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No Body Left Behind

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*gasp* Where'd he go?! Are we in a video game?
"Sweet victory! That giant insect's body has crumbled to dust! I am quite relieved to know I won't have to store such an enormous bug."
The Ship, Pikmin 2

Something dies, as it is prone to do. After it takes its last breath, the body dissolves for no apparent reason. Often dissolves into smoke that wisps away as the body dramatically falls to the ground. Why this occurs is generally never explained and no character bats an eye at it happening. Often used in media to avoid showing the kiddies a corpse. Of course, if Death Is Dramatic, and it's done right, this can be a HUGE Tearjerker.

For video games, this is a subset of Everything Fades, though with Everything Fades, bodies may stick around for up to a few minutes after monsters die.

Not to be confused with No One Gets Left Behind, in which not one single person (or unit) is left behind when a force retreats, which is maybe the thing you're looking for. Also not to be confused with Never Found the Body, in which the subject's death was not seen/confirmed, and is most likely Not Quite Dead.


If there's no recognizable body left due to the cause of death being so tremendous as to destroy the body entirely, that's Not Enough to Bury.

Animated Armor may be caused by this. On the other hand, you may never know. See also Disappears into Light and I'm Melting!. For the moral equivalent to this, see Self-Disposing Villain. May be the end result of No Immortal Inertia. If he takes his dungeon and doomsday devices with him, he may be a Load-Bearing Boss. Sometimes this results in Empty Piles of Clothing, if it's only the person's physical body that disappears and not what he's wearing. Mundane examples may have done The Dying Walk to go off and die in peace away from any other characters. If there's not only a lack of body, but no trace of them having ever existed at all, they're Ret-Gone. May lead to other characters Burying a Substitute at a funeral.


