Why Won't You Die?
"Stop that! Stop... not-dying!"An old and well-used Stock Phrase, most frequently used by villains who have seen a Made of Iron hero calmly walk through Death Traps, fought their way out of a carefully laid ambush, Outrun the Fireball from an explosion, or pull a Scope Snipe on their highly paid killers. And really, at that point, can you blame them? Variations: "What does it take to kill you?", "How Many Times Must I Kill You?", and "Why won't you STAY dead?!!", which are generally reserved for when the hero comes Back from the Dead, or returns after a No One Could Survive That and/or Never Found the Body scenario. Although it's far more common for the villains to say it, it's not exclusive to them. If it's a good guy saying it, it will most commonly come from a Muggle type of hero or character about some supernatural or Implacable Man villain, or by someone who is closer to the Anti-Hero side of the Morality Axis than to Ideal Hero and is getting frustrated with their enemy seeming to have Joker Immunity. Subtrope of Staying Alive. Contrast Dead to Begin With. See also Healing Factor and Pulling Themselves Together for reasons that these people/things will not stay dead. Also Prepare to Die and You Have No Chance to Survive for what this trope defies. For Video Game Boss Battle equivalents that can provoke this reaction in players, see Marathon Boss, Sequential Boss and Damage-Sponge Boss. NOTE: This trope is about when the phrase (or something similar) is said in the story. For dead characters whose deaths never seem to "stick," see Death Is Cheap.
— Freeza, Dragon Ball Z Abridged
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Anime & Manga
- Anti-hero Guts and the monsters that he fights say this back and forth to each other in Berserk, Guts due to his Made of Iron stature and sheer refusal to die, and the demons due to their supernatural toughness and endurance.
- In Bleach,
- Szayel Aporro says this to Mayuri during their fight. "Why?! I destroyed all of your organs and tendons! So why won't you die?!"
- Nnoitra Gilga screams this during his fight with Kenpachi, who is not only taking all of his attacks without apparently feeling them but is also laughing with glee even as he gets torn apart. "You've pissed me off long enough. Die God Damnit!"
- Driscoll Berci's Famous Last Words were to ask Yamamoto to die already after his stolen attack had no effect on him. Yamamoto then reduced him to a pile of ashes.
- Candice Catnipp says this to Kenpachi when she zaps him with lightning twice and Meninas McAllon punched him into a crater. The Red Shirts of Squad 11 shout this to Giselle Gewelle after she shows no signs of pain and keeps talking when they slash her from shoulder to stomach.
- Anyone who encounters an Abyssal One or Priscilla in Claymore will end up thinking this.
- Fans of Dragon Ball Z have certainly said this enough times while watching some of the fights, But two times of characters saying it comes to mind: when Frieza is fighting Vegeta, Krillin and Gohan, he begins to wonder if they're immortal because they keep coming back. (Then he notices Dende healing them). Later he says a variant when Goku reveals he's Not Quite Dead. There are probably plenty more.
- Fullmetal Alchemist: "How many times do I have to kill you before you die?"
- In Full Metal Panic!, Sousuke has a variant of this towards Gauron, most notably in TSR where Sousuke pretty much cries out, "But you're supposed to be—" with Gauron finishing, "dead?".
- This happens in Fushigi Yuugi before the final battle. Complete with a freakin' Power Walk.
Nakago: (to Tamahome) Damn you... I thought you were dead.
- Gantz manga: The Nurarihyon fight went on and on and on, suffering quite a few explosive "deaths," just to show up in yet ANOTHER form. It gets to the point where one of the team members bemoans how this fight just never ends.
- Nike, The Dragon in Air Gear can take horrendous amounts of punishment. In every single battle he's been in, he's been taken down only to get back up for more mutual asskicking with his opponent. In his fights, he tends to actually take more damage than his opponents do, but his vast endurance helps him survive when his opponents generally don't. His refusal to stay down has several characters saying, or at least thinking, "What the hell does it take to put this monster down?"
- Hellsing: At some point in the series, almost every recurring character receives this line or similar for their astounding survivability. One noteworthy instance of Alucard's insane durability has him flying a stealth plane at breakneck speed into a vampire Nazi-controlled battleship, wading into a hail of bullets and grenades from its crew, then taking over a dozen gut shots from an enchanted bullet the size of his noggin.
- Polnareff says this to Vanilla Ice in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure after stabbing him all the way in the mouth. Vanilla Ice tells him that he "doesn't have time for dying", but Polnareff later realizes that he had been made into a vampire by Dio and can't be killed by such means.
- Spoken word-for-word in Nabari No Ou by Kannuki-sensei after Kouichi was shot in the heart and came back to life.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion:
- When Asuka's trying to stab an Angel that's been so strengthened by hatching in an active volcano, her knife can't pierce it: "Die, damn you!"
- There is also Asuka fighting the 14th angel. "Why won't you collapse damn you!?"
- A much, much nastier example can be found in End of Evangelion. This happens three times, maybe. The first is when the JSSDF decide to try and destroy Unit 02 with a battleship, a couple of artillery and tank battalions and a small army. Needless to say, they fail. Then Asuka fights the nine Mass Production Evas. She kills them all. And then they regenerate, despite being cut in half, missing the head, missing an arm etc. Asuka probably was thinking this, except for the fact she had been stabbed in the eye with a lance. Then, Unit 02 and Asuka are still alive after having been eviscerated, eaten and stabbed. And she tries to reach up and attack them. So they split her arm and impale her again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And then they run out of spears, but by that time, Unit 02 and Asuka are both already dead.
- And then, just to be sure, they take some of the remains and eat on-the-fly, and drop them as soon as EVA-01 shows up.
- In the original Gainax Ending, Rei asks "Why am I still alive?"
- In the original version of EVA-01 versus Zeruel, Zeruel still has the stamina to moan, even as it is being eaten. Don't ask how, it just won't die.
- In the Rebuild Version of this battle, Zeruel kept getting beaten up for about 20 minutes, before EVA-01 and Shinji initiate Third Impact and cause Zeruel to explode in a huge explosion of blood (not as much as Sahaquiel, though. It flooded Tokyo-3 completely by dying).
