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Death Is Cheap
aka: Comic Book Death

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"Superman, Green Lantern, Blue Devil, The Creeper ... after a while, you begin to see that for some, the simple act of donning spandex makes death a revolving door."
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Important characters will have a terrible tendency to die dramatically, but will not, under any circumstances, stay dead. This tends to cheapen the dramatic death of a character to the point of being little more than a flesh wound if overused. If you ever hear passing mention of any form of afterlife in a series, be warned that the value of "dead" has become a whole lot less all of a sudden. Similarly, if the entire supporting cast is being killed off left and right, expect a resurrection by the end of the current arc. This trope became so common in some series that most people are more likely to be shocked if a character does not come back from the dead than when it does. This trope's best friend is the Reset Button. Downplayed examples will have a few important characters return once but also have a very specific set of rules that applied to allow it and will make it clear that its a one-trick horse and perhaps even go as far as treat it as an anomaly that only happens once in a millennium. Extremely cheap examples will have death happen so often to the same characters that it will be more of an extended vacation rather than a permanent departure.

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Since villains tend to do this often, it is usually necessary to kill them Deader Than Dead to ensure they don't just come back eventually. Because normal death means little, this "advanced form" is usually permanent. If it works as planned. This trope also has an interesting side effect, in the sense that permanent death, because it is rarer, carries a much greater degree of dramatic weight as a result. Gwen Stacy from Spider-Man is a good example of that effect.

So common is this trope in superhero comics that many other sources refer to it as Comic Book Death, to the point where The Other Wiki even has a page on the subject. Comics have many means to undo death, often involving Opening a Can of Clones. Usually the only characters in comics to stay dead are those involved in a Death by Origin Story. Returning from death or critical injury may happen with no explanation. Death Is a Slap on the Wrist in video games. If returning from death is abused repeatedly, then They Killed Kenny Again. Contrast with Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated.

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As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.


Examples:

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    Fairy Tales 
  • "The Two Brothers", collected by The Brothers Grimm: The first time one of the heroes is killed, there's much lamenting followed by a quest to a distant mountain where grows a plant that can bring the dead back to life. Having established that reviving the dead is possible, the story promptly kills him and revives him again for a laugh. (The third time one of the heroes is killed and revived falls somewhere in between.)

    Fan Works 
  • In the Heroes of the Storm fanfic Heroes of the Desk this is played straight as it would be in the actual game. In a bit of Magic A Is Magic A, any time a Hero dies, they disappear in blue mist and reappear in the chest that turned them from plastic to real in the first place. Every single named Hero has died at least once (many during an intentional suicide exploiting aforementioned respawning rule). Heroes with multiple deaths include Jaina, Diablo, and Johanna. It's not clear whether that applies later in the story after the Heroes become large because the one character who does end up "dead" under these circumstances has an in-game resurrection mechanic that is strongly implied to have kicked in.
  • In The Lion King Adventures, this is definitely the case for Shocker. Unless it's in boiling lava, and even then he comes back.
    • Hago, too. He comes back from the dead four times.
  • Deconstructed in the Bleach fanfic Calm After the Storm. Orihime managed to bring her friends back to life multiple times (Ichigo stopped counting after 5) but there are still people who couldn't be saved. Seeing friends dying, even if they come back later, still traumatized the heroes. There is also a sense of guilt that always touches survivors.
  • In With Strings Attached, As'taris has one of the shortest deaths imaginable—about half a page later, he's been resurrected. As the resurrectionist quotes, "Death is cheap, life is expensive" when Grunnel complains about the price. (Which seems rather petty of him, given how much money he has.)
    • The narrative mentions that some of the Mooks in Ehndris are "awaiting resurrection."
  • In The Prayer Warriors, a character can be killed off one chapter and somehow come back in the next chapter.
  • In the Pokémon fanfic Legend Has It, the main character Justice dies a total of four times (the last time being permanent). The first time he died he gave his life to Arceus in order to fix everything that Cyrus had undone about the world. The second time, he was briefly brought back to life by a Celebi (which turned him into a White-Haired Pretty Boy in the process) only to die right after completing Celebi's task. Then Arceus resurrected him to stop the war going on between Teams Rocket and Plasma. During that time he is killed by Archer and his Giratina immediately tries to bring him back by using a bunch of Dusknoir. The process forces him into a kind of Face–Heel Turn that makes him go absolutely crazy and has him attempt to destroy the world, only to be shot out of the sky by Arceus in a Curb-Stomp Battle that kills him for good.
  • Heavily played with in The Rules—it would normally be in effect given the nations' immortality, but The Rules throw uncertainty over their ability to come back to life. The nations are stuck with quite the ethical dilemma—start killing to get home while they can be reasonably confident their victims will recover, or try to find some other way off the island and risk everyone's immortality running out in the meantime?
  • The impermanence of death in the Marvel universe is one of the reasons authors for the MCU are skeptical of the death of Phil Coulson. There are many more stories where the man has lived than ones where he has remained dead.
  • In Christian Humber Reloaded, Vash's corrupted self keeps coming back again and again. Soku is apparently killed by Vash for turning him in, then comes back years later to take revenge and gets killed again. It's also debatable whether she is the same little girl who, with her father, helped Vash near the beginning, or if the author just reused the plot device.
  • World of Ponycraft has death about as cheap as it is in WoW gameplay. Heck, in the prologue Deathwing razes Ponyville only for Celestia to cast a mass resurrection bringing everypony back.
  • The Infinite Loops resets universes rather regularly. As a consequence, most loopers come to view death as an annoyance.
  • The default for humanity in Vigil, where brain uploads, backup copies of everyone's brain, and cortical stacks—small storage devices that maintain a saved brain-state—are ubiquitous except among bio-conservatives. Death just means you get uploaded into a new body.
  • In the Loonatics Unleashed fanfiction The Fragile, Tech builds a machine able to bring people back to life; granted it has limitations (It only works if it has a DNA sample and only if someone has been dead for less than 17 minutes), but still.
  • Kid Icarus Uprising 2: Hades Revenge will not let any major character stay dead, for any reason. In chapter 6, we see both Pit and Pit2 get killed in the chapter's last fight, only for it to be revealed that The Rapers kidnapped Pit to make him Brainwashed and Crazy, except that was actually Pit 2, who just seemed to want to reveal his plan of using Pit as a Virgin Sacrifice. Pit reappears as 'zomboy' in chapter 8, and the heroes intend to restore him with a Magical Defibrillator, except they blow him up by mistake. Thankfully, they get a Life Note to bring Pit back. In chapter 9, Pit 2, Hades, Medusa, Cloud Strafe, Cloud 2, and Amazin Pandora are all killed off, but then Cloud is tricked into Life Noting the lot. In chapter 12, Pit gets killed, this time with the usage of an Anti-Life Note, which seems to cause Killed Off for Real, until he shows up in chapter 13, possessed, but then the heroes time travel back to chapter 10, undoing this. In chapter 15, Azul falls victim to a Beam-O-War, but is Life Noted at the first opportunity.
  • In the backstory of Learning the Ropes, Krillin always made a point of reading the morning paper so he could tell King Yemma what's going on in the world if he died that day.
  • That's the prelude to Encore and Improvisation, with Luke coming back to life again and again no matter how dead he gets.
  • In Fugere Illusion, in addition to Mokou and Kaguya, Vaati A.K.A. Minerva and Cirno A.K.A. Celsius also share this trope.
  • In the Ultimate Video Rumble, elimination from the ring, however fatal (or messy), just results in a good-as-new respawn in the "Retrieval Booth" no more than 15 minutes later. (It is never explained how this works.) Ironically, those who finish their elimination alive but injured might have been better off "dying," since the Retrieval Booth is inconsistent about healing non-fatal injuries. (Injuries and deaths outside the ring stick, although the RumbleDome has an excellent infirmary.)
  • Astrid is declared dead twice in Prodigal Son, only for her to show up alive and well both times, the first time being a failed hunt for the nest, the second time being snatched up by Stormfly to safety during the Red Death's attack.
  • The Subnautica fic Aurora Falls explores and Hand Waves the game's revive system. The pod the protagonist escapes in is fitted with the Valkyrie Field, a combination body scanner, stasis field and system generator. It takes a scan of a person and constructs a biometric template, then when your lifesigns cease in the field it automatically constructs a replacement of you in the pod. The system is designed to shut down automatically after a dozen attempts to prevent an And I Must Scream scenario where the poor subject dies repeatedly of starvation or dehydration, and it can be shut off manually with a safe word - some people choose to do so for religious or ethical reasons.

