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The Necromantic is a character who became a villain (or was marked as one) because they really, really want to bring a loved one Back from the Dead.

Unfortunately, they don't live in a world where people are Only Mostly Dead and Death Is Cheap. Nope, in their world, resurrection is breaking the laws of Man and God, making their goal more of a Tragic Dream than anything else. Thus, they delve into mysteries Man Is Not Meant to Know and things quickly go downhill from there. Often they're willing to make a Deal with the Devil or bargain to free the Sealed Evil in a Can for this. Love Makes You Evil is often involved somewhere down the line.

Rarely do they succeed. If they do, the resurrected subject almost always Comes Back Wrong in some horrific manner or resents being revived. The rare happy exceptions invite a Resurrected Romance.

Often the Replacement Goldfish is either the first step in the process or a fallback. They may become a Living Doll Collector if they keep the resulting monstrosities around as if they were fine.

If there's no reanimation involved but someone is still enjoying the corpse's company, compare Mummies at the Dinner Table for social events, I Love the Dead for more intimate engagements, and A Love to Dismember when a partial souvenir does the trick. Closely related to Immortality Immorality, though that one may focus on keeping death from occurring in the first place. Contrast with the Necromancer, who resurrect the dead as their career and already have the ability to do so, although both can overlap.

Subtrope of Seeks Another's Resurrection.

Not to be confused with, the film Nekromantik or the Danish band The Nekromantix.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Bungo Stray Dogs: Francis Fitzgerald is willing to raze all of Yokohama in order to locate a reality warping book so he can find a way to bring his daughter back to life.
  • Featured in Chrono Crusade. Azmaria's foster father adopted her in the hope that he could use her Healing Voice to bring his wife's soul back to a body he reconstructed for her after she died in World War I.
  • In D.Gray-Man, the Millennium Earl gets people who are grieving for the recent death of a loved one to allow him to resurrect the dead person. Although the mourner is not the necromantic per se, the person nevertheless allows the dead loved person to be twisted into a demon-servant just so they can live again.
  • Zeref of Fairy Tail is a deconstruction. He originally studied forbidden magic, specifically, trying to bring back his baby brother Natsu. Unlike most examples of this trope, he succeeded; in fact, his curse was divine punishment for daring to delve into and come so close to understanding Things Man Was Not Meant to Know. He gave Natsu an Etherious body, hence E.N.D., and equipped him with the potential of someday killing him.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Featured heavily in Fullmetal Alchemist. Attempting to bring back a dead person with alchemy is not only strictly forbidden but is almost guaranteed to go horribly awry, scar your body, kill an innocent, create a monster, etc. People (including the protagonists) try it anyway. Different than the villainous examples as all the people who try this are painted in a sympathetic light.
    • While attempting human transmutation causes you to merely lose a body part (and find out later that bringing back the dead is flat-out impossible), Fullmetal Alchemist (2003) things are somewhat different compared to the source:
      • Human transmutation causes you to lose part of your body, and the corpse becomes a nigh-immortal monster.
      • The anime also hints that the homunculus is the person who was supposed to be brought back. By the end, Lust is thoroughly convinced of this while Sloth is scared to death of the possibility; it's why she wants to kill the Elrics so much: no mother would do such a thing, thus differentiating herself from Trisha.
  • After Yuki's parents die in Future Diary, he decides to win the power of God in the survival game and bring them back to life. It should be noted that, unlike most examples, he is told this is perfectly possible, and what's more is that he also intends to bring everyone back to life, not just his parents. Well, everyone who died in the Survival Game at least. But it turns out Murmur and Yuno were lying, it isn't possible to bring someone back to life, only their body. Though if you are dead set on it, you can always go back in time and try to save them.
  • Lucifer of the Divine Design arc of Get Backers. He kidnapped and brainwashed children, played sick mind games with everyone, and seemed to enjoy doing it, but in the end, it was revealed that he really just wanted to bring his daughter back from the dead.
  • Subverted in One Piece with Doctor Hogback. After going through something of a motive rant that looks like he's using this as an excuse for his start of darkness, he reveals he doesn't actually care about Cindry's personality and just liked her pretty face anyway. He prefers her in her new zombie form, completely subservient to his every command.
  • Though not for the same romantic overtones, Mikado of Hayate the Combat Butler was hinted at wanting the Power of the Gods to bring back the daughter he loved. except that, when he'd first made the attempt, she was alive.
  • Hell's Paradise: Jigokuraku: Rien is revealed to be the wife of Xu Fu, and she plans to exterminate all life in Japan so that she can turn them all into a massive source of Tao to resurrect her dead husband.
  • Precia Testarossa of the first season of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha was attempting to resurrect her daughter. She tried creating a clone named Fate, but Fate having her own personality enraged her.
  • Downplayed in Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury. Ericht isn't technically dead, but has no physical body - Elnora aka Prospera Mercury was forced to transform her mind into a living Permet field inhabiting the Gundam Aerial in order to keep her alive. Prospera's ultimate goal is to use Quiet Zero to create a powerful enough Permet field that Ericht will be able to physically manifest, fully restoring her to life. While Suletta Mercury is a clone of Ericht, her creation was a means to that end rather than an example of this trope, with Prospera seeing her more like a tool than a daughter.
  • In Naruto, Obito Uchiha's motivation for siding with Madara and his Moon's Eye Plan, which involves casting a worldwide genjutsu in order to create a dream world, is essentially this. In Obito's case, this would allow him to live together with his deceased love interest and teammate (who was killed at the hands of his former best friend no less) once more, and he's willing to set monsters loose upon villages and wage war to achieve it.
  • Gendo Ikari of Neon Genesis Evangelion was willing to initiate The End of the World as We Know It twice to get his dead wife back.
  • In Pokémon: The Series, the guy who made Mewtwo was a Necromantic. In order for Giovanni to fund his efforts to clone his dead daughter, he had to make him a Super-Soldier as well.
  • Faust VIII, a former villain from Shaman King, was a perfectly ordinary, handsome, cheerful young doctor before the death of his wife in a botched robbery. Now his ultimate goal is to use his necromancy to achieve his goal of reviving his wife's spirit, using corpses (including his wife's and their dog's) as weapons. Although, for a sort of subversion, his goal is not seen as horribly evil as it usually would and it really isn't. It is just his mind and personality that got really crushed with her death i.e. he's a bit snooker-loopy and amoral at times, but that has nothing to do with his necromantic powers. The act of resurrecting someone is even called "True Necromancy". The only problem is that on his own, he's not capable of resurrecting her. He eventually quits and decides to die for good to join up with her. At least in the manga because in the anime, he did get her back. But Anna resurrected her, not him.
  • Yuuka from Talentless Nana murdered her childhood friend Shinji and reanimated him as a corpse when it looked like he was going to go to a different high school and start dating someone else.
  • In Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE- and ×××HOLiC, it is revealed that Fei Wong Reed's desire to collect Sakura's feathers is to resurrect Yuuko. Although it's implied that his desire to resurrect her stems from his desire to outdo Clow Reed than any genuine romantic feelings.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Pegasus' motivation in Yu-Gi-Oh! was to resurrect his dead fiancée/wife through a combination of ancient magic and the "Solid Vision" holographic technology.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX: Professor Cobra made a deal with the Sealed Evil in a Can to resurrect his dead son.

