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We Can Rebuild Him

"Steve Austin, astronaut. A man barely alive. Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to build the world's first bionic man. Steve Austin will be that man. Better than he was before. Better, stronger, faster."

A villain is defeated and suffers a horrific Disney Death. Their body is shattered beyond repair. No One Could Survive That!

But later, he returns! Only this time, he's a cyborg! He's got more power, and he's less human so it's OK to be more brutal on him.

Heroes are occasionally subject to this trope. Unlike villains, this tends to make them question their humanity, and in doing so retain it.

This trope can serve as the Origin Story for both heroes and villains of the cybernetic variety.

A Subtrope of Emergency Transformation. Compare with Robot Me and Virtual Ghost. The fantasy counterpart is Came Back Strong. If the cybernetics are obvious and enhance the evilness of a character's appearance, it's a case of Red Right Hand. When the one doing the rebuilding is sadistic enough, it may involve Vader Breath. If the injuries are too extensive or the technology not far enough advanced, may result in Man in the Machine. A nasty variant is when a bad guy takes a Not Quite Dead hero and has him Reforged into a Minion.


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Frieza from Dragon Ball Z. Lampshaded in the English dub, even paraphrasing the page quote. Unfortunately for him, he still gets curb-stomped by a Future Badass (and if Trunks hadn't come along, Goku would've just teleported there and done the same thing).
    • He wasn't the first one—Mercenary Tao Pai Pai did it in the original Dragon Ball.
    • Sort-of happens to Cooler in the movies. As part of his "like Frieza, but more" approach, he gets an army of cool robot bodies while what's left of the original is hooked up to the spaceship controlling them.
    • Dr Gero did this to himself, becoming "Android 20". He also programmed a supercomputer to think exactly like him and continue his work in the event of his death.
    • And apparently Commander Red in Dragon Ball Online.
  • A rather hilarious one takes place in Dr Slump when a bear being returned to the wild is shot. Before administering any other help or considering any other options, Senbei declares "I might still be able to make him a cyborg!" He succeeds at this.
  • An interesting take on it is Stroheim from the second part of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. He first appears to be a villain, proves to be a Noble Demon, performs a Heroic Sacrifice in an attempt to destroy Santana, then returns later as a cyborg... just in time to pull a Heel-Face Turn.
    • And then gets chopped in half by Cars, only to come back AGAIN even more cyborged up in time for the grand finale. Best Nazi character EVER!
  • Jeremiah Gottwald in Code Geass has pulled this one twice now.
    • Technically the second time was just the completed version. He awakened prematurely the first time, and his cybernetic upgrades were not yet finished.
  • Ed before the start of Fullmetal Alchemist. Towards the end of the first anime, Col. Archer gets this done to a much more extreme extent.
  • In Inuyasha, Ginkotsu was a cyborg all along, but when he blew up, Renkotsu chopped his head off and mounted it on a tank chassis, along with 50 or so rocket launchers.
  • Franky from One Piece has the particular mention of being a heroic example of this trope who rebuilt himself while in a critical condition.
    • Bartholomew Kuma was rebuilt as well, but it's not quite certain whether he needed to be. Also, he went further than Franky did, and completely became a machine.
  • The Social Welfare Agency from the anime Gunslinger Girl rebuilds little girls who have suffered tragically and are listed as terminal, using cybernetic technology and psychological conditioning (read: brainwashing) to turn them into assassins. Cybernetics Eat Your Soul is played up for all its tragedy in this series.
  • Professional Killer Laura from Mnemosyne is rebuilt with a cybernetic body. It is hinted that the sadistic Big Bad dissected her before doing so.
  • Hero example: Joe Asakura in Science Ninja Team Gatchaman.
  • Iwata in the Excel♥Saga manga dies abruptly of colon cancer and is rebuilt as an android. He does not mind, but everyone else is a little weirded out, especially when he forgets to do human things and casually damages his body.
  • The backstories of two main characters of GaoGaiGar is this. Guy Shishioh had his spaceship crashed with the EI-01, supposedly killing him, but he was brought back to base by Galeon, and was rebuilt as a cyborg to save his life. Meanwhile, his cousin Renais Cardiff Shishioh was captured by a terrorist organization and rebuilt into a cyborg so she obeys their orders (eventually she rebelled).
  • The Major in Hellsing although the original manga never got around explaining how he became one. Fans speculate that the prequel series will show what happened between the time he is assumed to be still made of flesh and the not-so-human plot twist fifty years later.
  • The 2000 anime Sin: The Movie uses this trope, as well. A flashback shows lead character Blade gunned down and fatally injured, only to be save by being rebuilt with cybernetic parts, which end up coming in handy eventually.
  • Jinno in Afro Samurai was originally mortally wounded in a mass battle for the number two headband. He was remade as cyborg by the insane cyborg scientist Dharman. Jinno the cyborg was a superhumanly strong and skilled swordsman, but was defeated and (supposedly) killed twice by Afro. When he was rebuilt a third time, he apparently was so turbo-charged, he could slap Afro around all day long. But Jinno's last act in his tortured unlife was to remember his love for Afro as a sword brother, and defended Afro's life. Dying himself as a man, rather than an evil wartoy.
  • The original A.D. Police OVA series (a Bubblegum Crisis spinoff) had an episode revolve around "The Man Who Bites His Tongue", a police officer who was rebuilt with nothing organic left besides his brain and his tongue - which he began compulsively biting to hold on to his humanity. It doesn't end well, naturally.
  • Tenchi Muyo GXP: Would-be Knight of Cerebus Tarant Shank goes through several rounds of this after humiliating defeats. It never helps.
  • In the anime/manga Dragon Half, villainous knight Damuramu gets defeated when he accidentally stabs himself in the head with his own sword. In his next appearance - even though he had no other body part injured - he's had everything below his neck replaced with magical bionics by a friendly blacksmith. Except his head. (He even had his flying mount replaced with a robotic version, although this was necessary because the Good Guys ate the original.)
  • This is Kiddy Phenil's back story in Silent Möbius. After being carved up with Razor Floss by a serial killer named Wire, she is rebuilt as a cyborg much stronger than a normal human. An omake strip even has teammate Lebia trying to convince her to cosplay as RoboCop.
  • Ghost in the Shell is set in a future where this trope is used to remedy all manner of injuries. Apparently replacing damaged organs with real ones is preferable since they require no expensive and time consuming maintainance (Blessed with Suck), but cybernetics can always be used as a last ditch option.
    • In every version, the Major openly states that the reason she works for the government is because it pays for the very expensive maintenance of her state of the art cybernetic body.
    • The Tachikoma are fully artificial beings who share all their experiences with each other and have a complete backup of these made every day. They get blown up and shot to pieces all the time, but can upload their minds into new bodies any time. Which actually causes them quite some concern, as their inability to experience death prevents them from Becoming A Real Boy.
  • Possibly the first anime example—Detective Azuma, the eponymous 8th Man.
  • Gintama, being the Post Modern Gag Series that it is, doesn't just do this to one of the characters... it does this to Hideaki Sorachi - Gintama's author! During the Character Popularity Poll Arc note , Tae freaks at ranking lower than two "monkeys" (Kondo and Sorachi's Author Avatar), so she breaks the fourth wall to kill Sorachi. Next chapter/episode, he's rebuilt as a cyborg!
  • Kim Jong-Il in The Legend of Koizumi after he fell into the sea and was eaten by sharks.
  • Abullah in Pluto. He thinks he's one of these. In reality, portions of his memory caused a superpowerful robot to think it was him and the human Abullah is dead.
  • This trope was played straight with Raiden of Angel Cop. For some reason his conversion to a cyborg also involves a personality change.
  • Franken Fran rebuilds lots of people, not always for the better, some of whom didn't actually need rebuilding before Fran got her hands on them.
    • Yeah. Fran has issues about the whole "Organ donor", "Consent", and "Quality of Life" thing.
  • Ichiban Ushiro No Daimaou has Eiko killing her father to become the new Teruya head. She's in for a bit of a surprise when he returns as a cyborg.
  • Briareos Hecatonchires in Appleseed, after suffering horrible injuries during World War III.
  • In Naruto, Madara rebuilt Obito by replacing the crushed half of his body with Hashirama's cells.
  • In the manga version of Sailor Moon, Hotaru/Sailor Saturn was made into a cyborg after she was badly injured and horribly scarred in a explosion that killed her mother when she was little and her Mad Scientist father remade her body with cybernetics and fused it with Pharaoh 90's power. This is the reason why she wears long sleeves in order to hide her cybernetic body.