    Film—Animated 
  • In Wreck-It Ralph, since all the characters are video game characters, death is only permanent if a character dies outside their game. This is shown early on when Fix-It Felix is crushed by a falling ceiling only to revive near-instantly.

    Film—Live Action 
  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: Superman dies from an explosion in space, is revived by the sun, dies from being stabbed by Doomsday, is buried, and returns in Justice League (2017).
  • Pirates of the Caribbean has quite a few examples with the main characters, though each has an individual in-universe justification and is considered an exception rather than the rule:
    • Jack (who was retrieved from Davy Jones' Locker) is a variation since he is technically in limbo and didn't really cross over to the other side.
    • Will (who was made captain of the Flying Dutchman after being stabbed but before giving up the ghost by and then killing Jones).
    • Barbossa (whom the goddess Tia Dalma resurrected thanks to having his dead body available) is the one true example since Barbossa unlike Jack and Will was most certainly, absolutely, doubtlessly 100% dead.
    • However, the one character with resurrection abilities leaves after the third film, removing this trope for the fourth.
  • The villain in Stargate chooses to live in a human body because they are easy for his technology to repair, giving him the ability to live indefinitely. The same technology allows the hero and his wife to come back from the dead.
  • Pick a slasher. Any of them. Once it becomes a Cash Cow Franchise, there is no rest in peace for the wicked.
  • 2003's Daredevil continues the tradition with a comic book death of both the villain (Bullseye, though more a case of No One Could Survive That!) and the Action Girl/the hero's Love Interest (Elektra, who gets better to appear in the spin-off).
  • Agent Smith from The Matrix shows up in the sequels as he decided not to follow protocol and return to the system mainframe for deletion. Justified since after all, he is a program, not a man and it's not like he was the first one to do so.
  • This trope gets parodied in the movie Soap Dish where the writers on a soap opera talk about bringing a dead character back to life. While they try to talk about all the crazy ways to bring the character back, one of them shouts, "THE MAN HAS NO HEAD!" to get her point about how ridiculous this trope can sometimes get. Ironically, two of the film's stars go on to star in comic book films, who play this trope just as much as soap operas do (Robert Downey Jr./Iron Man and Sally Fields/Aunt May).
  • In The Last Starfighter, Centauri dies from injuries sustained from the battle with the Zando-Zan assassin, but Centauri shows up alive later, and fully healed.
  • In Little Nicky, due to being the son of Satan, the protagonist simply winds up back in Hell upon dying and is free to go through the portal back to Earth.
  • Men in Black 3 subverts this: J goes back in time to prevent K from being killed in the 1960's, but is told plainly that K was destined to die there. Where there is death, there must always be death. Due to J's meddling, K survives, due to a Heroic Sacrifice by J's father.
  • Chucky of the Child's Play series. He ends up being killed at the end of each film, but is always brought back at the beginning of the next film. As its been put:
    Go ahead and kill me, I'll be back! I always come back! But dying is such a bitch!
  • Star Trek III: The Search for Spock is not about searching for Spock, it is about undoing Spock's death in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
  • Kirk dies in Star Trek: Into Darkness, but is revived by Khan's regenerative blood.
  • Professor Xavier, Jean Grey, and Cyclops were all killed off in X-Men: The Last Stand, only to return in X-Men: Days of Future Past (though Xavier was previously hinted at having survived in The Stinger of The Last Stand).
  • This trope is quickly becoming the norm for the Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Thor: Loki dies, but comes back.
    • Captain America: The First Avenger: Bucky dies, but comes back.
    • Avengers: Coulson dies, but comes back.
    • Iron Man 3: Pepper dies, but comes back.
    • Thor: The Dark World: Loki dies (again), but comes back.
    • Captain America: The Winter Soldier: Fury dies, but comes back.
    • Doctor Strange: Strange dies countless times, but keeps coming back.
    • Technically, only Coulson and Strange have actually died. The rest of the above characters either faked it or were only mostly dead. Its also worth mentioning that Strange's deaths weren't given the weight of a normal death since its quickly shown they occur in a time loop.
  • In Edge of Tomorrow, whenever the hero dies in battle, the day is being reset, causing him to die any given number of times. Even invoked when the female love interest wants to reset when the hero flirts with her. Subverted by the end when he loses the ability to reset time and has to destroy the alien Hive Mind in one go without dying.
  • Dead in Tombstone: Guerrero dies at least twice in the film, both for getting a second shot on a ridiculously hard job offer as well the Devils amusement.

