Follow TV Tropes


Four Is Death

Go To

"There are four slices [of cake]! THEY MIGHT AS WELL HAVE TOLD US TO DIE!"

In most Chinese languages and languages that borrow words from it, the words for "four" (四) and "death" (死) are written differently but pronounced similarly (somewhat like "" in Mandarin, "sei" in Cantonese, "shi" in Sino-Japanese, "tư" in Sino-Vietnamese, and "sa" in Sino-Korean). As a cultural trope, East Asian works of media tend to treat the number in much the way Western writers treat the number 13 (a number that Arabian and European cultures consider Magical, and usually in a bad way).

As a similar point of reference, building floors and apartments are (mis)numbered accordingly to omit the fourth floornote  or substitute the numeral with an alternative sign, such as the letter F or 3A, and some Japanese people prefer to say "yon" (the kun'yomi for four) instead of "shi" (the conventional on'yomi). Apparently the Japanese word form shi ni (four twos), which translates to 'death', gives the number eight a related association.


On an unrelated note, Christianity also has several examples of Four Is Death, with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (the fourth of which is Death) and the Four Last Things (Death, Judgment, Hell, and Glory).

Compare Mystical 108, 13 Is Unlucky and the Number of the Beast.

Note: This is not a repository for every time the number 4 just happens to appear in a work (or for series where the fourth installment was particularly bad), nor for when bad things coincidentally happen in the fourth episode or installment; this is for when the trope is consciously addressed by having the number 4 intentionally and unambiguously associated with death or misfortune. Particular examples of common groups of four that are normally unrelated to this trope are the Elite Four, The Four Gods, the Four-Element Ensemble, and the Four-Temperament Ensemble. In particular, most groups of four mini-bosses in Eastern RPGs refer to one of those or to the shitennō — often localized into the Elite Four or the Four Heavenly Kings — and have no relation to this trope.



