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Death Is Cheap / Anime & Manga

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Death being cheap in anime and manga.

  • Angel Beats! takes place in a world where everyone is Dead to Begin With. So "death" is just a minor inconvenience.
  • A strange thing happens in Bakugan Battle Brawlers as characters are killed in the sense they end up in the afterlife. They manage to get back easily, but then in season two, the guardians of the afterlife are written out. Even though the heroes get their power, that means from then on Bakugan who die are blown apart, which apparently means they don't get an afterlife.
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  • Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan: Every time Dokuro violently kills Sakura, she resurrects him right on the spot a couple seconds later, none the worse for wear. It still hurts though.
  • The protagonist of Date A Live almost dies all the time in the series only to come Back from the Dead every single time. Shot a hole through his chest with an anti-tank beam? Crossing a five-meter ice barrier? Using himself as hostage by jumping from the top of the school building? Yep, death is definitely cheap for Shido Itsuka. This is because those aren't his powers but the powers from his foster little sister who he kissed back when they were kids as a way to prevent spreading fire.
  • Delicious in Dungeon, being an homage to Dungeons & Dragons, has a form of this. The main dungeon in the series bonds people's souls to their bodies, meaning that if a person dies in there, all one needs to do to revive them is use healing magic and heal their body back to good condition. Most of the adventurers in the series have died and come back multiple times (it's practically a Running Gag in Kabru's case), and healers even make a business out of traveling around the dungeon and reviving people for a fee. However, this form of resurrection only works if the body is in good condition; if the body is beyond the reach of healing magic, then more extreme methods are required.
  • Digimon
    • "Death" only returns a Digimon to egg form, though that didn't stop characters from treating it as the sort of event that a human's death is (it makes sense, even if someone revives, having seen a loved one die tragically would be traumatic). The Darker and Edgier third season did away with this, but it returned for seasons four and five... but in the fifth season, the evil Professor Kurata devises a way of corrupting a Digimon's data, causing permanent death.
    • The rebirthing didn't apply to any of the Digimon that died during the Dark Masters arc as the Digital World was corrupted, though (at least, the heroes believed) taking out the Dark Masters and Apocalymon restored things, allowing those Digimon to survive. It is also believed to not work on any Digimon that dies in the human world, such as Wizardmon who was killed by Myotismon in season 1 and was a ghost in season 2. Of course, that would mean the ghosts of Myotismon's entire army could be still hanging around in Tokyo, with some possibly being substantial enough to cause all manner of disruption. The only known exceptions to this are Myotismon himself, who managed to sidestep this rule by finding a human to host his soul before his data completely dissipated and who he lay dormant in until he gained enough strength to regenerate a body for himself, and Kokomon from the Digimon movie Hurricane Touchdown, although this case happening in a movie leaves the canonicity somewhat dubious. The fact it was a Digimon with a human partner could've also had something to do with it.
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    • In season five, it's made a little less cheap: Though death isn't permanent, there is no guarantee that the reborn Mon will remember its prior life, in most cases being very unlikely. And then Kurata figures out how to make a Digimon Deader Than Dead by creating a device that corrupts digimon data so they cannot reconfigure into eggs.
    • Digimon's reliance on this trope causes a huge Player Punch when it's subverted in Digimon Tamers, where it's shown that Digimon can permanently die if their data is absorbed by another Digimon before they have the chance to respawn as an egg. A Leomon dying became memetic after this instance, one member of the species having died at least once in all three seasons up to this point. However, it became apparent that the Leomon of this series would not be able to come back.
    • In Xros Wars this is exaggerated. While here Digimon don't return as eggs when they are killed it is remedied by the fact the owner of the Code Crown can reformat the Digital World and its inhabitants in the way he so wishes, so if someone dies and he wants to revert he can do so in a blink. Once Shoutmon acquires it every single Digimon who died through the season comes Back for the Finale. That includes the bad guys, who are purified.
  • Dragon Ball and its sequels are notorious for exaggerating this trope to death. Everybody and their grandmother (Literally, at one point) dies and is resurrected at some point. Much of the show is in fact motivated by collecting the Dragon Balls to be able to wish somebody back to life. By the time Dragon Ball Z ended, only Mr. Satan the Fake Ultimate Hero, Uranai Baba and a few gods hadn't died at least once. Counting Dragon Ball GT, Krillin died four times.
    • Dragon Ball death is so cheap, in fact, that when "Super" Buu goes up to the lookout in the hopes of finding the strong opponent he was promised, Piccolo actually suggests he pass the time it'll take to get Gotenks ready to give him a full challenge by killing all the humans. All of them could be wished back with the Dragon Balls after Buu was defeated. Just to reiterate, one of the cut-and-dried heroes offered up the entire human race as a sacrifice, to stall for time, because he knew that if things worked out they could just be brought back. Unfortunately for Piccolo, Buu took his advice by using an attack which killed almost every human in a few minutes with Beam Spam, making that ploy completely meaningless.