    Literature 
  • This is actually the driving plot point for Mogworld, which takes place in an MMORPG from the NPCs point of view. Whenever someone dies, they just respawn a new body at the nearest church. No one has been able to permanently die for at least 35 years. Some people have adapted to it fairly, incorporating it into the business and economy. Others have not taken it so well...
  • Animorphs:
    • Marco gets brought back to life twice. Although, in one instance, he's not technically dead, just comatose, because he's in cockroach morph, which is practically unkillable.
    • In Elfangor's Secret it's known that one of the kids will have to die to set things right, and Jake is shot in the head as they cross the Delaware. But because Visser Four's host is retgoned at the end, there was no reason for them to travel through time in the first place and Jake pops back, alive. In addition, because Jake died and the Ellimist said only one Animorph would have to die, the rest of the Animorphs are invincible for the rest of the book, even when they should by all means be dead.
  • In The Dark Tower, both Jake and Father Callahan arrive in All-World by dying in our world. When Jake dies in All-World, he gets saved by Time Travel.
  • Cory Doctorow's Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom takes this trope to its logical conclusion by having everyone take resurrection for granted. Thus, the narrator (Julius) is killed early in the novel and spends the rest of the story fighting back against those he believes responsible for his murder. He theorizes that they timed his death carefully so that he'd be out of commission at the exact point when his enemies were putting a plan into effect, since obviously if they killed him too early he would be alive again at by that point.
    • And in both that book and Ken MacLeod's Newton's Wake, resurrection is so automated that other medical skills have atrophied or been lost; it's easier to get a new body than to fix the one you have. Like consumer electronics today.
  • The Heroes of Olympus:
    • For the monsters, which are regenerating within hours if not minutes because Gaea made a new tunnel into Tartarus.
    • Eventually, even some demigods are able to come back from the dead without even realizing that they are. Freeing Thanatos puts a stop to that.
  • In The Light Fantastic, Death lampshades this when Rincewind and Twoflower escape from his house, saying, That always annoys me. I might as well install a revolving door.
    • Discworld tends to suffer from this a lot, although it's probably not surprising given the number of Vampires, Werewolves and Igors about, not to mention Zombies (only come back once, but are then almost unkillable), as well as latterly, Orcs. Lampshaded in Unseen Academicals where, if it takes an Igor to bring you back, it was technically murder.
  • In Dragaera, it's a relatively simple process to become "revivified" after death. It's fairly expensive, however, and some circumstances can make it impossible. Assassinations among the Jhereg criminal organization often do not take. In the first novel, Vlad even claims that someone might be assassinated as a warning to back off, though this level of cheapness is not carried over into subsequent novels.
  • The Takeshi Kovacs series by Richard K. Morgan takes place in a largely post-death world where a person's consciousness is housed in a chip in his brain, called a "stack". When his body dies, his chip is inserted into a new one. Bodies, now called "sleeves", are bought and traded like garments. In the first book of the series, a centuries-old magnate hires the hero to find out how his previous sleeve was murdered.
  • In Philip José Farmer's Riverworld series, the same advanced alien technology which resurrected everyone on Earth who had ever died remains active. Anyone who dies on the Riverworld is brought back to life the next day somewhere else. A few characters use this "Suicide Express" to deliberately, though randomly, explore the Riverworld. Later on, the machinery breaks down.
  • Played with in The Lost Symbol. Robert Langdon appears to have been most unambiguously drowned in a tiny coffin filled with liquid, and for a few chapters afterward he's caught in a trippy dream state where both he and the reader assume he's dead, but then it turns out that the liquid in the tank was breathing fluid laced with paralytic drugs, an advanced sensory deprivation chamber used by the Big Bad as a torture device. His "rebirth" is unpleasant, but far from supernatural.
  • Atharon averts this. Although magical resurrection is possible, it takes a lot of energy and carries a heavy price for the person doing the resurrection.
  • The Biting the Sun books take this trope to extremes. Resurrection is a normal use of technology. Even the rare occasions when a character in those books does want to be Killed Off for Real, their base personality will get transferred into a new body — effectively meaning mandatory artificial reincarnation.
  • In The Worm Dieth Not a depressed superhero agonizes over the fact that heroes and villains kill each other constantly and never stay dead. He compares their never-ending conflict to the trial of Sisyphus and ultimately decides to commit suicide as a means of escape, realizing at the last minute that he'll just show up alive again in time.
  • In The Sister Verse and the Talons of Ruin, the protagonist is reincarnated whenever he dies, for the purpose of slowly overwriting his identity.
  • Occasionally in A Song of Ice and Fire. Most of the time dead means dead, but there are notable exceptions. Most notably, Thoros of Myr's resurrection of Beric Dondarrion and later Catelyn Stark.
    • George R.R. Martin frequently appears to kill people before revealing it was only a flesh wound. This is why, as of the fifth book, the vast majority of fans believe the letter claiming Stannis is dead is a lie and that Jon Snow will not actually die/stay dead after being repeatedly stabbed and falling unconscious.
    • In a similar fashion, the discovery that Prince Aegon, previously thought to have been killed as an infant was alive and well makes the death of many other characters fall into question.
    • The general rule for character deaths is that unless you witness a character definitively die from someone else's point of view, that character is likely not dead for good. Of the POV characters that have been killed, Ned's execution was from Arya's POV, whereas Catelyn got her throat slit in her own POV chapter. Ned's definitively dead whereas a resurrected Zombie Catelyn is wreaking havoc in the Riverlands. Arys Oakheart died from Arianne Martell's POV. Quentyn Martell may have sustained his fatal injuries in his own chapter, but his death was witnessed from the perspective of Barristan Selmy. Almost all of the Only a Flesh Wound reveals mentioned above came at the end of a POV character's own chapter. The exception to this overall rule is the Prologue and Epilogue characters—they ALWAYS die at the end of their lone chapters, except for Chett in A Storm of Swords, who does not die onscreen, but who does die sometime between the end of his POV and his next appearance as a wight.
  • While Gaunt's Ghosts overall is very much in the Anyone Can Die camp, this trope still applies to Scout Sergeant Mkoll, who most in the regiment believe to be invincible. Not even after having his transport plane explode in mid-air during an air raid, with the only thing below him an enemy-held city and a "sea" of toxic cloud, most of the Ghosts can't believe he's dead. Sure enough, he returns later and even manages to get the killing blow on the current Big Bad.
  • People of The Culture usually have brain backups in case they are killed in a lava rafting accident or something.
  • In one side story of Tales of MU a professor caught a rich student who had been turned into a mouse by a trap on one of their dwarven weapons on display. One of his friends had also been transformed and caught by a cat, he wasn't too concerned because their insurance covered resurrection and they had both been killed before. Then she reminded him that the spell required a body, oh shit indeed.
  • In The Dresden Files, Harry Dresden has goaded someone into killing him and been revived expressly to team up with his own ghost.
    • Harry gets about as close as you can after he gets shot and falls in the lake. It turns out he was actually on magical life-support while his soul was off working for Uriel, but for all intents and purposes he died and came back.
    • Mantles of power such as the Summer and Winter Knights, Summer and Winter Queens (all six of them), the Archive, and so forth all transcend their hosts and warp them towards a certain personality. Even if you manage to kill an immortal (a tricky business to begin with, only possible at certain times) the next host of that power will become more and more like the mantle, seeming to reincarnate the previous host.
  • In the Star Trek Novel Verse, Kathryn Janeway dies in Full Circle, and returns in The Eternal Tide.
  • In The Wheel of Time, death is cheap for the Forsaken. After all, the Dark One's domain is death. As long as they aren't killed by balefire, they can be brought back in new bodies.
  • Sergey Lukyanenko's trilogy Line of Delirium has technology allowing people to be resurrected upon death. The "cheap" part is averted, though, as not everyone is able to afford even one resurrection. Basically, when a person first buys the aTan resurrection, he or she undergoes an excruciating molecular scan in order to store the body template in the database. At the same time, a neural net is implanted into the brain in order to transmit the person's memories back to aTan. Most people think that the neural net works only at the moment of death, sending a massive dump of information back, also signaling death. However, in reality, the net is working constantly, and the end of transmission is considered death by aTan. If the recently deceased paid for his or her resurrection (always in advance), the body is replicated from the template at the nearest aTan facility with the memories then downloaded into the new brain. Another fact that most people don't know is that creating two identical bodies and implanting the same set of memories into them will result in only one of them becoming fully self-aware. The other one will be without will (i.e., he/she will perform basic vital functions but be unable to make decisions). Thus aTan proved then existence of the human soul.
  • Neomages in New Arcana regularly resurrect each other. Each of the main characters dies at least once in the first two books. At one point it is stated that the average neomage can expect to die and be resurrected more than fifty times in a career.
  • The Star Trek Shatnerverse novel The Return is about Kirk being resurrected after his death in Star Trek: Generations.
  • In Warrior Cats, the Clan leaders are given nine lives by Starclan, the feral cat afterlife. The first eight times they die, they heal for a few minutes, then get back up.
  • In The First Fifteen Lives Of Harry August, death is very cheap for kalachakra, dying simply sends them back to their birth, though it does take a few years for them to remember their previous lives (it is generally agreed that by their third year, kalachakras regain their memories). The only real drawback is that after a while, The Fog of Ages creeps up and the kalachakras wind up forgetting how long they've lived.
  • Played With in Murder at Colefax Manor. If you die in the manor or its grounds, you get sent back to in front of the manor, but don't have to erase any clues you've found or items you've acquired. If you die in the caverns under Colefax Manor, you get sent back to the tunnel entrance.
  • Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard
    • Any of the Einherjar killed in Hotel Valhalla will simply resurrect a few hours later. Naturally, they regularly abuse the crap out of this during their training, fighting to the death every single day. However this trope only comes into play in Valhalla. If an Einherji dies in any of the other eight worlds, it's permanent.
    • Otis and Marvin, the goats who pull Thor's chariot, are killed every night by the god of thunder to be his dinner, only for them to resurrect the next morning. Neither of them are huge fans of this.