    Comic Books 
  • One of the ultimate goals of comic book supervillain Doctor Doom, along with the destruction of nemesis Reed Richards and the conquest of Earth, was the resurrection of his beloved mother (or at least, saving her from hell). Ultimately, he was able to do so, but only by forcing his mother to renounce her love for him. No wonder he's always so pissed.
  • Cicada from The Flash was killing people the titular hero had saved to gather enough energy to bring his wife (whom he had murdered, only to feel remorse) back from death.
  • Batman: Mr. Freeze's attempts to bring his wife back from the dead succeeded when he put her in a Lazarus Pit... until she Came Back Wrong with eternal pain, insanity, and fire-manipulation powers. Now, she is Lazera, constantly hating Freeze for bringing her back.
  • The Phantom Stranger: Professor Nathan Seine was a scientist who studied magic in an attempt to cure his wife's fatal illness. When his wife is killed by his own magic during a battle with the Stranger, Seine becomes obsessed with getting revenge on the stranger, and find a way to return his wife to life.
  • When X-Men villain Quentin Quire came back to life the first time, the first and only thing he did was dig up the body of his crush, Sophie Cuckoo, and seek out the Phoenix to bring her back as well. She woke up, took one look at him, and immediately dropped dead again out of spite, while her sisters telepathically mocked him.

  • In The Abominable Dr. Phibes, the title character is trying to avenge his wife's (Caroline Munro in an early, non-speaking role) death. In Dr. Phibes Rises Again, he's done that and is now trying to bring her back using Ancient Egyptian magic (with the added bonus of getting eternal life for the pair of them). At the end of the film, he explains to his nemesis why they're not only similar, but Phibes actually holds the moral high ground.
  • The Mad Scientist in The Brain That Wouldn't Die isn't trying to resurrect his decapitated fiancée (as her head is still living), but he does some pretty villainous things while trying to "secure" her a body, all the while ignoring her piteous demands to be killed. (Of course, said body has to come from a freshly killed victim...)
  • In Dead Birds, Hollister has tortured and killed many of his own slaves in an attempt to revive his late wife. It doesn't work out the way he hoped.
  • The eponymous Biollante from Godzilla vs. Biollante is an interesting variant on the end result, as the Necromantic character was intentionally trying to resurrect his loved one as a strange creature. By combining his daughter's DNA with that of a rose with psychic abilities and Godzilla, he was hoping to create a plant that contained her spirit and protected it with Godzilla's super-regeneration and near-indestructibility, making the new her virtually impossible to kill. It still ended up not being quite what he intended, though, as the Godzilla DNA made it a giant monster rather than merely Nigh Invulnerable.
  • The trope is touched upon in the 1994 adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Frankenstein resurrects his dead bride, to horrific effect, as she is a stumbling, barely-aware reanimated corpse. And about the only thing she does notice is that she's an abomination and so sets the place on fire.
  • One of the earlier film examples is probably Metropolis, in which the prototypical Mad Scientist Dr. Rotwang tries to bring his dead wife back in the form of a machine-woman (said wife also cheated on him while she was alive and died giving birth to another man's son, doubling the tragedy). Unfortunately, the end result turned out a tad more evil than he probably hoped. This motivation is explained in far more detail in the novel and is cut out in most versions of the film, leaving the viewer to assume he just likes to build evil-lady robots because EVIL.
  • The plot of The Mummy revolves around the Big Bad trying to resurrect his lover, an ancient Egyptian queen. Interestingly, his own resurrection was a lot easier than hers. For the simple fact that he didn't die and go to the afterlife like her, he was cursed with undeath. Meaning his soul remained in that dried-up piece of jerky that passed for a body, bound to protect the Book of the Dead. Which those Americans stole. Also, he was eaten alive by scarabs. You try to rest in peace with that going on.
  • Gillian's insistence on trying to resurrect her accidentally poisoned boyfriend in the 1998 film Practical Magic is the catalyst for a lot of later trouble for both her and her sister Sally. This is less about wanting her beloved back and more about trying to avoid a murder charge; Sally accidentally killed him by giving him a dose of belladonna to keep him from trying to kill Gillian.
  • Star Wars: Anakin Skywalker turns to the The Dark Side so he can learn how to bring his wife back from the dead. Before she's actually dead since he had been having dreams about it. And then he kills her because he's evil now.
  • Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo was a semi-naturalistic Deconstruction of this trope, with the nominally heroic Scottie Ferguson (James Stewart) seeking to transform his Replacement Goldfish girlfriend Judy into a replica of The Lost Lenore by making her dye her hair and wear the same clothes that Madeleine wore. It turns out that they are both the same girl and he was Loving a Shadow.
  • The Void: The leader of the cult is driven to pursue life after death because of the loss of his beloved daughter. He then makes a Deal with the Devil with otherworldly forces to bring people back from the dead but they turn into tortured mutants as a result.