    Card Games 
  • While not actually involving cybernetics, the necromantic Golgari guild of Magic's Ravnica setting is apparently quite casual about reanimating and 'improving' their dead with plant life, as illustrated on cards like Vigor Mortis.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Gagagigo was rebuilt as the cybernetic Giga Gagagigo in order to fight the Invader of Darkness; however, the transformation corrupted him, eventually leading him to become a mindless half-mechanical monstrosity. Fortunately, a reunion with an old friend restored Gagagigo's sanity. Another example would be Inpachi, a tree golem which was burned into charcoal and resurrected as the cybernetic Woodborg Inpachi.

    Comic Books 
  • Oily Duck from the Conservation Corps Funny Animal enviromental Aesop comic book series.
  • Cyborg from the Teen Titans.
  • Deathlok the Demolisher from the Marvel Universe.
  • Batman foe Gearhead.
  • Superman villain Metallo.
  • Doom Patrol member Robotman. In his case, everything but the brain is robotic.
  • Averted by USAgent of the Marvel Universe. He lost an arm and a leg to Nuke, a cybernetically-augmented super soldier, but refuses to get cybernetic replacements, as he doesn't want to look down at his own body and be reminded of Nuke every day. Not that he really needs 'em.
    • played straight later, his legs do get rebuilt by his supervillainess comrade Toxy Doxie. He accepts because these legs aren't robotic but are instead made of re-engineered alien symbiote.
  • Spider-Man villain Silvermane.
  • In All Fall Down, Pronto goes through this, becoming the brainwashed and crazy Modern Prometheus, who nearly kills Siphon.
  • Warren Ellis' Global Frequency features a squad assembled from members of the titular group to take down a "realistic" take on the Six Million Dollar Man. Specifically creating the single successful individual required several failures and cost somewhere in the vein of five hundred million dollars. It entailed basically turning the subject into a humanoid Brain in a Jar as his skin was replaced, bones were replaced, weapons were installed, and chips were inserted into his brain to allow him to operate everything. He also runs on at least two nuclear reactors, has a plasma laser in his chest, a vulcan minigun in his arm, and can do 70 miles per hour from a standing start. Most nefariously, he has a wire to simulate sexual pleasure from murdering people...and he's loose.
  • Several characters in Marvel Star Wars. In the very first non-film comic a town proves unwilling to let a man be buried in the graveyard set aside for offworlders because he was a cyborg, so you know there's a lot of Fantastic Racism. A stormtrooper named Valance who was badly injured and had to be made into a cyborg became a bounty hunter who mostly expressed hatred towards droids.
    • Then there's Shira Brie/Lumiya. Originally Luke's wingmate and love interest, he shot her down without knowing who she was while on a mission and later found that she was actually an assassin/agent sent by his father. At the end of that arc she was seen floating in a bacta tank, observed by Vader. Later she resurfaced with three prosthetic limbs and extensive scarring as Lumiya, Dark Lady of the Sith.
  • Chew has this for two characters so far. The first one it happens to is Colby who takes a butcher's knife to the face in issue #1 while Poyo undergoes this later on.
  • In Legacy, Cade refuses to let Azlyn Rae die and has her put in a Vader-like life support armor. She is initially very unhappy with this, both because she was at peace and because the armor came with a Vader-like mask too. Fortunately, she was able to trade up for a more elegant suit of armor sans breath mask.
  • Bunnie Rabbot has a variation of this. Her old roboticized limbs were finally being rejected by her body and the toxicity building up were killing her. She was given two options - attempt deroboticization, which had a very low chance of succeeding (it's stated that they can only be reverted by using the same roboticizor and while the Freedom Fighters had Bunnie's, it was repaired and modified, thus not the original) or replace her limbs and never have the chance to be normal again. She took option B.
  • The Punisher fights and decapitates a villain known only as The Russian. He is later rebuilt with stolen technology, but in a terrifying move, is now given huge Gag Boobs, which he becomes enamored with.
  • Obscure DC Comics character Steel (not to be confused with John Henry Irons) was a man named Henry Haywood who was injured in an accident and had his skeleton replaced with a metallic alloy when the doctors helped him recover.

    Fan Works 
  • In Volume Three of Fallout: Equestria - Project Horizons, protagonist Blackjack gets rebuilt with Magitek cybernetics after dying of her horrific injuries, including Taint, mutilated limbs and the loss of both eyes. Her eyes and many of her internal organs are given cybernetic replacements, and her legs are fully mechanical. Built-in talismans give her the ability to eat and digest gems (for magical power) and metal (for self-repair capabilities). Blackjack is less than pleased with her mechanical body - having seen first-hand that Cybernetics Eat Your Soul - and often expresses her frustration at the fact that her body no longer reacts to her emotions.