    Multiple Media 

    Music 

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Bloom County:
    • Bill the Cat dies often, once from acne.
    • Opus once supposedly drowned; he was declared dead, they had a wake and funeral and everything (Binkley seemed to deny it until Milo removed the "no-walruses" policy from the boarding house, which had been in effect because Opus was afraid of them) but he had survived, returning - with amnesia - after a few months.
    • Opus has had a few other near-death experiences, meaning that either he can return from death or he's just incredibly resilient. From what we've seen of him, the former is a lot more plausible.
  • Dilbert, Asok, and the Pointy-Haired Boss have all been brought back by cloning within weeks of their deaths. Dogbert on the other hand was kicked out of heaven.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • The Undertaker's whole gimmick revolves around threatening to steal his opponents' souls, kill them, and/or send them to Hell. It is unclear, however, what this has to do with winning wrestling matches. The one incident that stands out in particular was when he threatened to send Edge to Hell; at the end of the match, he apparently did just that, by chokeslamming him through the ring apron with flames shooting out, as both he and the announcers proclaimed that Edge had indeed gone to Hell. Edge returned a few months later without explanation. The Undertaker does not seem discouraged by this.
    • Done for Rule of Cool mostly. The Undertaker himself has "died" and come back to life before, quite a few times in fact. There was the 1994 Royal Rumble incident, in which Yokozuna and a bunch of other heel wrestlers bombarded him, opened his urn which caused him to lose his powers, and rolled him into a casket. As Paul Bearer rolled the casket away he was shown on the titantron inside the casket and he gave a speech in which he promised "I will not rest in peace." He then "floated" out of the casket and up to the rafters of the arena, presumably crossing over into the afterlife, only to return again later that year. Then of course there was the 2003 Survivor Series in which Kane buried Undertaker alive, thus "killing" his Biker persona and leading to his return as the Deadman we all know and love at WrestleMania.

    Puppet Shows 

    Radio 
  • In Bleak Expectations, protagonist and narrator Pip Bin is the only main character who never dies. Everyone else dies once at least. Mr. Gently Benevolent, the Big Bad, has variously been raised in seance, reincarnated into a pigeon, a ghost, and many more. The only ones who are sure to stay dead are the various Harshsmackers, Grimpunches, etcetera.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Battle Spirits, there are numerous cards that allow you to regain spirits from the trash (discard pile).
  • In Tabletop RPGs, such as Dungeons & Dragons, high-level Divine casters are often so common that any dead hero can be resurrected if their party members have enough gold pieces. So while death isn't literally cheap (on the contrary, it can be rather expensive), it's not difficult to get out of (since PCs tend to accumulate vast amounts of treasure).
    • There are a few spells such as Barghest's Feast that can make it so that the target cannot return to life by mortal magic.
    • This page recognizes the potential implications of cheap resurrection spells for the society and proposes alternative rules, which can roughly be described as "dead is dead, but you'll be surprised what you can live through".
    • In 4th Edition, resurrection is less common at low levels, but more common at higher levels. There are some epic level powers that can be activated "once per day, when you die."
      • One Epic Destiny in Martial Powers takes this to a logical extreme: Your character automatically revives 24 hours after each death, for free, in a different graveyard or tomb somewhere in the world. Since the same epic destiny lets you travel anywhere in the world in 24 hours, it means you'll have rejoined your party in 48 hours, assuming you know where they are/were going.
      • The Undying Warrior epic destiny takes this to an extreme, being able to come back to life five times a day. (The fifth time isn't the last time he can use it, just it takes 24 hours to return to life at this point, so that counts as a different day.)
    • The 1st Edition Dragonlance modules had the "Obscure Death" rule. If a significant character (one with a name) died, the Dungeon Master was encouraged to have the death occur in such a way that it was easy for the DM to explain how the character managed to survive anyway.
    • 5th Edition makes resurrection even easier wit "Revivify", a relatively cheap (300gp) low-level spell that resurrects anyone who has died within the last minute with no ill effects. It's essentially a combat resurrection designed to let defeated party members get back into the fray.
  • Hero Realms is an odd example. When Champions are dealt enough damage, they are considered "Stunned" instead of being dead (even if hit with a curse or are assassinated). It makes some sense: This being a Deckbuilding Game, discarded cards get reshuffled to reform the deck, so fallen Champions will appear again. Also, there is a card called Varrick, the Necromancer - who can return discarded Champions to the top of the deck, so maybe necromancy or healing spells are involved as well.
  • Mummy: The Resurrection has this as a core mechanic, as the most important ability of the titular mummies is to not die permanently. There's only a handful of ways to kill an Amenti permanently, and the only "mundane" method is to hit them with a nuke. Point blank. And even that just traps them in the Underworld. On the other hand, mostly due to the game mechanics, dying is still really inconvenient...
  • Paranoia embodies this trope. You are only dead for as long as it takes for your next clone to be shipped somewhere. At least, until you run out of clones...
    • And in the latest versions, you can buy more! Although they start developing genetic defects (you can get these scrubbed out of your template for an extra fee).
  • Warhammer 40,000 has the Tyranids, who give a whole new meaning to Death Is Cheap. Any Tyranid that gets killed in an invasion is just digested and used to make more 'Nids.
    • Not to mention that any semi-sentient Tyranid (i.e. Hive Tyrants) just get their consciousness re-absorbed into the Hive Mind whenever their current body is destroyed and can easily get a new one with all their experiences intact and maybe some new cool bio-weaponry to boot.
    • The Necrons get out of death (most of the time) by just teleporting out and regenerating. Things a Necron can get patched up from include: nanometer thin shuriken, rapid fire missiles, holy napalm, and anti-tank weapons that vaporize almost anything. If Necron forces are on the verge of defeat then they, remains and all, get teleported back to their tomb world for be repaired; taking this to the logical extension, this means that very, very few Necrons have actually been truly "killed", which is bad because their opponents often only defeat at truly great cost.
    • Dark Eldar have Doctor Frankenstein-esque 'surgeons' known as Haemonculi (and their 'augmented' Igor-like Wracks) who can reconstruct entire new bodies for those Dark Eldar willing to pay an often esoteric price. The best can, given the client's will is strong enough, regrow an entire body from a charred hand. This being Warhammer 40,000, the procedure naturally involves torturing dozens of slaves to death, and the prices can range from slaves to souls to dying breaths. Naturally, the Haemonculi save the best and most reliable methods for themselves; the most senior of their number have died and come back countless times... with varying degrees of extra insanity. Some Dark Eldar have actually come to find the whole process exhilarating. To them, death isn't just cheap, it's a hobby. Urien Rakarth, the oldest and most insane of all Haemonculi, actually enjoys dying, he can't wait to see what new mutations the process will cause in his body.
      • The Craftworld Eldar to a lesser extent, as well. Although their physical bodies can be killed, their souls are stored in little gems called Soulstones. Soulstones are either sent to the Infinity Circuit of their home craftworld, or they are placed into Eldar walkers like Wraithguard and Wraithlords. Eldar generally try to live for as long as they can and have taken great steps to ensure that when they do go, they have some reprieve. They aren't motivated by cowardice, but because they're well aware of what's waiting to claim their souls on the other side.
    • It is not impossible for incredibly powerful psykers to either reclaim people's souls from the warp (the Emperor is implied to have done it) or find a way to anchor themselves to the physical world. The Emperor, whilst not technically dead, is believed by some fans to be being set up for this - when his physical body finally croaks, his soul will simply reincarnate for a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
      • In prehistoric Earth the shamans could force their souls into newborn bodies after death. Until the Daemons became strong enough to snatch their souls from the Warp. Then they decided to commit mass suicide and all reincarnate in a single immortal body, who became the God-Emperor of Mankind 40,000 years later.
    • Many of the Chaos Space Marines such as Kharn, Lucius and Eliphas are simply brought back from the dead when they're killed, thanks to intervention by their patron Chaos gods and general Warp shenanigans. Like any good villain, they just won't stay dead.
    • Humans that have been brought back from the dead for any reason become Perpetuals, with the ability to self-resurrect from anything up to and including disintegration and immortality. It plays havoc with their sanity though. The Primarch Vulkan was apparently "born" with this ability.
  • Ironclaw has the Lazarus Heart spell for very advanced clerics of the Church of S'Allumer. It doesn't always work, depending a bit on the subject's willpower, and can only be refreshed after praying eight times every six hours for one day. The Church never accepts payment for the use of the spell like they do for healing, but rather they evaluate it on a case-by-case basis and insist on a term of service when they decide to use it. However it can be applied to a living person and held until they die.
  • Planet Mercenary starts after the introduction of RED-REO blood-nannies in Schlock Mercenary (see webcomics).
  • In Toon, running out of hit points causes you to Fall Down, but this just means you have to sit out for a few minutes before returning with your hit points back up to full.
  • Car Wars. Death is expensive—you have to buy your clone for $5000 at Gold Cross.
  • In Eclipse Phase resleeving is expensive, but fairly routine. And Firewall guarantees resurrection for all its agents if they lack insurance, no promises on the quality of the new morph though. In addition a morph whose head hasn't been destroyed can be thrown in a healing vat and revived if within a couple hours of death or if put immediately in stasis (which medichines do automatically).
  • In Smash Up, this is the Zombie faction's hat. Just like how zombies come back from the dead, they have abilities that allow them to draw and even play from their discard pile. They even have a unit that can be played from the discard pile itself!
  • As a general rule in Hc Svnt Dracones if the brain is intact they're eligible for Body Replacement surgery. Cogsune take it a step further with a quantum backup system that downloads them immediately at death.
  • In Citadels, the Assassin can kill any other character, but their death will only last for 1 round, as the character cards are reshuffled every turn.