  • In Death Trance, Dr. Amara desperately tries to make contact with his dead wife and lead her back to the plane of the living. What he actually gets is a leyak note  disguised as his wife.
  • In the Doctor Who Expanded Universe Eighth Doctor Adventures novel Interference, the Doctor discovers that after he misplaced Fitz, he ended up falling in with a group of people who are cloned after their deaths. Clone Degeneration is an intentional part of the process — the people basically become increasingly Flanderized, which is supposed to make them more their true selves, etc. — sort of like how Bugs Bunny hasn't got an awful lot of depth, but everyone knows who he is. The Doctor is not terribly keen on this whole thing and thinks that Fitz has pretty much been boiled down to his worst traits plus a couple of brand new flaws, so he turns the copy (named Kode) back into the Fitz he knew with the help of the TARDIS.
  • The Elric Saga: Elric of Melnibone, in the novels of Michael Moorcock, makes a pact with Arioch, Lord of Chaos, and accepts "control" of the runeblade Stormbringer in order to win back his lover Cymoril, who had been kidnapped and ensorcelled by his cousin and rival Yyrkoon. Ironically enough, the fact that Stormbringer is an evil soul-devouring demon-blade with a mind of its own means that he ends up killing her with it against his will.
    • In a sequel to the Hawkmoon series, renegades from the Dark Empire seek to restore the Good Old Days by resurrecting the main leaders of the pre-reform Empire, who were all killed in Hawkmoon's rebellion. They opt to do this by snatching versions of their revered leaders from a previous point in time, prior to their deaths, so that they can lead a reborn Empire. Unfortunately, a consequence of people living in two different points on the timeline is that there's only so much conscious mind to go round. The versions pulled out from their proper time and space are nothing more than revenant zombies, living in a nightmare dream-world.
  • In The Finder's Stone Trilogy, the wizards Cassana and Zrie Prakis were once lovers, but the relationship soured to the point that they tried to kill each other. Cassana succeeded, only to reanimate Prakis as a lich so they could continue their relationship. Prakis hates this as his continued existence is tied to Cassana's wand, effectively making him her slave, and he tries to convince one of the protagonists to help him overthrow Cassana so he can finally be free of her control. When Prakis finally dies for good, he spends his last moments triumphantly laughing and telling Cassana to die.
  • In the original Frankenstein book, it's strongly suggested that Victor Frankenstein was doing all his research in the hopes of bringing back his dead mother. Instead, of course, he makes a monster who ends up killing off most of the rest of his family.
  • In Galaxy of Fear: City of the Dead, Zak Arranda is consumed with regret and Survivor's Guilt over his parents, obsessing over the fact that he Never Got to Say Goodbye and feeling like he abandoned them to die. When visiting Necropolis, he's told the legend of a dead Necromancer named Sycorax who some locals prayed to in the hopes that she would bring back their loved ones; even though Sycorax is also believed to be very strict about the respect Due to the Dead and doesn't want people messing around in her graveyard lest something bad happen, he goes in to try to ask for the spirit's help. He doesn't get a response from a spirit; instead he finds zombies. Necropolitans blame the hapless Zak, saying his disrespect triggered Sycorax's curse. Really it's a Mad Scientist raising a zombie army. No biggie.
  • In Isis, by Douglas Clegg, the titular character, (Real name: Iris Claviger Villiers), loses her beloved brother Harvey in a fall. Eventually, she slowly goes mad, and raises Harvey from the dead, only to find that he would rather stay dead. Parallels between her and Harvey, and Isis and Osiris are drawn frequently, leading her to take the name Isis.
  • In Johannes Cabal the Necromancer, this is the primary motivation of the title character.
  • In The King Killer Chronicle, the Big Bad Haliax went from hero and king to an immortal who can't sleep, forget, go mad or die, all because he wanted to bring his wife back to life.
  • An interesting twist occurs in the Edgar Allan Poe story Ligeia, in which a morose nobleman is pining over the loss of his first wife. The twist is that he does nothing, while the spirit of his first wife poisons and takes over the body of his still-living second wife.
  • King Elias from Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn just wants to be reunited with his dead wife. Problem is, he's Genre Blind enough to hire Evil Sorcerer Pryrates to find a way to do it, and the spirit they end up summoning is not the wife at all, but the Storm King. Pryrates, taking this in stride, makes a Deal with the Devil, and poor Elias is left a massive Unwitting Pawn caught in his own trap for the remainder of the series.
  • In "The Monkey's Paw" (by W. W. Jacobs) a series of Literal Genie moments culminate with the protagonist's child being wished back from the dead after an earlier wish (for a sum of cash) resulted in his death (for which the parents received the exact sum wished for as an insurance payout). The mom is in denial that their son may come back wrong, but the dad uses the last wish to put him back in his grave before he even makes it back to the house.
    • An episode of Buffy did the same thing essentially, with Dawn trying to bring Joyce back after she died. Buffy gets to Dawn moments too late, the ritual complete, and argues with her to undo the spell before it's too late and someone gets hurt. Their argument reveals how much Buffy was hurting too (she had been putting on a brave face for her sister's sake) and the two end up switching positions on the matter: Buffy is in tears and rushes to the door hopefully when the unseen "Joyce Thing" knocks, but Dawn undoes the spell at the last second and nobody is there when Buffy opens the door.
  • Hurwood's attempts to bring back his dead wife with voodoo magic kicks off the plot of Tim Powers' On Stranger Tides.
  • In Stephen King's Pet Sematary, the protagonist tries to bring his cat, then his son, and finally his wife back to life by burying them in the titular cemetery. Some people simply do not learn. The point is that it really works, but the resurrected are changed, and not for the better. Sometimes, dead is better.
  • Dr. Mordenheim, the Frankenstein Expy in the Ravenloft novel of the same name. Despite the fact he lives in a Dungeons & Dragons setting (albeit a Gothic Horror one) where it should be easy to bring his wife back from the dead, he goes the Things Man Was Not Meant To Know route, because he doesn't trust magic.
    • Given that resurrection magic in Ravenloft has a high probability of the intended resurrectee coming back wrong, can you really blame the guy for not trusting it? In addition, before he was brought to the Land of Mists, he lived in a world where magic was largely unknown and was replaced by technology.
  • Sinner, an antagonist from the first Scrapped Princess light novel, carried around the long-past-decayed corpse of his daughter Lynthia in hopes that he would be able to bring her back to life after she succumbed to a curse. Unfortunately, he's also Ax-Crazy and refuses to believe that she's even dead (until Shannon beats seven shades of hell out of him).
  • A story arc in Slayers NEXT features a wizard making a pact with mazoku in order to resurrect his lover. He succeeds, but she awakens in a zombie-like state begging to be sent back. Needless to say, things do not end well.
  • Clark Ashton Smith
    • The Last Incantation plays with this: the ancient necromancer thinks the lover he resurrected was brought back wrong somehow, as she's somehow less beautiful than he remembers, but as it turns out, the spell went off without a hitch. He has just grown too old and twisted to love her the way he did when he was young.
    • There's also The Chain of Aforgomon. Calaspa could have had his beloved's body reanimated or her spirit called back by magic easily enough...but that wasn't good enough, was it? He just had to actually turn back time for an hour to when she was still alive...yeah. That didn't end so well.
  • This trope shows up in the horror anthology That Hoodoo Voodoo That You Do by Ragnarok Publications. A Lovecraftian sorcerer attempts to resurrect a long-dead witch so she can be his bride. Of course, this being the Mythos, she Came Back Wrong.
  • In a non-romantic version, the fourth book of Percy Jackson and the Olympians has Nico Di Angelo (demigod son of Hades) trying to bring his sister Bianca back to life, blaming Percy for letting her die. However, Bianca explicitly tells him from beyond the grave that she doesn't wish to be resurrected.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Done repeatedly in (wait for it) Buffy the Vampire Slayer, such as the would-be Dr. Frankenstein who rebuilds his dead older brother, only to have him demand a mate.
    • And Dawn's attempt to bring back Joyce.
  • Inverted in Charmed. There's a dead Necromancer who wants to bring himself back to life to be with the woman he loves.
  • In Series 9 of Doctor Who, the entire universe is threatened with destruction in the finale "Hell Bent" — all because the Doctor, unable to accept Clara Oswald's death, has become an Anti-Villain example of this and pulls her out of time at the moment of her death, violating a fixed point in time.
  • In the short-lived TV show based on The Dresden Files, Bob was once a human wizard. He was cursed with existing as a spirit entity residing in his own skull because he brought back his dead wife.
  • Karl Kreutzfeld in The Lost Room wasn't out to destroy the world and didn't think it would actually happen as a result of his plan. Nevertheless, he might have unmade all of reality in his attempt to bring back his dead son had not the protagonist intervened.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • In Kamen Rider Wizard, it is eventually revealed that the White Wizard, Sou Fueki performed the Sabbath and manipulated the events which followed in an attempt to resurrect his daughter, Koyomi.
    • In Kamen Rider Ryuki, one of the Riders' wish is to revive their sister who was killed by another Rider. In fact, the entire war had this as its primary goal, as the person holding it has it rigged so that his Rider can steal the prize and save his sister.
    • Kamen Rider Gaim has an Anti-Villain who doesn't care about The End of the World as We Know It and only cares about reviving his wife who died prior to the show. While he has an item that makes him effectively a God, he's unable to use it on said wife. It actually becomes a bit of a plot point, as his resident Mad Scientist is able to coax him into letting him use a machine to revive his wife in trade for said item. However, the machine is destroyed not long after its creation and both the Anti-Villain and Mad Scientist die before ever knowing if it worked or not... Nor do the audience.
  • Once Upon a Time: Dr. Whale (aka Dr. Victor Frankenstein) wants to revive his brother, and does so with tragic effects, and Regina wants to revive her lost love, and Dr. Frankenstein does so, with tragic effects.
  • The main character of Pushing Daisies disconnected himself from normal social interaction partly for fear of becoming this trope - he was worried that if someone he loved were to die, he would, in his grief, bring them back at the cost of taking someone else's life, so he largely avoided forming relationships for most of his life.
    • Nevertheless, it's happened more than once- as a child, Ned brought back his mother, at the cost of the father of Chuck, his true love. Years later, when Chuck was murdered, Ned brought her back, knowing, and accepting, someone would die in her place. Then, Chuck tricks Ned into bringing back her father permanently.
  • Shows up in a season 2 episode of Supernatural by way of an ancient Greek resurrection spell. Sam and Dean can also fall into this at times when it comes to each other.