    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • In Akuma no Riddle, Chitaru is out for revenge on Angel Trumpet, a merciless assassin who kills for fun, doesn't care if the victim is innocent, and uses poison. Chitaru knows her target is a student in Class Black but doesn't know which one. She should have remembered her numerology: Angel Trumpet is number 4 in class order and is staying in room 4.
  • In Battle Spirits Shonen Toppa Bashin: Battle Spirits Double Drive has the character Shishi who is ultimately revealed to be a fragment of the Big Bad and is pure evil.
  • The Godhand in Berserk originally had four members before Griffith did his epic Face–Heel Turn.
  • In Black Butler II, Ciel and Alois arrange to have a formal duel while their Battle Butlers face off. Ciel explains that it is traditional, in duels, to take ten paces away from each other before the beginning, but, after reaching four (which is deliberately pronounced "shi" rather than "yon") Ciel attempts to cheat by attacking. He is thwarted, but this starts off the duel nonetheless, with it ending in Ciel stabbing Alois, which later leads to his death.
    • More humorously, a fake informercial by the Grim Reapers has the number to call as just 4 for every digit.
  • The four of spades in the Osamu Tezuka Reused Character Design playing card deck is Kiriko, the doctor of death from Black Jack.
  • In Black Lagoon, Roanapur is controlled by four criminal organisations — the Triads headed by Mr. Chang, the Russian Mafiya headed by Balalaika, the Italian Mafia headed by Verrochio (and succeeded by Ronny the Jaws following the Vampire Twins arc), and a Colombian drug cartel headed by Abrego.
  • Bleach:
    • Ulquiorra Cifer is the most powerful espada Ichigo fights, leading Ichigo to initially assume he's number one. Not quite. He's ranked fourth. He's also the only Espada with a second release state, and the first release is so powerful it shouldn't be used under the dome of Las Noches. He also has deathly pale skin, black hair, permanently cold-looking eyes with lines underneath running down his cheeks like tear marks... you get the picture.
    • The Eleventh Division's fourth seat is empty for both the superstition and because Yumichika thinks the kanji for "Four" is ugly.
    • Unohana Retsu, the captain of the Fourth Division is The Dreaded. She is also the First Kenpachi of the Eleventh Division, and the worst criminal to ever exist in Soul Society. Meaning that she was (and still is) worse than Aizen. Her actual name is Unohana Yachiru, the person Zaraki Kenpachi respected the most, and Yachiru's namesake. The name "Yachiru" means 8000 styles, referring to the fact that she has mastered every sword style in Soul Society. To top it all off, she is the inventor of the Art of Killing, which she plans on teaching to her tenth successor. She is probably the most blatant example in all of Bleach.
    • Askin Nakk le Vaar holds the letter designation "D", the alphabet's fourth letter, and his ability is "The Deathdealing." His power is the ability to change the "lethal dosage" of any substance he takes into his body in sufficient quantity, which lets him do anything from become completely immune to an attack to making something as simple as oxygen fatal to anyone around him. He demonstrates this by making the blood in a foe's body toxic, and the only way to escape his power is to bleed to death since he made the "lethal dosage" lower than what the body needs to survive. Oh, and it's almost impossible for him to die — even finally being taken down by Oetsu didn't stick, courtesy of Yhwach's Auswählen.
    • A subtle example occurs in Yamamoto's past, which reveals that he previously went by the nickname Eijisai, written 丿字斎 — with the first character being the fourth kanji radical. This is revealed as part of the lead-in to the fight ending in his death.
  • Episode 68 of Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo has the characters participating in a popularity contest (The results of which are based on an actual contest in Shonen Jump), and Dengakuman ends up in fourth place. Afterwards, he climbs into a coffin.
  • Chie Shinohara: The Best Collection has the one-shot Suicide Room Number 404, a room on the fourth floor, which is said to be cursed and cause women to commit suicide over scorned love.
  • One episode of Chobits deals with an apparently haunted Room 104.
  • Claymores work in fours when participating in group demon-exterminating missions. In addition, when Number 6 (Claymores are ranked by power) lists the top five for her companions to watch out for, the only one to warrant emphasis and additional description is not Number 1 (by definition the strongest) but rather Number 4, who "cares nothing for the lives of her comrades or the lives of humans in general... A woman who lusts for battle and the blood spilled." The Number 4 to take over for her, Miata, is also little more than a Psychopathic Manchild, leading at least a few to conclude that all Number 4 Claymores are crazy.
  • In Code Geass R2, the first person with any screen time to die against Suzaku's new Lancelot Albion is the debuting Knight of Four. In the same series, the Valkyrie Girls, a group of pilots under the command of Luciano Bradley, are four in number- and they are the first to be killed by Kallen in the Guren SEITEN. Weirdly enough, one of them (Marika Soresi) is revealed to have survived in Code Geass: Oz the Reflection.
  • Cyborg 009: Albert Heinrich, aka Cyborg 004, is the most heavily reconstructed and had most of his body replaced with various weapons. The original manga even saddled him with the nickname "God of Death", and his original personality was that of a rather frightening vengeance-seeker that enjoyed battling Black Ghost. However, his character evolved over the years, and in the 2001 version, he's more of a withdrawn, Big Brother Mentor who's very disturbed by his enhancements.
  • Deadman Wonderland: The earthquake happened on 4/4/2014, measured 11.4 on the Richter scale, and 148,000 people died/went missing. The odd number out is that it happened at 5 PM.
  • The numbers 4, 40 and 400 are all over Death Note... for obvious reasons.
    • Once a name is written in it, that person dies 40 seconds later of a heart attack unless a specific cause is written during that time.
    • You have six minutes and forty seconds to write the details of the death after the name and cause — in other words, 400 seconds.
    • One of the rules unmentioned in the series is that writing a name incorrectly four times in the Death Note by accident will grant the person who the user was trying to kill immunity to that Death Note. However, writing the name four times incorrectly on purpose will not only not render the target immune to that Death Note, but kill the user who wrote the name.
    • When first debuting as the second Kira in order to meet the real one, Misa delivers ultimatums with deadlines of four days.
    • Light has a scrap of Death Note paper hidden in his watch for emergencies, which is revealed by pulling on the watch's crown four times in less than a second.
    • On a far more obscure note, Light's given name is spelt as "moon" (月). This has four strokes, which is ... crashingly unlucky and symbolic. Poor Light, doomed from birth. On top of that, Mikami's office is number 4. Also, Rem is Shinigami ranked number 4.
  • In D.Gray-Man a Level 4 Akuma could take on Generals easily and was close to annihilating the Black Order.
  • Digimon:
    • In Digimon Fusion, Tactimon calls his attacks in increasing levels of severity (e.g. Ichi no Tachi, Ni no Tachi, San no Tachi). His most fearsome attack is called Shi no Tachi. Using the on'yomi for "four", the anime plays on both meanings of the term "shi".
    • In Digimon Adventure, there are four Dark Masters who are the fourth major enemy faced. And they are very deadly, as they kill several allies of the Digidestined.
  • Doraemon: In one chapter, Tamako chasing the cat while repeatly say "shishishishi", (Japanese: しししし) and one panel later, she become a "money box" and her mouth spawned a lots of money. "shi" is the same sound as four, which used as password Doraemon and Nobita set for. Chinese version translated it to "die", as proven can been seen here. The 2005 anime adaptation changed the password to "1529".
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Inverted with the Four-Star Dragon Ball, which saves Son Goku's life during his first battle against Tao Pai Pai. This Dragon Ball is a memento to his grandfather Son Gohan. In the anime, after Goku's first son was born, he gave him the name of his grandfather when Goku looked up to the Dragon Ball.
    • Dragon Ball GT takes this inverted trope even further with the Devil Dragon/Shadow Dragon of the Four Star Dragon Ball, Si Xing Long/Nuova Shenron. Si Xing Long is the Token Good Teammate, the Noble Demon and the Anti-Villain among the seven Devil Dragons. He even saves his enemy/friend Goku on several occasions.
    • Played straight with Frieza having four forms, not counting his Full Power and Golden forms, which are simply extensions of his fourth.
  • In the animal adventure episode of Excel Saga, one of the dogs is portrayed as a gambler who compulsively fiddles with a pair of dice. At one point he rolls a 4 and 2 ("shi ni", meaning "to death") and remarks that it's a bad omen.
  • The Phantom Lord guild from Fairy Tail has the Element 4, a Four-Element Ensemble of wizards and the equivalent of Fairy Tail's S-Class wizards: Aria, Juvia, Sol, and Totomaru.
  • In Episode 4 of Fate/Apocrypha, Siegfried, The Saber of Black, dies after he transplants his heart into the wounded Homunculus.
  • Lord Fungus in Final Fantasy: Unlimited survived the first three shots from Kaze's Magun, but the fourth did him in.
  • In Fist of the North Star, there are four heirs of the Hokuto school of combat. And there is a reason if Kenshiro, the fourth of them, is the Trope Namer for You Are Already Dead.
  • In Episode 4 of FLCL, Naota gets beaned by Haruko during the 4th inning of the baseball game at the beginning of the episode. The umpire even shouts "dead ball!"
  • At the very beginning of Ghost Hunt, Mai and two other girls are telling ghost stories, at the end of which they count one-by-one, and there's supposed to be an imaginary fourth person. Only, Naru sneaks in and fills the role for real, with obvious results.
  • Ghost Stories:
    • Akane-san from the broadcasting room will kill without fail any and all people who hear her voice. She counts aloud the exact time of the sunset before she finally kills her victim, carefully avoiding the number 4. Her spirit can be repelled if one interrupts her count and say the number 4 out loud. To seal her, she has to hear the chime that indicates the end of a broadcast before sunset. That makes four bell rings.
    • If you hear the piano ghost play a particular piece of music four times, you will die. (Coincidentally, this episode was the fourth to air.)
    • A ghost named Datto, the spirit of a boy who ran track, returns to the school on the day of the sports festival to take the feet of a runner in the race. The runner attacked is in lane four. Datto attacks them at 4:44 PM.
  • The Girl Who Leapt Through Time: Makoto alternately, Kousuke and Kaho is fatally hit by a train just as the town clock strikes 4:00.
  • Gundam's sequels and Spiritual Successors like toying with this:
    • Being the protagonist's Temporary Love Interest, Four Murasame in Zeta Gundam was so predestined to die. And she did. Twice. And again in the Compilation Movies with a bullet to the head.
    • The soundtracks for both Zeta Gundam and Gundam ZZ have a sting specifically for significant character deaths, which is exactly four chords of descending notes. Subverted at least once for a Fake Kill Scare, when the person who was thought killed turned up alive later.
    • The second season of Gundam 00 seems to go to complete overkill with regards to the number four: it takes place 4 years at the end of the first season, the main Gundam Meisters are still composed of 4 members, the titular mobile suit's model number is GN-0000 and it is also the only 4th generation model when it debuts. And if you want to take things further, said unit is powered by two GN-Drives, one's from the very first (0) Gundam, while the other is from the protagonist's previous unit which is part of the third generation. Thus 1 + 3 = 4. And the Innovades are four pairs, and it includes the Big Bad and Tieria.
    • Also worth mention is that both Gundam 00 and Gundam SEED skip the obvious fours in their Gundam lineups (there is no GN-004 or GAT-X104). We then later find out what became of 004: it's hidden underneath GN-005, Tieria's Gundam Virtue. It's a girly looking Fragile Speedster down to the flowing red "hair" coming out of its head and is called Gundam Nadleeh, which is incidentally the word for people of the third, fourth, and fifth genders in Navajo culture, which only deepens the mystery of whether Tieria's a Gender Bender.
    • The Gundam 00 side stories play it straight: In 00P (the precursor to the TV series), the GNY-004 Gundam Plutone suffered a major malfunction which killed two of the Gundam Meisters and horribly scarred a third (including her hair turning white). The survivor, who ends up running a Celestial Being sub-group years later in Gundam 00F, is understandably reluctant to allow the Plutone to be used again.
    • Gundam Wing has an interesting take on this, Quatre Winner is the fourth Gundam Pilot (it's even in his name), and has an aversion to killing whenever possible. Yet with his destruction of a whole colony with Wing Zero he has the highest body count of any of the Gundam Boys. Also he apparently killed his Mother giving birth to him.
  • In .hack GU, Tri-Edge's mark looks like a stylized rendering of the Arabic numeral "4", rotated to its side (or mirrored, depending on how you look at it). The mark signifies those that have been killed by the enigmatic Tri-Edge, making the people that got killed fall into comas left and right.
  • Parodied in Episode 2 of Haruhi-chan, when a dying Asakura claims to be part of a 'Radical Big Four', the rest of whom will soon attack. Kyon proceeds to call her story cheesy. They never come, nor are they ever mentioned again.
  • In the Korean Webtoon Hello Hellper there's a group of four Asian Grim Reapers known as the Four Poisons (smoking, drinking, gambling, and women). The Gambler asserts that the phrase was named after them, not the other way around, because they were so terrifying not even reincarnated souls could forget them.
  • During the Hunter Exam arc of Hunter × Hunter, Hisoka, one of the most deadly villains, is participant #44. And as the (fake) member of the Genei Ryodan, his tattoo has the #4 (though, we don't know for what the numbers of the Genei Ryodan actually stand for).
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Vento Aureo: Guido Mista has a very Japanese-like obsession with the number 4, which is all the more bizarre since he's Italian. When Bruno's gang is first introduced Mista is freaking out because the waiter at their restaurant brought them four pieces of cake, and when the gang rents a boat he very fervently tells Bruno not to rent Boat #4. This even extends to his Stand Sex Pistols, a set of six gremlin-like creatures who help guide his bullets; they have numbers on their foreheads, but naturally, they skip the number 4. Near the end of the story, Mista accidentally drops four bullets and begs someone else to drop one more, just before Narancia's death. During the second half, the villain attacks and kills multiple members of the main group, and in a twist of cruel irony, there are only four protagonists left alive when it's all over, one of which is Mista.
  • Joshi Kausei: In "The High School Girl and the Unlucky Day", Momoko starts her day by spilling coffee on her sweater in the shape of a 4. At the end of the episode, a crow poops on her sweater in the same shape.
  • In Kill la Kill, Nonon Jakuzure is the fourth of the Council Ryuuko fights and the one with the most death focused visual motif, what with the skulls and bones.
  • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Striker S:
    • There are four models of Mecha-Mooks used by the Big Bad. Types I through III are relatively benign: sure, they might hurt you and knock you out for a bit, but they are not really meant to kill people. Type IVs, on the other hand, are the Hero Killer kind, designed specifically to make people (especially mages) very dead. In addition to redshirts, their rap sheet almost included the title character herself and Vita by the end of the series. And it's also probable that they killed Subaru and Ginga's mother Quint when they showed up, and Lutecia's mother Megane barely survived.
    • The four Wolkenritter, harbingers of the destruction the Book of Darkness will bring.
    • Quattro is one of the two most evil Numbers (the other is Due), and she enjoys to do evil things, including bringing people to death. Ironically, she is also one of the two weakest Numbers (the other is Uno).
  • In Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch, the Quirky Miniboss Squad of the first arc has four members.
  • In a Fictional Document in Monster, called "The Nameless Monster", the Nameless Monster goes through four hosts. The first three are consumed from the inside out. The fourth consumes everyone who knows his name.
  • Tomura Shigaraki, The Heavy in My Hero Academia who decays anything he touches with five fingers, was born on April 4th, or 4/4. In My Hero One's Justice, hitting an opponent with his special move four times kills them instantly. The pop-up that appears upon connecting displays a number that increases with each hit, until the fourth one, which says "DEAD!".
  • From Naruto:
    • Naruto's Superpowered Evil Side becomes dominant and goes into "kill everyone" mode when he grows four fox tails. At this point, he can't tell friend from foe anymore and has to be forced to simmer down.
    • The Fourth Hokage spent the shortest time in office, a tenure that ended with him saving the village with a "Seal Evil" technique that required him to sacrifice his own life and seal his soul in the Death God's stomach, in eternal combat with the sealed Evil.
    • Meanwhile, the Fourth Kazekage seemed to be the worst thing to ever happen to Suna. He sealed a Tailed Beast in his son (in this case Shukaku, the One-Tailed Tanuki) which was already contained in a tea kettle. Gaara wasn't born yet and as a result the Kazekage's wife died delivering him. He then proceeded to alienate the boy from birth and when Gaara showed signs of being Ax-Crazy (like all of Shukaku's previous hosts) he ordered the poor kid's uncle (the only person up to this point who had shown any kindness to him) to assassinate him. And to top off his career, he got his face torn off by Orochimaru as a prelude to his village being used as cannon fodder in an invasion.
    • According to the Fifth Mizukage, the Fourth Mizukage was like this for the Mist Village, and is largely responsible for the "Bloody Mist" image held by most other countries. The fact that he was being mind-controlled by Madara note  probably didn't help.
    • The Forest of Death's official title is the 44th Training Ground and has 44 gates.
    • The fourth stage of the Uchiha's Sharingan is the Mangekyo, which requires the user kill their best friend.
    • Of the Eight Celestial Gates, first through third are Initial, Heal, and Life; the fourth, however, is the Harm Gate. When opened, this gate puts enough strain on the body that the muscles tear themselves apart. And twice that, the eighth gate, is the Death Gate (Opening that gate gives the user great power for a while and then a one-way ticket to Dead Meat County).
    • Sasuke was going to be the fourth body Orochimaru claimed before Sasuke thwarted Orochimaru and killed him, and before that, was going to be the fourth body Orochimaru had, including his original, before the Sound Four took too long and Orochimaru had to transfer prematurely.
    • Akatsuki member Kakuzu harvests the hearts of the victims he kills, and his special ability is Four Hearts Jutsu, with which he prolongs his life by adding four hearts to his own.
    • The series' final war is the Fourth Shinobi World War, and the Fourth Division, who suffers the most casualties, is first to be victimized by Madara Uchiha.
  • In Neon Genesis Evangelion, the fourth Evangelion unit (really the fifth unit if you count the prototype 00, but being called the 04 was all it took) disappeared into a Dirac sea during a startup experiment, taking a large chunk of the Mojave Desert with it. Also, Unit 03 — the real fourth Evangelion — got taken over by an Angel and had to be destroyed, nearly (and in the manga, actually) killing Toji too, who was, of course, the Fourth Child. And if that wasn't enough, Toji shortly prior became the fourth person that Hikari makes lunches for. Ouch. Unit-04 was always referred to as yon-gouki in dialogue. Even Rebuild does this. And when Shinji achieves a synchronization ratio of 400%, his body dissolves into LCL. Don't worry, he came back.
  • One Piece:
    • The series has four superpowerful pirates known as the Four Emperors (one of whom happens to be someone extremely important to Luffy) who act as a counterbalance to the Marines and the Seven Warlords of the Sea. Whitebeard ended up dying among the four, and Blackbeard usurped the empty spot he left.
    • The 4th division commander of the Whitebeard Pirates, Thatch, was the only commander who met an unfortunate end before the present story. He was murdered by Marshall D. Teach because Thatch had found the one Devil Fruit Teach desired most — the Dark-Dark Fruit.
    • PX-4 was the first of the Pacifista to be destroyed.
    • As an inversion, the fourth child of the Vinsmoke Royal Family, Sanji, is the Token Good Teammate and the White Sheep of the family because of the resistant drugs his mother took when his father wanted his kids to have Lack of Empathy and cold super soldiers.
    • In Chapter 444, the Straw Hats arrive at a ghost island.
  • In Outlaw Star, the #4 Caster bullets are capable of killing the shooter if they fire them in succession. (As do the #9 and #13 bullets, both also being unlucky numbers.)
  • In Re-Kan!, when the friendly samurai ghost somehow manages to send a text message to Kana, his phone number appears as a string of fours.
  • Rosario + Vampire:
    • In the anime, Tsukune arrives at the bus stop at 4:44 pm and is attacked by rivals for Moka's love. Later on, 4:44 pm is the scheduled time for his execution for being human.
    • Kuyou, the leader of the Student Police, is a youko with four tails.
  • Saint Seiya:
    • In the Zodiac arc, the local Psycho for Hire resides in the Fourth Temple of the Sanctuary, the Temple of the Giant Crab. He's actually named Cancer Deathmask. Subverted in that Pisces Aphrodite is said to be actually worse-Deathmask is just more blatant.
    • As the fourth sign, all Cancer Saints have powers strongly associated with death and the underworld. They also tend to be violently insane because of it (canonically, Deathmask was trained by the ghost of one of his predecessors).
  • Sekirei gives us the Black Sekirei, #04 "Karasuba". Considered the most dangerous Sekirei in existence by those that don't know about #01, Miya, she is referred to as "MBI's dog" for her work hunting down anyone that breaks the rules of the game. She's a Blood Knight Master Swordsman obsessed with killing the heroine during the final battle, and actively encourages her to become stronger because otherwise it won't be enjoyable. And she's an Omnicidal Maniac that intends to use her victory in the Sekirei Plan to destroy all life.
  • The fourth episode of Shiki is appropriately titled "Fourth Death". It repeats for Episode 14, given the kanji used.
  • Soul Eater:
    • Weapon meisters use a form of spiritual telephone to keep in contact — the number for direct contact with Shinigami-sama is 42-42-564 ('shini, shini, goroshi' out loud — in other words, 'die, die, kill').
    • The 'shini' part gets used for Kid in the increase in the size of his soul - one scanlation translated Liz's comment as "42 soul-widths") and the Sanzu Line-enabled form for the Thompsons - Death Eagle .42.
    • This is also the other reason that Death Robbins ice cream has 42 flavors instead of 31. Ohkubo seems to really love this trope.
    • Also, the zeppelin they use to get on the moon to fight the kishin has a big '42' painted on the side ((only in the manga)).
  • In the light novel Super Cub, the story begins when Koguma buys her titular Super Cub motorbike for the incredibly low price of only 10,000 yen (about $100). When she asks the shopkeeper why he's selling it for so cheap, he answers that it's because it caused 3 people to die. The inference is that discounting it so heavily was the only way he'd ever be able to sell the machine, as most people would not want to risk being the 4th death. Koguma doesn't mind and buys the motorbike.
  • In Sword Art Online, Yuuki Konno's funeral was held on April 4 (4/4), 2026.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: In Real Life, the fourth episode was guest-directed by Osamu Kobayashi and greatly criticized for its animation quality and odd character designs.
  • In Tomorrow's Joe, Carlos Rivera destroys Japan's #1-ranked bantamweight boxer at the end of the fourth round. He could have done so at any moment, he just choose the fourth round because he knew what the Japanese think of the number.
  • In Ultimate Muscle Tel Tel Boy (Dialbolic) schedules his fight against Mantarou for 4:44 PM. Mantarou immediately notes that four is unlucky.
  • Moroboshi Ataru of Urusei Yatsura was marked out as a Cosmic Plaything by being born on the second most ill-omened day in the Japanese calendar, the thirteenth of April: 4-13. (This was also on Butsumetsu, the anniversary of the Buddha's death; the only unluckier day is April 4th, which is Four Is Death squared.) Additionally in the first episode, his jersey has the number 4 on it.
  • Appears repeatedly in Weiß Kreuz: not only is Weiss, a team of assassins, made up of four members, so are three different groups of antagonists they go up against, and one team of allies. Sequel series Weiß Kreuz Gluhen, which re-forms the team into its fourth iteration, does not end well.
  • In Yakitate!! Japan, Kazuma's Ja-pan Number 44 is rather dangerous. It's so delicious, anyone who eats it for the first time has a Near-Death Experience.
  • In Your Name, October 4th is when Tiamat crashes into Itomori and destroys it, killing 500 of its inhabitants.
  • In Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs Kogarashi's room in the Yuragi Inn is #4. Yuuna, the ghost girl's room is/was the room she had when she was alive.