    Visual Novels 
  • Fate/stay night has the main character uttering the line "people die when they are killed" at one point, which is a blatant tautology out of the show's context and a blatant lie inside it. (It makes sense in context, because he's figured out the source of his immortality and is giving it up, but Memetic Mutation has made it into a synonym for Captain Obvious.) Berserker, on the other hand, has the power to be killed 12 times before he dies, and comes back instantly without any adverse effects. This is supposedly a huge difference from mere quick regeneration. Not to mention, it then makes him permanently immune to whatever killed him after he regenerates.
    • It's not without averse affects. After losing five lives taking down Archer his combat abilities are severely weakened to the point where, left to his own devices, he would not have chased after and fought Saber.
    • Fate/hollow ataraxia plays it differently: You learn quite early that there's a time loop that occurs whether the main characters live or die. Thus, Shirou is free to get killed off much more quickly than in FSN. In fact, you have to die multiple times.
  • Higurashi: When They Cry appears to have this, thanks to the series' "Groundhog Day" Loop, but later on it's shown to be subverted, since the "Groundhog Day" Loop doesn't show time repeating over and over, but alternate universes. Thus, if the characters die in one universe, they will remain dead.
    • Death seems to be even cheaper in Umineko: When They Cry thanks to the Endless Witch being able to kill and revive endlessly at will. Hell, even outside the fantasy aspect and into the meta-world in EP5 some characters like Battler "die" since he stopped thinking and his body stopped as well, but then makes his awesome comeback when he reaches the truth. And then in EP6 he revives a gone Beato with, uh, magic (it's a complicated process, don't ask). Ultimately subverted by the end of the series, though, since it turns out that while they can be revived as pieces for each new game, in the real world nearly everyone who was on the island is dead and will remain so.
  • Parodied and explicitly called out in New Dangan Ronpa V3, when Monokuma comes back after being crushed early in the game.
    • 'Do you really think anyone in this day and age would tolerate the "Death is Cheap" trope?!'