  • Some of Type O Negative's songs have shades of this or I Love the Dead, but All Hallows Eve is explicitly about making a Deal with the Devil to resurrect a loved one.
    Deep be the mud on the fresh dug graves - on yours, I recite
    An ancient spell I know so well, success is guaranteed
    I'll bring you back from where you've gone
    On All Hallows Eve
  • Akatsuki Records has a song literally titled Necromantic, which is indeed about having raised a loved one. It's a remix of "Desire Drive", the stage 4 theme of Touhou Shinreibyou ~ Ten Desires, where the player character is pitted against the Necromancer Seiga Kaku and her Jiangshi/zombie servant Yoshika Miyako. While any relationship between these two is not canon, fanon loves to ship Seiga with her undead minion. Interestingly, both the song (despite its cutesy upbeat tone) and the associated PV actually highlight the inherently toxic and unbalanced nature of such a relationship, as Yoshika fundamentally had no consent over either being raised from the dead or being used for Seiga's purposes, with a visual in the PV showing her dangling on strings from Seiga's fingers like a marionette. Seiga of course, being The Unfettered, does not particularly care about such useless things as ethics.
    My heart throbs, stay by my side, even in death!

  • This is a fairly common theme in Native American legends, though it is generally the hero doing it. (Still never seems to work out well, though.) Expect An Aesop about how we're supposed to accept death, mourn, then move on.
  • In Egyptian Mythology Isis tries to bring her husband Osiris back to life after his body was dismembered by his brother Set and a fish ate his penis. She succeeds in conceiving their son Horus with him (after making a prosthetic penis out of gold for him) and reviving him for only a brief amount of time before he returns to the underworld to become its king. Isis is by no means a villain, though.
  • In the Armenian folktale of Ara the Handsome, Ara is the king of Armenia and the most handsome man in the land. The Queen of Assyria, Semiramis, hears about how handsome he is and asks him to marry her, but he refuses because he already has a wife. Angry, Semiramis declares war on Armenia and orders her soldiers to bring Ara back alive. However, Ara dies in battle. Semiramis attempts to resurrect him by calling upon wolf spirits to lick his wounds and heal him, but the sorcery is unsuccessful. It's theorized that this was a revision after the rise of Christianity in the region to discredit the idea of anyone but Jesus returning to life; in earlier versions of the story, Semiramis's sorcery succeeded and Ara was resurrected.
  • In Norse Mythology Loki has Baldr, the most well-loved of the gods, killed. Frigg, Baldr's mother, then sends an emissary to Hel, the goddess of the Underworld, begging her to bring him back to life. Hel says that they can have him if they have everything in the world cry for him. Earth, sky and everything in between - in other words: it's not going to happen! The gods try though, and fail as the last person in the world they have not asked, an old giantess (often depicted as being Loki in disguise), refuses to cry. The tale is about the inevitability and finality of Death, whom even the gods can not fully control.
    • Odin himself is a necromantic, being able to resurrect the dead, usually to consult them for their wisdom. Considering what revenants are like in Norse Mythology (read the entry on draugr on The Other Wiki) you can tell why he did not do that to Baldr.

    Tabletop Games 

  • Joseph Desaulniers, the Photographer of Identity V, wasted his life in studies of dark magic trying to resurrect his twin brother. He appears in the game as a Hunter, but his story is never explored further than that in the game. In the Stage Play, however, he is brought together with Survivor Aesop Carl, the Embalmer, the opposite of Joseph in that he treats death too lightly, and wants to die. Joseph is so shocked by Aesop's attitude that he takes drastic action, causing the plot. And yet, meeting Aesop has caused Joseph to see his own life and decisions in a new light...
  • A cast of TSR employees at GenCon 1999 performed a Ravenloft-themed dialogue skit, "One Piece At A Time", that employed this trope. A female Mad Scientist attempted to resurrect her dead fiancee by keeping his disembodied head alive, murdering people, and surgically reassembling him from their salvaged body parts. Being a Ravenloft story, It Got Worse.

  • The storyline for Transformers: Kiss Players feat—no, wait! Come back! Ahem. In addition to its more (in)famous elements, the Kiss Players storyline features a woman who has this as her motivation—her daughter was killed in an accident involving a Transformer, so she, having apparently watched too much Neon Genesis Evangelion, starts doing all kinds of nasty things in hopes of bringing her back while putting on a show of protecting Earth from horrible monsters.