    Comic Books 
  • In Boxers & Saints Four-Girl was unwanted by her family and wasn't even given a name, called a devil and believed to be bringing misfortune onto the family.
  • Sensational She-Hulk: The Black Talon, the main villain of issues #34 and #35, revives four dead X-Men villains as zombies to do his bidding.
  • Usagi Yojimbo features a band of four assassins called... Shi. It is made explicit that this is an intentional pun on their part.

    Fan Works 
  • Evangelion 303: In this fancomic we have Unit-04. During a trial flight, one of its engines exploded and the Unit crashed and blew up. One of its two pilots died and the another nearly did, spending several months in a coma.
  • In Humble Shopkeeper, of the Bleach fandom, Shichi (an OC), whose (nick)name means 'seven', splits it into "Shi" (aka, 4) and "Chi", spelling them "death" and "blood", or, alternately, together "the place you die". This is explained due to her being an insane linguist.
  • The four number is carried on in Kira Is Justice, to the point that sixteen is a number used a few times. For example, the sixteen SIS agents.
  • Used lightly in the crossover The Bridge, fittingly due to one of the properties being primarily Japanese. There are four times kaiju are brought to Equestria. The first, King Caesar is summoned by a magical being to aid historical Equestria against Tirek. The second and third times were uses of Dimension Tide. The fourth was a purposeful invasion by Bagan
  • In Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, Haruto gets killed by the Four of Swords card. More importantly, the death is from the fourth sword as Yayoi blocked the first three.
  • In Mutant, the 911 call rings 4 times before it goes to the answering machine. And then the one who made the call dies soon after.
  • In The Last Spartan, Wrex actually says four is considered a lucky number among Krogans. Krogans, incidentally, hail from Tuchanka.
  • In Ace Combat: Wings of Unity, the main enemy squadron of pegasi is known as the Reapers and they fly in a formation of four.
  • Death Is Forced To Take A Vacation: Fall Harvest is sent off to work in zone four of the farm where he works. Naturally, that area is where he dies.
  • Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail:
    • The Cyan Desert Car takes place throughout four days and it is the darkest arc in Act 2. The trope gets referenced by Henry and Lexi, as Henry observes that the alliance that the Red Lotus Trio made with Amelia has made them a quartet rather than a trio.
      Henry: Four people who are folded in one over another because two's company, three's a crowd, and four is just...
      Lexi: [hissing] Death waiting to happen?
    • Chronologically, Chloe is the fourth person from the Pokémon world who encountered the Apex with Trip, Tokio and Gladion coming before her. She's the one who brings about the end of the Apex.
    • Moreover Chloe is one of four Pokémon Trainers who were "chosen" to help unleash the Cage of Flauros; not only is she the one trying to stop the Cage from activating she's the only trainer of the four who actually dies (thankfully Atticus saves her with the Pendant of life) in Chapter 34.
  • In Infinity Train: Voyage of Wisteria, Goh explained what happened during his first day on the Train in Chapter 4, which includes having to see Ogami murder Satou and Shio.