This is a Death Trope, so expect spoilers.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Balancing My Support Magic And Summoning Magic In A Different World, the monsters all disappear in a puff of smoke, leaving only some crystals, and whatever weapons or armor they were wearing, behind. It has yet to be explained how this works, as when wounded, they bleed blue blood, and when they rape women, they clearly cover their targets with semen that sticks around even after they are long gone...
  • In Bleach, low-level hollows dissolve when they are killed, while the bodies of most Arrancar and shinigami can last a few hours before breaking down (there are some exceptions, related to the manner in which they were killed).
  • Thoroughly averted in Delicious in Dungeon, since the party needs to harvest the corpses in order to get ingredients. This includes draining the blood, deboning them, etc.
  • In Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?, the Anime and Light Novel/Manga differ on this. In the Anime a monster dissolves as soon as it is killed, but in the LN and Manga the bodies of monsters don't dissolve until their crystal is removed. The anime changing this leaves a slight Plot Hole because the reason Lili and Bell are able to make so much more money working together is that Lili carves up the bodies while Bell focuses on fighting, meaning he doesn't have to waste time carving them himself. Ironically though the anime does show a scene where Bell defeats a monster just by destroying it's crystal.
  • Whenever anyone dies in Soul Hunter, their body disappears and their soul flies away as a beam of light.
  • Plenty of examples in Sailor Moon.
    • Neflite/Nephrite is probably one of the more well-known examples, although it happens constantly to both villains and heroes. The latter obviously come Back from the Dead in season finales.
    • Averted in the first season finale: When the Sphere of Destruction from Sailor Moon's final attack starts consuming the area around the Dark Kingdom, the bodies of the four Senshi are shown still laying in the same places they fell.
    • In the anime series, this happen a lot of times with the Monster of the Week, which are usually disintegrated or turned into dust once they are defeated.
  • Digimon: The Digimon dissolve as soon as they die. Though occasionally the good Digimon revert to digieggs for plot-related purposes. In Digimon V-Tamer 01, only those who end their own program leave eggs and in Digimon Tamers no one leaves eggs, although that Digimon is unrevivable in this season their physical data remains and can be reformatted to create another Digimon, such as Mephistomon or the Devas.
    • Also in Digimon Tamers, agents of the D-Reaper dissolve once destroyed.
    • Pointedly averted in Digimon X-Evolution, where the only times a Digimon disappeared like that is if they were NOT dead, and if they were dead, their body WAS left behind.
  • In Pokémon, Latios, Sir Aaron, and Lucario disintegrate once they sacrifice themselves.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
  • In Death Note when Shinigami die, they dissolve into sand.
  • The homunculi from Fullmetal Alchemist disintegrate into nothingness upon dying, as well as the Philosopher's Stone at their core that gives them life. Dismembered body parts also disintegrate as they're regenerated. In the 2003 anime, however, a few (namely Greed and Pride) melted into red goop.
  • My-HiME:
    • Whenever someone dies as a result of the HiME battles, the victim's heart stops, then their body's color fades, finally ending with slow dissolution into green sparks. Haruka, because she's a Badass Normal, simply refuses to "just die", preferring to get in a parting shot at Shizuru after calling her out on her "disgusting behavior".
    • In the Else World sequel My-Otome, the same thing happens to any Otome/Master or Slave/Master relationship. My-Otome's problem is that it was porting over yet another familiar element from My-HiME while ignoring that the logic that series used for the sparkly deaths was specifically for raising the columns and powering the HiME star.
  • The Zoanoids in Guyver (anime & manga) are engineered to dissolve after dying, in order to leave no evidence of their existence.
  • Carrossea's body in Madlax presumably disappears off-screen as it is never shown after the episode when he dies. That is probably because he was Dead All Along.
  • Inuyasha: Happens fairly often to youkai slain by Inu-Yasha. Case in point: Hiten (the elder Thunder Brother) evaporated after Inu-Yasha delivered a fatal blow with Tessaiga. The many cases where youkai are slain by sacred arrows or the Wind Scar, et al, don't count. When Kikyou and Kagura go through Redemption Equals Death storylines, they also leave no bodies behind when they die.
    • The black miko Tsubaki unites in the anime with a powerful demon. When he is destroyed, Tsubaki also dies and dissolves.
  • In Get Backers, Amon's body dissolves into feathers after he gave his heart to Shido to bring him back to life. Shido's body stuck around, possible because his death was more mundane.
  • Dragon Ball Z:
    • Goku's body fades away when he dies. Kami has taken it to the other world so that Goku can have his body in the afterlife for training. Otherwise, people usually stay put where they died.
    • Chiaotzu self-destructs in an attempt to take out Nappa, and no body gets left behind. Unfortunately his death is in vain as Nappa is unscathed.
    • Piccolo and Guru (the second time) disappear as well.