    Film 
  • Nemesis: The protagonist, Alex.
    Narrator: It took them six months to put him back together. Synthetic flesh, bioengineered organs. It always scared him that they might take out his soul... and replace it with some matrix chip.
  • Inspector Gadget, at least according to The Movie.
  • Wang the Perverted came back as Evil Presence in Flesh Gordon Meets the Cosmic Cheerleaders. Since the same actor portrayed both characters, with no attempt to hide his voice, it's obvious to everyone who watches.
  • The most well known example in the whole wide galaxy would be...Darth Vader!
    • That's actually an inversion, as his prosthetics are inferior to living parts, the only thing that made him so badass was superior skill in the use of the Force.
    • Before we knew about him, we saw Luke lose his hand and get a new prosthetic. Like his father before him, he tended to wear a glove on that hand, even though with synthflesh Luke's hand looked entirely organic. He sometimes wears it, sometimes doesn't in the Star Wars Expanded Universe - it's a sign of what's In the Blood.
      • If you're going just by the original trilogy, Luke only puts on a glove partway through Return of the Jedi when his prosthetic hand is damaged. In the DVD version, you can see the little wires exposed as he examines it before he covers it with the glove.
    • And for another Star Wars example, General Grievous, who is arguably even more heavily reconstructed than Vader, with only the brain, the heart, the lungs and the eyes remaining organic.
    • The Sith Stalkers from the Star Wars Expanded Universe are more or less a mass produced version of Darth Vader. Galen Marek from the video game The Force Unleashed ends up as one in the "evil" alternate ending.
  • The title character in RoboCop. Ditto for the villain Cain in RoboCop 2 who lost his whole body. Especially monstrous as OCP killed Cain explicitly so they could rebuild him. Another interesting side note is that several other attempted RoboCop 2s committed suicide; the implication is that people need a level of motivation found mostly in psychotics to be able to tolerate a cyborg's existence. It's also implied that Body Horror played a significant part in those suicides. Those failed batches were much less human in appearance than the RoboCop model Murphy was converted into.
    • Apparently the original Robocop team was on to something, as they decided to preserve Murphy's original face (with some body horror thrown in, it IS his actual face skin) even tough the body prosthesis is complete: no original limbs from his body remain, only his brain, nervous system, some vertebrae and a rudimentary digestive system. that's right, Robocop doesn't even have to "breathe" to function. In the second movie, Robocop mentions they "did this to honor him" referring to Alex Murphy as if he were another man.
    • The remake has a much more mobile version of the character. He can run and fight hand-to-hand. Also, for some reason, Alex's right hand was left original. Given how powerful his custom weapon is, wouldn't a human hand be shattered by the recoil? Additionally, the scientist in charge of the project made sure that the cyborg would stay loyal and complete missions by controlling the body and tricking Alex's brain into thinking that he's the one in control. However, later, Alex manages to override the body's priority and takes control.
      • Robocop's original script asked for Murphy to retain a human hand, Paul Verhoeven decided against it; thus giving us the scene where the medical team announces they were able to save the left arm, only for the project's director to remind them that they had agreed on a complete body prosthesis; so they send Murphy to the surgery room to have the arm taken off after callously stating that "he signed a release form, he's legally dead; so (paraphrasing) they can do what they please with the body".
  • The original Godzilla went from this to this when he was rebuilt as Kiryu (the latest version of Mechagodzilla).
  • Bolt, in the TV show within the movie.
  • In the So Bad, It's Good sci-fi comedy Space Truckers, the Corrupt Corporate Executive betrays the Mad Scientist by turning his Killer Robot creations against him. Fortunately for him, he's able to rebuild himself, turning himself into a grotesque mish-mash of man and machine, and takes up a new life as a pirate.
  • When Jason is killed in Jason X, there's not enough left of him for the futuristic medical beds to reconstruct as he was, so he is instead reconstructed as a cyborg (much to the heroes' chagrin).
  • Dr. Arliss Loveless in the film version of Wild Wild West lost the entire lower half of his body to his explosive experiments during the Civil War. Somehow, he survived and managed to build himself a replacement in the form of a Steam Punk wheelchair with some "custom" features. He also implies that he has found a way of restoring certain other lower-body functions using technology.

    Literature 