    Video Games 
  • ANNO: Mutationem: C harbors a hidden agenda in his desire to obtain The Dypheus' Breath that allows anyone to open gateways between dimensions, without any remorse for risking the complete destruction of the world should the artifact be taken from its place within Hinterland. His true motive is merely using the artifact to search for a way to revive his deceased fiance, D, after a Story Breadcrumb reveals that she died after a lab experiment resulted in her getting sucked into a dimensional rift, which prompted C to take any measure in his plan solely to see her again.
  • This is the main motivation of the Big Bad, Infel, in Ar tonelico II: Melody of Metafalica. Typically, it's a failure because her loved one was resuscitated as just a shadow of her former self that's focused on the realization of her own desires at the expense of all her other feelings and facets. And even if it hadn't been a failure what remained of Nenesha's soul was annihilated after expending all her energies in the final battle.
  • A minor villain in Baldur's Gate is the mad priest Basillus, who lost his family at Zhentil Keep, went mad, and then went on a mass-murdering spree and raised the corpses as zombies and skeletons in the belief that they are his dead family. The Player Character can hunt him down as a side quest, and if you pick the right dialogue options first you can break Basillus' control over them and make the inevitable fight a lot easier as a result.
  • Beyond: Two Souls: Nathan Dawkins slowly becomes obsessed with bringing his wife and daughter back from the dead after he lost them in a tragic car accident. He eventually found a way to partially phase them back into the mortal world, which clearly left them in a state of constant agony, but he's too delusional to admit this to himself even after Jody uses her powers to let him talk to them. He then decides to shut off the containment field on the Condenser, which would cause The End of the World as We Know It by merging the realm of the dead with that of the living.
  • In Breath of Fire III, the director of the Plant, Palet, is revealed to have worked with Momo's father Retsol on a method to raise the dead; Retsol wanted to bring back his wife, while Palet wanted to resurrect his mother. Retsol eventually backed out of the project in disgust; Palet continued it, and when the party (Momo included) confronts him, he uses some of what he's found to become a giant mushroom beast. Afterwards, the party finds a tormented creation in the plant's reactor, the results of Palet's attempt to raise his mother from the dead; they shut the machine off and let her rest in peace.
  • Fairly early in Bullet Witch, you discover that the events leading up to the game — disastrous plague, demonic invasion, etc. — were caused by such a character attempting to revive their loved one. A bit farther in, you discover that it was his daughter, not a lover. Towards the end, you find out that it was Alicia's father, resurrecting her after a plane crash — she seems to be Walking Techbane for aircraft. She came back to life as a super-powered witch with a mysterious demonic Exposition Fairy... and he's spent the entire time since alive but in agony from being impaled, as the physical embodiment of the contract opening the demonic portal. She's been spending the time since fighting the demons to make up for her resurrection bringing them about in the first place... and has to kill him to finally close the portal and allow any chance of ending the demonic invasion once and for all.
  • Case 03: True Cannibal Boy: Marty uses the goddess extract from Case 02: Paranormal Evil to bring back Sally as a zombified head after the Cannibal Boy ate her body. He then becomes a Serial Killer trying to find a replacement body for Sally.
  • Castlevania: Lords of Shadow: Gabriel wants the God Mask because it may be able to bring back his dead wife.
  • Chaos Rings III features a particularly twisted subversion. Serial Killer Drei 6 wants to bring a woman back to life and has been abducting and harvesting people to create a Gene capable of resurrecting her. During the Hopeless Boss Fight after The Reveal, he confesses that the only reason he's doing this is that he really enjoyed killing her. He wants to be able to resurrect her so he can kill her over and over again. To twist the knife further, said woman was party member Al's wife. Double-subverted at the very end, when his sister the mod engineer claims that Drei is compelled to kill that which he loves, meaning he may have really loved the woman he wants to revive in his own warped way.
  • Inverted in Crypt Of The Necrodancer. Cadence sets out on her quest in order to resurrect Melody, who in turn does the same for Aria.
  • The commonly accepted theory about the backstory of the boss Pinwheel from Dark Souls is that he siphoned some of Gravelord Nito's power to bring back his dead wife and child using necromancy. However it went horribly wrong and resulted in the three of them being fused together into a monstrous abomination, hence the three heads (wearing the Mask of the Father, Mask of the Mother, and Mask of the Child) and many arms that Pinwheel possesses, and why Gravelord Nito, who has power over death itself, can actually be killed simply by smacking him with a sword enough times (he's been weakened due to Pinwheel siphoning his power).
  • Dragon Age:
    • Quentin of Dragon Age II is a Serial Killer with this fixation, who murders women so that their parts can be used in a blood-magic ritual to bring back his dead wife. The killer's final victim is Hawke's mother.
    • Alexius, a Tevinter mage from Dragon Age: Inquisition, is obsessed with keeping his son Felix alive despite Felix carrying the Taint after a darkspawn attack. In the Bad Future, this leaves Felix a walking corpse.
  • Lady Vayle, the Necromantress of DragonFable and AdventureQuest Worlds, was into necromancy to try to bring her brother Back from the Dead. It didn't end well, in no small part because of Noxus, her master at the time, and because Artix destroyed the crystal containing his Spirit Orb. She's still not happy with him on that score.
  • In the path for the second ending in Drakengard, the character Inuart becomes obsessed with bringing the dead Furiae back to life, vowing that he'll use one of the million Seeds of Resurrection scattered across the land now that the seals holding them back have been broken. Since all throughout the game the Seeds of Resurrection have only been hinted at as being very bad (no one seems to know why), the protagonist attempts to stop him. If Inuart succeeds, it's the end of the world as we know it with a gruesome twist.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
    • Lu'ad Ai-Skaven, a Redguard Necromancer trespassed a tomb of a couple hoping to resurrect her husband, who died during the Great War by the hand of the Aldmeri Dominion. Since then, she plans to avenge her husband with an army of the dead.
    • Windhelm is being terrorized by Calixto Corium, a Serial Killer known only as "The Butcher", who is murdering women in order to use their parts to create a new body for his dearly departed sister.
  • Fable II's Big Bad, Lord Lucien, begins researching the Spire to bring back his dead wife and daughter, but over the ten-year time skip after the introduction, he becomes much more power-hungry. The game also features a side-quest where a man is tracking down the body parts of Lady Grey (from the last Fable game) in order to resurrect her because he's fallen in love with her.
  • Played with in the Alchemist storyline in Final Fantasy XIV. The Guildmaster is a driven man who hands you various tasks because he's too busy with his greatest project. Eventually, he gets you directly involved, during which you learn that he is attempting to revive his wife, who died in the Calamity. Just as he's got everything together, his sister-in-law busts in to try to stop him. Subverted totally in that it works! Sorta. His wife revives for only about a minute or so before she goes away again, taking her body with her. But in those precious seconds, they get to tell each other all the things they wanted to say. Turns out, those moments of closure were all he really wanted, and now he can move on with his life.
