Follow TV Tropes


Angsty Surviving Twin

Go To
"You cut down my sister like a goddamn animal and you want to stop?"

"I can't hear it... I can't hear my other heartbeat anymore!"
Jr./Rubedo, Xenosaga II

A pair of twins are introduced. They are portrayed as being sufficiently alike that even people who have known them for a long time have trouble telling them apart. Often they serve as comic relief, enjoying the confusion they might cause just as much as the audience. It is highly likely that one twin, and only one, will be killed off. Why?

  1. Since the twins are alike, less is lost to the story than if a different character is lost.
  2. If the character is being played by the same actor, it's a great opportunity to do a death scene and yet continue essentially the same role with character development, without Flanderizing a 'serious drama' into Death Is Cheap territory.
  3. It provides an opportunity to create angst, sorrow, anger, etc. into the character of the surviving twin. The surviving twin may even go from a character who never takes anything seriously to a genuine Action Hero.

In Backup Twin, a character is introduced and later killed off. Only after their death is it revealed they had a Backup Twin, who carries on in the deceased character's place as if nothing had happened. The original twin is often never mentioned again once the new twin explains that he is a twin (or clone, if science fiction) and not the original character brought back to life.

In this trope, either the twins are introduced at the same time or close to it, or else the surviving twin is introduced first, and the dead twin is then introduced in a flashback. The death of the twin must have a profound or at least significant effect on the survivor for it to be this trope. The victim doesn't always have to be an identical twin, provided they play that role.

If the death of the twin occurred after the birth of both children or at early age, because of religion, superstition or popular beliefs, then it's One Twin Must Die.