  • An interesting example is from Terry Pratchett's Feet of Clay, where the Golem Dorfl is destroyed in the final battle against the golem Mesugah. Afterwards, Captain Carrot actually says, in a direct reference to The Six Million Dollar Man, the line: "We can rebuild him. We have the pottery." And they do.
    • Subverted, the character wasn't alive to begin with, or at least had no biological components.
  • Peter David's Psi-Man series had Beutel return with fewer and fewer organic parts each time, after getting trashed in the previous appearance's No One Could Survive That moment. We think the finale got him for real...
  • The hero in one Arthur C. Clarke's short story is a man who was, delicately speaking, badly hurt in a blimp crash, and was more reconstructed (with cybernetics) than healed. The doctors were nice enough to make him 20 centimeters taller to make up for being half-machine.
  • Played for laughs by Edgar Allan Poe in The Man Who Was Used Up.
  • The Tin Man from the Oz books may be the Ur Example.
  • The Star Wars Expanded Universe is loaded with characters good and characters evil who end up as cyborgs. There's some Fantastic Racism directed towards those who lose more than a limb. Admiral Krennel literally has a skeletal prosthetic right hand that glows red. Darklighter reveals that Hobbie Klivian has at least an arm and a leg, and Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor shows readers that he also lost his other leg. Ton Phanan lost limbs, half his face, and eventually more and more, and found that cybernetics ate his future.
    • Death Star has a surgeon looking at Darth Vader from a safe distance and thinking that it's pretty obvious that the Dark Lord is largely cybernetic. But it seems that this book is a little divorced from the rest of the EU, since the surgeon seems to think that cybernetics are rare and most people opt to have the missing tissue cloned and grafted on.
    • Supplementary material for Dark Forces reveals that the prototypes for darktroopers - robotic stormtroopers - were aging veteran clone troopers, too old to fight well but very experienced, who had seventy percent or more of their bodies replaced. No one asked them about this beforehand, so while they were effective in the battlefield, a lot of them committed suicide.
      • In Dark Empire, the cloned Palpatine uses Shadow Droids, which are similar except that they're fighters piloted by the brains of incapacitated TIE pilots. And they can use the Force. Sorta.
    • Ton Phanan of Wraith Squadron has an allergy to bacta, so any debilitating injuries have to be replaced with cybernetics.
  • This is the superhero Fatale's origin in Soon I Will Be Invincible.
  • In Freedom (the sequel to Daemon), Loki receives this treatment after being disfigured during torture.
  • In the Quantum Gravity series, Lila Black comes back from Alfheim after a torture session and goes through this in order to survive. In a twist emphasizing the Grey and Gray Morality, she didn't need those to survive until the people in her organization got their hands on her...
  • In Prelude to Dune, Prince Rhombur Vernius of Ix is seriously injured during an assassination attempt on his friend Duke Leto Atreides, losing his entire lower half and much of the upper half. Dr. Wellington Yueh, who has just managed to perfect cybernetic prosthetics on Richese, agrees to "fix" Rhombur with the prosthetics. After the procedure, he is mostly cybernetic than human. Since Rhombur is Ixian, machines are a big part of his life, so being a cyborg for him is not so bad. However, he loses the ability to reproduce and, being the last surviving member of House Vernius, knows his line is ending. His wife suggests impregnating herself with the semen of Rhombur's deceased half-brother on his mother's side, thus providing him with a distaff heir. With his new cybernetic body, Rhombur is very strong and can crush a man's neck with one hand. He does, however, spend years learning how to properly use his new parts.
  • In Max Barry's Machine Man, Dr. Charles Neumann does this to himself, going from amputee, to double-amputee, to Man in the Machine, to Brain in a Jar, to full-on Brain Uploading.
  • People in Honor Harrington generally prefer a regen therapy, but there's a sizable minority for whom it doesn't work, including the main character. These unfortunates have to do with prosthetics, up to and including becoming a Hollywood Cyborg depending on the extent of damage. Honor, for example, has an artificial eye and an artificial arm (with a built-in gun, no less).
  • In the late 1980's, there was an adventure series called "Steele", whose lead, SWAT cop Donovan Steele, was rebuilt into a cyborg with a bit of a twist on the concept: he looked normal, but his damaged brain had been replaced with an artificially intelligent computer programmed to THINK of itself as Don Steele. Half his memories weren't even his — programmers patched in some of their own to fill gaps in the upload. He angsted a good bit about his humanity when he wasn't slaughtering bad guys.