    Webcomics 
  • The trope is the subject of this joke from The Order of the Stick.
    • Also subverted; Roy dies fighting Xykon. Haley and Belkar recover his body, but have to lug it around for the next few months with no access to a resurrection spell. He isn't resurrected until more than 200 strips later. It still gets lampshaded, with Belkar saying that Roy will be back before you can say "Reduced impact of character mortality".
    • The prequel book On the Origin of PCs also has fun with this trope. While informing his son Roy that he's about to die for good because he's reached the end of his lifespan (Natural Death being the only form you can't come back from), Eugene mentions that Roy's little sister can't understand her daddy "won't be coming back—this time." Later, Eugene's gravestone is shown with multiple death dates. Even more amusingly, a nearby tombstone belonging to a man described as "the Unlucky" also has multiple death dates - the last four all in the same year.
    • Subverted in another case, where Xykon is mindlessly torturing a captive soldier; Xykon thinks that he can just be resurrected if they kill him by mistake, but Redcloak points out that the soldier's soul has to allow itself to be brought back, and given his situation, he'd probably rather stay in the afterlife. Possibly double-subverted, because the soldier was creating a list of Xykon's spells; he might have chosen to come back if he had died before sending this important information to the heroes.
    • Elan manages to both lampshade and avert the trope in this strip.
  • Irregular Webcomic! has returning from the dead as a major plot point.
  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja: Words cannot do justice to the eponymous Doctor's death and return (it begins here and continues until the end of the issue). For that matter, another character returns from the dead not long after - though this has more consequences.
    Ben Franklin: [sitting in a restaurant in purgatory] It's alright. I've left this restaurant without paying my bill once before... And I have ensured that it will happen again.
    Beeman: That was the most menacing promise of dine and dash I've ever seen.
  • Lampshaded in this Super Stupor comic, as the trope picture shows.
  • 8-Bit Theater tends to do this a lot. Once a main character got kicked out of hell, another time a different character died 50 times in a row over the course of only 7 strips. Of course, when you've got a White Mage following you around who can cure death with just one spell, death isn't a problem. (Fair enough, since that's the way it worked in the video game on which the strip is based.) However, when a certain well-loved character was Killed Off for Real the forums erupted with so much pleas to bring the character back, the author had to tell them that no, he's not coming back ever, and the forum rules now say to stop talking about it.
    • On one occasion, Black Mage kills several characters in a fit of rage, only to discover one by one that they are all alive. He expects that Ranger is also alive somehow, but Cleric says no, he's dead. Then Cleric just resurrects him.
    • The Faceless Cult also does this - Black Mage slaughters them all in the ice caps, then they return for no explained reason in the undersea temple near Onrac, now worshiping a new god/goddess and subsequently getting slaughtered AGAIN.
  • Girl Genius:
    • If your brain is intact, any sufficiently-skilled Mad Scientist can bring you Back from the Dead - it is their purpose in doing so that may be the issue. (Note intact. Brain damage sets in quickly, so unless you die in a lab you're probably out of luck.) Then there's the fact that most of them come back mad... like really mad. Worse than when they started.
    • If someone of royalty dies however, they lose their status and are considered 'dead' in the line of succession.
    • Death Is Cheap enough here that they have tropes for it.
      Tarvek: The old "bring her family back from the grave" gambit? Have you no shame?
    • In one arc Agatha decides to cure one of her love interests and herself of a deadly disease by killing and revivifying themselves.
    • Supporting character Dr. Mittelmind has died so many times he trained his minion to revive him and has an external power source to prevent memory loss.
    • When Vole brings the leader of defeated army to Dr. Sun for medical attention, he only brought his severed head. The doctor's response: "I've seen worse." The severed head is later shown as a Brain in a Jar, catching up on his reading, because, well... there aren't many other things to do when you're a severed head in a jar.
  • Lampshaded in Narbonic: here
  • The Gods of Arr-Kelaan used to be able to resurrect on a whim, then Thannatria put her foot down.
  • MS Paint Adventures:
    • In Problem Sleuth, Death is a very mild individual and has some trouble actually keeping people in the afterlife. Pretty much every main character has come back to life at some point, either by beating him at a board game or, in the case of the Big Bad, simply sneaking out the door. Death was occupied at the time by someone who was beating him at a board game.
      • Averted when the Big Bad got killed again: he was unable to leave a second time because Death had placed a contrabass between the doors of Life and Death as a security measure.
    • Death is also thwarted in Homestuck on many occasions; however, where the resurrections in Problem Sleuth were played for comic effect, Homestuck has a host of in-universe reasons why death isn't as permanent as it is in the real world. That said, there are still plenty of characters who have been Killed Off for Real. That the dream bubble afterlife allows the properly dead characters to still take part in the story (mostly as vehicles for exposition) further cheapens death, for the kids and trolls at least...until it was revealed that dreambubbles can be destroyed, killing any dead characters in them at the time.
      • Of course the reason most ghosts only act as expositors is that while they can exist and relive memories in the bubbles, they also become Static Characters.
  • Nodwick. Justified primarily by Rule of Funny; it's easier to laugh when Nodwick is disassembled as a result of a Zany Scheme if you know he's coming back next time, covered in duct tape and making smart remarks. He even set a record.
  • Sluggy Freelance mocked the idea of bringing back Oasis in this strip before Death Is Cheap became a real trait of her character.
  • Last Res0rt lampshades it outright after turning a Red Shirt Galaxy Girl Scout's brains into Pink Mist:
    Death is Expensive. Punchlines are Cheap.
  • Mountain Time regular characters Dave and Agoraphobic Hamster have each died and reappeared whenever the plot demands it.
  • Don't Look It Sucks uses this frequently, to the point where even the characters expect this.
    • A guest page filler gag is to have Tero, the resident Cute Ghost Girl, go back to life, only to have her killed again in the end of the same page, in the most careless way possible.
    • Also very common in Chapter 3, where the cast plays a game of Team Fortress 2.
    • An odd instance of this trope occurs in Chapter 4, where Moon dies after delivering a fatal, explosive Falcon Punch to Aaron, who tried to steal Moon's life dream. A character brings him back to life in the next chapter. Or so everyone thought. Actually, Aaron, disguised as Moon, was the one brought back to life. Later on, it is revealed that Moon didn't die at all and his weakened, barely surviving body was in fact captured by the comic's Big Bad for researches.
  • In 1/0, every character gets one "ghost point" - they can die and come back as a ghost exactly once. They also have the option of removing themselves from the strip by "pulling a Ribby"; that is, imagining a perfect reality to live in and going there. In fact, none of the characters stay dead. Tailsteak resurrects them all as the strip is winding up, to send them to Oregon. He even brings back characters that pulled a Ribby.
  • In Bob and George, given the really low cost, low quality soviet materials used to build Ran, it's easier to have a machine that pops out a new Ran body every time he breaks the old one (which is incredibly often). As his creator says when asked about how inefficient this is, "Really, really, really cheap!"
    • Naturally, the rest of the characters have abused this in all kinds of ridiculous ways. On one occasion, they gathered a substantial arsenal by getting Ran to hand over his weapon and then killing him (or possibly killing Ran by getting him to hand over his weapon), followed by repeating it on the next clone.
  • Parodied in Sam & Fuzzy: Bitey the Shark, after his arch enemy Darkshark heroically sacrifices himself, laments that "we live in a gritty, x-treme world, where actions have real consequences and the dead stay dead... no matter how popular they are!" A week later, Darkshark comes back without comment.
  • This is the case for dragon-marked individuals in The Law of Purple. Unless the individual in question kills themself, their dragon can always revive them. Blue has already been revived from a fatal crash-landing on Earth and has admitted to reviving after being shot in the face at point-blank range.
  • Death proves cheap three times in True Believers, starring Spider-Man, since comic book characters "always come back." This trope worked in Spidey's favor after reality-warping writer Joe Quesadilla killed Mary Jane Watson, but she revitalized herself just in time to retcon Quesadilla's existence, preventing him from making any further attempts to separate Spidey and her.
  • In Casey and Andy, main character and Author Avatar Andy was killed in the very first strip! And many times thereafter, Casey and Andy being mad scientists who leave boxes of antimatter lying around. The first time, C&A appear at the Pearly Gates... but after Andy starts dating Satan, they always seems to end up going to the other place.
  • Schlock Mercenary:
    • People who weren't vaporized or blown up into really tiny bits can return in full health if minimal first aid is available in a few minutes. Where "minimal first aid" is "find the head and roll it into a nanny-bag".
      Schlock: You got killed by a jeopard, then you got captured, then you got killed by Shufgar, then the rest of us got captured.
      Gav: Speaking as a refugee from the 21st century, the word "killed" loses some of its punch when you build sentences like that.
    • Kevyn found one way of bringing back someone from very definitely final death via Time Travel...and the author made it very clear that it was a one-shot deal when the unique wormgate used to make it happen exploded after use.
    • Later comics introduce secret super soldier nanomachines that back up your brain on the skin and bones, enabling survival of brain destruction. After a commercially-available version called Retroexocephaloderm (RED) comes out a "Laz" scale is created. Laz-1 is a simple stopped heart, Laz-2 is brain damage, RED can bring you back with just a bit of short-term memory loss. At Laz-3 the brain is totally destroyed but RED is largely uncorrupted, Captain Murtagh loses about 1% of her gestalt after her head is blown up but the rest of her body is recovered, in pieces. Laz-4 is when RED is corrupted, while Laz-5 means there is literally nothing left except off-site backups, which covers cases like "entire ship evaporated with Wave Motion Gun".
  • Spacetrawler hasn't used this trope (yet), but the author comments on it in The Rant below this page. He points out that sci-fi has so many ways to bring mortally-wounded or dead characters back that an author who wants to permanently kill a given character needs to disintegrate them on-screen (at the very least) to convince the audience that they're dead.
  • The various comics set in the Bobbinsverse don't take this trope entirely as read, but it sometimes kicks in.
  • In Rusty and Co., averted and explained in one of the critical missives. To be sure, that's for a wight. All sorts of bit characters have died and reappeared without explanation—sometimes more than once.
  • In Starslip, this applies specifically to Protocol Officer Quine. Any time Quine dies, he is immediately cloned in a vat back on the ship. Doesn't make the dying part any more pleasant, though.
  • In El Goonish Shive, death for an Immortal merely puts them out of commission for a few weeks if they die properly. If they die improperly, it just means they suffer from amnesia when they come back.
  • Dragon Ball Multiverse: The Vargas race who run the tournament promise that any casualties will be revived by a random universes' Namekian Dragon Balls (the specification of using Namekian Dragon Balls implies that Earth doesn't have a set in every reality). Having the fighters unrestrained helps put on a good show. Doesn't stop the deaths of Tidar, Pan, and Syd from causing misery to their teammates.
    • One panel shows how non-seriously the Vargas take death as a whole, likely because of this tendency; when the one who was killed by Broly is resurrected, he's immediately ordered to get back to work.
  • Despite the clear substandard quality of the titular setting of Awful Hospital, their surgeons are capable of reliably fixing up deceased characters as good as new, even when the characters in question have been reduced to such negligible remains as a single finger, a pile of teeth, or an order of sloppy joes. Jay is even brought back regularly after slobbifying, even before his slob form dies, to the point where he regularly fights and kills - or is killed by - his own undead corpse.