- Speaking of someone named Asuka, there is also Shinn Asuka from Gundam SEED Destiny.
- Shinn to Kira Yamato in brand new,flashy, and stronger Strike Freedom after Shinn thought he is already dead when Shinn destroyed the old/original Freedom.
- "Bastard! Why won't you go down?? FALL!!"
- In the same battle, interfering Athrun Zala also invoked Shinn to say this trope, complete with his Heroic BSOD tone.
- "Athrun..?? But i.. killed you.."
- Kira himself invoke this trope in the final episode to Rey Za Burrel after realized Rey is a cloned "younger brother/successor" of previous installment's Big Bad, Rau Le Creuset, which himself also a cloned human, also complete with his Heroic BSOD.
- "But.. it can't be you!! Why did you come back??"
- Shinn to Kira Yamato in brand new,flashy, and stronger Strike Freedom after Shinn thought he is already dead when Shinn destroyed the old/original Freedom.
- One Piece: Crocodile asked this question of Luffy after impaling him and dehydrating him, in that order.
- Koichiro Kase has this reaction towards the end of an episode of Weiß Kreuz after Ken returns unscathed from Kase's second attempt at killing him. Ken replies solemnly, "I don't like hell."
- Done in YuYu Hakusho, although the circumstances are a little different than normal. When Kurama faces off with the elder Toguro, he tricks Toguro into being caught by a cursed tree that inescapably binds its victims, then fills their heads with hallucinations while it drains the life energy out of them. Thus, although he is simply bound to the tree, Toguro lives in an eternal hallucination of delivering fatal blow after fatal blow to Kurama, only for Kurama to shrug it off.
Why won't he die? Why won't he die?!
- In the manwha/manga Shin Angyo Onshi. This is Hong Gildong's reaction to Munsu still being alive despite having a massive Ki bomb fired at him.
- In the English dub of Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, Scanty screams this word-for-word during her battle with Panty.
- In Is This a Zombie?, Kyoko screams this when Ayumu won't die no matter how many times she stabs or blasts him.
- In A Certain Magical Index, Accelerator screams this to Touma during their rematch in Volume 20, when Touma keeps surviving every attack Accelerator launches at him.
- Happens in Betrayal Knows My Name with the Duras Ashley. She first gets Shuusei to admit that he wants to die and stops his heart, then almost kills Hotsuma who's Voice of God then revives Shuusei. They proceed to kick her ass, because they ARE stronger together, and she really doesn't like that.
- Ashley: Just a minute ago, you were dying!
- Naruto: during Sasuke and Naruto's final battle, Sasuke starts desperately wishing for Naruto to lose after one too many times of Naruto standing back up after every one of Sasuke's attacks.
- Deathstroke asks this◊ of an alternate version of himself that really doesn't at all look like Deadpool.
- Doctor Doom is flabbergasted by Reed Richards' perseverance to the point of expressing this trope word-for-word in ALL CAPS ON MANY DIFFERENT OCCASIONS. Special props to Fantastic Four #200, after Reed escapes from a sealed incinerator by squeezing through the tiny pipeline leading from a jet blasting poisonous chlorine gas into his face.
- In an issue of Adam Warren's Dirty Pair, Kei, fighting an artificially created "warbeast", starts unloading into its head at zero range with a gun capable of stopping a Power Suit with one shot.
"*BANG* DIE! *BANG* DIE! *BANG* WILL YOU @&$(# DIE!?"
- In the Seed of Destruction storyline, Hellboy shoots Rasputin in the head...
Hellboy: Hey, fall down, man!
- Scud The Disposable Assassin shouts this or something similar at a zombified Tyrannosaurus Rex, after emptying a combat shotgun into its face. Destroying the brain is a lot harder when said brain is the size of a pea.
- The Joker says this in his very first appearance◊ in Batman #1. Ironic, given Joker's later ability.
- In his first adventure, Popeye was shot 16 times and still continued to fight.
- A variation appears in 52, during the climactic battle between Lex Luthor (armed with all the powers of Superman) and Steel (armed with basically some armour and a big hammer). After Steel responds to the predictable Curb-Stomp Battle that ensues by continuing to keep getting up no matter how hard Luthor hits him, Luthor — after first mocking the increasing number of injuries that Steel is racking up — bellows "Are you still getting up? Lie down and die!"
- In An Entry With A Bang, one shipman has this reaction after a Dropship eats enough SM-2 missiles to supposedly take out a large chunk of the old Soviet air force and still isn't greatly damaged.
- In Latias Journey, this phrase is applied to most of the undead horrors that keep regenerating — some after multiple actual deaths, and one having been utterly vaporized.
- In Yu Yu Hakusho Abridged, Kuwabara has apparently already killed Byakko twice when Byakko comes back again, albeit horribly wounded.
Kuwabara: How many times do I have to kill that guy!?Yusuke: Once would suffice.
- Vegeta in Dragon Ball Z Abridged does the same, hilariously, whilst trying to punch Gohan into oblivion as he turns into an Oozaru. Frieza has a Buffy Speak version after Goku goes Super Saiyan. "Stop that! Stop...not-dying!"
- Rorschach does this towards Deadpool in I'm a Marvel... and I'm a DC.
- Kikami, when she takes control of Sarah's body in the Soul Eater fanfiction Witches Man, Witches while swinging her scythe at the vampire Nikolai. "WHY...WON'T….YOU .DIIIIIEEEEE?"
- Burning Black: Remy screams this often at Timothy after the latter continues to survive all the possible ways a person can be killed that Remy can think of. When Remy tries ways to kill magical creatures on him, the effects are soon neutralized with the help of anti-fairies and Caleb's magitechnology.
- A quite hilarious exemple in Fate Stay Night: Ultimate Master, where Zouken, after learning about Ben Tennyson joining the Holy Grail War, immediatly sends True Assassin to get rid of him as quickly as possible. Cue an extremely frustrated True Assassin trying to stab Ben... in Ampfibian form.
- True Assassin: "Just Die!"
- In the Pony POV Series, during the Final Battle of the Dark World Series, Nightmare Eclipse/Paradox, beginning to suffer a Villainous Breakdown, asks this of Minty Pie as the latter continually resists her efforts to kill her.