This being a Death Trope, there be spoilers.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Works by CLAMP:
    • Fay D Flourite from Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-. All of his motivations stem from the death of his twin, by that name, which he adopts in his brother's memory. His real name is Yuui.
    • Subaru Sumeragi in X1999 after the death of his twin sister Hokuto.
    • In the Magic Knight Rayearth TV series, there's Presea's twin younger sister Sierra.
  • Double-subverted in Angel Beats! with Ayato Naoi. His twin brother, a pottery prodigy, died; his father forced the surviving twin to become a Replacement Goldfish. But he got over it eventually, and was starting to like his new life...until his father got a terminal illness, and they had to shut down said pottery business. This gave him enough angst to quality for the "ruined childhood afterlife" and turned him into a psychotic hypnotist who thinks he's God.
  • In Another, Mei Misaki lost her twin sister Misaki Fujiokanote  at the start of the story. It turns out that Misaki's death as a result of complications following a surgery was due to the calamity, which targets people linked to members of Class 3-3 by two degrees of separation (which includes siblings, but not cousins), which means that the calamity was already killing people in April, before Mei became the "non-existent" student in an effort to stave it off.
  • In AR∀GO: City of London Police's Special Crimes Investigator, Ewan dies within the first few chapters. Arago ends up replacing him as a detective.In the middle of the story, it is revealed that Ewan is revived by Patchman to contain the Brionac Patchman divided into two, and as Patchman's spare Soul Jar. Ewan is finally Killed Off for Real in the last chapter when Ewan's consience finally resurface and he commits suicide by jumping off a high building, taking Patchman's soul with him.
  • This trope plays a role in the single most foreshadowed and biggest spoiler in Black Butler, unless you're one of the fans who guessed beforehand. As in, "Ciel Phantomhive" as we know him is actually the younger, less-known, fragile Phantomhive twin, impersonating his brother Ciel for the past three-four years. As of yet, the audience doesn't even know the protagonist's real name.
  • Nacht Faust from Black Clover. Back in his youth, Nacht had a younger twin brother named Morgen. While his brother formed a pair with Yami and became famous as a great Magic Knight, Nacht started studying devils. However, his studies led Morgen to sacrifice his life to save Nacht from a powerful devil when he recklessly went through with casting a Devil-Binding Ritual. Nacht says he still can't forgive himself for causing Morgen's death even years after the incident, and modeled his appearance after his late twin brother's. To atone, he joined the Magic Knights and dedicated his life to destroying unjust evil before it can harm good people.
  • Ceres, Celestial Legend plays with this. While Aki is alive for majority of the series, his body being possessed by the Ancestor and his conscious forced down, it is still treated akin to Aki being dead and causing a lot of grief for his twin, Aya. It's played straight in the finale, when Aki gets killed.
  • In Chaos;Head, Yua Kusunoki's twin sister Mia died in the "Group Dive," the first First Gen incident. Yua then launches her own investigation into Mia's death. She suspects Takumi Nishijou is involved in the First Gen murders, and attempts to gain his trust by acting as a girl otaku. When Takumi finds out her true intentions, Yua ... doesn't take it well. Turns out that it was actually Yua who died and not Mia. Mia essentially became Yua after her twin's death.
  • Played with in CLANNAD. Kyou and Ryou are non-obviously identical twins, differentiated by Only Six Faces and their vastly different hairstyles. There's a literal Bus Crash, and everyone thinks Ryou might have died, but it turns out she didn't take the bus that day at all. Kyou only panics momentarily. It's Kotomi—purple-haired girl #3—who experiences a Freak Out; she takes one look at the flipped bus and jumps to the conclusion that Ryou is dead and it's her fault, probably because she still wrongly blames herself for causing her parents' deaths and destroying their life's work.
  • Mrs. Skeener, of The Dreaming, was the only student at Merriweathers Finishing School for Young Ladies (Greenwich's old name) that wasn't kidnapped by Quinkans. Her twin sister Mary, on the other hand...
  • Happens very briefly in Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid, when Xia Yu Lan is killed and her corpse is used to goad her younger twin sister Xia Yu Fan into rage to attack their employer (who quickly offs her, too).
  • Suboshi in Fushigi Yuugi, who is sufficiently broken by his twin's (perceived) death that he crosses the Moral Event Horizon in a big way to retaliate against the Suzaku warriors. And in a fairly horrible bit of irony, Amiboshi not only wasn't really dead, he was the only one of the Seiryuu seven who survived to the end of the series.
  • Though not an actual twin, Shiki Ryogi in The Garden of Sinners goes through something like this after she loses "the other Shiki" after a car accident. "The other Shiki" is in fact a male Split Personality, and in his memory she begins using his masculine manner of speech.
  • Ghost Hunt has Naru, who we later learn had a twin brother Gene who was killed in a hit and run type accident. Naru's whole reason for being in Japan is actually to find his brother's body, and the reason he always wears all black is because he is in mourning. We also learn Lin protects him in part because it is dangerous for him to use his PK without Gene, who he could channel some of his overwhelming power into safely. He maintains a stoic facade most of the time but the angst does slips through at times, to his great annoyance.
  • Inochi by Reiko Momochi invokes this trope as an important base for its plot, as early as within the first two chapters. It is given that the twins, Nobara and Kotori, are identical to the point where not even their mother can tell apart their Twin Switch moments; unfortunately for Nobara, their last switch ends up getting Kotori kidnapped, killed, and posthumously raped. As a result, Nobara, due to circumstances, must continue to pretend to act as Kotori without getting found out. Cue massive and very understandable angst as Nobara not only sees everyone mourning for her under the belief that she's dead, but also feels horrifyingly guilty over Kotori's rape and murder. It eventually gets to the point where Nobara tricks Kotori's murderer into mortally wounding her in order for him to be brought to justice and reunite with her sister in the afterlife, She get's better.
  • Jiu Jiu: The death of Takamichi's twin brother, Takayuki, caused Takamichi to close off her heart. Takayuki was the only person in their clan of demon hunters who truly cared for his sister, despite the rest of the family treating Takamichi like a worthless spare. With Takayuki's death, all the attention and expectations that had previously rested on his shoulders suddenly shifted to Takamichi, who was elevated to the position of clan heir. Years after his death Takamichi is still emotionally distant. Even after serving as the clan heir for the better part of her life, she's still not truly comfortable in the position because she knows how tenuous and circumstantial her family's support can be.
  • Rai's death in Jyu-Oh-Sei drives the plot because of the angst it causes his twin Thor.
  • K has Adolf K. Weismann and his elder twin sister Klaudia, who is a Posthumous Character - her death is shown in a flashback. Her brother, now immortal, retreats to his airship and removes himself completely from the world for decades, until he gets body swapped with an Ordinary High-School Student and hit with amnesia. He even says that even though he witnessed the Colourless King murder someone, he's not interested enough to interfere.
  • In King of Thorn, twins Kasumi and Shizuku both contract the deadly disease Medusa, but only Kasumi is selected to into cryogenic sleep to wait for a cure, which upsets her greatly. Matters are complicated however when it's revealed that Kasumi is a Medusa duplicate created by Shizuku in a bout of incredible grief, when the 'real' Kasumi accidentally died by falling off a cliff after trying to get Shizuku to perform a double-suicide with her around the start of the story.
  • In Kurage no Shokudo, Youtarou finds it difficult to accept his brother's death. In fact, he attempted to kill himself, presumably to join his twin in death.
  • In Magical Girl Raising Project, the Peaky Angel twins Minael and Yunael initially serve more as comic relief as they focus on being popular over helping people and complain about their leader. They do everything together and act the same. When the fighting starts, Yunael is killed, leaving Minael mentally unhinged. She then employs ruthless pragmatism over fun when hunting her enemies until she's killed.
  • In Mars (1996), Rei is introduced as a lively Delinquent Badass Biker wasting his youth chasing girls and racing bikes. After he has a panic attack in response to a person committing suicide in a public place, the series spends the much of its plot revealing that his identical twin Sei jumped to his death from the roof of a school, leaving Rei staring at a body that looked exactly like himself.
  • One story in Mushishi centers on a woman whose twin sister was stolen away by a mushi when they were children. She still tries to contact her sister despite everyone including Ginko telling her it's a lost cause.
  • Naruto:
    • Hiashi for his brother Hizashi. After Hiashi killed the Cloud Village emissary when he tried to kidnap Hinata, he offered himself as the murderer, but the clan elders and Hizashi decided to have Hizashi stand in for him, so that his Cursed Seal would protect the Byakugan. Seeing Hizashi's son Neji's skill and resentment toward the head family deeply affects Hiashi, and leads him to tell Neji the truth about his father's death.
    • Possibly Kinkaku and Ginkaku. After his brother is defeated in battle, he is unhappy to say the least, as he rampages through the 1st division of the Shinobi Alliance. According to Kakuzu, this is the second time this has happened. So Kinkaku does not do well when his brother is taken from him.
    • Sagi, the daimyo of the Land of Birds, assumed the persona of a ghostly warrior so he could hunt down the person who poisoned his twin sister. Ultimately it's revealed that the Big Bad had actually poisoned Sagi, and his sister Toki assumed her brother's identity to avoid succession issues.
  • In Sword Art Online, it turns out that Yuuki Konno had a twin sister, Aiko. Both girls were infected with HIV as a result of a contaminated blood transfusion, and Aiko died first. Yuuki, who was quite close to her sister, clearly misses Aiko a great deal, and ends up seeing a bit of her in her new friend, Asuna. When Yuuki dies in Asuna's arms, the last thing she sees is her sister in Asuna's place, clearly showing her undying love for them both.
  • Touch (1981): Tatsuya Uesugi's brother Kazuya is killed by a speeding car, driving his surviving sibling to become a great pitcher in his memory.
  • Averted at the end of Trigun Maximum in that we don't know if Knives is actually dead and never get to know how Vash feels about it, but from his creepy look when Knives is mentioned it's safe to assume part of him is relieved (if) he's dead. Can't blame him either. Knives, on the other hand, would probably have gone even crazier and angstier if Vash had died.
  • Vampire Knight turns this into a legend requiring one of the twins of hunters to "eat" the other. Usually, vampire hunter twins compete for nourishment in the womb and one is absorbed by the other, but in the rare occurrence that both are born, one will be fated to take the other's life and somehow absorb his energy. That's difficult to imagine until you take into consideration that Zero becomes a vampire in the story...and Ichiru does not.