    Live Action TV 
  • The Trope Namer is The Six Million Dollar Man, where Steve Austin is rebuilt and given cybernetic implants to become the eponymous hero after a crash. In Homage, quite a few of the other references on this page use some variant of the line.
  • The Bionic Woman, being a spin-off of The Six Million Dollar Man, follows on with the same concept. As does the 2007 remake, Bionic Woman.
  • Jack Moon in Madan Senki Ryukendo is brought back as Mechanimoon.
  • Michael Wiseman in Now and Again.
  • Inverted in Star Trek: Voyager with Seven of Nine who's turned from a Borg drone into a human with a few Borg components...which miraculously enable her to do everything (and more) that a Borg drone can do.
    • Subverted in Next Generation with Jean-Luc Picard, who was stabbed through the heart as a Starfleet cadet and received an artificial one as a replacement. While this event helped to make him a formidable officer, his newfound strengths came from the psychological impact of his close brush with death, not from his cardiac implant.
  • Repli-Weir, but her body was built from Fran's plans, so it's also a The Nth Doctor situation. You know, before they killed her.
  • In Kamen Rider, most of the 90s-and-before Riders were physically altered in some way to become Riders, though few in response to otherwise-unrecoverable injury or illness. Kamen Rider J was one of those cases, infused with "J Power" after being tossed off a cliff by bad guys. (This is a rare case of the transformation being benign: the rebuilding is usually done by bad guys wanting to use the Riders as a trump card. For some reason, upgrading always comes before brainwashing, and the Rider-to-be always escapes brainwashing. (When will Shocker learn?)
  • Buredoran gets rebuilt into Buredo-RUN in Tensou Sentai Goseiger. The same goes for his counterpart Vrak (without a name alteration) in Power Rangers Megaforce.
  • Spoofed in That '70s Show. In one of Fez's many Imagine Spots, he contemplates what it will be like to have Hyde, Eric, and Kelso teach him how to get girls..
    Hyde: Gentlemen...we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We can make him smarter, handsomer, aloofer.
    Eric: Aloofer? Is that even a word?
    Hyde: We can make it a word. We have the technology.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dreadnoughts in Warhammer 40,000 are much the same - veteran Space Marines who have been mortally injured in battle, now kept in their heavily-armored chassis. Fortunately, since the darkness of the far future has only war, there's never a shortage of... materials. Also, since they are fanatic warrior monks, they have (slightly) less mental problems than most other people. Most are also kept sedated between battle so they don't spend too much time reflecting on their condition, a wise move when you see what happens to their Chaos counterparts, who aren't.
    • Dreadnoughts are arguably a slightly different trope, depending on precisely how thoroughly plumbed-in the pilot happens to be. Augmetics, on the other hand, play this one totally straight. Pretty much all the species of 40K have various versions of this trope, the only exceptions being the Organic Technology-using Tyranids and the Necrons, who bypassed the "cyborg" phase altogether in favour of Brain Uploading. note 
    • Particularly noteworthy are the Iron Hands chapter of Space Marines. Their particular hat is a belief that the machine is strong, the flesh is weak. Ergo, Iron Hands Space Marines actually look forward to serious injuries that necessitate the rebuilding of limbs and the replacement of organs with bionic perfection. Notably, their Techmarines and Chaplains are one and the same, "Iron Fathers", while those interred within Dreadnoughts are revered even more highly that those of other Chapters.
  • Most sci-fi games feature Transhuman cybertech of some stripe, but there's usually some limiting factor as to the degree to which one can be rebuilt. However, Shadowrun goes whole hog with cyberzombies. Apparently, Aztechnology can completely rebuild a person... but he'll live a miserable shell of an existence and likely be dead within a year.
  • Many fantasy games (particularly D&D) have necromancy provide the same effect, with villains and heroes coming back faster, stronger and deader, only the answer to the humanity question is a rather obvious No.
    • A more traditional example might be the Half-Golem template, which has people repaired with magically powered mechanical parts. Eventually they go nuts because Cybernetics Eat Your Soul.