    Web Original 
  • Bionicle Adventures takes this Up to Eleven; by the end of each individual episode, between 85-99% of the cast are dead, with that 1% being Monkeydude every time. Of course, they return for the next episode...only to be killed by Monkeydude again.
  • Bonus Stage does this starting with "Morbid", in which Joel dies and the others manage to free him from Hell, which is apparently on the sun.
    • When Rya is introduced to the main characters, Joel says that to keep her on the show, one of them must die forever. Elly kills a minor character, Treelor, that only appeared in one episode before then, since Joel never said the dead character had to be a main character. However, Treelor has since appeared alive in subsequent episodes.
    • In one episode, Joel is about to be crushed by a giant robot. His last words?
      Joel: Well, see you next episode.
    • Joel uses this to his advantage in one episode, where he tries repeatedly to jump into the eShip's filing service to fish out something lost inside it. After trying to see if his corpses break his fall, he gives up, and uses the duplicate money in the duplicated wallets of his corpses to buy a replacement.
  • In Brooding Ninja Highschool Parkour Scout episode 251, Betty is killed five times by Skulking Ninja Armored Clown Spy's Unholy but maybe kinda half holy Golden Frying Pan of Ultimate Wisdom.
  • Lampshaded in this CollegeHumor video about a superhero funeral.
  • In Combat Devolved, this is parodied and justified as they can just respawn. Zig-Zagged in the case of Corporal Thompson, who has run out of lives, but still finds a way to come back.
  • Max Landis's The Death And Return Of Superman postulates that the eponymous 1992 arcs are largely responsible for opening the floodgates of this phenomenon in comic books.
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged:
    • Predictably enough, the show lampshades the entire trope in Episode 30:
      Yamcha: Well, yeah but, you make it sound like death has no consequence!
      Tien: It really doesn't. We're literally waiting to go back. Hell, this is Chiaotzu's second time.
      Chiaotzu: Next time, I get a free sundae!
    • This gets hilariously lampshaded throughout Season 3 (The Android Saga)
      • When Goku is reminded that the cyberized Freeza could have murdered all his friends before his arrival, Goku's only reaction is to joke that the dragon wouldn't be happy about having to revive them.
      • When Yajirobe's car gets blown up by Dr. Gero and Android 19, the heroes just watch on and Goku lazily comments that Yajirobe was never revived by the Dragon Balls before. (Yajirobe survived anyway.)
      • In the episode where Androids 17 and 18 were released, it opens up with Bulma remarking with relief that she didn't have to be revived, BEFORE realizing Baby Trunks was with her on the plane she was flying before it was blown up by Dr. Gero.
      • When Yamcha accidentally brought up Chiaotzu's second death and feels awkward about it, an exasperated Chiaotzu brings up that literally everyone in the conversation (the two mentioned plus Master Roshi) has died at least once already.
        Chi-Chi: I haven't.
        Chiaotzu: Give it some time, you're hanging with the right crowd.
    • After Piccolo fuses with Kami, when everyone is treating death casually, Piccolo awkwardly points out that they don't have the dragon balls anymore, so this trope no longer applies, killing the mood.
    • When Trunks sarcastically thanks Krillin for pointing out that at least he survived fighting Cell, it's quickly pointed out that everyone present had died before, Krillin and Chiaotzu twice.
    • When one of the Cell Jr.'s takes Krillin hostage after Gohan goes Super Saiyan 2 in Episode 60, Gohan notes that Krillin's death means "a day trip" for them to gather the Dragon Balls, "and a free ice cream sundae" for him.
      Krillin: Actually, I'm lactose intolerant.
      Gohan: Nobody's lactose intolerant in Heaven, Krillin. That's why it's Heaven.
  • In GEOWeasel, Nar survives being shot dead twice. The first time, Weas exacts revenge on the perpetrator; the second time, Weas is the perpetrator. And Nar comes back soon enough to do the closing statement for the episode.
  • Characters are resurrected, cloned, or body surf frequently on The Gungan Council. While no one wants their characters to die, it's still not that distressing to see a character ripped apart. They'll be back...
  • In JonTron, Jacques dies several times and is okay.
  • Susan from Half Full is killed in the first episode only to be brought back a few minutes later, due to a cosmic technicality.
  • In Happy Tree Friends, nearly every character dies whenever they appear, only to return next time with not a scratch. They don't even seem to be aware that they've died.
  • Hero House Directly discusses this in episode three. It's given Red Hood a rather...nihilistic view.
  • Strong Bad's crudely drawn and amazingly long-running comic Teen Girl Squad exemplifies this trope. Most likely, The Brothers Chap didn't think it would go beyond that one e-mail, but then realized that they had something corny and really easy to animate that they could milk the bejabbers out of and decided to run with it.
  • During the course of Madness Combat, many of the deaths in canon are easily reversed multiple times. Especially so for the protagonist, Hank, who dies and is revived SEVEN times in nine episodes.
  • The rules for Marvels RPG allows characters to be resurrected, if the staff approves of the way of resurrection. So far, it has become a running joke of who will kill Daken next.
  • In the Pitch Meeting for Avengers: Infinity War, Scriptwriter Guy dies, but not really, because there are still more Pitch Meetings.
  • Averted in Red vs. Blue: as it turns out, the only people who ever officially died and came back actually were AI, and therefore never alive to begin with.
    • After Church was revealed to be the Alpha, he was destroyed by the EMP at the end of Reconstruction. The one seen in Recreation and Revelation is the Epsilon AI, a fragment of the Alpha that is reconstructed by Caboose telling him stories about the old Church.
    • Tex dies for good halfway through the Project Freelancer saga, and 4 seasons later Epsilon-Church dies in a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Player characters in Roll To Dodge: Savral do not suffer significant consequences for dying, as they simply respawn. The only downside is that players frequently respawn in a different location, forcing them to abandon any quests they were working towards. Non-player character deaths are permanent, though some of them do become ghosts.
  • In The Salvation War series, many first lifers are beginning to think this way. Second lifers on the other hand...
    • "Sadly, just after completing this daring rescue, Doctor Orwell suffered a heart attack and died from his exertions. We will be broadcasting an interview with him shortly."
  • Parodied in the Society of Virtue episode "Resurrection", in the end the Professor X Expy declares it a Zombie Apocalypse and grabs a shotgun.
  • Santa Christ came back to life three days after his death. When The Nostalgia Chick calls him on this (specifically, the part about him waiting that long to come back and fix the crisis), Santa Christ asks if she knows of a faster way, or if she has ever come back at all.
    • The Nostalgia Critic and Phelous. The Critic has repeatedly died for the purpose of comedy, and Phelous' main gimmick is dying. Really, it's a safe bet that when death is Played for Laughs, it won't stick. Which may be why Ma-Ti is still dead.
    • Spoony. So far he has been blown up by Dr. Insano, killed by Mechakara, and committed suicide. Bonus points for becoming a Black Lantern whenever he's killed.
    • Terl.
  • In We Are Our Avatars, Erik will be revived in Dokapon Kingdom in one to three days after she is killed; this is actually why her future self was put in the "The Ultimate Mercy" during the Incarnates Arc by Incarnate!Mega Man. Brian has been revived twice, and tons of characters just get revived back every day.
  • Pretty much anyone in Hitler Rants. Fegelein constantly returns from death, Grawitz returns after blowing himself with grenades, and so on.
  • Random Assault: The hosts die when they don't appear on episodes, and come back to life in the next one.
  • In Ask Serious Rainbow members of the Serious Foundation are given technology that gives them Resurrective Immortality, making death pretty meaningless to them. Hell, Serious Rainbow has exploited this trope to get an advantage in battle.
  • In City of Lost Characters, whenever anyone dies, they instantly come back to life somewhere else in the city. It causes them to lose all items they've picked up, but otherwise leaves them no worse for the wear, even healing all their wounds and other unpleasant conditions. Most people still usually prefer to avoid dying — it can be pretty traumatic, after all — but some characters are only too happy to exploit this mechanic and so regularly commit suicide, sacrifice themselves, or kill their allies just for a convenient respawn.
  • Mortasheen's titular city has this due to cheap and easy cloning in the titular city, something that the genocidal villain civilization of Wreathe finds abhorrent.
  • ''How To Hero" has an entry on superheroes coming back to life here.