    • Later, when Piccolo traps himself, Goten, and Trunks in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber with Super Buu, where they will be stranded forever until they die, the Z-Fighters aren't too concerned, pointing out that all they have to do is wait for Buu to kill all three of them, and then they can wish them back. Bulma is not amused:
    Bulma: Are you even listening to yourself?! "Relax, because they're trapped with a monster that could kill them?!" They were children! They should have never been made to fight! You grown men left the fate of the Earth in their hands! I hope you're ashamed!
    • In the dub, Gohan responds to Videl's assumption that Goku ran off with another woman by telling her that he's "just dead".
    • Dragon Ball Kai is well aware of being a recap series, so its intro, Dragon Soul, tells it outright how the franchise rolls.
      We will fight for love and glory. We will live to tell the story.
      There is nothing we can't live through. Nothing ever dies - we will rise again!
    • Dragon Ball Super doesn't even bother with the pretense that death is anything to be concerned about, at least where the main timeline is concerned. When Piccolo is killed, he's revived completely offscreen with only a offhand mention of Goku heading to Namek to use their Dragon Balls. An episode where Goku is killed by an assassin has the next-episode preview show him fighting as if nothing happened. The question isn't if he's coming back, it's how early into the next episode it will be.
    • Avoided in Future Trunks's gloomy alternate universe, probably to show what the series would be without its Reset Button (i.e., depressing). This is because with Piccolo and Goku dead, the Dragon Balls were rendered inert and they had no way to find New Namek and use theirs. Super took the bleakness of Future Trunks's timeline Up to Eleven by creating the first instance in the entire series where so much sacrifice happened that even its Reset Button option came with bittersweet caveats. Zamasu wastes the timeline so badly the only option is to completely obliterate it and migrate to a similar, slightly better timeline, which means that all the friends and allies that Trunks and Mai made during any time after in their world truly are gone.
    • Perhaps taken even more Up to Eleven by the finale of Super's Universe Survival Saga: not only are all seven of the universes that were erased over the course of the tournament of power wished back with the Super Dragon Balls (which many fans predicted, even if the circumstances weren't as cut-and-dry as assumed), but it turned out that this was the intention all along of the Zenohs and Grand Priest. They hoped for the winner of the tournament to be good-hearted enough to do just that, and would've erased everything had any other wish been made.
    • A notable good guy who never came back to life is Android #16. Probably because he was 100% mechanical, and while he may have been sentient, he lacks a physical soul (which Shenron needs to bring anyone back to life). Though oddly enough, at the end of the following arc, Android 8 was shown as revived with the rest of earth's population and in GT, Android 19 is also returned to life. It's been speculated that 16 didn't want to return to living, that he was content being dead, since Goku was also dead.
  • Elfen Lied - but only the manga. A lot of people who die stay dead, but the ones who don't, do so so annoyingly that it definitely fits this trope. Specifically: Kurama, Bando, Kaede/Nyu/Lucy.
  • Etotama treats the third episode as a Wham Episode due to Uri-tan's apparent death at the end. Early into episode 4, Uri-tan is just fine as Eto-shin reincarnate a few days after any such death. Episode 5 features Uri-tan becoming ill and dying, only to come right back after the crisis is averted.
  • Excel Saga plays this for laughs, with the Great Will of the Macrocosm acting as a (mostly) death-specific Reset Button.
    • There's also Hyatt, the alien Ill Girl who dies every 3 minutes, with (or without) the slightest provocation.
      Excel: Please, Ha-chan, do something about your habit of dying!
  • Fairy Tail
    • Jellal (Gerard) gets to come back after having supposedly been broken down at the atomic level during fusion and fired into the sky. The best possible explanation for how he simply ended up in a coma elsewhere about 50 chapters later is simply that he's the manga-ka's favorite villain.
    • During the Alvarez Empire arc, Gajeel is Dragged Off to Hell as part of Bloodman's final attack, only to show up alive not even three chapters later due to the effects of Irene's Universe One spell.
    • Invoked by Zeref, who worked to resurrect Natsu, his younger brother, who was killed by a dragon, and ultimately succeeds. The catch, however, is that the god of death doesn't suffer people who invoke this trope very well, and curses Zeref as punishment.
  • Averted in almost every instance of Fullmetal Alchemist, in fact a theme of the manga/anime is showing the consequences of when people try and cheat the system. However, at the climax of the final arc, Father steals the souls of every sentient being in the country, successfully murdering several million people. However Hohenheim had a back up plan, where he reverses Father's transmutation and restores everyone to normal.