    Toys 

    Video Games 
  • In Deus Ex: Human Revolution, bio-mechanical augmentation is a state of the art but highly controversial science. The guy being rebuilt in the image is protagonist Adam Jensen, chief of security at one of the leading augmentation corporations, who was severely injured in a brutal and highly coordinated attack on the company's headquarters; Adam's employer augments him in order to save his life. It turns out later on that Adam was genetically engineered to be able to accept augments without needing constant dozes of the drug Neuropozyne to prevent implant rejection, and his employer took advantage of this to stuff him with every piece of advanced military hardware they had to make him into a killing machinenote 
    • On a larger scale, people in the Human Revolution universe are evenly divided between pro and anti augmentation stances, but anyone can choose to get an augmentation. The only limiting factors are money, and the subsequent lifetime use of Neuropozyne to prevent implant rejection syndrome (a build-up of scar tissue that impairs both biologic and mechanical operation). Essentially, with enough cash, anyone can invoke We Can Rebuild Him. Except for a rare few whose bodies completely reject augments. This includes Hugh Darrow, the creator of augmentation technology. His bitterness over this leads to very bad things happening in the final act.
  • Bryan Fury from Tekken
  • Gruntilda in Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty's Revenge, although instead of being revived as a cyborg, she transfers her soul to a robotic body while she is trapped below a rock.
  • The Starwolf team in Star Fox 64, if you enter Venom the hard way from Area-6, though Wolf avoided this fate.
    • Oddly enough, while the hard ending is canon, Star Wolf returns pretty much unaffected in Assault, although Wolf traded his eyepatch for something more high-tech. It's also perfectly possible to avoid the first encounter with Star Wolf and they still show up like this on Venom.
  • This might be the case for Yoshimitsu from Soul Calibur.
  • In MOTHER 3, Yokuba/Fassad ends up falling off the Thunder Tower as a result of his own stupidity, but returns as a cyborg not much later. He loses his ability to speak, instead communicating through music which requires an interpreter, and is now combat capable enough to pick fights with the party on his own though it turns out he would've been a threat even without his enhancements.
    • It also turns out that the Masked Man is a brainwashed, reconstructed Claus, who was found by the Pigmask army after his failed attempt to get revenge on the Mecha-Drago, then used by the Big Bad as the commander of the army and as a tool to pull the needles.
  • Raiden returns as a cyborg in Metal Gear Solid 4. And he's awesome. It's also one of The Patriots' atrocities: he didn't need rebuilding.
    • Before Raiden, there was... Cyborg Ninja, a.k.a. Gray Fox.
    • Big Boss in Snake's Revenge. But we don't talk about that.
      • He's a cyborg in official Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake as well, although this fact only comes up at the end (and is explained as being the end result of having been tortured and mutilated prior to becoming your CO in the first game).
      • The process of transforming Big Boss with prostheses is finally depicted in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.
  • Driscoll at the end of Front Mission. If you play the Gaiden Game, it turns out he was Hoist by His Own Petard.
  • Ridley in the Metroid series. Many, many times.
    • Twice for Metroid Prime 3.
    • Arguably, Samus herself. In Prime, her power suit gets rebuilt to make use of the game's Applied Phlebotinum. In Fusion, she even gets injected with a Metroid vaccine that alters her body.
      • Her suit had become integrated with her conscious system, making it impossible to remove while she was unconscious without surgery. Samus manages to pull this trope off twice in less than three minutes in Fusion.
    • General Weavil and Mother Brain, too. The Space Pirates are good at this.
    • Although it is noted that her armour drops when she uses the whole suit's power for the special attack is super smash brothers brawl, revealing a more agile and armourless samus.
  • This actually happens to the Player Character in Armored Core 1 and 2. A little known secret is that if you keep dying, the game "lowers the difficulty" by giving you cyborg upgrades that improve your Humongous Mecha. It even has a funny/morbid little cutscene with the evil AI and a doctor discussing it.
  • Omega Rugal in The King of Fighters 95. He actually wound up destroying himself again with the use of the Orochi power.
  • In the Time Crisis series, Wild Dog gets shot to pieces at the end of every game. The first time he returned as a cyborg it was a surprise twist (for a given value of "surprising"), now it's just what he does.
  • Hugo Medio from Super Robot Wars MX has this in his backstory, where an attack by a powerful enemy (the Jetzt in OG Gaiden, or the Devil Gundam in MX, the latter uses the zombified version of his old friend Foglia) left him very gravely wounded, and the only way to save him was to add cybernetic parts to his body.
  • World of Warcraft has a magic example for Kael'Thas. After his first defeat, he was brought back to life by a demon, apparently by shoving a crystal through his chest.
  • According to the backstory, this is the source of all the Protoss Dragoons in StarCraft. Most notable is Fenix, who you get to control both before and after gets almost killed.
    • Then there are the Immortals of StarCraft II, Dragoons on steroids. Due to desperation and the loss of the old Dragoon shrines on Aiur, the Protoss had to refit the ones they had with hardened energy shields to squeeze every iota of use out of them. They represent a dying breed who will give everything to buy even a second more for their people. The definition of Bad Ass Determinators.