Nightmare Paradox: WHAT PART OF LIE DOWN ON THE GROUND AND SLOWLY BLEED INTO DEATH WAS SO HARD TO UNDERSTAND?!
Films — Animation
- Disney's Aladdin. Jafar says this almost verbatim to Aladdin.
"How many times do I have to kill you, boy?!"
- Said by Nekron in Fire and Ice in a rather narmy fashion.
- In Kung Fu Panda 2, Shen asks "How many times do I have to kill the same stinking panda?" when he sees and realizes that Po has recovered from the blow delivered to him by his anti-Kung Fu cannon.
- Which is just the start of Shen's own Villainous Breakdown.
- Slight variant in Transformers: The Movie (the animated one) where Megatron screams "Fall! FALL!" as he shoots Optimus Prime until he finally does fall down.
- Averted later by Galvatron, who laments, "It's a shame you Autobots die so easily."
Films — Live-Action
- One of the oldest examples in film can be found at the end of Alexander Dovzhenko's Arsenal (1928): "Fall, damn you, FALL! Are you wearing armor or something?" (go to about 1.20, is where it starts)
- Austin Powers says this in his second movie to Robin Swallows, who inexplicably survives being shot, stabbed, falling from a building, being blown up, and quite a few other things. A deleted scene has Austin take advantage of this by keeping her in his car to serve as a bullet shield.
- That joke was an intentional satire of one of the supposed rules of James Bond. The joke was lost when James Bond killed a woman in cold blood the same year as this film came out (The World Is Not Enough), and indeed, Bond had previously killed at least two other women before that point (Xenia Onatopp in Golden Eye, as well as another woman in The Spy Who Loved Me, as well as pushing a woman into the line of fire of one of her henchmen).
- Two-Face and The Riddler say this to Batman in Batman Forever:
Two-Face: Why can't you just DIE?!
The Riddler: Why? Why can't I kill you?
- Ironically, he then unleashes an attack that's perhaps the closest either of them comes to actually killing him.
- And then, later:
- In Big Trouble in Little China, the villainous, and now exasperated, Lo Pan expresses a similar sentiment to his underling when he finds that Jack Burton has cheated death yet again...
Lo Pan: Is it too much to ask, Thunder?!? Kill him! For me!
- Used in the movie version of The Crow where Funboy shoots the hero several times, only to watch in horror as the hero's Healing Factor kicks in and closes the wounds right before his eyes, leading him to cry "Don't you ever fuckin' die?"
- Frequently said by foes of Die Hard's John McClane.
- In Freddy vs. Jason, a frustrated Freddy Krueger asks Jason Voorhees "Why won't you DIE?!" Freddy is an undead ghost, and Jason an undead zombie. Irony that thick could only have been intentional.
- In the 2000 movie Gladiator, Emperor Commodus says a variant of this to Maximus, after the latter has just won a match that was blatantly rigged against him.
Commodus: What am I going to do with you? You simply won't... die.
- In Heroic Trio, the main characters have a brief discussion about this concerning The Dragon who doesn't even seem to feel pain. After that, the fight the Big Bad who goes through about three fake-out deaths before finally going down.
- James Bond
Janus: Why can't you just be a good boy and die? Bond: You first. (gestures to Xenia) You, second.
Hugo Drax: Mr. Bond, you persist in defying my efforts to provide an amusing death for you.
- Also done in more erudite fashion by Moonraker's Hugo Drax, with a side of How Many Times Must I Kill You:
Kamal: You have a nasty habit of surviving.Bond: Well, you know what they say about the fittest.
- In similarly erudite manner by Kamal Khan in Octopussy:
- By the end of the The Lone Ranger, Cavendish (and Cole) become very frustrated about the Lone Ranger and Tonto's refusal to die.
Butch Cavendish: These two have a hard time stayin' dead!
- In the movie Me, Myself, and Irene, one scene has Charlie finding a cow lying in the road, and he tries to put the poor thing out of its misery, thinking it had been hit by a car. It refuses to die despite having a gun emptied into its head, being pistol whipped, and then choked unconscious. The cow shows up again before the credits, bandaged up but otherwise okay.
- A deleted scene taking place afterward has a farmer warn Charlie to watch out for his cow, who got loose and has a habit of taking naps in the road.
- Parodied in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, where King Arthur maims the Black Knight, who continues to try fighting even after losing his arm... and his other arm... and his leg... and his other leg. He decides to call it a draw at this point, until Arthur starts to leave, at which points the Black Knight declares he'll bite his legs off.
- Averted in The Princess Bride where, rather than raging at Westley's unexpected return from the dead, Humperdinck calmly says "I killed you too quickly last time, a mistake I don't intend to duplicate tonight".
- Ivan Drago has one in Rocky IV. "He is not a man. He is a piece of iron."
- In The Sea Hawk (1940), the evil Lord Wolfingham (Henry Daniell) greets the hero, Geoffrey Thorpe (Errol Flynn) who has escaped from numerous perils, with the words, "Have you nine lives, Captain Thorpe? Surely most of them must be used up by now." Cue Flynning.
- In The 6th Day , Arnold Schwarzenegger's character gets annoyed that the Quirky Miniboss Squad keeps cloning themselves.
- Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004). Sky Captain says "Why won't you die?" to the Robot Girl just before he finishes her off for good.
- One of the many things that gangster Bullet Tooth Tony from Snatch. is infamous for is surviving being shot 6 times by an enemy. A flashback to that event shows the guy shooting Tony screaming "Why won't you fucking die?!!" just before he runs out of bullets.
- Tony himself has this moment later with Boris "The Bullet Dodger", who takes an entire
clipmagazine from Tony's Desert Eagle before he finally dies.
- Tony himself has this moment later with Boris "The Bullet Dodger", who takes an entire
- Mrs. Lovett of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street shouts this at Judge Turpin, still partially alive and clinging to her dress after Sweeney Todd did him in.