      • This does NOT happen to the bodies of Burter, Guldo, and Recoome. Even though Guldo and Recoome look like they should have been obliterated by Vegeta's energy blast their corpses are still intact even though they are shown to retain their bodies when we see them in Other World. Jeice, on the other hand, gets completely vaporized, so this trope does apply to him.
    • This happens to Krillin when he gets blown up by Frieza.
    • Later, when Vegeta sacrifices himself in an attempt to kill Buu, his attack drains so much energy from his body that it turns to stone, which quickly crumbles into dust and is blown away by the wind.
  • Dragon Ball Super: When Beerus kills the present timeline's Zamasu, he completely destroys him, disintegrating his body and leaving no trace of him.
  • Naturally shows up in .hack. When a monster is killed, it slumps to the ground, then vanishes. When a PC is killed, their body goes limp, and turns grey, and vanishes if there's no-one left to revive them. When someone gets data-drained, however, their sprite starts fragmenting, and drifts away piece by piece.
  • In Saint Seiya, the final barrier between the Hades and Elysium is the Wall Of Lamentation, seemingly indestructible. Only by channeling the Cosmo of the Twelve Gold Saints of the Zodiac Houses, and creating sunlight in the depths of Hades, can it be breached. All Gold Saints, living or dead, friends or foes, burn their Cosmo, there is a blinding burst of light... And Shun and Seiya can only weep, for all that is left of the heroic Saints of Athena is their Gold Cloths shining in their wake.
  • Anything that dies in Psyren dissolves into sand in a few minutes, due to the changes in the environment after the meteor hit Earth.
  • In Umineko: When They Cry, the Stakes of Purgatory do this when they die.
  • Kira users in Nabari no Ou fade into dust when they die. Their clothes don't dissolve, leaving an interesting scene.
  • Late into the Magic World arc in Negima! Magister Negi Magi, a special attack is introduced that causes anyone it hits to vanish in seconds. This only affects (most) residents of the magic world because said residents are actually part of an elaborate illusion, with the attack simply hacking them back out of existence.
  • Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt: When Panty and Stocking kill a ghost, it explodes. Becomes a plot point when they are tried for the murder of a friendly Ghost, as the fact that there was a body meant that they didn't do it.
  • In Samurai Deeper Kyo, this becomes a case of Chekov's corpse. When members of the Mibu clan die or are killed, their bodies vanish into nothingness. Near the end it is revealed that this happens because the members of the Mibu clan are in fact puppets created by the long dead True Mibu, and vanish into nothing because they were originally created from nothing.
  • This happens to Nia Teppelin from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann in the final episode.
  • When a robot dies in Casshern Sins it turns to dust due to the rapid rusting caused by the Ruin.
  • In the final episode of Puella Magi Madoka Magica you can briefly see the body of a Magical Girl doing this. It's hard to see though because the shot is panning out and she's dressed in green while laying on grass. This now happens to every Magical Girl upon death because of Madoka's wish. Evidence to support this is that Sayaka didn't leave a body behind either.
  • In I Wish, people of K's race die by simply leaving behind a small pile of ash.
  • In Campione! Heretic Gods and Divine Beasts use matter associated with their nature to create bodies, and when killed their bodies revert to that substance. Thus a kraken turns to water and an earth goddess like Athena turns to sand.
  • A real Tear Jerker towards the end of s-CRY-ed when Ryoho awakens from near-death to find a pile of clothes and a recognizable hairclip. Scheris had saved his life using Eternal Devote, but doing so had completely consumed her. The emotional shock of this causes Ryuho's emotionless shell to break and for a while he breaks down in weeping, urged on by Kazuma telling him there's no shame in mourning.
  • Another Tear Jerker as Teleporter Accident crosses into this towards the end of Giant Robo with the death of Ginrei, as what's left of her body disappears.
  • If a Future Diary holder's diary gets destroyed, their body disappears in a vortex. Holders can still die any other way; the vortex only appears with this specific method. Yuno was rather put out with this revelation as she'd been expecting Ludicrous Gibs.
  • In Noragami, ayakashi spirits, upon defeat, disintegrate into nothing.
    • Ebisu's body disappears with an explosion of blood, leaving only behind their bloodied clothes.
  • In Attack on Titan, any body parts cut off a Titan dissolves into steam and smoke. Their whole body dissolves if they are killed.
  • In Slave Harem in the Labyrinth of the Other World, whenever a monster is slain, it dissolves into smoke and leaves loot behind. Nobody understands how this happens, nor cares to try and find out, not even Michio, the protagonist. When this happens to antagonists, or others inside a labyrinth, it's justified by the fact that labyrinths are actually living things and eat whoever dies inside them.
  • Subverted in The Rising of the Shield Hero when Ren slays a dragon terrorizing a nearby village, only to just walk away, leaving the body behind on the mountainside. The body eventually rots, causing the exact same village to suffer a plague, and the dragon eventually resurrects as a zombie dragon and has to be put down again by Naofumi and burned to destroy the body. When he encounters Ren, he calls him out on leaving the body behind, accusing him of treating the world around him like a game where slain enemies just fade away eventually.