    Film — Animated 
  • Cars 3: Lightning McQueen's crash during the Los Angeles 500 occurred at lap 461, with 40 laps to go. He was also in fourth place when he crashes.
  • The Emoji Movie: Alex's phone store appointment is at 4:00, which is the time the phone is to be erased. Prior to this, he calls the store at 12:00 and the appointment is in four hours from then.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Since the 2000s, as the Importance of the Asian Box Office has increased, few film series ever get to 4 (reboot the series instead). When they do, 4 is usually not in the title (Even when numbers are in early installments). Examples include X-Men Origins: Wolverine or First Class, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Fast & Furious (followed by Fast Five), Rambo, Penguins of Madagascar, Live Free or Die Hard, Open Season: Scared Silly, The Prophecy: Uprising, The Final Destination (followed by 5, a prequel), The First Purge, Spy Kids: All the Time in the World, Terminator Salvation...
  • 4:44: Last Day on Earth is, as its title suggests, a movie set during the last day on Earth, with everybody aware that the world will end at 4:44 AM.
  • The Amazing Spider-Man 2: The clock stops with the minute hand pointing at the number 4 at the very moment Gwen Stacy dies. The actual time shown is 1:21, a subtle reference to Amazing Spider-Man #121, the original comic in which the same event occurs.
  • In the Robert Duvall vehicle Broken Trail, his character rescues from sexual slavery five immigrant Chinese girls. Since none of them speaks English, and he obviously doesn't speak Chinese, he names them "Number One" to "Number Five". When the girls realize this, "Number Four" objects to being given an unlucky number for a name. One of the other girls eventually accepts to be "Number Four", and she does so because she fully expects a tragic fate to befall her — which indeed it does.
  • In Diamonds Are Forever, when trying to kill James Bond at Slumber Inc., Albert Wint pushes the button labeled "4" on the incinerator control panel's Oven subpanel. Thanks to some well-placed forgeries, it doesn't work.
  • Bobby, Angel, Jeremiah, and Jack Mercer, the titular hooligans in Four Brothers reunite in the first act to investigate and avenge their adoptive mother's murder. They also lose Jack before it's all said and done.
  • Japanese horror film Gakkou No Kaiden revolves around things that haunt an abandoned school when the clock hits... 4:44AM. 4:44AM typically is more horrifying than 4:44PM, where it's handwaved that it's actually 16:44.
  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: All four tests guarding the Holy Grail have multiple ways of killing those who seek it. The first test has decapitation and bifurcation. The second and third tests have those step the wrong way plummet to their deaths. The fourth and final test will make you rapidly age and take away your vitality by choosing the wrong grail.
  • Ju-on, the Japanese movie on which The Grudge is based, features a scene in which Mizuho goes back to her school to meet her boyfriend, Tsuyoshi, only to find that he isn't there. All she discovers is a mysterious cell phone that happens to be lying around. She ends up having to wait inside the school whilst a member of staff searches the building — suddenly, the room goes dark, Toshio starts running around out of her eyesight, and the cell phone she found earlier begins to ring when she is hiding underneath a desk. The number displayed on the screen is simply "4444444444". And when she takes the call, she only hears Toshio's creepy mewing noise. Of course, Toshio also happens to be right behind her at this point. Obviously, these are ghosts who like making culturally appropriate dark jokes. There's also the Ju-on short film, which is simply titled 4444444444. It is set during the first movie, and is directly connected to the scene above — it details just what happens to poor Tsuyoshi after he also discovers the mysterious phone.
  • The Gang of Four in Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky: Huang Chan, Shorty, Taizan, and Hai.
  • Shutter features a horror sequence where the protagonist is running down a series of stairs. No matter how many flights he goes down, it's always level 4. Creeeepy.
  • The Stepford Wives (original 1975 film) Joanna notices that Bobbie and Charmaine had been living in Stepford four months before they 'changed'. It seems to take four months to perfect a robot wife.
  • Sucker Punch has a Five-Man Band of girls. On the first mission where only four instead of five take part someone dies and things go From Bad to Worse. What's more is that this is the fourth mission.
  • In Versus, the Forest of Resurrection is the 444th Portal out of 666.
  • The Korean horror film White: The Melody of the Curse is about a K-pop group made up of four members, who all become cursed after covering a song haunted by a ghost.
  • X-Men: Apocalypse: The Four Horsemen; Agent MacTaggert details their importance in En Sabah Nur's cult.
    Moira: Wherever this being was, he always had four principal followers, disciples, protectors he would imbue with powers.
    Alex: Like the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. He got that from The Bible.
    Moira: Or the Bible got it from him.

  • In Artemis Fowl and the Atlantis Complex, Artemis develops a phobia of the number four as a result of a mental disorder. One of the ways this manifests is that he starts manually thinking through everything he says, and becomes uncomfortable if he accidentally speaks a sentence that has a number of syllables multipliable by four.
  • Seen on occasion in BattleTech novels set in or involving characters from the Draconis Combine. Which isn't a big surprise, since being feudal Japan In Space! is basically that Successor State's hat; it just means the authors actually did do some research.
  • A Hercule Poirot novel, The Big Four, gives the fourth member of the titular group the moniker "the destroyer", and indeed is responsible for killing those who would oppose the Big Four. As the mastermind (Number 1) of the group is Chinese, this is justified.
  • A strangely literal example: while the previous three Discworld books contained Death as a character, it took until the fourth book, Mort, to feature him as a main character. This is doubly so in French-speaking countries, where 'Mort' is a word for 'death', so to them, the fourth Discworld book is Death. And in the Discworld the unlucky number is eight — twice four.
  • Divergent's dystopian Crapsack World has Chicago divided into five factions. The point where things start going to hell for the society is when one faction is slaughtered, knocking the factions down to four.
  • In Dragon Pearl, the planet known as the Fourth Colony is a ghost-ridden hellhole after the colonists accidentally called up Gaia's Vengeance. The main character specifically mentions four being unlucky when she's thinking about how it ended up as it is.
  • Harry Potter:
    • J. K. Rowling admits that she's always disliked the number four, finding something cold and unpleasant about it. When coming up for an address for Harry's abusive Muggle Foster Parents, she settled on 4 Privet Drive.
    • The trope subtly plays into Voldemort's character arc. Voldemort casts the infamous "Avada Kedavra" spell against Harry exactly four times in the entire series. The first time, Harry survives thanks to his mother's protective charm; the second time, Harry dodges the curse; the third time, Harry dies from the curse, but recovers soon after; the fourth time, the curse rebounds and kills Voldemort — permanently.
    • The fourth book — Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire — also marks Voldemort's resurrection and the story officially becoming Darker and Edgier. It also features the first real case of characters being Killed Off for Real, with a significant death of a major character near the end.
  • House of Leaves has a lot of this: the Navidsons put four locks on the door leading to the scary parts of the house; the house is explored in teams of three with one person remaining behind to man the radios; there are four members of Will Navidson's nuclear family; there are four Exploration videos; and lots of little things peppered throughout the text.
  • Journey to Chaos: When Eric uses a series of tricks to defeat Gruffle for the right of living under Cutlass Bridge, he frames the series of defeats as lessons for his guild junior; "lesson four is death, care to learn it?". This becomes a Running Gag between them as they clash throughout the series. In Mana Mutation Menace Gruffle has become a necromancer and states that he now knows "lesson four" far better than Eric does.
  • Features heavily in one of the stories in Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club, although with the Chinese si instead of Japanese shi. For example, it is a very bad thing to be the fourth concubine.
  • Lorien Legacies features numbered characters, who can only be killed in that order as long as they stay apart. By the time of the first book, it's Four who's next on the chopping block, so he constantly gets into hazardous situations because an entire alien army desires his destruction first and foremost. In addition, when the order gimmick is rendered moot, Eight (as in the aforementioned 'shi ni' example) dies protecting the others.
  • The Machineries of Empire: The Hexarchate Galactic Superpower believes the number four to be profoundly unlucky, except for the military Kel faction, who have the Gallows Humor joke that Kel luck is always bad and that four is therefore lucky to them.
  • In The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, the fourth book is titled The Necromancer, and it also marks the point where Dee is declared an outlaw by his masters, Josh makes something of a Face–Heel Turn to join him and characters start dying.
  • In the Shadowrun short story "It's All Done with Mirrors", the characters go to meet with a Yakuza boss who arrived in Seattle because of mishaps in his business to ask what will appease him into leaving. The Yakuza boss then outlines a task they will have to do for him. One of the mob boss's servants lays out sake with cups, and the boss offers to pour the drink for his guests. When The Smart Guy asks what will happen if they fail, the mob boss doesn't answer but pours three times into his cup and four times into the cups of his guests. Only The Smart Guy, the Genius Bruiser, and The Professor in the group get the message.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Billions: Discussed when "Dollar" Bill accuses a Chinese-American co-worker of stealing his lucky dollar. The co-worker retorts that everyone knows that Bill's dollar has four fours in a row in the serial number, so no Chinese-American would consider it lucky.
  • Charmed's fourth season features the eldest Halliwell sibling being Killed Off for Real, never to return.
  • In the CSI seventh season episode "Toe Tags", this trope is mentioned as they investigate the drowning of the bodyguard of an Asian high roller at a casino. She had been drowned because the high roller had bad luck and came unexpectedly back to his room and found her taking a bath in the bathtub he had sprinkled with rose petals for good luck. So he blamed her for his bad luck.
  • Four (Ryo Tetsuda) from Dark Matter is a murderous, brooding ninja. Since he's Japanese (and the crown prince of a space empire), his silent acknowledgement of his new name is pretty telling.
  • Disney Channel shows normally end after their fourth season, a trend set since That's So Raven broke the original 65-episode limit. To date, three shows (one live-action, one preschool and one short-form) have exceeded this.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Forest of the Dead": Other Dave's last words are repeated four times before the Doctor realizes he's been eaten by the Vashta Nerada and the words are echoing through his neural relay.
    • The death of the Tenth Doctor is heralded by the prophetic Arc Words "He will knock four times." Ultimately, this refers to Wilfred Mott knocking four times on a plexiglass window when he is trapped, and rescuing him requires the Doctor to absorb a lethal dose of radiation.
  • Food Network used to have a Chinese-cuisine show called East Meets West, whose chef/host Ming Tsai occasionally mentioned this trope and went out of his way to make servings consist of either three or five.
  • The Fresh Off the Boat episode "Very Superstitious" focuses on this, with Jessica being forced to sell a house with the number 44 on 4th street, containing 4 bedrooms. Her commission cheque also has the number 4444, convincing her to destroy it. Cutaways also show that she's removed the number from the entire house — all her children had two third birthdays, and the clocks have the number flipped to look like a lowercase 'h'.
  • God of War Zhao Zilong is a China-produced series about the backstory of Zhao Yun from Romance of the Three Kingdoms, meaning that there's a lot of new gaiden characters with no Plot Armor to speak of. The traitorous Gao Ze is responsible for four of them — and the last one is in episode 44. Being a gaiden character himself, it's also his last, too.
  • Done in Gotham twice with Jerome Velaska, including with his actual death:
    • His fourth episode is also his last.
    • He'd have died sooner had Theo allowed him to go a fourth round of Russian Roulette.
  • Kamen Rider
    • In Kamen Rider Den-O, Momotaros, who counts his attacks, ends up missing "Part 4" due to some combination of tiredness and feeling unappreciated. When Ryotaro calls him out on this, he claims that not using four is cool and proves it by counting from one to ten... while skipping four.
    • In Kamen Rider Wizard, the mysterious White Wizard is attempting to recruit and train four other magic-users, including the titular Wizard. Because he has a spell to restore his dead daughter to life, and it requires sacrificing the lives of four magic-users... as well as everybody within the magic circle they form, which in this case would be all of Tokyo.
    • Kamen Rider Drive:
    • In Kamen Rider Ex-Aid, the 4th Rider introduced in the series, Lazer, was the first Rider getting killed in the show.
  • Numerous occurrences on Lost. Four is one of the show's Numbers. Boone wears multiple t-shirts in the first season containing fours or sets of four and is the first regular character to die. In a Season 5 flashback, Miles discovers his ability to speak to the dead by finding a dead man in Apt. #4. In Jacob's cave, Locke is indicated by the number 4, and is the first of the six uncrossed names to be crossed out (as he is dead). There are many other instances.
  • Nature: The fourth videocassette in the Nature Video Library series from Time-Life Video is of the episode "Death Trap".
  • In the NCIS episode "Hung out to Dry" Tony initially refuses a switch of reserve parachutes with a marine because their reserve is number 4, citing the fact that four is unlucky in China. He relents when Gibbs points out they're not in China. Turns out that the reserve Tony had (Number 13) was unable to open as the marine he swapped with sabotaged it to kill the victim. It was up there as part of a Batman Gambit by Gibbs to expose him. The number of the "dirty" reserve parachute was selected because the victim was like a living rabbit's foot. The guy's mindset wouldn't let him say no to taking the 'chute.
  • The game show Press Your Luck had the Whammy, which not only reset a player's score to zero, but getting four of them total disqualified them from the game permanently; even if there is an all-zero tie, anyone who has four Whammies have already automatically lost the game in addition to no money, so they won't be invited back.
  • In the episode "Phantom Traveler" of Supernatural, planes keep crashing after 40 minutes of their departure. Later it is even mentioned that this is because four is a "biblical number" and "means death" (Noah's ark and the forty days of flooding given as an example). Hell, the episode itself is the fourth episode of the show ever! On top of this, try to guess what's the number of the gate the last plane takes off? Talk about numerological motifs!
    • A very literal example occurs in Season 5, where the Winchesters encounter the Four Horsemen. The last one they meet is Death.
  • Super Sentai: In Shuriken Sentai Ninninger, Big Bad Gengestu Kibaoni and his followers are resurrected as Youkai exactly 444 years after his death at the hands of the Ninningers' ancestors. Also in episode 44, the Ninningers are horrified to learn that the final step to gain the title of Last Ninja is to kill the current one, their own grandfather.
  • Ultraman Mebius: Big Bad Empera's generals are known as the 4 Heavenly Kings, four powerful and malevolent aliens who prove to be some of Mebius and GUYS' most challenging foes in the series.
  • Klaus Hargreeves from The Umbrella Academy (2019) is "Number Four" of seven adopted children and has the ability to see and communicate with the dead. It is later revealed he can also manifest them into the psychical world to do his bidding.

