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Immortal Life Is Cheap

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"To clear mines: step on mine. Wait for Ghost revival. Step on mine 2. Wait for Ghost. Step on—"
Lead Scout's Cloak, Destiny

If a character is immortal — even if it's the "immortal but can die temporarily" type — then their opponents don't need to hold anything back. Not even if those opponents are good guys.

Immortality is a sweet gig. Whether it's because the character can download into a new body as part of a Hive Mind, has a Healing Factor strong enough to reconstruct From a Single Cell, or possesses some even stranger way of staying among the living. The downside is everyone else now considers you fair game for target practice.

It's common sense. There's nothing wrong with using non-lethal force to stop someone. So what if it just so happens that, with this person, non-lethal force happens to include bullets? It's not that the code against killing doesn't apply. They're just not killing anyone. Which means heroes who normally have to Set Swords to "Stun" to avoid things getting messy, or otherwise take pains to Never Bring a Knife to a Fist Fight can now cut loose against the immortal enemy.

This can be implicit or acknowledged in the story. The characters might never come out and say that they feel no remorse for blowing off a regenerator's head or throwing a grenade into a room full of robo-clones, or they may well explain it at length as a form of dehumanizing their enemy or as Trash Talk in a fight.

It's worth noting that this trope is often applied on targets that can bleed and feel pain. No Bloodless Carnage here. The trope provides interesting opportunities mostly because it allows for more substantial violence against important characters while avoiding the usual complications (moral and physical) for both attacker and victim.