- In the original live-action Transformers movie, while trying to take down a particularly well-armoured Decepticon with a tank for a vehicle mode, one whose name is either "Brawl" or "Devastator" depending on who you ask, Captain William Lennox watches the robot shrug off a severed limb, several disabled weapons systems, and constant fire from Lennox and his marines, and says in disbelief, "These things just don't die!"
- The V for Vendetta movie has a terrified Creedy asking V "Why won't you die! Why won't you die!" after V massacres his men despite having been shot dozens of times.
- At the end of White Heat, a police marksman repeatedly nails Cody Jarrett with a sniper rifle, eventually muttering between reloads, "What's keeping him up?!"
- In X-Men, as Storm flies out of the elevator shaft, Toad complains "Don't you people ever die?" (in a possible reference to how Death Is Cheap in the comics)
- In a borderline case of Beam Me Up, Scotty!, Lord Voldemort does this with Harry Potter only in the trailer for the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows film(s).
Lord Voldemort:"Why do you live?"Harry Potter:"Because I have something worth living for."
- In the film proper, he has this reaction when his killing curse fails to kill Harry for the second time. While he doesn't say anything, his look of disbelief, followed by angry explosions, which is then followed by physically attacking Harry shows it.
- In Sharknado, Nova screams this to an attacking shark that she stabs repeatedly. After a few more stabs, it does eventually die.
- In A Brother's Price, Ren to the villain:
Don't you know when to die?
- In Animorphs, Visser Four yells "Why don't you die?!" after the characters survive yet another should-have-been-fatal blow (see, their trip through time to follow him was part of a Deal with the Devil - an evil Sufficiently Advanced Alien said one dying was the price. The alien's rival and sometime ally of our heroes added the stipulation that only one could die on that trip, so the team discovers that they're suddenly Nigh Invulnerable, regenerating even fatal wounds instantly.)
- The Animorphs' recurring nemesis Visser Three has much cause to see the Animorphs the same way. Not only that, but in the book where they fight David, Rachel thinks to herself about how it's going to be very frustrating and scary to have a mortal enemy who has their powers, and she thinks of the tricks that David could pull, and has pulled on them already: "I was beginning to understand why Visser Three hated us so much."
- Ciaphas Cain says two variants in a single fight in the novel For the Emperor.
- In Neverwhere, the Marquis can return from the dead. Thus:
Mr. Croup: I already killed you once today. What does it take to teach some people?
- George Orwell's essay Shooting an Elephant. By the end of the essay the reader is wishing the poor damn thing would die, too.
- From Mistborn, another of the "How many times must I kill you?" variety:
Lord Ruler: I killed you, once. Kelsier: You tried. But you can't kill me, Lord Tyrant. I represent the thing you've never been able to kill, no matter how hard you try. I am Hope.
- Kelsier seemingly goes down in a One-Hit Kill immediately after making this statement; and, well, that's where it gets complicated...
- In Dead Reckoning of the The Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries Sandra pelt has a moment of this where she screams psychotically at the titular character over this as she has by this point taken countless attempts at Sookies life with the heroine surviving all of them mostly unscathed.
- Redwall book "Mossflower" Martin beats the Big Bad with some help from a Badger Warrior Spirit by simply standing up and fighting after... five fatal wounds? (Someone get a count please)
- The Star Wars Expanded Universe gives us Abeloth, who even when her body is burned, survives.
- In the first two books of the Silverwing series, Shade becomes very used to his nemesis Goth surviving seemingly impossible situations. (Caliban: "Chances are he's dead..." Shade: "He doesn't die.") In the third book, he rages this trope inwardly when he faces Goth in the bat underworld - not because Goth won't die, 'cause he had at that point, but that he won't do so in a way that would involve no longer plaguing Shade and his family.
- In Rihannsu: Honor Blade, Romulan Praetor Gurrhim tr'Siedhri miraculously survives a gunshot wound to the chest and an intentionally botched surgery to ostensibly repair the damage. Those responsible, his political rivals in the Praetorate, complain that "Farmer Gurri" can't even die right. Note he would have died eventually, but his aides and some of the soldiers manage to break him out of the warbird's sickbay and get him to the Enterprise, whereupon Bones McCoy redoes the surgery properly.
- Walker, Texas Ranger: The 1998 episode "Warriors" had an instance of this, where Walker tried to kill the enforcer of a supremacist group, whose ringleader was attempting to create an army of genetically superior, undefeatable soldiers to aid in his ultimate goal of world domination. The trope comes into play when Walker and Trivette were attempting to stop the group from kidnapping a genetic researcher. After Trivette is roughed up by the unbeatable enforcer and about to be killed, Walker shows up and attempts to shoot the enforcer ... emptying his gun while shooting him in the head and chest. The enforcer merely absorbed the bullets as a dumbfounded Walker tried to reload his gun, before Walker was also beaten up. After the villains leave, the dazed Walker and Trivette try to figure out why they couldn't even so much as make the enforcer flinch, despite following procedures and aiming at vital areas. (Not to worry: In the end, Walker – with some help – does figure out a way to beat the enforcer.)
- Super powers and super power-related phlebotenum allowed several characters from Heroes to cheat death. Claire (and Adam Monroe, later Sylar and Arthur Petrelli, and sometimes Peter) can't die; Claire's father Noah can survive being Moe Greened by Suresh thanks to Claire's blood; Peter bounces back from a shotgun blast thanks to a boy's power of healing; characters have also died in timelines that were subsequently kyboshed.
- A slight variation: the Doctor Who episode "Dalek" has the Doctor yelling, "Why don't you just die!" to the title monster in a death machine. Counts, though, because he went to a lot of effort to wipe out their race at the cost of his own, and isn't happy this one slipped through the cracks.
- "I CANNOT DIE!!! I!!! AM!!! DAVROS!!!"
- Averted by the Master after shooting the unkillable Jack with his laser screwdriver: "And the good thing is, he's not dead for long! I GET TO KILL HIM AGAIN!"
- Anticipated by the Twelfth Doctor as a problem, should they try to shoot him — because right now he's not sure, but he might just keep regenerating forever, and that would take a while.
- Speaking of Jack, on Torchwood, his enemies (particuarly John Hart when they're first reunited) are a little bit annoyed that they can't permanently get rid of him.