  • The song 4の歌 (Song 4) on BABYMETAL's first album BABYMETAL is full of wordplay based on this. Although it is track 8 on the album.
  • The fourth track on Coldplay's Viva La Vida—their fourth full-length album—is "42." All of its lyrics explicitly reference death, ghosts, and the afterlife, and it's almost exactly four minutes long. That's four 4s. There's no way this is a coincidence, but good luck getting them to cop to it.
  • Shiina Ringo's Kalk Samen Kuri no Hana runs for exactly 44 minutes and 44.4 seconds long and is full of allusions to death, with the final song translating as "Funeral".
  • Kagerou Project has the Mekakushi Dan, who numbers their members. Member number four is Marry, who is not only the granddaughter of a Medusa referred to as a Shinigami, or Death God, but also is forced to watch her friends die over and over again as she resets the timeline so she can see them once more.
  • The fourth and last Chapter of End of An Empire, Celldweller's newest album, is named Death.

    Myths & Religion 

  • The four Dark Judges in the Judge Dredd pinball — Judge Mortis, Judge Fire, Judge Fear, and Judge Death.

    Professional Wrestling 

    Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech: The Dire Wolf omnimech was assigned the code name Daishi (Fourth) by the Japanese-speaking Draconis Combine specifically because it was such a powerful and deadly foe.
  • Exalted: In-universe, the number four is often considered unlucky and ill-omened by Realm citizens due to being one short of the count of the Five Immaculate Dragons, and thus short of their divine perfection.
  • Geist: The Sin-Eaters: Some Sin Eaters have the number four tattooed onto them as a reminder of their deaths.
  • Kuro uses this as a game mechanic: when you roll a four for anything other than weapon damage, it actually counts as a 0. Rolling too many 4s in a single check can count as a Critical Failure should the GM deem it so. All in all, rolling 4s during important moments can quite literally mean your character's death.
  • Magic: The Gathering has Demonic Pact. It has four effects, the fourth of which will result in the player who controls it losing the game, and each effect can only be used once while that copy of Demonic Pact is in play.
  • Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000:
    • The games have the four evil Chaos Gods, omnicidal eldritch creatures that feed on emotions and mess around with the real world for the lulz. They are the main antagonists of both settings. 40k also had the four C'Tan, the material gods of the Necrons, though those have been broken into pieces and can be used like forces of nature in weapon form. Games Workshop has since filled out their ranks a bit, though in order to differentiate them from the Chaos Gods.
    • The Eldar pantheon was slaughtered by Slaanesh, leaving only three survivors: Isha, Khaine and Cegorach. The Eldar are trying to make a 4th one, Ynnead, from the souls of their fallen in the hopes that he'll rise up and defeat Slaanesh. Unfortunately, Ynnead is a god of death and will require every last one of their race to come into being. For the Eldar, four really is death.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! has Sasuke Samurai #4. When it battles an enemy, if the player gets a coin flip right, SS4 instantly destroys that enemy without actually battling it. If you're playing one of the video games, expect the computer to ALWAYS FREAKIN GET THE RIGHT FLIP.

    Theme Parks 
  • At Disneyland Hong Kong in the Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars rollercoaster, the train goes through shaft no. 4 (which is covered in danger signs) instead of shaft no. 8 (a lucky number). Inevitably, later in the ride, a cable "breaks" on a chain lift, sending the train backwards.

  • Machine Robo's MR-4, Gyro Robo, was designated as an Enemy character in the American GoBots line.