Contrast Good Thing You Can Heal, where the immortal character happens to take lethal injuries through bad luck (although the two can overlap). See also What Measure Is a Non-Human?, Uniqueness Value, Self-Mutilation Demonstration, and Immortality Hurts. Fearless Undead can fit this as well, depending on the nature of the undead. May be played alongside a "No More Holding Back" Speech. Don't mistake it for Living Forever is No Big Deal, which has nothing to do with it beyond both being immortality tropes.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • 33 Eyes: Yakumo Fujii. Being unkillable is a lot less fun than you might think, especially when horrible monsters are trying to kill you anyway.
  • Angel Beats! is full of this, episode 2 probably being the most extreme. As the characters are in maybe-not-quite-purgatory, they'll wake up from any sort of death a few minutes later. The show uses this as an excuse to put the high-schoolers through some truly gruesome deaths. Typically, the males receive far worse onscreen abuse, with the females primarily put in positions where one can simply assume they suffered after the cut to something else. This leads to an interesting dichotomy, where boys will be brutalized outright onscreen far more often, but the girls can be presumed to have suffered far, far worse fates while offscreen. As an example, in the aforementioned episode 2, each of the male members of the SSS is quickly killed by a trap, crushed to death, sliced apart by lasers, etc.; however, Shiina and Tenshi, the two girls to "die", get much harsher deaths: Shiina falls off a massive waterfall and presumably either drowns before resurfacing or goes splat on the rocky ground at the bottom, and Tenshi is dropped into a collapsing, burning factory, and is presumably crushed to death as the explosions brought everything down around her. After which she'd have to have dug herself out. Ouch.
  • Aphorism: Hakamada has the power of revivability. He is frequently used as a scapegoat by his friend to dodge an attack.
  • Attack on Titan: Levi will occasionally take advantage of Eren's Healing Factor. He brutally beat him for speaking out in court, and his plan to avoid killing him if he rampages in titan form involves cutting him out, severing all four of his limbs in the process. Annie, Reiner, and Bertholt couldn't afford to be gentle in their kidnapping attempts, either.
  • Baccano!: Several characters go to town with this trope, most notably Fermet, who spent a couple hundred years taking advantage of his and Czeslaw's immortality to perform every kind of gruesome "experiment" on poor Czes that he could think of. Then again, since almost everyone in the series is a gangster, a Psycho for Hire, or just plain Ax-Crazy, life is pretty cheap in general, and it's not just the immortal characters who get maimed.
    • Accordingly, Isaac and Miria avert this, as during the entire anime Isaac was only injured one or two times, and Miria wasn't at all. Hilariously, they live well into their 90s before they even realize they're immortal, despite looking like they're in their 20s the entire time.
  • Bakemonogatari: The Dying Bird is a type of supernatural creature that reincarnates itself into human form; the resulting human is immortal, and will rapidly regenerate/recover from any injury or illness. The resident specimen, Tsukihi, ends up suffering this trope because of this. For example, Yodzuru and Yotsugi's plan for capturing her involved walking up to her house, ringing the doorbell a few dozen times, and then abruptly blowing off the entire upper half of her body when she finally answered the door.
    • There's also Araragi himself, who thanks to retaining some powers from having been a vampire, possesses a strong Healing Factor and can survive from fatal injuries, like his heart being crushed into smush. He gets beaten to an inch of his life several times through the series in an excessively gory fashion to show off his determination.
  • Beyond the Boundary: Throughout the first episode, Mirai repeatedly and brutally attacks Akihito, later giving the explanation that she's literally just using him as target practice because she's unaccustomed to killing youmu. This ultimately turns out to be a subversion since the true reason she's attacking him is to try and kill the extremely dangerous "Beyond the Boundary" youmu that's trapped inside him.
  • Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan: Dokuro feels free to beat Sakura to death with her spiked baseball bat any time she suspects him of impure thoughts, or indeed, any time she's bored because she'll just resurrect him for another round immediately anyway.
  • Hybrids and Friends in Chainsaw Man will recover from basically any injury if fed human blood, so people don't need to be gentle to avoid killing them:
    • Denji is told to bring Katana Man to Makima alive, but doesn't hesitate to slice him in half before bringing him back to life in chains. Because the weapon in his arm was not damaged, his body came back together as soon as Denji pulled it out offscreen.
    • Kishibe repeatedly kills Denji and Power and brings them back as part of a training exercise. Kishibe himself lacks any regenerative power, but he's the Worlds Greatest Warrior, so he tells his students not to hold back anyway.
    • While Denji and Aki want to fend off some assassins to go on vacation with Makima, Power isn't interest and instead demands to drain all the blood from a human's body. Aki agrees, so long as that human is Denji, who is slightly annoyed at what he's been volunteered for.
  • Code Geass: C.C. can regenerate from any injury, so after Mao kidnaps her, he planned to "make her compact" with a chainsaw so she'd be easier to smuggle out of the country.
  • Cross Ange: Embryo has a certain form of immortality that causes him to respawn anywhere he wishes as long as his Ragna-Mail, Hysterica, is intact. He uses this to his advantage by offing himself when Tusk has his hand grappled by killing himself, and also to troll Ange when the latter tries in vain to off him before he attempts to force himself on her.
  • Excel♡Saga: The Great Will of the Macrocosm will commonly resurrect any important character who happens to die. This leaves Lord Il Palazzo free to kill Excel for the slightest irritation. This happens several times in the very first episode and a few more times throughout the series.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Funny Valentine can survive being killed by transferring his mind to a version of himself from another universe. As such, he's the rare JJBA villain who dies repeatedly.
  • Kiddy Grade: The ES Members are commonly sent on suicide missions because GOTT can always resurrect them.
  • Love Hina: Keitaro isn't any more durable than is usual for a main character in his genre, but unusually for the genre, other people notice and take advantage of this. Kitsune outright states that lethal force is acceptable against an "immortal" like him. Late into the series, Keitaro lampshades this when Naru almost ends up suffering a life-threatening injury that he would be able to shrug off.
  • Mermaid Saga: People who have gained immortality by eating mermaid flesh can get their limbs chopped off, shot multiple times, get their liver removed while still alive and very conscious and similar - it doesn't matter, they'll come back to life after half a day, anyway, can apply a new limb to the one that was removed or similar. Except if you happen to remove the head...
  • Mnemosyne: Every Big Bad who knows about Rin's immortality prefers to snap her neck first, ask questions later. Goes especially for Sayara, who systematically hunts down Rin for the pleasure she'll get from killing her again. Immortality does come at a price though, as it takes time to come back to life depending on the injury. A gunshot to the head will only take a few moments. Getting thrown into a jet engine and spreading your Ludicrous Gibs over the ocean will take decades.
  • Naruto: The Akatsuki member Hidan takes sick pleasure in doing horrible painful things to himself in battle after performing a ritual to ensure that his opponent feels the same thing. Hidan is virtually immortal (e.g. getting his head cut off only means he cannot move his body until it is reattached), but the same cannot be said of his opponents who get trapped by the ritual. He's paired with Kakuzu specifically for this reason; Kakuzu has a habit of killing his partners, so Akatsuki's leader gave him a partner he couldn't kill.
  • Ninja Scroll: Tessai, who can turn himself to stone all over... except for his eyes, which is how he gets beaten.
    • And the Big Bad, who suffered an And I Must Scream defeat. He couldn't be killed permanently, but the hero managed to cover him in molten gold and drop the resulting statue to the bottom of the ocean.
  • The Seven Deadly Sins: Ban is often subjected to the most brutal and otherwise lethal physical attacks such him being ripped apart to his bones broken. However, due to being immortal, these are just minor annoyances. It's the unconventional attacks though that give him cause for concern. As Guila notes, "unkillable" and "undefeatable" are two vastly different things.
  • UQ Holder!: All the main characters are subject to this. All of them have been blasted with what would normally be lethal damage on multiple occasions. Kirie is the most extreme example; her form of immortality is essentially Save Scumming (whenever she dies, she simply pops back to the last "save point" she set up and tries again). As a result, most of her strategy consists of trial and error, dying and resetting over and over until she finds something that works.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Monsters with effects to return from the graveyard can often be used with this mindset. An example of this is the anime version of the Aesir cards in Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds: their real-life revival effects have the cost removed so they always come back at the end of the turn with damaging or hand advantage effects. Their users, Team Ragnarok (in particular Brave) use this to their advantage.