- Psych episode "American Duos" Zapato Dulce: "You ruined everything! Why won't you die?"
- The main characters of Stargate SG-1 do this in speaking about archenemy Apophis.
Teal'c: Apophis must have transported off of Sokar's ship before it exploded. Col. O'Neill: Somebody's got to teach that guy how to die.
- Also implied about Dr. Daniel Jackson more than once... But then he DID come back from deadly situations more than once.
- Star Trek: Enterprise: The evil Mirror Universe version of Dr. Phlox, frustrated at how long the Tholian captive he's been ordered to eliminate is managing to cling to life (especially since it's transmitting a short-range distress signal to all the other Tholians in the area, and they're rapidly closing in on the I.S.S. Enterprise), growls "Will you kindly die!?"
- Used ironically on The Colbert Report, during a period where Colbert was taking any excuse, however flimsy, to repeatedly show a clip of controversial pastor Jeremiah Wright:
Colbert: (grinning) Why won't that story die?
- Parodied in an episode of Bottom: On getting a whiff of the lethal alcoholic mixture Eddie carries around in his hip flask, Richie inquires 'How are you alive?'. Eddie grins, taps the side of his nose, and cheerfully replies 'I may very well not be.'
- In the 8th season of Scrubs, there is briefly a new Chief of Medicine, Dr Taylor Maddox. Despite her very friendly and personable attitude toward her co-workers, she has a very cold-blooded and by the book approach to taking care of patients, which leads Cloudcuckoolander J.D. to do an Imagine Spot of her trying to smother a patient with a pillow after the patient's insurance coverage has run out. When he survives the first round of this, she tries again while shouting "Why won't you die?!!"
- In the first season finale of Leverage, there is a mundane example. An opponent growls at a badly-beaten Eliot Spencer: "Why won't you go down?" Eliot laughs.
- Variation in Angel, where Angel is fighting a demon and decapitates it. The demon's body stirs.
Angel: Come on! I'm holding your head!
- The demon needed to be killed a certain number of times before it died.
- There's a more typical one on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer end, with Buffy going "WHY...WON'T...YOU...DIE?" as she's pounding.
- Tina Greer asks this in the Smallville episode "Visage", as her Super Strength is not nearly enough to defeat Clark Kent.
- Brad Willis from Neighbours: He was shot by Bob Landers, attacked by a shark, saved Beth and Hannah from a burning cottage... and none of it killed him.
- Not to mention the various attempts on Paul Robinson's life. He has been pushed off a cliff (twice), sent poisoned letters, almost strangled to death, shot in the chest by his own son, kidnapped and mind-tortured, suffered from a life-threatening brain tumor, and pushed off the mezzanine of a building. Even he has expressed surprise over not being dead yet.
- Top Gear once tried to destroy a Toyota Hilux by having it suffering a series of increasingly terrible accidents. Driving down stairs, driving into a tree, leaving it at the beach at low-tide, driving through a hut, dropping a caravan on it, and bashing it with a wrecking ball didn't kill it. So they set it on fire. That's didn't work either. So they tried again in a later episode and cranked it Up to Eleven.
- It didn't work either.
- In Supernatural, this has become what every force of evil (and sometimes good) thinks of the Winchesters (and Castiel). They have died literally COUNTLESS times, but none of it sticks. Even Death himself gets frustrated at this, saying he's mad at them for constantly coming back to life and ruining the natural order.
- This gets so bad that eventually the King of Hell imposes what is basically a "stop trying" order on killing the Winchesters, although this doesn't stop some of his (stupider) demons from trying.
- Scorpius in Farscape is really bad at staying dead through a combination of Made of Iron, really excellent planning, and some impressive body armor.
Crichton: Kryptonite? Silver bullets? ...Buffy? What's it gonna take to keep you in the grave?
- Morriseys song "Margaret on the Guillotine"; asks this question in regards to Margaret Thatcher.
- the Eminem song Go to Sleep features a variation. Namely, "why are you still alive!?"
- The Goons' song, "Bluebottle Blues", is a duet between the usually-heroic Neddy Seagoon and perpetual Butt Monkey Bluebottle, in which the former does his best to kill the latter. Finding Bluebottle still bemoaning his lot after one particularly nasty attempt, Seagoon comments irritably, "...still ALIVE?"
- Portia Perez took offense to the fact Cheerleader Melissa still had anything to do with wrestling after all the losses she suffered to her and Nicole Matthews, at nCw Femme Fatales IV she had Melissa dead and she should have stayed that way.
- During Triple H and The Undertaker's match at Wrestlemania 27, nothing Hunter hit Taker with would keep him down. Pedigree? Nope. Three Pedigrees? Not even close. Steel chair shot to the head and The Undertaker's very own Tombstone Piledriver? gets a two and a half count... Triple H fucking loses it:
Triple H: Stay down! JUST DIE!
- While he was "Mr. Money In The Bank", Seth Rollins had this question for Dean Ambrose, who kept preventing Rollins from using his briefcase.
- The reaction of many a Killer DM upon facing down a player Barbarian in Dungeons & Dragons. Dropped to 0 HP? Activates a death-ignoring ability, keeps fighting, is healed to above 0, ending the power effect. Dropped to 0 HP again? Activates the second ability, keeps fighting, is healed to above 0, ending the power effect. Dropped to 0 HP again? Activates another ability, keeps fighting. Built in such a way, a Barbarian can and, frequently, will keep fighting until he dies on his feet or kills the entire enemy group.
- Same as the above often goes for Lunars, who pack massive damage absorption, lots of health levels, regeneration and top it off with ability to outright not die when killed so long as they have Essence to spare.
- Alchemicals have a couple similar abilities - getting massive layers of armour installed and getting (a limited amount of times) after getting killed.
- In general, any Exalt can stay invulnerable for some time by using perfect defences to evade attacks, but it's mainly the above that may roll with taking them and just keeping going despite the damage.
- In Magic: The Gathering, New Phyrexia will continue whenever a drop of Phyrexian oil remains. Also, Squee, Goblin Nabob returns to your hand when he would otherwise go to the graveyard. There's also Platinum Angel, which makes it so you can't lose.