    Western Animation 
  • Aeon dies in each of the original Æon Flux shorts, though there is no continuity between them.
  • In Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Master Shake has been impaled with an axe, beaten to death with a baseball bat, and eaten by piranhas. Carl has had his blood drank by a psychotic monster, been crushed by a giant chicken, and had the top half of his body removed by an explosive flaming arrow. And Mcpee Pants has been blown up, killed in a slaughter house, and crushed by Err. Yet all of them inexplicably return (save for Mcpee Pants) without explanation in the next episode. Along with that, Ol' Drippy, who was killed by a car, and the Wisdom cube, with the Dumbassahedratron, who were chopped to pieces by a helicopter still appear at the villains meeting hosted by the Mooninites.
  • Ballmastrz: 9009: Players in The Game are frequently injured or killed, but this just results in them getting sidelined while they're healed by the slime secreted by B.E.H.O.s (Biologically-Engineered Healing Organisms).
  • Villain Ghostfreak from Ben 10 got killed twice in a Family-Unfriendly Death kind of way (burnt to ashes, to be precise). Each time, he was able to come back, the first time by being resurrected by his henchmen and the second by an unknown process (though an explanation exists, since he can come back as long as there is a sample of him in Ben's Omnitrix). This isn't even the original Ghostfreak,who snuck his DNA into the Omnitrix, according the Word of God. Later installments remove his fragility.
    • The explanation, by the way, is that an Ectonurite can regenerate From a Single Cell, as any small piece of him contains his full consciousness. The Omnitrix having a tiny bit of him is how he survived a couple of times but even when we don't get word on how, it's easy to imagine that the tiniest scrap of him that evaded eradication. By this point they're wise it: As Atomix, Ben made sure that the globe of solar energy he created to wipe him out this time will remain permanently active. This means that every second of every minute of every day, the whole area where the last battle took place is permanently saturated with the energy that reduced him to ash in seconds. If a few microscopic bits still existed after his apparent total destruction, they're in an environment that's basically pure concentrated Kryptonite. That potential single remaining cell has no opportunity to reach an environment in which it can survive and grow into a new "him". It's hard to imagine a way to make him any deader—we're talking applying extreme overkill to the whole area forever. And Ben is sure that this will keep him down for now.
    • Similarly, in future episode "Ben 10000", Vilgax was torn to pieces by the future incarnation of Ben, but was still brought back to life by Dr. Animo.
  • Drawn Together:
    • Each character has died many times over the course of the show, sometimes multiple times in the same episode. A few episodes end with all or almost all of the cast dying, and yet they're almost always brought back. One exception was the first episode of Season 2, where Wooldoor was treated as though he was Killed Off for Real after he killed himself, but he returned to the house later in the episode.
    • In one moment in particular, Captain Hero demonstrated his powers of immortality by decapitating himself with a sword, falling off screen dead, and then walking back onscreen.
      Captain Hero: Now you try.
    • Subverted by the end of The Movie, as all the characters are Killed Off for Real.
  • With the exception of Peter, Meg, and Brian receiving snapbacks after dying on Family Guy, this trope was averted with characters such as Mr. Weed, Francis Griffin, and Diane Simmons being Killed Off for Real. Then James Woods showed up in "Tom Tucker: The Man and His Dream". When Peter and Tom tell him that the last time they saw him he was stabbed to death, Woods explains what happened. Due to being a famous Hollywood Actor, he was entitled to top-notch medical care at a Hollywood hospital; his body was transfused with the life force from a 17-year-old girl.
  • Rigby has died at least twice on Regular Show, in "It's Time" and "Over the Top".
  • Parodied in Robot Chicken, where Batman delivers a eulogy for Green Arrow's funeral only to stop half-way and point out how pointless it all is since he'll simply come back in some form or another eventually just like everyone in the room and he's sick and tired of having to go through all the problems of arranging useless memorials. The scene ends with everyone applauding, including Green Arrow himself who was seated in the back all along.
  • South Park did this with Kenny all the time in the earlier seasons. They eventually started running out of ideas, though.
  • In Steven Universe, despite not actually dying, this is a good description of what poofing and regenerating is; when a Gem's body takes too much damage, they give out and the Gem has to make a new one. "Reformed" is a good showcase of it, as Amethyst gets repeatedly poofed, only to regenerate each time and get poofed again shortly after. Steven even lampshades this by saying the following:
    Steven: Is it weird that I'm getting numb to this?
  • Slade in Teen Titans fell into a pit of lava via Terra and shows up two seasons later semi-alive and well thanks to Raven's dad needing a henchman to help destroy the world.
  • Transformers:
    • How many times has Optimus Prime died, again? (Granted, they weren't all the same person.)
    • In Transformers Animated, after Starscream gained an Allspark fragment and was made immortal, cue a full minute of Starscream dying over and over in increasingly undignified ways. Animated is also famous for establishing a new record for Optimus Prime's revival. He died in the third episode, and came back 75 seconds later.
      • In the Beast Wars/Generation One continuity, the original Starscream was a mutant, whose spark happened to be immortal. The Maximal High Council tried to abuse this feature, but the character born from it surprisingly did die for good down the line (admittedly by having his spark ripped to shreds with a shard of raw energon, a substance shown in his first appearance to be able to damage his spark).
    • Megatron dies in the last episode of Transformers Prime, only to be revived by Unicron in the Grand Finale movie for use as a vessel to possess.
    • In fact, the Transformers franchise in general has no shame in pulling this every so often. As robots, being repaired or rebuilt isn't that far fetched. The only series to really avert this trope is Transformers Prime, which would often revive a character as a mindless zombie and then kill them off again just to get the point across, with Megatron's revival coming at a cost that he didn't care for.
  • Reboot had a unique take on this that managed to combine this, All Deaths Final, and Godzilla Threshold. For the binomes and sprites being deleted is treated with all the gravity and permanence of a real life death, but to The User death is as cheap as typing "Reboot System: Y" to restore everything and everyone from a system backup. Unfortunately to make The User do this they need to intentionally crash the system, knowing there's no guarantee The User will even bother to do it. It also has the side-effect of cloning Enzo, as his current adult form is in game sprite mode, causing the system scan to believe he was deleted and restore young Enzo from the backup, who would come to look up to Matrix like an older brother.


Alternative Title(s): Comic Book Death, More Comebacks Than Lazarus, Revolving Door Afterlife

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