    Comic Books 
  • X-Men:
    • Several attempts to stop the villain Juggernaut. On one occasion he took a pair of katanas through the eyes. In another battle, all of Juggernaut's flesh and organs were magically incinerated by a powerful demon. Said demon was horrified when Juggernaut's skeleton kept marching toward him. For the most part, it takes high-level magic (the above-mentioned swords were magical) to even scratch him since his power source is a high-level god.
    • Wolverine has fallen prey to this many times. He is often burned to a crisp, has all of the metal pulled out through his pores by Magneto, and at one point The Punisher shoots him in the crotch with a shotgun, where he then gets his legs sawed on by midgets, and then flattened by a steamroller. There is also an episode in the animated series where Proteus uses his reality-altering powers to rip Wolverine in half and then melt him into a puddle (he comes out crying). The other X-Men are also attacked by Proteus, but no one else gets the horrific treatment, even though in this case they may have survived afterward since Proteus's effects go away when he leaves the area.
    • A common criticism of X-Men (2019) is that, now that the X-Men have a reliable and repeatable way of coming back from the dead, they seem to be getting killed a lot more often. On at least one occasion, X-Men have killed themselves to get out of a difficult situation.
  • Likewise, The Incredible Hulk is not only Nigh Invulnerable, what damage he DOES take regenerates near-instantly. There's a few strategies that might be instant death, usually involving severe cranial damage, but they're still not sure he'd stay down. He was once caught in a horrid explosion and reduced to a charred skeleton with a few bits of flesh left over. His response? "Give me a minute." Four panels later it was like nothing happened. For the record, it DID hurt, a lot, but it also got him even MORE angry than usual.
  • Parodied with Great Lakes Avengers character Mr. Immortal, who has no other superpowers aside from his immortality. He ends up dying horribly at least several times in every issue he appears in. However, when he does die, he comes back in the throes of a beserker-style rampage due to the incredible pain he experiences when he dies.
  • The Sandman (1989) features the immortal Cain and Abel, the former frequently murdering the latter over a minor dispute or simply to pass the time. Note that in this case, it has less to do with Abel being immortal and more with the brothers being the symbol of fratricide — Cain occasionally regrets killing his brother but is still compelled by the Theory of Narrative Causality.
  • In the Ultimate Marvel universe, Hawkeye remarks during a fight that the best thing about killing Multiple Man is that there's always more of him.
  • Because Deadpool is a ceaseless motor mouth, characters with less scruples about lethal action tend to resort to headshots and throat slits to shut him up for a while, knowing he'll recover eventually.
  • DC Comics character Resurrection Man gets this a lot, naturally. One issue has a confused Batman trying to figure out why the same guy keeps getting murdered by Gotham City criminals. A crossover with Hitman sees Hitman repeatedly shooting him over and over until he gets a useful power. In the 853rd century, even Resurrection Man himself gets in on the act, wearing a gauntlet that lets him commit instant suicide.
  • Multiman gets this in Last Laugh, where The Joker repeatedly murders him until he gets a power useful in escaping prison. Afterwards, the entire prison gets sucked into a black hole, stranding a number of people. They eventually escape... by repeatedly murdering Multiman until he gets a power that helps them escape.
  • The DC Comics villain Ra's Al Ghul gets this quite often as well - due to a Lazarus Pit that can heal all of his injuries and sometimes raise him from the dead, he quite often sustains fatal injuries, only to appear in the next comic, completely fine.

    Fan Works 
  • Child of the Storm: Harry - who is self-sacrificing to being with - develops this opinion after discovering his Resurrective Immortality. However, this is considered a bad idea for several reasons. One, dying is still very traumatic. Two, the attitude indicates other emotional problems. Three, the immortality tends to come at a price (usually a rampage by the resurrecting entity in question, the Phoenix Force a.k.a. the late Lily Evans-Potter), which has detrimental effects on the fabric of reality.
  • Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons: Rampage's Healing Factor allows her to recover from any and all injuries, even averting the Chunky Salsa Rule. Combined with her berserker tendencies, it gets her killed in a variety of ways. In fact, Blackjack's default method for stopping one of Rampage's Freak Outs before she gets out of control is to shoot her in the head.
  • Luminosity: The Volturi keep vampires disassembled, in case they can ever find a way to bring them to their side. Sort of like freezing someone, except they're in terrible pain. And alone. For years.
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness: As a doll demon, Felucia Sonsta can survive and regenerate from literally anything so long as her spirit artifact is intact. Naturally, she tends to get the worst of the battle damage; among other things, she's been impaled, shot in the head, blown up, incinerated, and dismembered.
  • 3:14 PM: Pinkie is trapped in a time loop that starts at the titular time on the day before the Summer Sun Celebration... and ends whenever she dies. While some loops end with a reasonable death (such as freezing to death from the neverending night or getting eaten by the manticore), a few have her die in rather implausible ways, such as slipping on a frog or Twilight's chariot landing on her. Most notably, when Rainbow Dash crashes into her, the injuries are lethal. When in the next loop she dodges, Twilight gets hit instead but - as in canon - only gets knocked into a mud puddle. Pinkie finds this somewhat unfair.
  • The Many Deaths of Rainbow Dash: After Rainbow Dash learns that she's been cursed with Resurrective Immortality, the first thing she does—after getting over the initial shock—is to gleefully make us of the opportunity to pull off a couple of death-defying (or rather, death-causing) stunts, such as flying out of the atmosphere or taunting a dragon. Later, Applejack and Pinkie Pie have Rainbow guide them through a trap-filled corridor, since she doesn't mind getting repeatedly killed.
  • Star Wars Paranormalities Trilogy:
    • Throughout Episode I, Valkoran trooper Private Will Helms dies every time he appears, only to come back completely intact later. His comrades are aware of this, and much to his annoyance, he's frequently used to handle dangerous work or filter out booby traps. That said, those who are unaware of Helms' gimmick are initially appalled that his peers are treating his deaths so casually. Originally a gag character, Helms not only got a steady stream of promotions starting in Episode II and died less frequently, he personally took advantage of his inability to stay dead at some points (such as performing a Heroic Sacrifice to spare his mortal allies). In Episode III, he has since been promoted to captain of Arcidus's Black Guard, and it's acknowledged just how wonderful this ability is to have.
    • While not a beneficiary of Resurrective Immortality like Helms, Gahmah Raan (and the Krishari species as a whole) is capable of near-instantaneous regeneration. As such, he tends to under-react to injuries that would be harmful to any other species, such as getting his arms getting cut or torn off, getting cut in half, getting his face torn off, being eaten and digested alive, and having a thermal detonator explode next to him. While it hurts, he also has no problem undoing cauterizations or tearing off diseased/damaged tissue as an instant medical treatment. As a result, even when people aren't trying to kill him, they frequently inflict severe injuries on him.