  • Fire Emblem:
  • This is the bread and butter of Nameless's backstory in The King of Fighters: he obeys the orders of NESTS, knowing full well that they're a corrupt organization, to try and persuade them to resurrect his lost love Isolde.
  • In the LEGO Battles game for Nintendo DS, one of the story modes involves playing as an Evil Wizard in control of an army of skeletal mooks... who turns out to be just after the pieces to a magic staff that can resurrect his dead girlfriend. In a partial subversion, he actually manages it at the end, although she Came Back Wrong repeatedly, including coming back as a crab, a robot and an angry pirate.
  • The Second Chapter of La Pucelle: Tactics involves a man-turned-monster who is that he can bring his dead wife if he finds a heart just like hers... by ripping out those of the living.
  • Liara T'Soni of Mass Effect is (if you romanced her) a rare heroic example; she goes to great lengths to recover her dead lover's corpse and give him/her to an N.G.O. Superpower with the technology (and absurdly extensive funding) to bring him/her back as a cyborg.
  • Moon Crystal subtly implies that Count Crimson became obsessed with putting the Moon Crystal into a permanent "on" mode as a result of his desire to revitalize his long-dead daughter Rosina. Unfortunately, it basically became a quest to wipe death off the face of the matter what happened to life in the process.
  • In the iOs game The Quest, one early-mid quest involves a noblewoman who's determined to propagate her branch of the Donnen family. Thing is, she's also determined to make sure the heir in question is absolutely pure Donnen blood. Her solution? Conjure back the spirit of her dead father for just long enough to impregnate her. No wonder Anton abjured his birthright...
  • The Shadow Hearts series uses this trope in just about every game, thanks to the recurring plot element known as the Emigre Manuscript, a book with instructions for raising the dead.
    • The main plot of the first game, Koudelka, revolved around the game's villain trying to resurrect a loved one. It does not turn out well.
    • Jack in Shadow Hearts was trying to resurrect his mother... and conducted experiments on orphans to work out how. The end result: a vicious monster with her face, which killed him. In many ways, his section of the game is a Shout-Out to Koudelka.
    • The hero tries this in Shadow Hearts: Covenant, despite being well aware of the above two examples. The best thing you can say about the result is that it doesn't try to kill him at least.
    • In Shadow Hearts: From The New World, the entire plot turns out to have been set in motion by someone attempting this and actually succeeding for once, if only partially.
  • This is the Wander's motivation for slaying the Colossi in Shadow of the Colossus, to resurrect Mono. In the process, he nearly unleashes a surprisingly honest ancient evil being on the world in a Deal with the Devil (said "Devil" more or less keeps Their word, and even warned Wander of the consequences several times), and is turned into an infant. Dormin (the aforementioned ancient evil) is really more bitter than actually evil, whereas the knights who reseal it at the end are implied to have caused this whole mess in the first place by killing Mono, who Wander spends the game trying to resurrect.
  • Josef Capek's loved one in Shikkoku no Sharnoth died during a seance and he's trying to bring her back to life with magic.
  • Silent Hill:
    • This happens in one of the endings to Silent Hill 2 to James, who, throughout, the game gathers several artifacts as part of a ritual to return his wife, Mary, back to life.
    • The antagonist to Silent Hill 4 isn't so much attempting to resurrect a loved one, as transform an apartment into what he thinks of as his mother.
  • Tales Series:
    • Mithos Yggdrasil from Tales of Symphonia spent four thousand years trying to revive his dead sister Martel. He succeeded. Only to have her reject his actions for the past four millennia and be sent back to the dead five minutes later. He didn't take that well.
    • At the end of the sequel, Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World, Richter tries to bring his old friend Aster back from the dead by making a deal with the demons of Niflheim.
    • The tradition continued in Tales of the Abyss. As a child, Jade accidentally killed his beloved schoolteacher, Professor Nebilim. He tried to revive her by making a perfect copy of her body, but the Replica Nebilim ended up as an insane, bloodthirsty monster. Subverted in that this particular Necromantic is a good guy, even if his loyalty to the party can be ambiguous sometimes. Dist, on the other hand...
    • Again in Tales of the Tempest: Lukius and the Pope want to bring Queen Melissa, their mother and wife respectively, back to life. Lukius gets talked out of it with a near-death experience, The Pope dies before he can.
  • Rue (a heroic example) in Threads of Fate spends his path looking for a legendary artifact which may have the power to bring his dead guardian back to life. In his route, he succeeds with no negative effects (Though it wasn't easy).
  • Played with in Touhou Project 7. The goal of Yuyuko Saigyouji is to resurrect the one sealed under Saigyou Ayakashi, believing that it's someone dear to her. It's actually her very own self, and she briefly resurrected. However, the one who enabled Yuyuko to pull her crazy scheme was Yukari, to bring back Yuyuko's memory of her. Neither Yuyuko nor Yukari got away unscathed.
  • In Umineko: When They Cry, at first it appears that the entire plot apparently revolves around Kinzo Ushiromiya trying to revive his dead mistress... who also happens to be a 1000-year-old Sealed Evil in a Can. But then it's revealed that Kinzo has been dead for almost two years before the story begins, meaning he wasn't involved in any of the murders. And although he did have a dead mistress whom he loved dearly, she was not 1000 years old nor was she Sealed Evil in a Can.
  • Valkyrie Profile:
    • Lezard Valeth is one of the more demented villains out there even before he discovers that Valkyries are only active when the humans serving as their Soul Jar are killed. So he kills a few dozen female humans and elves to make homunculi for Lenneth Valkyrie to be incarnated into (it's never made clear how many, but at least a dozen homunculi are shown, and it's suggested it takes a few of both species to make just one), all so he can woo her. By the end of the game, he gets away with it, too.
    • This comes up a bit differently in the prequel, Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria. In this one, a time-travelling Lezard, who had abandoned his body by the end of the first game, reincarnates himself to attempt a Gambit Roulette to get Lenneth to travel back in time and basically attempt the same thing again. This time, though, the perpetrator gets his comeuppance.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines has a quest named Necromantic, but it's just for the pun. However, the trip through Alistair Grout's mansion shows that his rather bizarre research was intended to save his wife, who he has preserved in a sealed glass cylinder, though it's unclear if she technically died.
  • Ironically subverted in Wild ARMs 3 where the villain eventually succeeds...but in the process had become non-human. His resurrected mother runs away from him in horror and dies.
  • Malistaire, the once kind and respected teacher of the death school of magic from Wizard101 plays this to a T. After his wife, the former teacher of the life school, dies from a sudden illness, he goes off the deep end. He goes on a rampage across the worlds of the Spiral, collecting materials to summon the Dragon Titan, who apparently has the ability to resurrect the dead, completely disregarding both the way that these worlds are left in total anarchy and violence in his wake, and that the last time the Dragon Titan was summoned, he left the world of Dragonspyre in ruins. Even when you manage to summon her ghost and she begs him to move on, he just calls your bluff and insists that what's standing in front of him is an illusion. After you kill him in battle, he apologizes to her, and the two of them go to rest in peace together.