    Video Games 
  • Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies:
    • Yellow 4 is the first story-significant enemy who gets shot down by the main character, thanks to her plane being in disrepair.
    • The opposing side in 04 give Mobius One two prominent nicknames. One is "the Grim Reaper"; so the player character in the fourth game is death.
    • In a meta example, this is the reason why the game is numbered 04 rather than just 4.
    • And, to avoid having four examples of Four Is Death in the fourth game of the series, the control room the special forces must breach in the last mission is on the thirteenth floor.
  • Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown:
    • Mission 4, where you try to rescue former president Harling from deep inside enemy territory. It calls back to a similar mission in Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War, but this time it doesn't end very well. Harling is dead and player character Trigger is blamed for it, sending him to...
    • ...the 444th Squadron, need we say more? Driving this home, characters insistently refer to this penal unit as "four-four-four" rather than "four-forty-four" or "The 444th". Spare Squadron, a ragtag bunch of convicts flying salvaged boneyard fighters, are considered expendable and sent on suicide missions too dangerous for regular forces, made to redeem themselves for their crimes or die trying. The latter is much, much more common than the former.
  • In Animal Crossing: New Leaf, the music that plays at 4 AM is very creepy and a potent source of Nightmare Fuel, to the point of inspiring several Creepypasta Dream Towns. Also, Club LOL's Japanese name, "Club 444", actually reads as "Club Shisho" (run by Dr. Shrunk, whose Japanese name is Shisho). But an alternative reading of the Japanese name, if read directly, can really mean "Club Death-Death-Death".
  • In Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter, the "names" of the dragons D-Constructs are simply numbers in Gratuitous Russian. "Odjn" (One) is linked to the hero. "Dva" (Two, mistranslated as "Dover") is the Bonus Boss. And Chetyre (Four) is, of course, the Big Bad.
  • Castlevania's Death generally has 444 or 4444 HP.
  • Dark Savior loves this trope. The Golden Castle tells the story of the four slain daughters of the merchant who built the castle. While the game's five parallels each have their individual themes and goals, the fourth one revolves around Garian fighting for his very existence when it's threatened by the appearance of his Doppelgänger. Worse, his four bounty hunter friends have arrived on Jailer's Island to save him, and he must race against the clock through four castles to save them from four deadly criminals, and they will die if you don't reach them in time. It's also the only parallel that sees the destruction of Jailer's Island.
  • Dark Souls: you are always given a quest to hunt down exactly four plot coupons held by the Big Bad Ensemble before you can ascend to The Very Definitely Final Dungeon and fight the Final Boss. There aren't always four members of said ensemble, but there are always four boss fights to get said plot coupons (some are Dual Boss or Wolfpack Boss fights).
    • Demon's Souls: you must obtain the four Archdemon souls by defeating Maiden Astraea, the Old Monk, the Dragon God, and the Storm King, before ascending to the Nexus to fight False King Allant.
    • Dark Souls 1: you must obtain the four Lord Souls by defeating Seath the Scaleless, Gravelord Nito, the Witch of Izalith, and the Four Kings, before ascending to the Kiln of the First Flame to fight Gwyn. The Four Kings count as an example in their own right. They and their kingdoms were all consumed by the Abyss.
    • Dark Souls 2: you must obtain the four Great Souls by defeating the Lost Sinner, the Old Iron King, the Duke's Dear, and the Rotten, before ascending to the Throne of Want to fight Queen Nashandra.
    • Dark Souls 3: you must obtain the four Cinders of a Lord by defeating the Abyss Watchers, Yhorm the Giant, Aldrich the Devourer, and the Twin Princes, before ascending to the Kiln of the First Flame to fight the Soul of Cinder.
  • In the Shmup "Diadra Empty", flying dangerously close to one of the last bosses will give you a bonus called "Abyss Walker", worth 44,444 points.
  • If Frieza's fittingly named Death Ball in Dragon Ball Z: Supersonic Warriors misses the opponent and hits the ground instead, the background music switches to ominous rumbling and the opponent has 44 seconds to KO him before the planet they're fighting on blows up, letting Frieza win by default.
  • There are four Eldritch Abominations vying for supremacy over the Earth in Eternal Darkness. Subverted because one of them, Mantorok, is on humanity's side. Or is he?
  • In Fate/EXTRA, the protagonist learns this applies to getting into the Holy Grail War: potential Masters had four days to figure out something was wrong with their school, investigate, and survive a qualifying battle. If they failed to succeed at this after four days, well... they weren't going ANYWHERE.
  • Fate/Grand Order reveals that Primate Murder, long known by Nasuverse veterans as the ultimate killer of humans, is the fourth of humanity's seven great evils. Your Team Pet Fou(r) is its primordial form.
  • Final Fantasy has a history of the fourth character not having a good fate.
    • Final Fantasy II gives its fourth slot to a rotating list of Guest star party members. Most leave the party dead, though the first just appears dead for most of the game.
    • Final Fantasy IV has Tellah as the fourth character, though Kain's disappearance disguises it a bit. He is the only one to die, in spite of the myriad close calls the rest of the cast outside the final party get into.
    • Final Fantasy VII Aerith is the fourth party character here and dies by the hands of Sephiroth.
  • First Encounter Assault Recon:
  • Five Nights at Freddy's: There are four animatronic characters who are all out to kill you. The Phone Guy gets killed on the fourth night. The series itself stop numbering games at the fourth game.
  • In Ghost Trick, main character Sissel can use his powers to rewind time to exactly four minutes before a person's death in order to attempt to prevent it.
  • God Hand's Dynamic Difficulty goes through four levels: 1, 2, 3, and Die.
  • The first Golgo 13 NES game combines this with 13 Is Unlucky, as you are given 52 chances (4 x 13) to complete your mission, or else it's Game Over.
  • In Granblue Fantasy, Feower/Quatre is the Eternal themed after the number four (as his name is even an easy indication from the Eternals' Numerical Theme Naming). His initial Charge Attack is named Memento Mori, which translates to "Remember, you will die" from Latin. Inverted after his 5★ upgrade, as it gets renamed to Memento Vita, or "Remember, you will live".
  • Rare Western example: Grand Theft Auto IV, the fourth main installment in the Grand Theft Auto series, reboots the story with a darker and more-realistic storyline where the Crapsack World is Played for Drama as the protagonist Niko trying to find out how horrible Liberty City is, being backstabbed by many people for reasons. Also, unlike most games in the series, there is no happy ending, and both (Deal and Revenge) endings have Niko heartbroken as one of his important relatives/associates die in a shootout on his cousin's wedding. Darkest Grand Theft Auto game ever.
  • A good number of Harvest Moon games do evil things to you at precisely 4:44 when you perform a specific action. For example: looking at the TV in Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town. This feature is often removed from the US version, and in some cases is related to more serious glitches caused by a bad removal! Maybe it is cursed. Also, if you go to your doghouse at 4.44am in Harvest Moon DS sends you into some sort of battle game with all the main bachelorettes.
  • Haunting Ground has four psychotic stalkers pursuing the main character trying to kill her.
  • Vexen, the fourth member of Organization XIII in Kingdom Hearts, is the first one to die, assassinated by Axel when he attempts to betray the Organization in a bid for his life by revealing the existence of Roxas to Sora. Also, the fourth and final, in Sora's story member you fight in Chain of Memories is Marluxia. Fitting, what with having a scythe and all.
  • In La-Mulana, the last of the four key seals which must be found is the Death Seal, whose symbol contains the game's numeral 4. However, the Sage of Death (who unlocks the path to the Death Seal) will likely be the first of the four sages the player has to talk to.
  • League of Legends:
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV has Rean, in his fourth game as the protagonist, ends up dying at the end of the normal ending of the game. He's joined by both Crow and Millium.
  • The Legend of Zelda usually brings in themes of death and darkness in the fourth dungeon of various installments:
    • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link: The fourth palace, the Maze Island Palace which is found in a labyrinthine island in East Hyrule, is an eerie, purple-colored palace overrun by Wizzrobes and undead enemies.
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past: It takes four Silver Arrows to destroy Ganon.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, the fourth Adult Link dungeon is the Shadow Temple, which deals with the undead and features torture equipment in several rooms. According to lore, this place is a reminder of the darkest chapters in the history of Hyrule. However, like all temples, its Sage aims to protect Hyrule and assists the others in the process to seal Ganon after his defeat.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, the fourth dungeon (Stone Tower Temple) is located within Ikana Canyon, which is overrun by ghosts, undead creatures and a bleak atmosphere (though the temple itself isn't explicitly dark-themed, being instead more linked to light and sky).
    • In The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, there are six coral reefs, known as One-, Two-, Three-, Four-, Five- and Six-Eyed Reefs. Four-Eyed Reef is the closest to Forsaken Fortress, which serves as the base of operations of the Big Bad. In addition, Forsaken Fortress itself is the fourth dungeon in the game completion-wise,note , and its surroundings are under a curse that leaves it in perpetual nighttime; even Tetra and her pirate crew hesitate to approach it, and Lenzo the photographer advises Link against getting there as well. Lastly, out of all fragments in which the Triforce of Courage was split, the fourth is retrieved after finding the chart that lies inside the dreaded, undead-themed Ghost Ship.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: The Arbiter's Grounds, which serves as the game's fourth dungeon, is an ancient gibbet located in the desert where the worst criminals of Hyrule are executed; it is overrun by larger-than-usual Poes, skeletal monsters (including a very large one serving as the boss) and living mummies. The place is also home to the portal leading to the Twilight Realm.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass: The fourth dungeon is the Ghost Ship, which steals the life force of any unfortunate victim who approaches it, and is used for that purpose by the game's antagonist, Bellum.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword: The fourth dungeon is the Ancient Cistern, a sacred location which is themed around life and death. Whereas the main floor features a vibrant design and atmosphere, the basement is a grim necropolis that features Cursed Bokoblins and deadly pools of toxic fluid.
  • Leisure Suit Larry has no 4; skips right to 5. According to Al Lowe what started as a flippant comment about finishing the original trilogy turned into a marketing coup. Sequels include in-game references to the "lost" game as "Leisure Suit Larry 4: The Missing Floppies."
  • Makeruna! Makendou Z features four demon queens during the second half of the game: Honmanimou (a big-breasted cow woman), Honmadecker (a prison wardeness, who upon defeat turns out to be Doro's wife, now back to her senses), Honmadengunner (a cyborg), and Honmayaner (an archer woman). Main villain Dr. Mud also tried to enslave Makenkah (whose real name was Kaimyouji Eizan) as a fourth cyborg general of his, the other three being Dinosaur, Chuuko, and Shou. Even further, this game is the fourth installment of the Makendou series (if you count the OAV), and seems slightly darker and edgier than the previous two games, ending with the school building collapsing (with who knows how many people inside).
  • Mega Man:
    • Mega Man Battle Network 6 features EraseMan.EXE (aptly named KillerMan.EXE in the original Japanese version), an assassin Navi whose design draws on shinigami. When Mega Man fuses with EraseMan, he gains the ability to instantly kill viruses when the digit 4 is in their HP. As for Navis, they get an HP-sapping bug that eventually does them in.
    • The first game has Wily acquire four superprograms to create the Life Virus. Later on, Battle Network 4 has the impending impact of a meteor that will wipe out Planet Earth — which turns out to be an insanely powerful and near-omnipresent robot called Duo.
  • In Nanashi no Game, Riko at one point gets trapped on a creepy subway where every car is Car #4. She dies at the end of that chapter. In addition, the company that created the game is located on the fourth floor of the building it's in — and it's been closed for four years, which you find out from the fourth e-mail you receive on the fourth day.
  • In The New Order Last Days Of Europe, an Alternate History – Nazi Victory mod for Hearts of Iron IV, the event of Japanese ultranationalists under Kishi Nobusuke. the "Devil of Shōwa" taking over the Empire of Japan and brutally massacaring thousands of dissenters is appropriately named "Order 44".
  • The Fantasy Pantheon in Nexus Clash has nine members, with three each for Good, Evil and the Unaligned. It had four for each alignment at some point, but on all three cases the fourth deity is dead or missing. In addition, the pantheon's death god Hashaa is represented in art by a four-star constellation.
  • No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle has Margaret, who is the 4th ranked assassin of the UAA, wields two gun/scythe hybrids and even has boss music that alludes to this trope.
  • Pac-Man has four ghostly monsters that stalk the protagonist.
  • In Persona 3, October 4th is a very, very bad day. Additionally, The Reaper has 4,444 hit points.
  • In Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth, the Evil Spirit Club is an exhibit made by the 2nd year Class 4 at Yasogami High - except that there's only three 2nd year classes at that school. The school does have a haunted house exhibit (which you visit with Ayame if you're part of the school band), but it isn't done by Class 2-4.
  • Pokémon:
    • Pokémon Red and Blue: Lavender Town is associated with death because of the ghost-filled Pokémon Tower, is known as Shion Town in Japan. Shi and Yon are two readings for the kanji 四.
    • Pokémon Gold and Silver: Morty, the fourth Gym Leader in Johto, uses the Ghost type. Ghosts are associated with death.
    • In Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia, the Incredible Machine atop Altru Tower normally has three power levels, the highest of which allows it to hypnotize Pokémon from a radius of 500 miles. The Big Bad, after he unleashes Darkrai, pushes the Incredible Machine one level further: Level "Dark", which supposedly has more than enough power for him to assert complete control over the legendary Shadow Pokémon...or so he thinks. And there's the Go-Rock Quad from the original Pokémon Ranger game.
    • Pokémon Diamond and Pearl does it subtly. Platinum introduced a fourth Admin into the astronomy-themed Team Galactic. His name? Pluto (Charon in English), the planet/moon named after the god of death or his ferryman. Additionally, Sendoff Spring, where you can find Turnback Cave which leads to Giratina and the Distortion World, is described on the Town Map as "The fourth lake of Sinnoh that was kept secret."
  • Punch-Out!!: In the Wii version, one of the challenges in Exhibition Mode requires you to defeat Japanese boxer Piston Hondo after blocking 44 jabs.
  • In Puzzle & Dragons Z, allowing an enemy Anubis to take its turn will cause it to use the Banish to Hell skill, which inflicts a fixed 44444 damage. The first time you encounter it, it guarantees a One-Hit Kill.
  • Resident Evil:
    • In Resident Evil 2, an unlockable minigame, the 4th Survivor features an Umbrella Soldier codenamed Hunk. In Resident Evil 3: Nemesis's epilogue files, it's revealed that Hunk is nicknamed "Mister Death", and has a habit of being the only member of his squad to survive.
    • Hunk comes back as one of the four characters in the Mercenaries mode of Resident Evil 4. Consequentially, the fourth stage has the deadliest enemy in the game, which can spawn twice in a run; completing said stage also unlocks Albert Wesker, the Big Bad of the majority of the RE games (though not in that game itself).
    • The Keeper's Diary in the first game. Since it's his own personal Apocalyptic Log, the inexplicable "4" at the top of the last entry may have been a mistranslation. Since the keeper attacks you before you get a chance to read the diary, it can mean death for you, too.
    • In the REmake, you only get to see the last few pages of Lisa Trevor's journal while picking it up in the cabin near the cemetery. When combined with the remaining pages that you later find elsewhere, they form an Apocalyptic Log, which slowly deteriorates into illiterate writing as the dates proceed, as a Wanton Cruelty to the Common Comma, until it ends with the same inexplicable numeral "4" at the top of the last entry as in the Keeper's Diary. Since Lisa attacks you as you are about to leave the cabin after reading the last page of her journal, it can also mean death for you.
  • Ridge Racer: there are exactly four hidden vehicles — to defeat in a one-on-one race — with four different variations in Type 4, which is the fourth installment of the series not including the arcade titles.
  • In Silent Hill, an elevator in an Abandoned Hospital that previously had only three floors suddenly gains a fourth floor button. Travelling to this "fourth floor" triggers a trip to the town's hellish Dark World.
  • In Silent Hill 2, the fourth time that James meets Eddie and Angela, they die.
  • Invoked in Sleeping Dogs, when Wei and Old Salty Crab use a triad boss' superstitious beliefs and adherence to feng shui by vandalizing his home, in particular smashing all but four decorative vases and setting the clock to read 4:44. The "Year of the Snake" DLC also has a cultist car rigged with a bomb that has "44" in its license plate, which causes the police dispatcher to audibly wonder "who ever heard of a license plate with two fours in it?".
  • In Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus, one of the safes has the code being 4... 4....... 4... Bentley says he "had to overcome some personal demons to calculate this one".
  • A variant in the early Splinter Cell games, where Five is Death, in defense of Four. In-universe terminology refers to four general freedoms (of speech, of religion, from want, and from fear), with the "Fifth Freedom" being used as a Deadly Euphemism for doing whatever is necessary to defend the other four.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Cabin 004 is where Ghost T. resides in. He died in there.
    • In Super Paper Mario, the Flower People's civilization went into the Dark Ages in their year 444. You have to pay 4 coins for the ferryman to ferry you across River Twygz.
    • In Super Mario Galaxy, the rolling ball stages are full of massive iron dice blocks threatening to knock you into the abyss. Every side on these dice blocks read four.
  • In Tokyo Xtreme Racer Zero and Import Tuner Challenge, the number for the final boss is "400", connecting the number "4" to the unlucky and demonic number.
  • Touhou Project Bonus Boss Raiko Horikawa numbers her magical attacks: First Drum, Second Drum, etc. Her fourth attack is "Death Drum".
  • In the Japanese escape-the-room game U-Sensor 2, you have to find a way out of a deserted office building in which it's rumored that there was a murder on the fourth floor in spite of the elevator not having a button available for that floor. It turns out that a vengeful ghost haunts that seemingly nonexistent floor and will kill you if you don't prevent the elevator from stopping at the fourth floor during the endgame. If you get the Bad Ending where the ghost kills you, your character sprite will be shown turning around exactly four times in the elevator before the ghost catches him.
  • Rare Western example: in Ultima II, while travelling through space, hyperwarping to coordinates 4-4-4 will send your spaceship crashing into the Sun resulting in instant death.
  • The World Ends with You has Mitsuki Konishi, aka Tigris Cantus, who likewise has 4444 HP.
    • Also, Master Tonberry, a robed green lizard like thing carrying a butcher knife and lantern that will slowly advance on your party before one hit killing you with said knife, or attack with 'Everyone's Grudge' doing 1 damage for each enemy a character has killed in the game, had 44,444HP in Final Fantasy VII.
    • Death-themed items in Castlevania play by this trope as well. The Book of Death in Portrait of Ruin has 44 ATK, while Death's Robe in Dawn of Sorrow boosts STR, CON and LUCK by 4 (and Int by 13!). Death's Ring is especially noteworthy, as it boosts 4 different stats by 44 each but turns you into a One-Hit Point Wonder.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • Players in the pandaren race's Noob Cave will be repeatedly greeted by Jojo Ironbrow, who is known for being strong enough to break anything with his head. He shows up 3 times and is able to break bamboo, wood, and stone, so after that, your character will expect him to be able to break a statue of solid jade, but when he does so he only ends up hurting himself.
    • Sylvanas Windrunner, the leader of the undead Forsaken race, becomes the Horde's fourth warchief in Legion.
  • In the 2011 version of You Don't Know Jack, the segue into the fourth question features a bunch of dancing 4s. In one game, one of the 4s is shot and killed, and subsequent episodes feature a crime scene, the remaining 4s dancing sadly without the other 4, and finally, a graveyard where the 4's funeral is being held.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! Reshef of Destruction, the fourth Millennium Item recovered is the Millennium Eye, which is where we find out about Pegasus/Chevalsky being the one who resurrected Reshef.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Doki Doki Literature Club!, there are four members of the club to start with. All of them end up either dead or deleted in some form during the game. A meta example is that the game ends when Act 4 is cleared.
  • Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors:
    • Subverted, when presented with the initial choice of going through Door 5, which someone has just died behind, or Door 4 which features a much more comforting environment overall and leads to the best ending in which none of the main characters die. And then played straight with Clover, player number 4, who either kills almost everyone in the Axe Ending, kills Junpei in the iOS port's Syringe Ending, or ends up being killed herself in the Sub and Safe Endings.
    • Played straight in its sequel game, Virtue's Last Reward, wherein Clover's ending again leads to the death of everyone.
  • In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies, Courtroom number 4 is bombed, and ends up being the only Courtroom to be a murder scene.
  • Courtroom 4 bore witness to the mid-trial suicide of Terry Fawles in Case 3-4 of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney.
  • As a little Easter Egg in Spirit Hunter: NG, the birth date of the spirit-fighting protagonist is 4/4.