    Films — Animated 
  • Igor: The titular character previously succeeded in reanimating and gifting a rabbit named Scamper with immortality. One problem: Scamper has a death-wish and takes every opportunity to test the limits of his regeneration.
  • Wreck-It Ralph: As long as a video game character is in their own game, they will regenerate if killed. That's how villains (or heroes!) can be defeated day after day. However, if they're in another game, the character is Killed Off for Real.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Downplayed in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. While everyone only has three lives while they're Trapped in Video Game Land and they're sensitive about using them all up, this still comes into play. During an argument, Fridge shoves Spencer to his death off a cliff; he justifies it by saying Spencer will respawn in a few seconds anyway. Later, Spencer returns the favor by throwing Fridge out of a helicopter to distract a herd of rhinos. In the finale, Martha kills herself to keep the MacGuffin away from the villain.
  • ''Men in Black': Jeebs can regrow his head, though it's very painful. Knowing this, the MiB like to blow his head off if they want something from him or even if they just feel like it.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest: Captain Jack Sparrow has developed a habit of shooting the undead monkey whenever he is angry.

  • Accelerando: Taken to extremes in the last chapter of Charles Stross' novel. Children, free to take backups of their personality, play war with real weapons. Additionally, they keep software copies running at faster-than-real-time to grow up and watch over them.
  • In Cory Doctorow's Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, people can take backup copies of their personalities in case of death. Nobody is particularly worried about this, because everybody who had a problem with it "you know, died".
  • In the Dragaera series, resurrecting the dead is a little pricey, but not too difficult (unless special steps are taken), so in the underworld, it's not uncommon to kill someone as a warning.
  • The main characters in Eden Green are all infected with an alien needle symbiote that can resurrect them from any wound, even complete destruction of their heads. Whenever they have a disagreement, the resolution is sometimes horrifyingly violent, even between friends.
  • Olson from Super Minion, unusually, gets this more from his allies than his enemies. Enemies who know the Henchmen's powers know that killing him is basically pointless, but his allies frequently send him on "suicide" missions because he can't meaningfully die.
  • In Richard K. Morgan's Takeshi Kovacs series, everybody is implanted from birth with a "cortical stack" that records their personality in case of death. The hero occasionally kills people and steals said stack for later interrogation.
  • Threnody in Xanth often cuts off bits of her husband Jordan, such as his tongue. This is not considered a big deal because his talent is incredible healing.
  • Gilbert Gosseyn in A.E. van Vogt's The World of Null-A can be killed, and then he just wakes up in a new Gilbert body with all his memories.
  • Used and subverted in Kiln People by David Brin, in which people download their personalities into short-lived clay golems which they use for work and pleasure. While these golems are regarded as expendable, no one risks their real self anymore, and for someone to suffer even minor injury is quite a scandal.
  • Simon R. Green's novel Hellworld features the protagonists being dropped onto a planet to determine its potential for colonization. They find the planet apparently devoid of most animal life, with large pools of what can be described as greyish, primordial goo. Then, they discover that the advanced alien race that lived there constructed a machine that made them immortal and protean, able to take on any shape they willed and unable to die. The psychic member of the group discovers that the aliens had eventually become violent sociopaths, fighting endlessly until the machine grew bored and turned them into said goo. To make matters worse, that machine? It's still around. And insane. And starting to affect mutations within our heroes.
  • In a story Distant Rainbow by Strugatski Brothers, Camillo is a cyborg whose machine part (and that includes brain) is virtually indestructible (can sustain nukes without any damage) and can regenerate the living part of his body even from nothing, using raw materials. So Camillo dies thrice in the course of just one day and is going to die a fourth time when the Wave kills everybody and he will regenerate afterwards, too.
  • Mother of Learning: Mostly defied by Zorian, who recognizes that the people around him will all be reset and unharmed at the end of the loop, but who is worried about what sort of person he'll become if he treats killing and Mind Rape casually. He's still willing to go after the Dragon Cultists, but not willing to use his mind magic to forcibly take the secrets of mages all over the continent. However, he is quite capable of killing himself and taking advantage of the reset, if he's in a situation where his mind or soul (which will carry over damage) are threatened.
  • Reaper (2016): Averted. As people no longer die, the attack that kills eleven thousand people on Avalon causes shock and outrage throughout society, so much so that even being questioned — and found innocent — is enough to make someone a Game reject and social outcast.
  • The Stormlight Archive: If a Fused dies, Odium can reincarnate it by sacrificing a singer. As such, Fused will often pursue risky or even downright suicidal tactics, since they cannot be permanently killed.