    Web Animation 
  • In Red vs. Blue this wasn't the intended goal of Project Freelancer, but the end result ended up coming close. The Director of the project needed A.I.s to work with to create Super Soldiers, and so made a copy of his own mind to serve as a starting point. In the process, his memories of and obsessions with his departed lover emerged as a separate AI entity whom the Director then recruited for his project, keeping her ignorant of both her origins and her status as an AI in a robotic body. When Project Freelancer went down in the flames the Director went into hiding, trying to replicate this success. "I just need to watch this, I think I have a way, a way to bring her back right this time..."
  • RWBY: This turns out to be Salem's Start of Darkness. After Ozma (Ozpin's original incarnation) died from sickness, Salem personally asked the God of Light to resurrect him, but he denied her while explaining about the delicate balance between life and death. Her next plan was to ask the God of Darkness the same thing, which he happily did no-strings-attached just to prove he can be just as praiseworthy as his older brother, until he learned from his brother that Salem manipulated him to do so, upon which he killed Ozma as well as joining his brother in cursing Salem with immortality so that she could not reunite with her beloved in death until she learned to value the balance between life and death. Ozma would later be brought back via reincarnation by the God of Light to lead humanity into peace and unity, which he accepts hoping to reunite with Salem, until he learns sometime later that the woman he fell in love with is no more.