- Warhammer 40,000
- What many player say when facing a Necron army. Almost all Necron infantry has a rule that gives a slain soldier a chance to stand back up —previously called "We'll be back!" with certain stipulations, then called simply "reanimation protocols" with different stipulations. Furthermore, the Necron player can give his units an even greater chance to get back up. And as if that weren't enough, Necron vehicles all trade the ability to reanimate with simply being nearly impossible to take down in the first place.
- The same thing applies to the "Feel No Pain" rule, which gives models a 33% chance to ignore any wounds that don't cause an instant kill.
- Not to mention the "It Will Not Die" rule that grants models the ability to regenerate.
- Often heard as a traditional response to any player forced to oppose a BattleMech classified as a 'zombie flashbulb' in BattleTech. 'Zombie' means that the 'Mech is designed with thick armor, hardy physical construction, and will generally keep fighting short of shooting out the fusion engine or the cockpit, and 'flashbulb' means that the 'Mech carries an arsenal designed solely around energy weapons, which have no volatile ammunition to detonate and no limit on how many shots they can fire beyond the risk of overheating. This translates into a BattleMech that can be reduced to a head perched precariously atop an engine with two legs attached that might still be attacking. Few BattleMechs are naturally that tenacious, but there are designs which take Made of Iron to a very literal extreme.
- Taken Up to Eleven by the Archangel in 4 of its 6 variants (the other 2 heavy explosive components). It's 100 tons (as heavy as mechs get), and has max armor (307), so combined with internal structure it can feasibly absorb over 400 damage and keep fighting. If that wasn't enough, it's got a Compact Engine and Gyro, cutting the chance of engine or gyro hits in half, from 6/12 and 4/12 to 3/12 and 2/12. Oh, and it carries several Head and Center torso mounted weapons.
- Kingpin: Life of Crime gives a nice example from Nikki Blanco. "What the fuck's it gonna take to kill that slippery motherfucker!?"
- Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops. Null: "Why won't you die, Snake?"
- Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance has Raiden angrily shouting this to Senator Armstrong. His answer?
- Master Li says something along these lines when you succeed on breaking free of the cage he wove for you from your own doubts at the end of Jade Empire.
- Vladimir Zakarov says this to Tequila at one point during the Penthouse stage in the John Woo game Stranglehold.
Vlad: Dammit! What do I have to do to make you die?!
- Mission Vao in Knights of the Old Republic has an exasperated "Just Die Already!" as a Battle Cry. Other than that, this trope is conspicuously absent, while people will constantly comment on characters surviving situations where No One Could Survive That, they rarely seem to be angry or frustrated about this. They seem pretty willing to chalk it up to the Force... and who you were in a past life.
- In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, hostile NPCs will sometimes shout "Why! Won't! You! Die!?" as a battle drags on.
- Interestingly, in one of the expansion packs, the enemies won't die, prompting one soldier to loudly scream "Why! Won't! You! Stay! DEAD?!"
- Max Payne
Horne: What do you mean, "he's unstoppable?" You are superior to him in every way that counts. You are better trained, better equipped. You outnumber him at least twenty to one. Do... your... job!
- Nicole Horne issues this message to her men:
Goon: Boss... Gognitti... it's Max Payne... he came and... started cappin' us... He killed... ugh... Gognitti: Are you freakin' kidding me? He's just one lousy cop! You'd better be freakin' kiddin' me! Whack him! What's the freakin' problem?! Hello? Answer me! Hello?!
- A similar message is issued to a group of mooks earlier on in the game, with the inclusion of the phrase "He's just one lousy cop!"
Vlad: What the fuck is wrong with you Max? Why don't you just die? You hate life, you're miserable all the time, afraid to enjoy yourself even a little. Face it, you might as well be dead already. Do yourself a favor, give up!
- Vlad gives a much more explicit version of this near the end of Max Payne 2.
- At a certain point in Half-Life 2, a frustrated Dr. Breen has this to say to the soldiers that Gordon Freeman's been killing for a while now:
Dr. Breen: How could one man have slipped through your force's fingers time and time again? How is it possible? This is not some agent provocateur or highly trained assassin we are discussing. Gordon Freeman is a theoretical physicist who had hardly earned the distinction of his Ph.D. at the time of the Black Mesa Incident. I have good reason to believe that in the intervening years, he was in a state that precluded further development of covert skills. The man you have consistently failed to slow, let alone capture, is by all standards simply that — an ordinary man. How can you have failed to apprehend him?
- The trailer for LucasArts' canceled sequel to Sam and Max Hit the Road has Max yelling "Why! Won't! You! Just! Die!" at a foiled carjacker while jumping up and down on his stomach. Later given a Mythology Gag in the Telltale Games series, made by the same people who were on the Lucas project.
- In Tales of Monkey Island, while LeChuck continuously beats up Guybrush near the end of Chapter 5, the villain at one time says, "How I can't WAIT for you to give up and just... GO AWAY!"
- Final Fantasy V
- This exchange:
- When Galuf battles Exdeath alone to save his friends, gets hit with everything the villain has got, gets his Hit Points down to zero, yet the fight doesn't end; Exdeath even asks Galuf why he won't die, and Galuf retorts, "Because they are my friends!!", or in the Advance translation: "Takes a lot more than that for me to kick the bucket!". Sadly he dies after the battle.
- In BioShock, Andrew Ryan delivers a more Sesquipedalian version: "Why are you so resistant to the traditional methods of separating a man from his soul?"
Various logbooks: She's just ONE HUMAN!
Asha: No! You can't still be alive! I KILLED YOU! Oh well... I should be grateful. This means I get to KILL YOU TWICE!
- A variant of this is also used directly if you use a checkpoint before dying in a certain boss battle.
Asha: How many times do I have to kill you!? I'LL TEAR YOU TO PIECES AND FIRE EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM INTO A BLACK HOLE! TEN TIMES OVER!!!
- In fact, it's possible to use both checkpoints in the level and still make it back to Asha. The player has to know the game inside and out and go well out of his way to pull it off, and Asha is absolutely infuriated at the implausibility of it all.
Asha: Just DIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!