  • The Wheel of Time: Mat and his band come across a village where the people go crazy every night and kill each other, then wake up in their beds alive the next morning. In the final battle with The Dark One's forces, he uses these villagers to hold an important strategic location knowing that they can't be killed off for real.
  • Worm: The Undersiders don't really have a problem with using excessive force on Aegis despite him being a hero and their playstyle usually being Noble Demon. That's because his Healing Factor allows him to survive things like being mauled by colossal dogs, or thrown off a building. Against other heroes in the same fight, the group's a lot more merciful. Other Nigh Invulnerable opponents are generally treated by similar force, even by completely upstanding heroes. Granted, most of these are people of mass destruction and anything goes.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel:
    • Played increasingly for comedy, to the point where Angel will walk around with a sword through his chest, looking only slightly miffed.
    • To the point where Spike doesn't bother aiming around Angel to hit a target; Spike just stabs right through him. In all fairness, that was Spike...
      Spike: Heat of battle. Wasn't time.
      Angel: You just like stabbing me.
      Spike: I'm shocked that you'd say that! I much prefer hitting you with blunt instruments.
  • Cylons in Battlestar Galactica (2003) would occasionally shoot each other without batting an eye if it were expedient since they could download into new bodies. The horrifying aspect is played up on occasion, such as when a Cavil mentions being too impatient to bleed to death after an ambush, and so has to cut his carotid open with an empty shell casing. Later episodes also feature the prospect of 'death as a learning experience' and the major trauma caused after someone is killed in an especially gruesome way and essentially suffers the worst PTSD ever.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In the first season, Darla at one point shot Angel. She told Buffy, "Don't worry, guns can't kill vampires. Hurts like hell, though."
  • Leo from Charmed, who can reassemble himself if his body is destroyed. The sisters have occasionally used him for target practice (with and without his consent), and a throwaway gag indicates that Piper tends to make him explode when she's mad.
    Leo: Damn it Paige, can you not practice on me? I may be dead, but it still hurts!
  • Doctor Who:
    • Captain Jack Harkness has Resurrective Immortality. In "The Sound of Drums", the Master points this out in the most unpleasant way possible after killing him with his laser screwdriver.note 
      "And the good thing is, he's not dead for long. I get to kill him again!"
    • In his spinoff Torchwood, Captain Jack becomes an absolute damage-magnet for the first series-and-a-half, after which other characters start eating bullets. Then Jack gets buried alive for 2000 years, constantly suffocating and reviving, somehow without going insane.
  • The crew on Farscape once ganged up on Pilot and forcibly amputated one of his arms, so they could sell it to a scientist. They rationalized this action because Pilot's species can regrow lost limbs. Another member of his species on a different ship was actually used as a replenishable food source for this reason.
  • Heroes has Claire Bennet, the immortal regenerating cheerleader. Guess who from the cast is suffering deadly injuries on a fairly regular basis? In her case, though she feels pain, it doesn't seem to mean much to her, as she repeatedly inflicts injuries on herself just to test her powers.
  • The writers of Misfits seem to gain some kind of sadistic pleasure out of killing the immortal character Nathan Young week after week in ways so gory and painful that it quickly becomes hilarious. The fact that he's a total Jerkass might have something to do with it.
  • The immortal heroine in Painkiller Jane was repeatedly shot by her friends for very little reason. Examples include being in the way, to convince someone else they were badass or just for a cheap trick. Incidentally, she was called "Painkiller Jane" because she had to eat a lot of them. Because she was repeatedly shot. By her friends.
    • She also shot herself plenty of times, like to convince a mind-altering Neuro that she reversed his nightmare-causing powers on him by shooting herself in the hand and having him watch the wound close.
    • She can die given sufficient damage. In one episode, her body is pulverized by a claymore mine. Luckily, this episode has a "Groundhog Day" Loop, and she is fine in the next cycle.
  • Sanctuary: Nikola Tesla is the occasional Butt-Monkey, since, being a vampire, he can't die (at least until he is turned back into a human, sort of). He has been stabbed, electrocuted, having Jack the Ripper's fist punched through his chest, sliced with claws, dropped from a high-rise, etc. And he's still as cheerful and annoying as ever, especially since he lacks the any of the traditional vampire weaknesses (he walks in the sunlight, can eat and drink, does not require blood, can survive a stab through the heart).
  • In Smallville, the Lesbian Vampires have fun throwing each other off the balcony. Since this is done to Lana, the scene might be favored more than it was intended.

  • Baldur, the Norse god of beauty, had a prophetic dream of his own death. His mother, the goddess Frigg, responded by making everything on Earth vow never to harm Baldur—effectively making him Nigh Invulnerable. The other gods react to this, in jolly Norse God fashion, by making a game of hurling things at him, all of which harmlessly bounce off. (Unfortunately for Baldur, his mother neglected to bother with getting the lowly mistletoe to take the promise, so Loki, a Trickster God and Jerkass, made an arrow out of mistletoe and tricked Baldur's blind twin brother Hod into shooting Baldur with it, killing him dead.)