    Comic Books 
  • Kate Kane, the Post-Crisis Batwoman, lost her twin sister Beth and her mother in a terrorist attack when she was 12 years old. Or so she thought, since her first major villain, Alice, turned out be Beth, who was heavily implied to have undergone some serious Mind Rape.
  • Pre-2011 Lady Shiva. She and her twin sister Carolyn were excellent martial artists, which drew the attention of David Cain. Cain was looking for the perfect mother to bear a child whom he could mold into the ultimate assassin. He noticed that Shiva and her sister would always hold back against each other to avoid really hurting each other whenever they sparred. David then murdered Carolyn so nothing would hold back Shiva anymore. Years later, Lady Shiva would admit to her daughter Cassandra that she misses Carolyn every day.
  • Fray: Though they aren't identical, Mel angsts over accidentally getting her brother Harth munched by Icarus while out on a grab. It gets worse when he's revealed as the Big Bad.
  • In Superman storyline Starfire's Revenge, the titular crimelord kills her minion Derek Marlowe when he outlives his usefulness, and then she feeds his twin brother Rodney the lie that Supergirl killed Derek, sending Rodney into a murderous, grieving rage.

    Fan Works 
  • In chapter 56 of Kyon: Big Damn Hero, Tsuruya's Ninja Maid Shinobu tells Kyon how she used to be a women's rights activist in her youth who made powerful enemies that killed her sister in a Revenge by Proxy. Said sister was Tsuruya's mother.
  • Prince James is one of these in the Once Upon a Time fanfiction Once Upon a Time and Again, as his elder twin brother David died before the beginning of the story. In canon, they had never met before James was called in as a Backup Twin and Spare to the Throne.
  • This is brought up by Tsunade in Dreaming of Sunshine after the Retrieval Arc - Ukon dies after trying to possess Naruto, leaving his twin brother Sakon to be brought back to the village for interrogation.
    • Also, Toki in the Land of Birds Arc.
    • The fear of this trope is what drives some of the interpersonal conflict between Shikamaru and Shikako - with Shikako near constantly in danger, Shikamaru fears losing her.
  • The Tales of the Abyss fanfic Reflections has this brought up or alluded to in regards to Asch and Luke though they aren't twins but original and replica, functionally they have acted as such since Luke joined the family and the Big Bad wants to invoke this to get Asch under his control.
  • Vanna is this in the Five Nights at Freddy's Alternate Universe Fic, Something Always Remains. Her tein sister, Vesper, disappeared at Fredbear's when the two were four years old, and her mother tried to make Vanna forget it ever happened. Done again when it's later revealed that Vanna's mother lost her own twin sister in a different Fredbear's accident, and after the disappearance of her daughter, was completely done with the restaurant.
  • The WandaVision fanfic The Maximoffs (And Friends and Family) vs The Multiverse! (And Sometimes With) has both Wanda and Peter as this... To each other's alternate self.
  • Percy is revealed to be one in The Awakening of a Magus, due to a powerful twin bond breaking when his brother died the day after they were born.

    Film — Live Action 
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron: Wanda Maximoff loses her twin brother Pietro to Ultron, and his death is a very sore subject for her to the point that she refuses to talk about it with anyone other than her future lover, and Monica Rambeau bringing it up in WandaVision is enough to warrant Wanda booting her out of the Hex.
  • In Constantine, twin sisters Angela and Isabelle had the powers to see angels and demons. Angela denied her gift, while Isabelle accepted it - Angela became a successful police officer while Isabelle ended up in an asylum, eventually killing herself and thus kicking off the plot.
  • Dead Ringers: At the end, Beverly kills his brother with surgical tools at the latter's request in a drug-fueled stupor. He doesn't outlive his brother for long, as he simply can't bear to live without him and instead chooses to die with Elliot.
  • The plot of I Miss You centers on this trope, as the movie follows 14-year-old Tina, whose identical twin Cilla is killed in a car accident.
  • Takako in One Missed Call 2. Her twin sister answered the death call and died just days later when they were children. This fueled her decision to become a detective and be able to end the curse.
  • At the beginning of The Pretty One, the audience is introduced to Laurel and Audrey, identical twins who are otherwise polar opposites. When Audrey dies in a car accident, Laurel tries to pick up Audrey's life, but is hampered by the fact that she's still grieving for Audrey, who in her mind is the more successful of the two, and can't express it to anyone except the support group.
  • Prom Night (1980): The killer is revealed to be Kim's younger brother Alex. Alex's twin Robin was killed at the beginning of the film and Alex drove himself to murder the children who killed her.
  • Hedy in Single White Female is revealed to be this, both in the story she tells Allie (that her twin was stillborn) and in what we learn really happened. She drowned when they were seven, and the guilt-ridden and lonely Hedy has been searching for a replacement ever since, hence her mimicking Allie's style and appearance.
  • In the Star Wars franchise:
    • Star Wars: Clone Wars, since every clone with character development is potentially one of these.
    • In Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones, Queen Amidala's lookalike handmaiden Corde.
    • In Star Wars: Episode VIII — The Last Jedi, Rose Tico is introduced mourning the death of her twin sister. After Luke's death in the climax, Leia becomes an angsty surviving twin.
  • In Sisters (1973), Danielle developed her violent "Dominique" personality after her Conjoined Twins sister's death from Dr. Breton's separating them through surgery.