  • Gantz
    • Dead players in can be revived at the cost of 100 points. Now getting those points is another story entirely.
    • Gantz toys with this trope mercilessly. The eponymous entity in the black ball seems to effortlessly bring back the dead, but it turns out to be recreating them from records in its data buffer. Kishimoto was "revived" by Gantz originally despite not actually dying, leaving her as a redundant clone until she was eventually killed off permanently. Furthermore, there are now two active copies of protagonist Kurono, and the second one was understandably pissed off when he found out. Life is cheap and disposable in the Gantzverse.
  • Ga-Rei brings Yomi back twice, by virtue of her Sesshouseki the first time, and her sister thinking of her during the former's brief stint as a Reality Warper hate-fox the second.
  • All over the place in ½ Prince, which is understandable since most of the story takes place in a game world. The trope gets dropped in the final arc when a self aware NPC creates monsters with a program that can permanently delete a character (and the game does not allow people to create new characters) and becomes even less present when the players get a program that can delete the self aware NPCs.
  • Heartno Kunino Alice: People from Wonderland have clocks instead of hearts. When they die, they can be replaced. This knowledge leads to the place being so violent.
  • Zig-Zagged in High School DXD. On one hand, dead humans can still be reincarnated as Devils, and the dying get a new body upon reincarnation. Even willing subjects reincarnated from a healthy state are considered "dead". On the other, this reincarnation is more of a second life, Devils (and Brave Saints) get a much longer lifespan, but can still be killed a second time, and that's it. Only once has a character been resurrected from this death, and that took the combined efforts of Great Red, a draconic overdeity, and Ophis, the manifestation of the infinite power of the universe, and keeping the soul around long enough for them to do it required the sacrifice of every previous Boosted Gear users' soul, plus most of Ddraig's energy; all of that tied together with a colossal case of right place, right time for those elements to all be present and willing to work together.
  • InuYasha: There are several ways to revive the dead in this manga.
    • A demonic ritual can put a soul into a clay body (Kikyou). This only simulates life, and requires a steady supply of borrowed souls to remain animate.
    • Shards of the Shikon no Tama can bind a soul to a body (the Band of Seven and Kohaku). This only simulates life, though more convincingly than the clay body method.
    • Tenseiga can revive the dead by killing the pallbearers of the afterlife who take the soul from the body (Rin and Jaken). Only once, and only if they've never before been revived by any means. It also seemingly requires a mostly-intact body and for the death to have been recent.
    • The Meidou-seki can revive the dead back to life, but is a one-shot power. Rin's second death.
    • A miko's power can be used to revive the dead back to life, but is a one-shot power. Kikyou is the only miko who ever did this, for Kohaku.
  • Kara no Kyoukai has an interesting/bizarre example. In the fifth movie, Touko got her body torn apart and then had her head crushed into bits. Then, she makes comeback by rebooting her spare copy, a doll to finish the job... or maybe the one that got killed was a spare copy all along. Both the second Touko and the guy who smashed her head aren't sure which one was the real one, and Touko quickly cuts the latter's confusion by stating she personally doesn't care one bit, beyond the fact it proves she's just good of a doll-making magus. What's funnier, is one of the bad guys KNEW this...and was keeping her head alive to prevent this.
  • Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple, due to the rigorous training methods of the Ryozanpaku, has been in a position of almost dying several times, only to be revived by Ma Kensei and Akisame's surgical skills. Akisame even stated outright that the Ryozanpaku can put Kenichi through any kind of hell because they have the means of reviving him, much to Kenichi's horror. In one memorable instance he really did die while sparring against Apachai, only to have his heart restarted by Akisame.
    Sakaki: Aw man, how many times is this kid gonna die?
  • In Kinnikuman, Choujin who have died can come back by completing certain trials in the afterlife. Thus, it is entirely possible for a character to be graphically killed off then show up in the next story arc with no one batting an eye. Note that this doesn't work for those who die of old age, though.
  • Log Horizon, taking place in a world that operates on MMORPG mechanics, has any Adventurer who is killed come back to life at the Cathedral. This has an interesting legal effect when it comes to the laws in Akiba: murdering an Adventurer, while still a crime, is a much lesser one than theft or rape for this reason.
  • Naruto
    • The show often varies between this and Killed Off for Real, falling into this during the Sasuke Retrieval Arc (when Neji and Choji both (narrowly) survived massively bodily harm) and later The Pain Invasion Arc, which ends with Pain/Nagato entrusting his ideals to Naruto and performing his last technique that revives everyone in Konoha previously killed in action by him, including three named characters: Kakashi, Fukasaku, and Shizune, albeit at the cost of his life.