    Tabletop Games 
  • Eclipse Phase: The cortical stack and backup memory upload are very common among transhumanity. Which is good, because up to half of your characters' missions will be literal suicide missions.
  • On occasion in 2nd Edition Paranoia adventures the Troubleshooters receive an unlimited number of clones (instead of the normal six anyone but Teela-O-MLY receives). This can be used to "solve problems" by performing a Zerg Rush at otherwise unbeatable opponents or, in one case, crossing a chasm by filling it up with Troubleshooter corpses.
  • In a Shadowrun monster-book, attached in-character comments by shadowrunners include remarks by someone the SPCA would probably burn at the stake. He claims to make a living by trapping Weres (sapient, regenerating animals which can take on human form) and repeatedly skinning them, then selling the pelts. Live-butchering a type of giant regenerating shark for meat was also mentioned.
  • In Brazilian RPG setting Tormenta, the city of Triunphus is a place where people get Back from the Dead a few times after being killed. The net result? Death penalty for even mundane things!
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Swarmlord in the incarnation of the Tyranid's Hive Mind, containing the sum of its combat experience and memories and deployed when the swarm faces a truly fearsome enemy and can be recreated if its dies. When the time comes for it to go elsewhere, it suffers the same fate as the lowliest organism: it gets reabsorbed into biomass and its consciousness is injected into the body of another Swarmlord on a different battleground.
    • The Dark Eldar Haemonculi have mastered the art of resurrection on both themselves and their victims (even death is no escape from them). The most ancient of all, Urien Rakarth, has undergone the process so many times he now suffers Came Back Wrong every time — and, in true scientific manner, actually looks forward to dying so he can see what new and bizarre mutations his body will gain.

    Video Games 
  • Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea: Since Homunculi have Resurrective Immortality, Solle Grumman, one of your party members, has absolutely no qualms about throwing them en masse at enemies during combat, even though they're his close friends. Some of his attacks (including his Limit Break) even involve using them as suicide bombers, though thankfully they look mostly unharmed by the explosions.
  • Batman: Arkham City: Batman follows his usual no-killing rule, right up until the boss fight with the giant immortal zombie. Mostly because less-than-lethal force would get him killed. (Seriously, the thing's maggots are the size of Batman's thigh.) Similarly, he uses whatever force is necessary to take down Clayface, including electrocution in a giant vat of liquid.
  • Guardians in Destiny are dead people resurrected and made immortal by the Traveler via a metaphysical bond with a Robot Buddy, the Ghost. This colors their perceptions of their own lives:
    • A few of them called thanatonauts spend their days in a room with a loaded gun and a notebook, repeatedly offing themselves and writing about the experience to study the nature of death. Certain Exo Guardians do the same, hoping to find something of their past lives amid the memories when they are resurrected.
    • Rezyl Azzir once assassinated the Kell of one of the Fallen Houses by letting the Fallen kill him, and when the Kell lifted up his body as a trophy, his Ghost would resurrect him, letting him kill the Kell while it was vulnerable.
    • During the Iron Lords' campaign to break the power of other arisen Guardian warlords abusing their power, their preferred tactic was to hole up in a secured location where their Ghosts could safely resurrect them and just keep shooting the enemy Guardians, letting them kill each other until the warlords realized that they weren't getting anywhere and gave up, then came to the negotiating table.
    • One story involving Lord Saladin and Lady Efrideet involved her picking up Saladin and chucking him from low orbit into a Fallen Walker like a flaming spear, and he hit the Fallen Walker with a Fist of Havoc that obliterated it. Naturally, he didn't survive that, but his Ghost brought him back right afterward.
    • Guardians' immortal lives are considered so cheap that, when a Guardian's Resurrective Immortality is disabled (due to the Guardian's Light being lost or their Ghost being destroyed), seeing a Guardian die can trigger a Heroic BSoD in other Guardians. The disastrous assault on Mare Imbrium that ended with the Hive killing thousands of Guardians was so disastrous that the Guardians declared the Moon a complete no-go zone for centuries.
    • Crucible, the Player Versus Player mode, involves Guardians using live rounds to shoot at each other with the intent to kill. It's just considered sport and good training since it doesn't do any permanent harm. Crucible matches are even broadcast to civilians as popular entertainment, with skilled fighters akin to celebrity sports stars.
  • Disgaea: Prinnies, no matter how strong they are, are impossibly cheap to revive since they're dead souls stuffed into penguin suits. This means that demon lords have very little reason not to violently kill them at the slightest annoyance.
  • EVE Online: The core sci-fi concept of the game is that you're an immortal spaceship-flying cyborg who will, at worst, suffer some minor memory loss from being vaporized. This results in the death penalty being the first resort for even minor infractions and schemes, and is the in-universe explanation for pilots trying to kill each other at random in PvP.
  • Hades: Since the entire game is about battling your way out of the underworld as the son of the god of death yourself, no less - this trope is exploited for all it's worth. Many of the characters spend a whole lot of time repeatedly killing each other, knowing that it won't result in much more than an unpleasant bath in the River Styx. The first boss of the game even shows up in the lounge area after either you have died to her, or you have killed her. It's even lampshaded when Zagreus learns that most living mortals think there's nothing after their one mortal life and is absolutely horrified by the implications and the emotional toll it must take on them.
  • There is also Raziel from the Legacy of Kain series. Managed to get yourself killed? No worries, you just get sent to the spectral realm where sucking on souls floating there gets you back to the land of the living. Managed to somehow get yourself killed in the spectral realm? No problem, you just get sent to an earlier checkpoint in the spectral realm where there are lots of free-floating souls to eat. There is no way to get a game over because you died.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable: The Materials are Humanoid Abominations who could survive getting reduced to nothing since they could just reconstruct their physical bodies over a period of time. Despite being as strong as the heroes, they've been killed several times in the games they appeared in, especially in the first game where the Material were killed multiple times over the course of one night by all the playable characters, including Technical Pacifist Nanoha.
  • Magicka: You can revive teammates, so you can't lose so long as any one of you is still alive to rez the others. This often leads to players being quite clumsy with their powers and even killing each other intentionally for laughs, which was indeed intentional on the designers' part. The achievement for healing a certain amount of damage (presumably this was meant to just apply to healing each other, but it can be earned even in single-player mode) is even called "Killing Your Friends, You're Doing It Wrong".
  • Pamela Ibis from Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis has a passive skill called Immortal Body which causes her to Auto-Revive a few turns after dying, provided she remains in the active party. Physical Immunity makes her hard for enemies to kill, but the player can still invoke this by over-using her "Have Fun" skills.
  • Mass Effect: The Geth. Killing platforms only results in their consciousness being sent back to the mainframe. Short of destroying their hubs or being out of range of a Relay, they effectively exist forever as code.
  • Planescape: Torment: The Nameless One does this to himself, since he'll always come back anyway from anything but a Non-Standard Game Over. He can break his own neck to win arguments or let a woman pay for the opportunity to stab him, among other things. And then there's the Practical Incarnation's 'tomb', an elaborate deathtrap for his enemies where the only way to navigate it is to die. Repeatedly. Subverted, though, when you find out that every time the Nameless One is "killed", someone else really dies in his place. You encounter their spirits in the end, and they're not happy about it.
  • Solatorobo: Inverted when Red gets upset at the thought of having to leave the immortal Paladin Elh inside Lemures while he takes on Tartaros. She points out to him that she is technically immortal, and he notes that somehow, that doesn't make him feel any better about it. Considering Baion wiped out the rest of the Paladins and her form of immortality is just "never ages but can be killed", he's right to worry.
  • Splatoon is an odd case. "Splatting" isn't treated as killing, but with the body being destroyed and a little ghost seen flying away from the scene, only to respawn at the spawn point seconds later — the term "respawn" is actually widely used by characters in-universe to describe this process, and the terms like "spawn point" and "spawning drone" are likewise given in-universe as the names of machines that allow for this — this trope is functionally in full effect, allowing for a sport that appears to involve lethal combat without any of the usual implications that would normally surround a Blood Sport. The same usually goes for the single-player campaigns, but Word of God states that there are times where this is averted, such as the escape from Kamabo Co. at the end of Octo Expansion, hence your Mission Control panicking when you die in these instances.
  • Tales of Monkey Island: Near the end of Chapter 5, LeChuck gives zombie Guybrush a terrible beating and maiming that would have killed an ordinary human being, often gloating about many ways to kill our hero and trash-talking him, yet unaware that Guybrush can't die, thanks to the effects of the Spirit Gum inside him. And while Guybrush is continuously beaten, he feels so exhausted and in so much pain that he can't even quip, indicating that immortality does indeed hurt. He eventually finds a way to get back to the rip in the Crossroads and destroy LeChuck with help from Elaine and Morgan in the end, just to end our hero's continual suffering.
  • Touhou Project:

  • Ran from Bob and George, who can be killed by a sneeze, but will have a new copy teleport in with memories intact. He is a good guy. The good guys kill him for practical reasons, such as needing multiple copies of his Cossack Buster or just needing bodies. Or because they think it's funny. He's more annoyed by this than anything else. Apparently it's far more practical to go through with this than simply giving him a body that is durable.
  • In Buck Godot: Zap Gun for Hire, Buck pits the very dangerous Der Rock the Destroyer against 35 PSmiths, and doesn't bat an eye when Der Rock kills them all.
    Buck Godot: The PSmiths? You heard him. He/it's not really dead. Embarrassed, yes. Dead, no.
  • Looking for Group: A certain undead warlock has been stabbed by twin blades, shot with many arrows, buried under hot lava, nailed to a mast, beheaded, stuck with hundreds of knives and is still completely fine. In fact, he isn't even undead.
  • In one Muertitos arc showing Death's brief career as a cartoon hero, Death fights a number of villains, including Multiple Chin, a Chinese acrobat with multiplying powers — who is actually a hero who's been brainwashed to work for the bad guys. Death slaughters Chins with wild abandon even over the protests of his sidekick, claiming that she's fine as long as there's at least one left. Then he realizes he's killed them all without thinking. The Commissioner even makes a brief mention of this at the end.
  • Zandar from Zandar's Saga, practically can't die as a punishment from the devil, having to regenerate from stabbing, drowning and even hanged to death.
  • Subverted in Sorcery 101; Danny casually shoots Brad in the heart to demonstrate how Werewolves can't be killed by normal bullets. Turns out that you can cure a werewolf, but it reverts all the injuries they've suffered. So now Brad can never become human without getting an instantly fatal gaping chest wound. D'oh! To be fair to Danny, Brad already had all sorts of injuries that he couldn't survive that weren't Danny's fault... except for the first one
  • In Starslip, the Quels' policy for Cyte attacks is to let the Cyte kill as many as they want until they leave.
    • Also, Protocol Officer Quine is essentially meant to be the face of the Paradigm wherever it goes, no matter how unhappy the locals are to see them, so his memory is constantly uploaded to the ship so that, in the event of his death, they can be downloaded into a clone so that he can get back to being an annoying busybody.
      • One arc features an excellent example of this trope: terrorists have hijacked the Paradigm and trapped the crew in a space station. Solution? Kill Quine so that he resurrects back in the ship and wait for him to rescue the crew.
      • Quine 'dies' many times in his attempts, and uses his previous bodies as props to trick the terrorists.
  • Homestuck: Immediately upon learning about the God Tier, John hatches a bunch of plots that rely on abusing his new immortality... then learns (thankfully before enacting any) that they all fulfill the terms to nullify his immortality.
  • When in Ansem Retort has Riku being killed, mortally wounded, attacked by evil Sora clones, pranked by Zexion, poisoned with mustard gas, thrown in a volcano, and/or getting his face eaten by a monkey not been played for laughs? It turns out he's a Time Lord with a genetic defect that prevents his regenerations from changing his face or personality.
  • A minor Running Gag in Schlock Mercenary involves the abuse of fabber and shipyard robots, whose memories and personalities are regularly backed up and downloaded into new bodies if they are damaged or destroyed. Precisely because these robots tend to be on the receiving end when stranded ship crews need to vent their frustration when their ships are in drydock. It starts getting played much more seriously in the later books when the galaxy learns how to do the same to organic minds; it's great for people with dangerous jobs like the protagonists, but finding out you're now living in the shadow of a different version of yourself can mess a person up. It's also consciously subverted in-universe; the person brought back is considered different from the original by whatever happened since the last backup, because it was either that or give up on free will as a concept. This can make mourning confusing, not least for someone stumbling on the memorial to another version of themselves.
  • Jix: Kelelder's head was blown up at the start of his first battle with Jix, it grew back and he started fighting again, and he has been teleported into the sun twice. Heleatra once demonstrated her immortality by stabbing herself in the stomach, and has been filled with tranquilizer darts, vivisected, and shot in the head with a raygun.
  • In The Far Side Of Utopia there is someone that claims to be immortal; in his appearances, he's been blown up, then thrown off a tall building. He seemed mildly perturbed by the blown up one.
  • In Kill Six Billion Demons, Mottom gets annoyed with her fellow Demiurge Gog-Agog and detonates her head with a word. This gets Mottom scolded for rudeness while Gog-Agog, The Worm That Walks, reassembles herself.
    Gog-Agog: I was working on that face!
    • It takes a while for her to show up again, but getting fatally injured ends up becoming a Running Gag with Gog-Agog. Once she decapitates herself just to punctuate a point.
  • Inverted in Sluggy Freelance when Oasis's opponents want to contain her; killing her is what they don't want to do because she'd just mysteriously respawn in perfect health. Of course, it makes it kind of difficult to hold her that she's an unstoppable One-Woman Army. At one point, she gets finally taken into custody after both her legs are blown off.
  • In Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, Batman reveals to Robin that the reason both of them seem to survive mortal danger all the time (and never age) is because they're memory clones. Whenever they do die, a new body is just taken out of storage and given an updated brain. This also leads to a cavalier attitude on Batman's part where he's fine with messing with Robin's head, killing him, and just getting a new one with no memory of that.