    Web Animation 
  • The only "evil" Netking in TOME is Rubirules, who is designated as Netking Number Four.

  • Daughter of the Lilies inverts this trope. The main team has four members (as of Chapter 6), and the phenomenally adorkable Thistle appears particularly gifted in life magics and fighting evil.
  • Ludicrous Power has Eve fight a lich in comic #44, titled "Deathty-Death".
  • The Noordegraaf Files: The number 4 shows up a lot. The second page has the numbers 4 and 4444 written in binary, along with the GRAVE "`" key in groups of four. Not to mention the panel was about the inescapability of death. Also, pages post every Wednesday (4th day of the week, not using biblical calendar) at 4:00.
  • Our Little Adventure has introduced four high-ranking members of the Souballo Empire who each seem to be in charge of a department.
  • The cover of the fourth print volume of Problem Sleuth is adorned with Death's weeping face. This also makes it look like the ~ATH coding book. Tildeath.
  • The Order of the Stick #444 is entitled "He's Dead, Jim", referring to Roy, who fell to his death on the previous page.

    Web Original 
  • Battle for Dream Island: The host of Season 4, actually named Four, has literally killed people, achieved by what X refers to as "screechy".
  • hololive streamer Calliope Mori, as the apprentice of The Grim Reaper, loves the number 4 precisely for this reason. For example, she alluded to this trope when she got 44,400 followers, and her birthday is on April 4, which can be written as 4/4.
  • The number four shows up more than what should be considered coincidental in Marble Hornets:
    • In Entry #26, Jay receives a mysterious text message on the 4th of April (i.e. 4/4). Two weeks later, he receives a tape dated 4.4.2010 which contains footage of Jay's missing friend Alex and his girlfriend Amy narrowly avoiding an attack by the Operator, which happens at 4:04 PM. There is also some distortion around the entry's 4:04 mark.
    • The Totheark video "Decay" was uploaded on April 4, 2012, and it shows some of the footage from the tape in Entry #26, distorting it so that the date and time overlay each other. The last seven seconds of the video, when run through a spectrograph, reveal an image with the text, "TODAY IS YOUR LAST BIRTHDAY," with four dots under the word "birthday." Alex's birthday is April 4th. In the same video, Totheark writes, "(HE WILL) LEAD ME TO DEATH."
    • The motif is continued in entry #40 - posted on May 4, with screen tearing occurring at 4:40 on the YouTube player and The Operator showing up moments later.
  • In 7-Second Riddles, there's a mirror rumored to kill people if they look in it at 4:44. However, this is subverted; it actually kills people at 7:16, when the mirror image of the clock reads 4:44.
  • In The 10 WEIRDEST Superstitions in the World! by Matt Santoro, Matt mentions how some Chinese buildings don't have fourth floors.