  • This is the subject of After Iris, by Natasha Farrant — a video diary by a preteen girl set three years after her twin sister was killed in a traffic accident.
  • In Among Others by Jo Walton, Mori's twin dies shortly after the start of the book and she spends most of the book coping with her death. Then she sees her twin's ghost who tries to get her to commit suicide so they can be together.
  • This provides perhaps the most heart-wrenching scene in Frank McCourt's memoir Angela's Ashes, when one of the young twins dies and the other one keeps pathetically saying his name, etc.
  • Digby Geste from Beau Geste plays a bit with this; though he survives his twin Michael and even helps in making a funeral pyre for him, he feels a lack due to his twin's more dominant personality and he dies on the way back to Lagos.
  • In David Eddings's Belgariad, the sorceress Polgara is this.
    Belgarath: "To this very day, if you're impolite enough to ask Polgara how old she is, she'll probably say something like, 'We're about three thousand—or so.' Beldaran's been gone for a long time, but she still looms very large in Polgara's conception of the world."
    • In fact, just the mention of her name, such as Garion naming his first daughter after her is enough to shake her.
    • Either one of the surviving twins in his other novel, Regina's Song gets this. Very, very badly.
  • In Blade of Fire (the second volume of Stuart Hill's The Icemark Chronicles) Thirrin's son, Cerdic, is killed in battle, prompting his twin brother, Eodred, to enter a period of protracted mourning. In the end, it takes the insistence of his sister, Cressida, that he get on with life and his newfound friendship with a young werewolf to help Eodred recover.
  • In one of many possible interpretations, Colin Whisterfield in Alan Garner's Boneland, in which an older surviving twin seeks to come to terms with the (presumed) death of his sister, in very strange circumstances, anything up to forty years before the present.
  • In The Bridge of San Luis Rey, Esteban and Manuel are so close that they have their own language and Twin Telepathy. Esteban goes through a great deal of angst after the death of his twin brother from an infected cut. He essentially becomes a homeless person for a while, wandering around aimlessly, answering to his brother's name. It culminates in an Interrupted Suicide.
  • The Cat Who... Series: Book #8 (The Cat Who Sniffed Glue) features David Fitch, who has to deal with not only the murder of his twin brother Harley and his wife, but also their mother's fatal stroke and their father's suicide, both indirectly caused by the murder. His friends are all worried he may follow his father's example. Subverted when we find out that David was Dead All Along and the surviving twin is actually Harley, who killed David in order to take his place. He was having an affair with David's wife. The parents' stroke and suicide were caused by the fact that they figured out the truth, and couldn't live with it.
  • The Dark Artifices: Livia Blackthorn is killed during the confrontation with Annabel Blackthorn in the Gard at the end of Lord of Shadows. While all of her siblings grieve in some way, no one is as affected as her twin brother, the autistic Tiberius, who flat out doesn't accept her death and begins finding a way to bring her back. Except it doesn't really work; Livvy only comes back as a ghost tied to him, and the spell used to do the resurrection is implied to cause a harmful effect. By the end of the series, Ty is forced to accept that Livvy has gone for good.
  • In the Dick Simon duology, the four-armed Taya are almost always born with an identical twin. This has shaped their entire culture. Twins always marry other twins, even if they don't necessarily love their partner. Losing one's brother/sister, especially at an early age, is devastating, and can mean not being able to find a mate due to this. It happens to males more than females, as young males are expected to leave the peace of the villages and go to the lowland jungle to fight. The titular protagonist is a human, who was born on the human colony on Tayahat. When he was still a boy, his father sent him to a native friend to be educated in the ways of the Taya. While there, Dick fell in love with a Taya girl. Unfortunately, the girl had a twin sister, so they could never be together, and Dick was treated with the same kind of pity the Taya reserve for those whose twin has died, despite the reminders that humans are different.
  • Exaggerated in The Diminished where everyone, save for a rare few "singleborn", is a twin. If one twin dies the other gets sick and dies soon after, and the 1 percent who survive become known as "the diminished" and will inevitably snap into murderous insanity. Except not really. The Corrupt Church has been secretly dosing the diminished with Psycho Serum for decades, in order to increase the populace's fear of them and their own power. Without that, only one in five of the diminished will snap, and it won't be quite as dramatic or murderous when they do.
  • Thomas Didymus, after the crucifixion of Christ, in Dirge for Prester John.
  • Carrie, after Cory is killed by poison in Flowers in the Attic. The next book, Petals on the Wind, shows that she never entirely recovers.
  • Galax-Arena: Mariam, after Istar dies in the arena.
  • Gilead Lothain, the dispossessed elf protagonist of the Black Library novel Gilead's Blood (and the forthcoming Gilead's Curse), owes his grim, tragic and thoroughly disillusioned character to the death of his identical twin brother Galeth. Gilead and Galeth were often described as one soul in two bodies, such was the strength of their bond (extending to a kind of mild telepathic link), and Gilead speculates that their bond somehow survives Galeth's death, making him effectively two souls in one body. It is because of what happened to Galeth that Gilead lost all interest in his lands and noble birthright and became the shadowy wandering vigilante he is in the books.
  • Both played straight and subverted in Harry Potter:
    • George, the surviving Weasley twin, goes on without Fred to become super successful at Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, which was the dream the twins had pursued together. On the other hand, he marries Fred's then-girlfriend, he names his own son Fred, and Word of God says that he never fully got over Fred's death, to the point where he could no longer produce a Patronus charm, since all his happiest memories involved Fred. In the films, the look on George's face in the movie when he sees Fred's dead body shows just how deeply it affects him.
    • Meta-Example (sort of); the actor playing George couldn't do more than a few takes of pretending his brother was dead as it was too much for him.
  • The Hunger Games: Katniss’s family friend Mrs Undersee became a drug addict after her twin sister was killed in the titular games about 25 years before the start of the series.
  • Jonah in Natalie Standiford's book How to Say Goodbye in Robot: Jonah's father actually lied to him about his twin's death in a car accident. He actually had him institutionalized because he didn't want to look after him.
  • The book I Miss You, I Miss You opens with the character Tina telling the audience that her identical twin Cilla will soon die in a car accident and that this is not meant to be a surprising twist because the story is about Tina dealing with the loss of her sister.
    • While the characters in the book are fictional, they are based on real life twins Kinna and Jenny Gieth. Kinna, a teenager at the time, co-wrote the book with author Peter Pohl as a way of coping with the death of her twin.
  • In the SF novel La Horde du Contrevent by Alain Damasio, one of the Dubka brothers dies and the other angsts about it until he is replicated and the copy instantly assumes the identity of the dead brother, for reasons explained in the book.
  • Charlie in the novel of Lemonade Mouth (but not the movie) — his twin choked on his umbilical cord and was stillborn. The family's visited his grave on every birthday.
  • In Iain M. Banks's Culture novel Look to Windward, this is the Backstory for the AI Mind of the Masaq Orbital, formerly the GSV Lasting Damage, which had been reunited with its Backup Twin and then lost it during the Idirian War. Culture Minds are titanic. Big mind, big angst.
  • The Redwall story Marlfox has a pair of otter twins that are part of the Sensational Wandering Noonvale Companions Troupe. One of the brothers, Elachim, dies in the first battle of the story, while his brother survives to the end.
  • Lightning by Dean Koontz. The heroine meets a pair of identical twin orphans, Thelma and Ruth. Later on Ruth is killed accidentally when another orphan commits suicide, causing Thelma tremendous grief. She ends up helping the heroine in her adventures.
  • "Nine Lives", a short story by Ursula K. Le Guin, takes this to an extreme when one of ten clones is the only survivor.
  • The Power of Five: Scott dies and Jamie lives.
  • In The Secret Life of Bees, one of the Boatwright sisters, May, had a twin sister named April who died by suicide. According to sisters June and August, May was never the same after that, and will become upset and emotional over the littlest things. And when she finally snaps, she decides to follow April in taking her own life, so she drowned herself.
  • Isadora and Duncan Quagmire are Surviving Triplets in A Series of Unfortunate Events. They insist on being referred to as triplets, not twins, because they were not born twins. Later subverted when it turns out that Quigley survived.
  • The Silmarillion: In one version of the "burn the ships" incident, Amras, one of Fëanor's twins, is on the ships when his father burns them. His twin Amrod becomes this afterward. note 
  • In Star Wars Legends, Alema Rar loses her twin sister to the Yuuzhan Vong in a particularly agonising and gruesome way; it sends her into a dangerous spiral of grief and vengeance that culminates in her falling to the Dark Side, becoming steadily more insane and disfigured by injuries, and eventually dying.
  • In The Stranger House, one of the interchangeable Gowder twins dies in an accident and the survivor goes 100% Axe-Crazy.
  • Wulfgar from Valhalla loses his brother to the protagonist in the first scene, setting up his quest for revenge.
  • The Sweet Valley High book The Wakefields of Sweet Valley includes the story of Jessamyn, the great-great grandmother of the twins featured in the main series, who never really got over the death of her own twin Elisabeth in a riding accident. To a lesser extent, Amanda (the Wakefield's great-great-aunt whose twin Samantha dies in childbirth) and Sarah (the great-great-grandmother on the other side of the family whose twin brother James dies of pneumonia) might also qualify.
    • Elizabeth herself has a nightmare in which Jessica is killed in a car accident following an argument in which Elizabeth has finally gotten fed up with Jessica's selfish behavior and outright told her "I wish I didn't HAVE a sister." Naturally, Elizabeth is this trope until she wakes up and realizes it was All Just a Dream.
  • The Wheel of Time: Played for drama with the elderly Aes Sedai sisters Adeleas and Vandene, who spend their entire lives together and are 265 years old when Adeleas is murdered by a mystery Mole. Vandene is absolutely devastated, starts wearing Adeleas' clothes, loses weight because food "tastes like ashes", and is obsessed with finding the murderer. Her sole moment of happiness is in finding and killing the murderer, seconds before being killed herself.
  • In Where the Red Fern Grows, Old Dan gets killed by a mountain lion near the end. His sister Little Ann has a Death by Despair a few days afterwards.
  • Wings of Fire: Peril is haunted by the fact she killed her twin while still in their egg. It fuels her belief that she was hatched to kill others, something enforced by her queen. It turns out the story is a lie. Her Missing Mom Kestrel was forced to kill her brother in a Sadistic Choice soon after they hatched. Later it's revealed that Kestrel managed to fake her son's death, but lost track of him afterwards.
  • In If I Fall, If I Die, Diane's brother died in a grain elevator accident when they were twenty-four. She never fully recovered, and knowing how easily a loved one can be torn from her meant that after she had Will, she was constantly envisioning horrible deaths for him. This eventually developed into an anxiety disorder that left her housebound for eight years. She improves somewhat when her brother turns out to actually be alive.
  • In Twig, the twin sisters of the Baron Richmond are introduced serving as The Dragon to him, his bastard half-siblings. After the Lambsbridge Gang kill all but one, the sole survivor is struck by the lack of care her brother shows for their lives, and, after making a final attempt to kill the Lambs, crosses a Despair Event Horizon and gives up.