    Western Animation 
  • Transformers in general tend to get this treatment. Being eons-old war machines, they are very hard to kill. Waspinator, being nigh unkillable even by Transformer standards, gets it even worse. Starscream from Transformers: Animated is killed at the end of season one, then revived and made immortal in season two. The same episode he comes back, Megatron kills him five different times.
  • Lampshaded, inverted, and played both for laughs and drama in South Park with the superpower of Mysterion. Being Kenny, he has died countless times but wakes up back in his own bed every morning with nobody remembering that he died. At one point he gets so pissed off that nobody believes him that he can not die while he has to suffer through the pains of all kinds of horrible deaths on a regular basis and shoots himself in the head to prove it, but two minutes later everyone has forgotten. He later uses his ability to escape from R'yleh by throwing himself into a chasm to awaken back in his own bed and find a way to save his friends, who are still trapped there. After everything is said and done, Mysterion mentions that he's tired and just wants to go to bed, and shoots himself in the head again as a shortcut.
  • Deconstructed in the Rick and Morty episode "The Whirly Dirly Conspiracy", with the Immortality Field resort Rick and Jerry are at. A brother and sister giving chase while constantly being shot dead and revived demonstrates the purpose of said field. It's all fun and games, until the titular Whirly Dirly breaks off and destroys the field, resulting in the sister staying dead after getting shot again. Cue brother freaking out.
  • Agent K of Men in Black: The Series has no compunctions about blowing the head off of the immortal alien informant Jeebs as part of his regular interrogation technique. Jeebs, after regenerating his head, usually complains about how much it stings before relenting the requested information. There're also other Butt-Monkey treatments for Jeebs; he also gets stomped into a puddle by a giant alien and ripped in half by a couple of teleporter guns. Jeebs's brother habitually greets him by blowing off his head, much to Jeebs's annoyance. This nearly results in J's death, when he impersonates Jeebs. Luckily, Alpha shoots Jeebs's brother in the head for wasting time playing games.
  • In Gargoyles, Demona and Macbeth are effectively immortal unless one is killed by the other. Elisa uses this to break up a fight between them (one that Thailog stands to benefit from if they die) by "killing" Demona temporarily.
  • On Kaeloo, Mr. Cat constantly uses lethal weapons against Quack Quack for no apparent reason and then attempts to justify it by saying he's immortal anyway. In several episodes, he announces his arrival to the others by blowing off Quack Quack's head with a bazooka.