He was unhappily woken from his grave by a couple of young punks and inadvertently made to drive his souped-up killer hearse in Twisted Metal once more. In his ending, Calypso freely and openly gives Mortimer exactly what he wants if he wins: to return to the peaceful rest of death, one of the few endings where Calypso doesn't screw the winner over with their wish.

  • In Homestuck, Jade decides to second-tier prototype her kernelsprite with her dead dreamself. Said character's reaction is to freak the hell out. An explanation for why the revival was unwanted is attempted, but through all the blubbering all we really understand is that being separated from one's dead friends in the afterlife is pretty traumatic.
    • Also, the fact that due to weird time shit, Jadesprite was dead for at least a decade, quite possibly a lot longer.
  • One Storyarc in Jack has a couple who are part of a secret group studying a device intended to grant immortality, unfortunately though it has to kill you first and the wife becomes infected while studying the bioagents and dies. Her husband pressures them to use the device on her to bring her back but she proves listless and unhappy leaving her husband to think she'd been in Hell after she died. Like Buffy though she'd gone to Heaven and so missed it she suicides at the end and begs her husband to let her stay dead (Fridge Logic though she shouldn't go to Heaven since she's a suicide so should go to Hell).

    Web Animation 

    Western Animation 
  • Justice League: Solomon Grundy, upon learning his own origin and the fact that he has no soul, wants nothing more than to get his soul back. It was implied that his happened after he died fighting Ichthultu. So when he gets reanimated by Chaos Magic in "Wake the Dead", he's really ticked off, and he basically just rampages until he gets killed again.
    • Alternately, this is a straight-out 'Came Back Wrong' thing, as he came back without any personality.
  • In Transformers Animated with Prowl's master Yoketron on the verge of death, Prowl desperately places his fading spark inside one of the remaining protoforms, bringing him back to life. Yoketron is horrified at Prowl's actions, telling him that "one must never sacrifice a piece of the future in order to save a piece of the past" before extinguishing his spark.
  • Parodied on Futurama when Bender's head ends up getting left behind in 1947; the crew digs him up in the year 3000 for this exchange:
    Bender: I was enjoying it, until you guys showed up.
  • In Ben 10: Ultimate Alien: Charmcaster trades the souls of every living being in Ledgerdomain to the "great old one" in exchange for the revival of her father, Spellbinder. Spellbinder is horrified at what his daughter has done, and willingly returns to the afterlife, negating the deal and returning the souls to their bodies.
  • Baxter Stockman in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2003 suffers one of these. Why is it unwanted? Because after all the horrific pain he suffered in life, he thought he was getting his peace at last. Nope!

    Real Life 
  • There's a reason why some people have a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) order on record. In some cases, they've successfully sued hospitals which ignored said order.