    Live Action TV 
  • Adam Chandler on All My Children was this after both times his twin brother and Morality Pet Stuart was presumed dead, promptly engaging in self-destructive behavior that nearly ended his life as well.
  • This is Justine's prime motivation in Angel. Her twin sister Julia was killed by vampires.
  • Lily experienced this on As the World Turns after twin sister Rose was fatally poisoned, going so far as to assume Rose's identity in an effort to keep her alive.
  • An episode of Baywatch featured one of these, a woman who would act as both her gorgeous, glamorous sister Maddie and her "plain" sister Gwen. (Maddie drowned when the two were little girls and the guilt-ridden Gwen not only assumed her identity in order to cope, she constantly verbally abused herself as punishment)
  • Surviving twin Stephanie "Steffy" Forrester onThe Bold and the Beautiful grown to become angsty. She dated her dead twin sister Phoebe's incestuous boyfriend Rick (who caused the car accident that killed Phoebe) and now for some reason she is going after Rick's mom, Brooke and her family the Logan's. Possibly because of Phoebe's death, though the show fails to recognize it.
    • To add to this trope, Steffy is now going after married man Bill "Dollar Bill" Spencer, who is married to Brooke's sister, Katie.
  • Played for laughs in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, in which Rebecca casually mentions in passing that one of the reasons she's lonely at Thanksgiving is that "My dad bailed, my mom's a misery, I ate my twin in the womb."
    Paula: [horrified] You ate your twin?
    Rebecca: [rolls eyes] I mean, medically speaking, I didn't "eat" it. I just metabolised its body parts for my own use.
  • Played with on Dark Angel. Jensen Ackles's Season 2 character Alec only appeared after his Season 1 character Ben was killed off, and the twins were Separated at Birth, so they never met, but Ben's existence certainly provided Alec with angst. First of all, all the twins of the '09 escapees from Project Manticore were put through the worst of it when Manticore tightened the reins following the escape. And then in Alec's case in particular, Ben being a Serial Killer didn't help things - getting him put in psychological observation at Manticore for six months and later arrested in Seattle for a murder Ben committed. Alec also got a more regretful view of Ben after hearing from Max how he Used to Be a Sweet Kid and she'd had to Mercy Kill him, though he was mostly comforting Max in her angst.
    • Played straight for at least an episode after Joshua's brother Isaac died.
  • Doctor Who: After "The Day of the Doctor", Osgood and the Zygon who took her shape grow closer and almost become The Dividual, refusing to tell anyone which one is which. They see themselves as the embodiment of the human-Zygon peace. So, when Missy murders one of them in "Death in Heaven", the other is shown to be utterly devastated, and still refuses to reveal whether she's a human or a Zygon. This is demonstrated by the surviving Osgood's attitude. While she still fawns over the Doctor, she's now much more confident in her own abilities and has a hardness to her. She softens a little again, after Bonnie becomes the second Osgood to maintain the peace.
  • Farscape: The death of Talyn!John is very much played this way. The immediate expectation is that Moya!John would shrug it off pretty easily, especially since neither Crichton wanted the other around in the first place. To be fair, though, most of the surviving John's angst was because Aeryn wouldn't let him get close to her due to her angst over Talyn!Crichton's death.
  • A variation in Finding Carter — the eponymous Carter, is alive but was kidnapped as a toddler, and ever since then, her twin sister Taylor has lived in fear of the same thing happening to her (and while Carter's post-abduction life was actually pretty decent, Taylor had no way of knowing that; for all she knew, her sister had met a horrible fate). It's eventually revealed that she has memories of watching her sister be abducted, which probably fueled this further.
  • Mark Gray from The Following. He and his identical twin brother Luke were a Serial Killer team until Luke and their mother were killed at the end of Season 2. As Mark is a Psychopathic Manchild who relied on his smarter and more dominant brother to function he loses it trying to recreate him. He dresses a mannequin in identical clothes to himself and taped a mirror to it's face so he can pretend he's talking to his brother and eventually recreates Luke as an alternate personality.
  • Cami from The Originals moved to New Orleans prior to the pilot to research on the death of her twin brother Sean, who massacred everyone on the church he worked for before commiting suicide (later revealed to be because he was hypnotized into doing that by Agnes).
  • Riverdale begins with Cheryl and Jason, two very close Half Identical Twins. While out on a boat ride, Jason goes mysteriously missing. Cheryl is assumed to have killed Jason. This is later debunked; Jason tried to fake his death and run away from Riverdale, but somehow he really was killed. At first, it seems like Cheryl is faking her sadness over Jason's death. A few episodes in, the fact that her brother - whom she believes was her soul mate - has died really hits Cheryl. It goes downhill from there, cultivating in her attempting suicide in the season finale.
  • Patsy Parisi from The Sopranos. He angsts about it often enough to make the rest of the cast frustrated, and when he finds out that Tony had his brother killed for trash-talking him, Patsy gets drunk and pees in Tony's pool (after seriously contemplating killing Tony in revenge). One interpretation of the end of the series is that he eventually went through with that last part.
  • The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Vortex" featured a pair of twins from a species in which twins are always born with a telepathic link. One twin died. The other twin went mad for revenge.
    • The species in question are the Miradorn, who also appear in the novel continuity - one story in the Starfleet Corps of Engineers series is set on their home world. This story features another angsty surviving twin.
  • WandaVision continues Wanda's status as this as just one mention of Pietro's death proves to be a giant Berserk Button for her.