    • One of the most powerful forbidden techniques in the series involves reviving as zombies whoever you want, though it requires a living sacrifice and the DNA of the revived to do so. The only ways to counter this are to destroy any traces of their DNA, permanently bind the soul so it can't be summoned, or completely bind the zombie's body so it can't move. It's possible to un-bind bound souls as well.
    • Chiyo managed to revive Gaara, but it had a cost in this case; bringing someone back from the dead with her jutsu kills the one performing it. Equivalent Exchange.
    • And don't even get us started on Orochimaru. While the man might not have perfected Complete Immortality yet, he's still more than capable of coming back from that which should have and in some cases did kill him.
  • Surprisingly enough, One Piece (mostly) averts this - with the exception of Brook, every character that has actually died has stayed dead. This is a short list of characters, though, as outside of backstories most "deaths" in this series are Disney Deaths or Not Quite Dead. It took a decade worth of stories before we saw the first non-flashback death of an important character.
  • Re:Zero both downplays and deconstructs this. Subaru has the power to come back from death (more like respawning), but even if you know that you'll be alright afterwards, being gutted hurts like hell, not to mention that dying is a primal fear that doesn't just go away. And if one near-death experience is enough to trigger PTSD, multiple complete-death experiences are sure to do the job.
  • Sailor Moon
    • The ability to resurrect people is explicitly one of the title character's powers. Needless to say, the main cast dies a lot. This protection does not extend to non-main characters however, as many a villain trying to pull a Heel–Face Turn learned. Poor Mamoru seems to die at least once per storyline. The total death count is: Moon: 1, Inner Senshi: 3, Uranus/Neptune: 1, Saturn/Pluto: 3, Mamoru: 3. And that's just the anime version.
    • In the manga, Sailor Moon and the rest of the Inner Senshi and Tuxedo Mask get killed in the backstory and are revived by Queen Serenity. During the main story we have Heroic Sacrifice by the Inner Senshi against Queen Metalia, and Tuxedo Mask killed by Sailor Moon. She revives everyone later with the Silver Crystal as well as using it as reset button for the whole planet after Metalia's rampage. In the final story arc, we have Sailor Galaxia kill EVERYONE except Sailor Moon and Chibi-Chibi, revive them and turn them against Sailor Moon, who kills them again hoping to revive them, but Galaxia destroys their Star Seeds, making them Deader Than Dead. And Sailor Moon still revives them all.
  • Phoenix Ikki from Saint Seiya keeps coming back (and stronger), regardless of how soundly he gets beaten. Well, he IS the Phoenix after all.
  • The Sengoku Basara anime becomes this in its second season: not only does no-one apart from Hideyoshi and Hanbe die, most of the cast killed off in the first season are alive and kicking for no real explained reason.
  • Shindere Shoujo To Kodoku Na Shinigami
    • This work takes place on an island that has a legendary association with resurrection. Wakanae Akira manages to die in the first chapter and afterwards receives a crash course in the practice. It's a good thing, too, since she dies often enough in the first two volumes to be a supporting character in Dragon Ball.
    • Notably, this is one of the few times where this actually has a price - death is cheap only as long as she stays on the island. The god who gave her the power of resurrection gave her a choice when she died the first time: continue on in the cycle of reincarnation, or receive the power of resurrection, being able to revive whenever she dies, with the catch that her soul will shatter should she leave the island - no afterlife, no reincarnation, just nothingness. She chose the latter.
  • Tokyo Ravens: Downplayed. Many characters get revived but not as a human.
  • CLAMP is usually obsessive about averting this, but it crops up in Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-. Due to reincarnation back in time and the tendency for reincarnations to be identical (complete with memories) of past lives, Cloney returns (as Syaoran Sr.) approximately five minutes after his Heroic Sacrifice, although it was a lifetime to him.
  • Most of the main cast in Season 3 of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX is killed off at one point or another. Nearly all of them are revealed to actually be trapped in another dimension (and not just in the dub, either).
  • Yu Yu Hakusho
    • It's a regular theme - the main character dies and then spontaneously resurrects late in the series (never mind his original death in the first episode, which is actually what kicks off the plot); the main character's mentor is killed and then subsequently resurrected fourteen episodes later; also, the main villain of the first arc kept resurrecting himself by virtue of having lots of disposable (but equally powerful) clones.
    • Elder Toguro survived getting blown into pieces and shot into the ocean by virtue of his regenerative powers, and survived being eaten by taking over his consumer's body from the inside. It's stated that he never died to begin with; as he is unable to ever die, ultimately leading to his eternal suffering.


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