- And whenever you're fighting Asha, he will occasionally scream out in frustration
- Iji herself will sometimes shout this at her enemies if you're playing as a One Woman Army.
- Wild Dog from Time Crisis. He will ALWAYS return for the next game, no matter how much damage he takes or how unlikely his survival is. In 3, the heroes actually ask him, right after his appearance, "Don't you ever die?"
- In the official comics for Team Fortress 2, Blutarch Mann, CEO of Builders League United (BLU) has this to say about his twin brother, Redmond:
Blutarch: I have mounted an epic campaign of leisure against the ravages of time. Waiting for nature to do to my brother what my men could not. And yet here we are at the end. And he...won't...DIE.
- Not in-universe, but new players will often think of this trope when being constantly killed by the same Dead Ringer Spy over and over again.
- Lampshaded in First Encounter Assault Recon: Project Origin'' by Colonel Vanek, who demands to know why his five hundred-strong army of special forces commandos haven't been able to kill Becket.
- Eldar Guardians in Dawn of War say this when locked in close combat, and inflect the words with a typically Eldar amount of venemous contempt.
- In Portal 2, at the end of the game, when Wheatley finds out that Chell is still alive after part five of the four-part plan:
Wheatley: What, are you still alive? You are joking. You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!!
- The way she escapes counts as this too: GLaDOS deems her too difficult to kill and decides to take the easy way out, by just setting her free so she can't mess up anything anymore.
- Lord Nergal says this word-for-word in Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword after Eliwood's father pulls a Taking You with Me and fatally stabs him before dying.
- In BlazBlue, one of Ragna's battle cries is "Die! Die already!" In Jin's Story Mode in BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger, he says this in one path after Nu refuses to stay down.
- Hazama also does this a lot.
- Mass Effect 2 hangs a lampshade on this after Commander Shepard is brought back to life.
Garrus: Honestly? The Collectors managed to kill you once, and all that did is piss you off. I can't imagine they'll stop you this time.
Harbinger: Shepard, you have become an annoyance.
- The Reapers are definitely getting tired of Shepard.
- At one point the mercenary boss during Grunt's recruitment mission screams "There are three of them! 'Three! Anything can be killed if you'd just do your damn jobs!" as Shepard's squad smashes through her army.
- Any player feels this with enemies covered with Plot Armor in the third game. Kai Leng deserves a special mention because you just know that if the mechanics were being fair during their fight on Thessia you could blow that motherfucker to pieces no problem.
- Nathan Drake says this to Big Bad Lazarevic in the final battle of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. Something along the lines of "My god... why won't you die?!". Lazarevic may sometimes say it to Nate as well.
- In Saints Row 2, after defeating Mr. Sunshine, the Sons of Samedi's resident voodoo practitioner, he keeps getting up after being shot repeatedly. Quite annoyed by all this, the protagonist shoots him a few more times shouting "For fuck's sake, die already!" After about the third time he falls, the protagonist makes sure he's dead by chopping Mr. Sunshine's head off and throwing it into a meat grinder.
- Minor example in Persona 4 is when Kanji attacks a shadow, but fails to finish it, he sometimes shouts, "Lay down and die already!"
- In Tower Of Heaven, the deity winds up shouting, "How dare you... How dare you continue to live?"
- Reversed in Emperor: Battle for Dune. During the intro, the ruling body of House Ordos encourages you by showing the former supreme commander's... head. Connected to a machine so that it stays completely conscious and contemplates its failure for all eternity. It only has one line: "Let me die."
- If you lose twice during the campaign, your head gets hooked up to the same machine, and you face that commander once again. "Why won't they just let us die?"
- Fear is an efficient tool of management. Failure is not an option.
- Fable III has a humorous version during an undead assault of a base, where wisps are possessing dead bodies, including those of recently-deceased soldiers:
Swift: LIEUTENANT SIMMONS! I specifically instructed you to stay buried! Finn: Oh why do nobody follow orders anymore?
- In Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One, Commander Spog will at one point, while pursuing you, say "How are you STILL ALIVE?!"
- In one of the endings of 999, Ace (who has had his heel nature exposed to the cast) is discovered by Snake to have been the one who killed his sister, Clover. He proceeds to empty an entire clip into the enraged Snake, including a shot TO THE FOREHEAD, and Snake STILL gets up and tries to kill him. He then exclaims this trope's title exactly.
- Kingdom of Loathing has the pharaoh Ed the Undying, who must be fought seven times before being too disassembled to fight. On the seventh time:
Player: Stay down, damn you!
- Many enemy NPC's say this to player characters in Star Wars: The Old Republic. And sometimes player characters say this to enemy NPC's.
- Final Fantasy X Has Seymour Guado come back a total of three times, making for four fights against him and after one fight Tidus shouts, "And stay up there!".
- The Sorceress from Orcs Must Die screams as much to the Apprentice when he's slaughtering her army of orcs.
- A certain boss in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team actually says this in Robo Speak quite late into the battle.
"Foe still active: Why?"
- Far Cry 3, both Jason and Vaas to each other. Vaas tries to hunt, burn, drown, and execute/bury Jason, and Jason STILL gets back up. Jason tries to shoot Vaas multiple times and it barely slows him down, because Jason is hallucinating from the knife wound and shooting hallucinations, while the "REAL" Vaas is about 100 yards away. The player can either shoot down about 20 Vaas ghosts or rush through the melee-only hallucinations and just kill him already. This is also an insult to both the player and Vaas because repeatedly shooting Vaas instead of spicing it up means that the player is not improvising and stuck on the same level over and over (insanity), and Vaas is repeatedly trying to permanently kill a PLAYER CHARACTER. Yeah, good luck with that.
- Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor: Orc Captains and Warchiefs who killed Tallion will sometimes say this after they've already killed him. Others speak a variation, eagerly killing to kill him again. Inversely, sometimes Orc Captains or Warchiefs will say something along the lines of "Don't you wish *I* would die already?" They can only be perma-killed by beheading.