  • Evillious Chronicles: It takes the sacrifice and death of Allen, Riliane's twin brother and the one person who truly loved her, for Riliane to finally realize (and tearfully regret) her tyranny as a queen and the unforgivable atrocities she had once committed. mothy , being Mothy, is aware of the impact of this trope to the fandom and subsequent materials continue to milk the improbability of Allen ever seeing Riliane again for all the feels it's worth.
  • The song "Run For Your Life" by The Fray is about a girl whose twin sister has died; the singer tries to convince her not to give up on life afterward.

  • Taako from The Adventure Zone: Balance had a twin sister named Lup. After realizing what the Phoenix Fire Gauntlet (which she made) did to the world, Lup tried to lock it away, but was murdered in the process, and her lich-form absorbed by the Umbrastaff. Taako and Barry searched for weeks, until they had their memory erased by Lucretia, who fed their history to the Voidfish, including Taako's memories of Lup. After regaining his memory, he hits the Despair Event Horizon hard, threatening to murder Lucretia in cold blood, and becoming completely apathetic to the world around him.
    Taako: You fucking took everything from me!
  • Juno Steel of The Penumbra Podcast had a twin brother named Benzaiten; growing up, the two were nearly inseparable. Then their mother murdered Benzaiten when he was nineteen because she thought he was Juno. Juno's been crippled with guilt over it ever since (both over not having been there to stop it and over the inciting incident that made their mother despise Juno, despite the fact that the latter happened when Juno was four years old), and it's one of the main reasons for his depression and Death Seeker tendencies at the beginning of the series.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In The Dark Eye this is the fate of all geodes (dwarven mages). Male dwarves are always born as twins, and if one sibling dies before the adulthood ritual (that coincidentially extinguishes all traces of magic potential), the surviving one is given to a hermit geode to help him live with the loss and, in rare cases, become his apprentice. It is expected to make the loss and the search for the wandering soul of the twin a central part of the character in some form.