    Western Animation 
  • In The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius episode "The Phantom of Retroland", after the Phantom turns out to be Nick, another shows up that turns out to be Cindy and Libby, then a third that's actually Judy, and then finally the real Phantom shows up.
  • In "Hard Luck", a Season 4 episode of Code Lyoko, in which Odd is suffering from a case of bad luck from a broken mirror, as the gang are traveling to one of X.A.N.A.'s Replika via the Skid are talking about bad luck — to Odd's annoyance — Yumi remarks something similar to the following: "People in Japan avoid anything to do with the number 4 because it sounds like the word for death."
  • In the Hey Arnold! episode "Operation: Ruthless", Helga is advised not to get in the bumper car numbered 4 because it has a faulty accelerator, so she tries to get Ruth into that particular car in the hopes that she'll get in an accident. Sure enough, Helga accidentally gets Ruth into the car numbered 3 and she and Phoebe get into the one with 4, ending in their car flying off the track and into a hot dog truck.
  • This shows up in Jackie Chan Adventures, most notably the final faceoff in the main Season 2 arc where four demon sorcerers assault the protagonists. Said demons have Four-Fingered Hands.
  • In The Ren & Stimpy Show episode "Superstitious Stimpy", Stimpy considers the unluckiest day on the calendar to be Tuesday the 17th, which is four days after Friday the 13th.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In "Patty Hype" when SpongeBob has a dream after falling asleep at his Pretty Patty stand, he and his pineapple house are shown aging waiting for customers to come:
      SpongeBob: I'm ready!
      Middle-Aged SpongeBob: I'm ready.
      Old SpongeBob: I'm ready.
      (SpongeBob is now dead, in his place is a tombstone reading "R.I.P. I'm Ready" and his house is gone)
    • In "Face Freeze!", one of Mr. Krabs's stories involves a person who liked to make funny faces, most enjoyably sticking his tongue out. After doing it 444 times, he couldn't get it back in until most of it crumbled off of him.
    • In the episode "One Coarse Meal", when Plankton is scared by Mr. Krabs too many times, he tries to get run over by a bus that comes at 4:00. It also happens when there are 4 minutes left in the episode.

    Real Life 
  • This even carries over to technology.
    • Sony has created several successive types of digital videotape, named D-1, D-2, D-3, etc. There was no D-4, due to the stigma associated with the number.
    • Canon also has several product lines conspicuously skipping from 3 to 5, but not skipping 40 and other multiples of ten.
    • Music equipment manufacturer Roland/Boss do this as well. The Boss guitar pedals are generally named along the lines of DD (digital delay) or OD (overdrive) and then a number. Guess which number is nowhere to be found in their product lineup.
    • People were legitimately surprised that Sony released a PlayStation 4 for this very reason. The more superstitious among them were probably quite surprised when it became their fastest-selling system ever and so far the biggest success of the eighth generation.
    • The Xiaomi Mi 4, Redmi Note 4, Huawei Honor 4X, and DJI Phantom 4, all of them having a successful release despite Chinese firms observing the superstition.
    • Chinese smartphone manufacturer Oneplus clarified that their following phone (after the One, 2, X, 3, and 3T) would be the Oneplus 5, not 4, invoking the cultural reason behind this trope as the rationale behind the decision. Amusingly, they had no issue with naming an earlier device "Oneplus 3," which, treated as arithmetic, equals "Four."
    • Nokia, a Finnish company, also observe this to a large extent being that they had a huge Asian market in the 2000s. Among other things, they skipped the 4000 series and S60 4th Edition, though somehow they did release the Nokia 3410, a revision of the 3310, and the Series 40 platform for lower-end feature phones.
    • Asus skipped the number four with the release of the ROG Phone 5 gaming smartphone, also citing tetraphobia as their reason. Though they apparently had no problem with the earlier Zenfone 4 series back in 2017.
  • Rather morbidly, even the very business of death adheres to this trope—in places where there are at least four retorts for burning dead bodies, the fourth retort is numbered 5 for some reason.
  • 164 (一六四, yi liu si) is a Chinese homophone for "one road to death" (一路死, yi lu si). This was the reason that the Alfa Romeo 164 was marketed in many Chinese-speaking societies as the 168 (一六八, yi liu ba) instead. Which, incidentally, sounds like "one road to prosperity" (一路發/一路发, yi lu fa).
  • Rolex dealers in East Asia are reported to have difficulty selling watches whose serial numbers include lots of fours.
  • In Cantonese, 14 (十四, sap sei) is considered an unluckier number than 4, since it sounds like "will surely die"/"is doomed" (實死, sat sei). 24 (二十四, yi sap sei) is even worse, as it could be interpreted as "easy and sure death/easily doomed" (易實死, yi sat sei) or if its digits are read individually (二四, yi sei), it sounds like "easy death" (易死, yi sei).
  • While US FCC regs normally prohibit customers from choosing specific numbers, T-Mobile company policy specifically requires them to grant any and all requests for a phone number with no 4s.
  • The Gang of Four from China were the four Communist party officials who were officially blamed for the Cultural Revolution. After their arrest, and during their trials, a massive hostile propaganda campaign was launched against them, which made full use of the four/death homophone. And one of the goals of the Cultural Revolution was to get rid of the "Four Olds" ("Old Customs, Old Culture, Old Habits, and Old Ideas")note 
  • The Big Four Pollution Diseases of Japan were four major environmental disasters which led to the establishment of the Environment Agency (the Japanese equivalent of the American EPA) in 1970. Three of the incidents took place in the 1960s, but the 1912 outbreak of cadmium poisoning called "itai-itai disease" is lumped in because a lawsuit wasn't brought until 1968.
  • In East Asian countries, the fourth floor is either skipped (1, 2, 3, 5, 6, ...) like the thirteenth floor is skipped in the West or, in an elevator, the buttons are numbered 1, 2, 3, F, 5 ... with "F" standing in for the English word "four" (which does not sound like death). Another common workaround is to replace the "4"-number with the previous floor's number appended with the letter A (i.e. 3A, 23A), as is floor 13 (replaced with 12A, and 14 replaced with 12B in this case). 14 is particularly bad. In Mandarin, 14 can be read yao sinote , a near homophone of "will die" or "death wish". This is Up to Eleven in Hong Kong, as floor numbers with the number 4 are all skipped together in some newer buildings. And thanks to the influence from being a former British colony, the traditional 13 is also skipped. This convention is also quite common in Vancouver and Toronto, owing to their large Chinese population. The combination of eastern and western superstitions means that it's not unheard of for floor numbers in apartment buildings to jump from 12 to 15, missing both 13 and 14.
  • Tea sets or chopstick sets are sold with 3 or 5 cups/pairs rather than 4.
  • A common gift in China is three or five oranges, rather than four (generally, combo packs sold in Asia never comes in sets of 4 if they can help it).
  • In Japan, professional sports team uniforms that have the number 4 in them are often assigned to players with Western origins (e.g. Americans), not because they wish ill on these players, but rather because of the belief that the number 4 does not have the same connotation for them as it would for native Japanese or other Asian players.
  • Many East Asian countries do not assign number 4 to military units. One notable aversion was the North Korean 4th Infantry Division during the Korean War, an elite unit made up of experienced veterans who fought in the Chinese Civil War and equipped with top of the line Soviet equipment. It wound up proving the point, though, as it was nearly annihilated during the battle for the Pusan Perimeter. A different unit that proved the point in reverse was the ARVN's 22nd Infantry Division, which was initially named the 4th Infantry Division but renamed to avoid this trope. It ended up being one of the last South Vietnamese units to surrender.
  • Dice in East Asia, aside from arranging the pips differently, use red pips for the numbers 1 and 4 to ward off bad luck (as opposed to the standard black).
  • The Rio Suites Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas avoids the digit "4" in all floor numbers and room numbers. The floor just above the 39th is the 50th, for example.
  • As West (西) is another near-homophone for death, one Chinese metaphor for death is "to return to the west", in a similar fashion to the way a broken piece of machinery is said in English-speaking countries to have "gone south".
  • Richmond Hill, Ontario's city council has banned new street numbers with the number 4. The area is known to have a large Chinese-Canadian community.
  • Mexicans had their own version of this trope: Until much later in history, the number 41 was considered unlucky, but not for being associated with death, but with homosexuality instead. This was because an infamous incident in 1901 named the Dance of the Forty-One (or the Dance of the Forty-One Fags) after a famous police raid carried out against a party attended by many members of Mexico's high society of the time, (rumored to be 41 people, albeit officially, they were 19 people instead) when many of the attendees were dressed as women. Since homosexuality was illegal in Mexico at the time, they were arrested and forced to do street-cleaning while still dressed as women, much for the public scorn against them. The scandal was so big, the number 41 was for many years associated with homosexuality, to the grade the number was excluded for use in the army, police, house numbering, payroll, etc. This has become a Dead Horse Trope though.
  • The Sega Master System, Sega's third home console, was originally known as the Mark III. The internal name for the Sega Mega Drive, the Master System's successor, while it was in development? Mark V.
  • The 2019 Atlantic hurricane season (thus far) has given us Hurricane Dorian as its fourth named storm and first major hurricane (a Category 5), clocking in at 185 mph (295 km/h) at its peak intensity. Dorian managed to cause a total of 59 fatalities and $7.04 billion (in US dollars) worth of property damage over fifteen days.
  • The Fourth Day of Christmas traditionally commemorates the Massacre of the Innocents by King Herod the Great and is generally more somber than the other Twelve Days of Christmas.
  • Though this is coincidental, the highest level of Biosafety hazards is Level 4.
  • Abraham Lincoln was assisinated on April 14, 1865 at 10:14 PM.
  • On IRS Form 1099-R (used to report distributions from pension funds, annuities, IR As, etc), the distribution code 4 indicates that the money was distributed due to the account-holder's death.


Video Example(s):


Mista and the Number 4

Mista explains why he believes anything to do with the number 4 is bad news.

How well does it match the trope?

4.85 (41 votes)

Example of:

Main / FourIsDeath

Media sources:

Main / FourIsDeath