  • Averted but later subverted in the Mega Man X series. When Zero dies at the end of the first game, the Maverick Hunters try their best in rebuilding him, but Zero's designs are too complicated to duplicate. In the second game, however, he was indeed rebuilt, but by the villains. This situation, however, only happens in the non-canon ending; the true ending has X obtain Zero's parts (which are implied to be created by the villains nonetheless), and the Hunters use them to truly revive Zero.
    • This sort of subversion happens again later, in Mega Man X6, where Zero reappears once again Back from the Dead, but there's absolutely no idea as to who actually rebuilt him this time.
    • And rebuilt one last time into an even more powerful body by Ciel.
  • Mr. X in Streets of Rage 3.
  • Marathon brings up this trope with its Mark IV Mjolnir combat cyborgs. There is even a strong implication that your character himself is a robocopped dead soldier.
  • In Xenosaga, "Ziggy" is a Ziggurat-8 model cyborg, thus rebuilt after the suicide of policeman Jan Sauer. He isn't too happy about it, until he finds a new purpose.
  • In the original No More Heroes, Travis kills Destroyman by vertically cutting him in half. As one of only many examples as to why the series is Crazy Awesome, he returns in the sequel, with both halves rebuilt into separate cyborgs.
  • In Mass Effect 2, to avoid the Gameplay-Guided Amnesia, the game starts with the Normandy getting shot to pieces and Commander Shepard being hurled into space in a leaking space suit and falling all the way to the surface of the nearby planet. Cerberus retrieved the charred and broken remains and spend two years and billions of credits to bring Shepards body back to life, including most of the memories. Cue Shepard's reply to bewildered onlookers, "I Got Better."
    • This also explains if the player chooses to give Shepard a different class, for example, going from a Soldier to an Adept. The sudden appearance of biotic powers could be explained by the use of Element Zero during the rebuilding process.
    • Becomes a brief source of drama in the third game when Shepard finds reason to question whether he/she is actually Shepard or just a cyborg zombie programmed to think that they're Shepard.
  • Urgot from League of Legends, a battle-scarred warrior who "refused to die". When he finally died, he was rebuilt as a cybernetic crab creature with a grenade launcher arm.
    • Also, Orianna, although instead of rebuilding the actual girl her "father" recreated her as a clockwork automaton.
  • In the Vera Blanc games by indie developer Winter Wolves, the eponymous teenage heroine was saved from a fatal brain tumor with an experimental procedure that not only re-wired her brain to work more efficiently, but gives her the ability to read minds.
  • Amber from Project Eden was turned into a combat Cyborg after a skyway accident, apparently at her request.
  • Peacock from Skullgirls. She was originally a normal girl who was kidnapped by slavers that mutilated her bodynote . She was found after her torture by staff from the shadowy Anti-Skullgirl Lab, who equipped her with a shiny new set of cyborg parts: mechanical arms with three eyes on each, a bear trap for teeth, and a veritable cornucopia of reality-warping instruments of destruction. Unfortunately, the torture drove her mad, and being rebuilt failed to stabilize her mind.
    • Ben Birdland was a cop who ran afoul of his crooked unit, ending up in an iron lung as a result. He accepted the Anti-Skullgirl Lab's offer to rebuild him as Big Band, and they made good by integrating a breathing apparatus and an array of pneumatic musical weapons into his body.
      • It's implied that most, if not all, of the cyborgs in the Anti-Skullgirl Lab 8 (such as Big Band and Peacock above) were people who suffered horrible injuries and were subsequently rebuilt by the Lab. Word of God states that even the cyborg children in Lab 8 are disabled orphans who would have been unable to survive without their assistance. Lab 0, however, is not so ethical—Painwheel was originally a normal, healthy girl who was kidnapped and experimented on against her will.
  • The hero in Shatterhand loses his hands against the bad guys, and his new fits allow him to take them on.
  • All the Bonus Bosses in Terraria are improved robotic versions of the older bosses. Which leads one to believe that something had rebuilt them for a reason.
  • Cybernetic surgery is a common practice in I Miss the Sunrise.
  • This is the explanation for Megatron's new body in Transformers: Fall of Cybertron; he starts the game in the same body as in War for Cybertron, then gets pulverized by Metroplex and rebuilt by Soundwave into a similar but different body.
  • In the prologue to Too Human, a Cyber Punk adaptation of Norse Mythology, Baldr is resurrected by Aesir cybernetics technology. It's implied to happen again and again and again every time the player dies and the cutscene where a Valkyrie teleports in to carry him off to Valhalla shows. There are also plot-relevant cutscenes where your support troops who die are carried off as well and in the last area they are joined by the setting's version of Einherjar, nine-foot-tall armored cyborgs with Arm Cannons
  • Implied of Liberty Prime in Fallout 3, who gets Kill Satted and blown to smithereens during the first quest of Broken Steel; his remains are returned to the Citadel, where you can donate spare parts for cash, although he never actually gets rebuilt in the game. A more traditional example is Star Paladin Cross, who was rebuilt into a cyborg by Scribe Rothchild following critical injuries while defending Elder Lyons.
  • In Robopon, Dr. Zero did this to himself. After defeating Prince Tail's father, the King attacked him and left him for dead. Zero repaired his original body with cybernetics.