- A rare non-lethal example happens in Ace Attorney Investigations, with the Marathon Final Culprit Quercus Alba. Even as the evidence against him piles higher and higher and as Edgeworth tears through the contradictions in his testimony, Alba just keeps twisting every loophole and diplomatic convention he can find to get him out of the mess he's in, prompting several characters (and probably more than a few players) to call him out for not simply confessing and getting it over with.
- Ring Runner Flight Of The Sages has ships with descriptors such as "hard to kill," "low durability but hard to kill," and "extremely hard to kill" depending on how tough they are and how many abilities they can equip that let them come back from death.
- Bob and George has at least two variants here and here.
- When suffering deeply from Cerebus Syndrome, Exploitation Now has this line being said to the villain: "Please die this time, OK?"
- The Order of the Stick
- In Goblins, when Goblinslayer's Dragon tries to kill Big Ears with an axe that Ears is immune to, he winds up asking "How many times do I have to kill you before you'll die!?" after seeing Ears survive several killing blows unharmed.
- The same thing occurs between a Min-max and a Forgath in the maze of many.
- MS Paint Adventures:
"what's with all these heads and where do you get off being so impossible anyways. we spent more than half the game fighting you."
- Of course, this is one of the complaints Problem Sleuth politely draws attention to with his special POISON PEN LETTER attack.
Terezi: WHY WON'T YOU D13?!?
- In Homestuck, this is invoked when Caliborn blasts a few hundred full metal jacket rounds through Gamzee's torso with an assault rifle. He's still alive. Minutes later, he repeats the process, and beats the shit out of him with a magical crowbar. Still alive. Word of God chalks it up to in-universe clowns basically being inexplicably invincible, or at least ludicrously difficult to kill.
- Happens again with Gamzee when Terezi invokes the trope by name when trying to stab him with her caneblades after having broken off their stormy kismessitude.
- In Dubious Company, though never said directly, Tiren definitely thinks this of Mary after the latter embarrassingly curb-stomps the former. In turn, Mary thinks this of Walter after he interrupts her In the Name of the Moon speech. Naturally, both jump at the chance to attack their subject of loathing and have yet to succeed after numerous attempts.
- While not a video game per se, Zero Punctuation has used a panel of an imp desperately calling this out against the hero a few times now...
- In his Halloween special, one of the toys says this to The Nostalgia Critic when they're punishing him for giving Teddy Ruxpin a bad review.
- SCP Foundation: SCP-682, the Hard-to-Destroy Reptile. The name is actually a misnomer, as it implies that it can be killed. The only thing they haven't tried yet is a 300 megaton nuke, and that's because the thought of a giant regenerating adapts-to-whatever-you're-using-on-it lizard that can resist nukes is too horrible to bear.
- Chapel: Yvonne says this to Chapel in the first-season episode "Inked." Also counts as Punctuated! For! Emphasis!.
Yvonne: WHY...WON'T...YOU...DIE?!?Chapel: Offhand, I'd say it's because YOU SUCK AT KILLING ME!!!
- Caddicarus: After the end of Resident Evil Zero which he was been killed by Jordan with the Voodoo Doll but still lives and kills him instantly.
Jodrdan: Die. JUST DIE! JUST DIE!!
- The Ice King of Adventure Time says this while using a magnifying glass to fry an ant... an ant that's bigger than he is.
- The Joker says this to Batman in Batman: The Animated Series in the episode "Joker's Wild".
- In Futurama episode "ReBirth", after Bender survives being eaten by the Cyclops Eater and exploding from the doom's day bomb that was powering him up, he walks out asking "What does it take to kill me?".
- In the four-part episode "City of Stone", a man in a mask who Demona identifies as "The Hunter" shows up to stop her. She says somewhat incredulously, "How many times must I destroy you?!" Subverted twofold: Demona has killed previous Hunters before, but their descendants always take up the mantle; and in this case the man in the mask was actually Macbeth, the one person she wants very much never to kill (since she would magically die along with him).
- Before this, Demona gets such a line in "The Mirror". Towards the beginning of the episode, she orders Puck to rid her of "the human Elisa Maza." Puck playfully misconstrues this and, rather than use deadly force, turns Elisa into a gargoyle. When Gargoyle-Elisa shows up to kick ass and take names, Demona does a Double Take before raging, "What does it take to DESTROY you?!" Which is somewhat hilarious as she should have realized Elisa was still alive after she made Puck "do the same to every human in the city."
- In the first season finale of Jackie Chan Adventures, Shendu responds to Jackie interrupting his endgame plan with "How many lives do you possess?!" This is after he blew Jackie out the window of a skyscraper from the tallest floor with dragon fire.
- In The Problem Solverz episode "Videogamez", Horace says this exact line when attacking the final boss in Tomb of Nefertiti, who seems invincible.
- Samurai Jack. "Samurai, samurai... why won't YOU DIIIIIE!?"
- In the Valentine's Day episode of The Simpsons, the skywriter with whom Homer has been struggling finally succumbs to the urge to vent:
"Doggone it, why won't you DIE?!"
"Awww why doesn't anything kill me?"
- In the episode Homer Scissorhands, driven mad by all the constant chatter by the women he styles, drives him to commit barbercide. Where he causally walks over and drinks a glass of blue cleaning liquid for his tools, only for nothing to happen.
"Frankie the Squealer, why won't you DIE?""If I knew, I'd tell you, I swear!" (they keep shooting) "Better call my wife, tell her I'll be late." (takes out mobile while still being shot).
- In the Halloween episode where Homer kills Death, the Springfield mafia pick a bad time to deal with Frankie the Squealer.
- Inverted in the South Park episode "Coon vs. Coon & Friends", where Kenny as his superhero alter-ego Mysterion asks Cthulu "Why. Can't. I. Die?!" in reference to all his Negative Continuity deaths.
- Dr. Orpheus from The Venture Bros. fights a vampire at one point, but is unacquainted with the proper vampire killing technique. He gets increasingly frustrated when the vampire he keeps blasting just gets back up. "Oh, for heaven's...Why won't he just die?"
- Mrs. Puff in the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Demolition Doofus", when her plan for SpongeBob to get killed (yes, killed) at a demolition derby is backfiring and he doesn't get hurt.
"WHY ARE YOU STILL ALIVE?!?!?"