    Web Comics 
  • In Jack, this happened the first part of the arc Two for You, though the male protagonist isn't shown as being especially evil for reviving his wife after she died.
  • In Mutant Ninja Turtles Gaiden, Donatello fits this role as he performs unpleasant experiments in hopes of bringing Splinter back to life.
  • Trace's backstory in TwoKinds. he goes insane from the Black Magic required to even try the spell and begins to slaughter people left, right, and down the middle. He gets so evil that it takes a god to stop him (the beastman god, incidentally. Trace going mad was all part of the human god's plan).
  • In Supernormal Step, this is revealed to be Mr. Henderson's main motive. His elder siblings were murdered by a drunk, and he seeks to use Sympathetic Magic to pull their information through time in order to recreate them. However, at least two of the resulting experimental clones have claimed that he is actually trying to build an army, and that he poses a threat to other worlds. And even if they are lying, the fact remains that many of the clones Came Back Wrong and have been causing considerable amounts of trouble.
  • In Quentyn Quinn, Space Ranger, this turned out to be the cause of the attempted killer's motivation in the "Murder on the Sapphire Star" arc. Sebak was trying to replicate his dead wife Anippe from 50-year-old medical scans and then overwrite the clone's brain with a 30-year-old brainscan taken just before her death. Unfortunately, Anippe's digital copy freed her biological copy and she attacked him.
  • A brief attempt at this was made in Gunnerkrigg Court when Anthony Carver made a Deal with the Devil to try to resurrect his dead wife Surma. Unfortunately for Anthony, Surma is part fire elemental, meaning that when she died her soul passed to their daughter Antimony. The attempt to resurrect Surma nearly killed Annie as a result, and Anthony has seemingly abandoned his attempts to get his wife back.
  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja: In "Why a Gorilla?", a young Dr. McNinja is sent to investigate vampire attacks in a jungle city inhabited by especially intelligent gorillas. It turned out that the gorilla vampire had been destroyed long ago, and the bodies supposed to have risen as vampires have been stolen by a gorilla doctor whose wife had died and who was keeping her from being all dead in a way that required attaching parts of other gorillas to her body, creating a gorilla Frankenstein Monster. Dr. McNinja later reflected that even though he was supposedly keeping her alive via a variation of Lightning Can Do Anything, it was probably really because of Clap Your Hands If You Believe and The Power of Love. Anyway, she was quite angry when she woke up.

    Web Original 
  • In The Gamer's Alliance, the elven necromancer Thanatos Barca wishes to bring his deceased wife back to life by using an eldritch ritual and is willing to go to almost any lengths to achieve that goal.
  • Lady Delilah Briarwood from Critical Role made a deal with the dark god Vecna to bring her husband Sylas back from the dead as a vampire. In exchange, they were to turn the barony of Whitestone into a ritual site to summon Vecna to the Material Plane.

    Western Animation 
  • In Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, Charmcaster tries to do this to resurrect her father. Unfortunately, the only way she knows of to bring back the dead is to buy his life from a God of Evil. And the price is all 600,000 souls in her home dimension. It doesn't end well.
  • The archaeologist in Gargoyles who imprisoned Anubis to get his son back. He learned his lesson after that. They were reunited. In the afterlife.
  • Hawk Moth's (or rather, Gabriel Agreste's) motivation in Miraculous Ladybug is undoubtedly this, though it's currently unconfirmed whether his wife is dead or simply gravely ill. She's in some sort of stasis tube in a secret room under the Agreste mansion - and the first time the viewer saw this room, it sounded like something was trying to escape.
  • Ōban Star-Racers: Molly and Muir both want the ultimate prize to bring back a loved one. When it's revealed that this isn't possible, Muir drops out of the tournament completely, and Eva nearly does the same.
  • Voltron: Legendary Defender: In Season 3, Zarkon just wanted to bring Honerva back, and Haggar does the same for him at the end of "The Legend Begins".
  • Wakfu: Nox's ultimate desire is to travel back to the past and ensure that his family's death is prevented, and only two-hundred years worth of accumulated Wakfu is all he needs. Unfortunately, once his machine activated, that amount of energy only brings him back about twenty minutes, causing him to have a Villainous Breakdown upon seeing his efforts were All for Nothing.