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 
  • Psychotic assassin Deathlist of the Whateley Universe. He's been rebuilt so many times the only human part of him is his head. Supposedly, his first rebuild was after his parents stuffed him into a trash compactor, decades ago.
  • Red vs. Blue plays With this trope a bit. In this case, the person turned into a cyborg (Simmons) isn't actually the one who needed rebuilding; instead, he's rebuilt as a cyborg so his body parts can be used to save Grif after an unfortunate incident with a Warthog and the wall of a base. Why Grif wasn't the one to be made a cyborg is a testament to Sarge's determination to never let common sense get in the way of scientific progress.
    • Though technically, he was already planning to make Simmons a cyborg (so he could fix the warthog), it just happened that it left a bunch of spare organs lying around.
  • In Worm, when Armsmaster, having already lost an arm against Leviathan, is nearly killed by Mannequin, his friend Dragon designs and implements cyborg technology to save his life on the spot. He later refines this even more to the point that he doesn't need to sleep and moves like a speedster, in addition to his powered armor.
  • Julia is rebuilt in Ducktalez 7 and plans on getting the Lucky Dime again.

    Western Animation 
  • Taurus Bulba from Darkwing Duck.
  • Hyena and Jackal from Gargoyles. And Coldstone, but he/they weren't human to start with.
  • Brother Blood from Teen Titans.
    • Arguable, as he intentionally upgraded himself with cyber-parts. Cyborg, however, in both comics and cartoons, fits this trope to a "T" (ouch, sorry)
  • Baxter Stockman in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) lost more and more body parts as the show went on, becoming a more monstrous cyborg with each appearance, until he eventually ends up as a Brain in a Jar.
  • Hexadecimal from ReBoot had this treatment after being blown up when a game cube (No, not THAT one) cut the giant laser she was using in half, but instead of a cyborg she was turned into a BDSM slave. By her brother.
    • Well, technically, it was Herr Doctor that made her like that.
      • Or possibly the brick-footed binome.
      • Even Herr Doctor is squicked out over the fact that the only reason she hasn't even tried to escape is that she seems to enjoy it. Let that sink in for a minute.
  • Zachary Foxx of the Galaxy Rangers is turned into a Hollywood Cyborg with an Arm Cannon after being injured in a space battle.
  • Spoofed in Family Guy in a faux-flashback when Peter remembers the time when he was The Million Dollar Man. Unfortunately, they didn't want to spend a lot of money so they came up with...this.
  • In Men In Black the TV series, Alpha first rebuilt himself with alien body parts, but later used cybernetics.
  • In Bionic Six, Bionic One was able to keep his identity as a cyborg superhero secret from his family until an accident required him to "use the technology," if you will, to prevent them from dying.
  • Cyber-Godzilla in Godzilla: The Series, who is Zilla brought back to life by aliens.
  • The Venture Bros. parodies this with Steve Austin, the original bionic man, running away from the U.S. since it turns out the government wants him to pay for the multi-million dollar surgery, on a government agent's salary.
  • In the second season finale of Archer, the KGB turns Barry into a bionic man to hunt down Archer and Katya. His introduction is a straight-up homage to the oft-quoted The Six Million Dollar Man opening.
  • In the Aqua Teen Hunger Force episode "Total Re-Carl", Meatwad declares they can rebuild him after Frylock's Super-Toilet prototype destroyed Carl's body (leaving him a severed head). After several mishaps, Frylock just shoves Carl's head onto a remote-control toy truck and calls it a day.
  • In Star Wars: The Clone Wars Mother Talzin used her magicks to fashion new, cybernetic legs for Darth Maul, who survived his bisection at the hands of Obi-Wan.

    Real Life 
We're getting there. It's inevitable. No guarantees, however, don't come crying about your jetpack.
  • Some intraocular lens implants used in cataract surgery are reported to give better vision than natural vision at its youth peak.
  • There is a debate over whether prosthetic legs such as those used by sprinter Oscar Pistorius give users an unfair competitive advantage over "able-bodied" athletes.
  • Catcopter
  • Dental implants, an increasingly-common alternative to dentures, never get cavities and can be less brittle than natural teeth.


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