    Video Games 
  • Occurs in Dragon Age II, as Hawke's two younger siblings are twins, and one of them (which one depends on Hawke's class) will die in the prologue. Carver reacts more immediately, lashing out and trying to blame Hawke for it, which is probably the closest the two of them ever got to coming to blows. Bethany's reaction is more delayed; she's sad, of course, in the first act, but she gets more and more depressed over it as time passes. At the end of the game, seven years after Carver died, Bethany says her biggest regret is that she didn't knock Carver on his "stupid ass" before he could charge that ogre.
  • Wendy's special ability in Don't Starve is to summon the ghost of her dead twin, Abigail, to defend her. Reflecting this trope, Wendy takes reduced Sanity loss from darkness and monsters (due to already being mentally traumatised) and her quotes in general are suitably depressed and nihilistic.
  • Double Subverted in Dragon Quest XI. Serena is devestated by her sister's death, but manages to get through the entire funeral without shedding a single tear so to provide emotional support for her parents. It's only when she's alone with the Luminary later that night that she finally allows herself to cry.
  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the Shatter-Shield family in Windhelm is mourning the loss of daughter Friga. Friga's twin sister Nilsine is taking it extremely hard, especially since Friga was murdered by the local Serial Killer and her death feels incredibly senseless to Nilsine.
  • In Far Cry: New Dawn, Mickey of the Highwaymen ends up becoming this after her sister Lou dies of her injuries following the battle with the Captain. Mickey feels that as the older twin, she was supposed to die first, and now she's failed at protecting her sister. Having a Villainous BSoD upon realizing she's also broken her promise to her mother not to end up becoming like their criminal father, and is willing to Face Death with Dignity at the Captain's hands. The Captain can let her live and leave to find her mother, though.
  • Fatal Frame:
    • In Fatal Frame II there's a ritual that, by default, produces these, since one twin must kill the other to appease the Hellish Abyss. Let's count the ways they produced Angsty Surviving Twins:
      • Itsuki: to the point where he helps Yae and Sae escape so as to not suffer his and his brother's fate, and then commits suicide once he thinks they've escaped.
      • Yae: so traumatized by losing her sister (and the entire village) to the Repentance that she lost all her memories of them. A rare example that doesn't directly involve the ritual.
      • Mio: in the canon ending, so traumatized by the death of Mayu it leads directly into the 3rd game's plot, which deals with survivor guilt.
      • Akane: so traumatized by her twin sister's death that her father made a doll that looked like Azami which ended up possessed by a malevolent spirit and led to her own possession and death.
      • The only surviving twin that isn't angsty is Ryokan, and that's likely because it was years since his twin's death, so he's likely come to terms with it by now.
    • Fatal Frame IV has Kageri Sendou. After her twin sister's death, she "coped" with it by creating a life-sized doll in the image of said sister (which she named "Watashi"), treating it as if it were her sister for the rest of her life.
  • Genshin Impact: Makoto, archon of Inazuma and Ei's twin sister, died during the Cataclysm 500 years ago, and it has caused Ei to lock herself up within a "Plane of Euthymia" and refuse almost entirely to deal with the world directly, leaving it to a pre-programmed advanced puppet to carry out the role of the Raiden Shogun except for the rare occasions she directly controls it.
  • In Golden Axe, the dwarf Gilius Thunderhead was planning to avenge his twin brother by defeating Death Adder, then committing suicide to join him in death.
  • In the Halo series, Hunters tend to come as identical twin brothers, as the worm colony that makes up a Hunter will split into two when it grows too large. These twins have an extremely close bond and when you kill one the other will go absolutely apeshit on you.
  • In Heavy Rain, this is part of the Origami Killer's motivation. Scott Shelby watched his twin brother die, and never really got over it. Since Scott's parents could have helped but didn't, Scott now wants to mentally torture parents to prove that they're willing to do anything to save their kids.
  • In the second Inazuma Eleven game, we're introduced to Fubuki Shirou whose younger twin Atsuya died in an avalanche along with their parents. The trauma resulted in Shirou developing a split personality based on Atsuya.
  • Mona Sax in Max Payne, whose identical twin sister Lisa was murdered during the events of the first game. In the seconed game, Max waxes all poetical about how it must have been for Mona in his voice-over narration.
  • Mother 3 has Lucas, who loses his mother and twin brother, Claus, within a day of each other in the game's first chapter. Almost all of his screentime after that point is of him grieving. His Silent Protagonist status after the timeskip leaves much to interpretation, but if nothing else he's melancholic and not particularly talkative.
  • As shown in the above picture, in NieR after Devola is killed midway through the boss battle, Popola goes through a massive Villainous Breakdown where she's driven mad by grief. She rejects Nier's plea to give up, screaming at him that No One Stops. In NieR: Automata, the same thing happens with Eve after the death of Adam, which leads him to be the final boss of Ending A/B.
  • Persona 5 Royal: This is a major part of Kasumi Yoshizawa's story. Her twin sister Sumire died just before she entered high school, and she wants to be a great gymnast in honor of her. It's later revealed that the opposite is true: Kasumi is the one who died, and it's Sumire, taking on her sister's identity, that the player interacts with.
  • We don't really see Viola DeWinter angsting over the death of her twin sister Kiki's death in Saints Row: The Third, but she is obviously shaken to the core by it in that scene, and runs over to the Saints almost immediately, abandoning her old gang to avenge Kiki.
  • Ette le Sheila in Shining Resonance is a Child Soldier who was experimented upon by the Sanguine Church in Gaelritz Prison alongside his twin sister Marion and the protagonist Yuma, the latter of whom escaped in the beginning of the game while the former perished at the hands of the Mad Scientist Joachim beforehand. However, Yuma notes while he was imprisoned, he heard the guards talking about how one of the twins died and thought it was Ette who was the one perished, but brushes it off as a case of Mistaken Identity. As it turns out, Ette really did die. The "Ette" they meet is actually Marion, who had Ette's Magical Eye implanted into her own body by Joachim after his death and, due to the magic of the eye and Marion's guilt and loss, his personality and soul survived inside of her. Joachim then Brainwashed them both into believing Marion was the one who died and allowing Ette's personality to become dominant. Marion and Ette eventually break free of the brainwashing and, with Yuma's help, allow Ette to pass on.
  • In Xenosaga, even though Jr. (Rubedo) has spent the better part of two games trying to track down his Axe-Crazy twin Albedo, he can't stop himself from breaking down crying after he is forced to kill him in their final dual.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Da Capo II Plus Communication, Akane had a twin named Ai who died before the main storyline began. In her grief, she made a wish on the sakura tree to revive Ai, which ended up with her sharing her body with Ai's spirit. When the sakura tree gets withered, the wish is cancelled.
  • This sometimes happens to Shion and Mion in Higurashi: When They Cry.
  • The Player Character of the otome game Shall We Date?: Ninja Shadow is Saori, a Bifauxnen Action Survivor whose girly-looking twin brother Kaname was murdered in front of her in the game's Downer Beginning. She takes up his place in a Vigilante Man group he was supposed to join to both help their village and avenge his death, with her levels of inner angst depending heavily on which romance route the player chooses for her.
  • In SHUFFLE!, Lisianthus had a twin named Kikyou who died before childbirth. As a result, Sia made a pact with Kikyou and ends up hosting her spirit within her body, giving her a Split Personality. In Sia's route, this is a major plot point.
  • Itsuki, from Suika. But not really. She was Dead All Along and her sister was in coma, making Sayo the true example, though she doesn't angst much.

  • In Drowtales, the ruling Sharen clan has an odd tradition of "hiring" (purchasing) infants of lowly birth as "protector twins" so their own children can know the experience of having a twin. Perhaps not surprisingly, the life expectancy of a protector twin is often relatively short, as the two usually end up in conflict that leaves one of them dead. Which is how it usually goes for other drow twins as well.
    • As of chapter 46, Kau, Sil'lice's son, has become this thanks to the death of his natural twin sister Shala.
  • In Muted Camille lost her twin sister Chloe and her mother in a fire when she was a child and was left both physically and emotionally scarred in the aftermath.
  • ''Unsounded: Sara and Ilya both die during the attack on the shrine, leaving their sisters befret. Ilya's twin is shown curled up bawling and Siya is shown crying and lashing out in her grief.

    Web Original 
  • In The Adventure Zone: Balance, Taako is an angsty surviving twin, although the situation is complicated by Lucretia using the Voidfish to erase the others' memories of Lup.
  • In Lovers Oath, Bevel is shown to be one of these, though... He doesn't realize his twin is still alive. The twin doesn't know Bevel's alive either.
  • In the Red vs. Blue mini-series "Recovery One", Agent South is introduced as one of these, with her brother North having died just as we meet her. It turns out that she killed him put him in a position to be killed, showing her to be angsty from the get go.
  • One of the antagonists of RWBY, Hazel, despises Ozpin due to blaming him for the death of his twin sister, Gretchen.

    Western Animation 
  • DuckTales (2017): After the disappearance of his twin sister Della, Donald is left raising her kids Huey, Dewey and Louie, and the incident caused Donald to cut ties with Scrooge. In addition, he becomes an Overprotective Dad to the boys because of the incident. Subverted in that Della is actually alive, but for a series of complicated reasons the two aren't reunited until the season two finale.
  • Gravity Falls: Stanley Pines is one to his brother Stanford, doubly so considering he was (or at least considers himself) responsible for the accident that resulted in Stanford being sent to another dimension. Although he puts on a brave face and appears to be the wacky, money-hungry "Grunkle Stan" for most of the series, there are signs throughout the first season that Stanley was deeply affected by the loss of his twin, and he has in fact spent the last thirty years of his life trying to bring Stanford back (and he's eventually successful).
  • In Transformers: Prime, after Skyquake gets killed by the Autobots, his twin Dreadwing comes to Earth to get revenge. Everything else comes second, including his loyalty to Megatron and the Decepticons. This comes to a head when he finds out Starscream was the one responsible and later raised Skyquake as a Terrorcon, which causes him to go on a rampage and attempt to kill Starscream despite Megatron ordering him to stand down. He refuses, and he gets a hole through his spark for it.

    Real Life 
  • There are a number of support groups and resources for "twinless twins," as this is definitely a truth in television for many.
  • June Gibbons (of the notorious arsonist-novelist Silent Twins of Wales) subverts this all to heck. In interviews, she misses Jennifer, who died the day they were released from Broadmoor hospital for the criminally insane, but seems cheerful enough.note  She explains everything in the 1994 documentary The Silent Twins; Without My Shadow.
    • More than that: it's said (and the twins' biographer Marjorie Wallace confirms; this is what the girls told her) the twins had long felt that if one of them died, the other must begin to speak and live a normal life, and as they grew older behind the prison walls they came to believe one of them had to die — and that after much discussion, Jennifer agreed to be the sacrifice so that June could be free and happy. Oh, but it wasn't suicide or murder or anything though. She just died.
    • This was what the jury concluded at the inquest; but the twins' family and friends had requested expert witnesses, yet none had been called, nor had medical staff from Broadmoor who had cared for the girls. Jennifer's death was due to massive acute viral myocarditis, which can have many causes. Both girls had been under extreme stress, fearing they would not actually be released from Broadmoor as promised. This combined with the psychiatric drugs Jennifer had been taking could have weakened her heart. However, we will never know for sure. Family and friends don't suspect foul play, but rather neglect on the part of medical staff, and the twins' older sister Greta Gibbons gave interviews in 2017 saying the twins should never have been sentenced to Broadmoor in the first place.
  • Elvis Presley and Philip K. Dick both had twin siblings (a brother, Jesse, in Elvis' case; a sister, Jane, in Dick's) who died as infants. How much angst from this influenced either's artistic careers is a question for the biographers and psychologists.
  • Lisa Bessette, the twin sister of Lauren Bessette, died along with her younger sister Carolyn and her brother-in-law John F. Kennedy, Jr. in a plane crash.
  • Linda Hamilton lost her identical twin sister Leslie Hamilton Gearren in 2020.
  • Michael Jackson had twin brothers Marlon and Brandon, the latter of whom died shortly after birth. Upon Michael's death, Marlon asked Michael to give Brandon a hug.
  • Among the many new specials trotted out for the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks was a feature on the 46 people who lost their twin in the disaster. Some strong emotions were only to be expected.