    Comic Books 
  • The fights in Scott Pilgrim follow videogame logic and most enemies dissolve into coins upon being defeated. Roxie Richter dissolves into bunnies. Word of God says they aren't dead. They had extra lives and respawned in their homes in America.
  • Necronauts: The human(ish) servants of the Sleepers in the Void vanish into thin air when they are killed.
  • At the end of The Final Days of Superman, when the New 52 Superman finally passes on, a bolt of energy shoots up from where he's laying at, leaving nothing but a dustpile in the shape of his body and his cape.
  • The technology of Transmetropolitan provides for substances or nanites that can be used to dissolve a body. Spider Jerusalem obtains a supply of this to help cover his tracks and elude President Callahan.
  • Anyone who dies in the anti-matter wave in Crisis on Infinite Earths, both in the comic books and in the Arrowverse live-action TV adaptation.
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past: This regularly happens with the boss monsters Link fights. Minor foes are either revealed as Animated Armor or blown to smithereens in an explosion.

    Fan Works 
  • In Origins, a Mass Effect/Star Wars/Borderlands/Halo Massive Multiplayer Crossover, this is enforced In-Universe when dealing with the Flood since anything left behind can be reanimated and turned against their now-former allies. Catalina Rodriguez is one of many who receives this treatment (via disruptor blast), and the fact that there's nothing left to bury is brought up.
  • Parodied (along with many other tropes) in the Japanese Doctor Who video, where all it takes for the "Cyber Men" to vaporize is a meager hit. Nice effects for '70s amateur spoof, though.
  • Esurientes in Cibus Esculentus Madoka Magica disappear in a flash of light when slain, and even take any blood they've lost with them.
  • In the Pony POV Series there are a few examples:
    • The Changeling's bodies crumble to dust upon death. This seems to be their body consuming itself to try and stay alive or a side effect of their stealth based magic.
    • The Rumors Spawn disappear into shadow upon death.
    • The avatars of the Outer Concepts all vanish in some way upon death. Abandon dissolves into black smoke, the Beldam crumbled to dust, and Shub-Neighurath explodes. Given the Rumors Spawn are her children, this likely explains why they do this trope.
  • Principal Celestia Hunts the Undead: Vampires and ghasts turn to dust when they die.
  • In "How Things Smurf" from The Smurfette Village series, the bodies of the dead Smurfs in the Smurf Village all disappear when the magic shield that protects the surviving Smurfs and Smurfettes from "The Blue Plague" vanishes.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Anastasia, Rasputin's body turns to dust and blows away as soon as his Soul Jar is destroyed.
  • In the Rankin/Bass version of The Hobbit magic swords completely destroy their victims. Sting, Orcrist, and Glamdring all have different effects when they kill something. Averted in the final battle, where the field is littered with corpses and we see Thorin need burial when he dies of his wounds.
  • In Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent becomes a dragon, gets impaled by a sword, and falls down a cliff. When the sword's shown again, it has only a cloak under it.
  • In The Return of Jafar, when Iago destroys Jafar's lamp, he explodes into dust. After he writhes in agony with his skeleton visible.
  • In Tangled, after Eugene cuts off Rapunzel's magic hair, its healing abilities quickly vanish, causing Mother Gothel, who used them for centuries, to rapidly age and turn into dust, leaving only her cape behind.
  • In Quest for Camelot, Ruber is physically disintegrated into smoke and nothingness after accidentally returning Excalibur back into the stone - due to him magically attaching the sword to his hand, leaving what's left of him is one of his shoulder pads from his armor.
  • In Klaus (2019) when Klaus grows old and can no longer make toys, he hears his deceased wife's voice calling to him, he sets down his axe and tells her he's ready, he passes away standing up and his body fades away into snow that then blows away, Jesper and the other townsfolk never find out what became of him, and he continues to deliver toys as a spirit years later and Jesper knows it's him.
  • In the JetlagProductions version of The Nutcracker when the seven headed Mouse King is killed he explodes leaving behind nothing but his seven crowns.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Dark Crystal provides the page image. Mystics and Skeksis leave no body behind when they die. Mystics quietly fade away, while Skeksis crumble to dust. They also die in tandem, to reflect their connected past. Later, when a Skeksis falls into the magma under the castle of the Crystal, at the same time far away, a Mystic is instantly incinerated.
  • In This Island Earth, the Mutant dissolves after being killed. This is given a Hand Wave as its body being obliterated by the change in pressure as the ship approaches Earth.
  • Star Wars:
    • Obi-Wan Kenobi in A New Hope after Darth Vader kills him on the Death Star.
    • Yoda's body disappears after he passes away naturally in Return of the Jedi.
    • Canonically stated to have happened to the corpse of the redeemed Anakin Skywalker in Return of the Jedi. The "body" Luke cremated on Endor was actually just his armour.
    • Luke Skywalker at the end of The Last Jedi after channelling an illusion of himself to fool the First Order forces and Kylo Ren long enough for the Resistance remnants to escape from Crait.
    • Leia Organa and Ben Solo at the end of The Rise of Skywalker. Leia actually died earlier — in the same manner as her twin Luke, via Force Exhaustion — but her body did not disappear until her son Ben died; the moment Ben's body faded, so did his mother's.
    • And almost every Jedi who dies in the Expanded Universe, though this usually only happens to those who become Force Ghosts, the main exception being Qui-Gon Jinn, who (canonically) became a Force Ghost but didn't disappear. Sith and other users of The Dark Side, on the other hand, often explode instead of fading away when they die.
      • An exception for the Sith is Darth Nihilus, whose body very visibly crumbles quietly away under his robes once the Exile turns their back.
      • Darth Sion from the same game likely crumbled into a pile of decayed flesh and splintered bones when he died, considering which state he lived with.
      • Really only one Sith explodes, Darth Maul and Count Dooku's corpses were still intact (although admittedly the former may have died moments after he fell out of our sight). However, this is averted in the new Disney canon as Maul didn't die during the Phantom Menace, rather he gained a set of shiny robot legs and appeared in both Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels. The Expanded Universe has it happen a few other times, but apparently it requires both extreme power and being particularly deep into the Dark Side.
  • In Blade, vampires collapse into ash when killed.
  • In Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, defeated Evil Exes turn into a shower of coins, as they do in the comic. This is particularly amusing considering it not only takes place in Canada, but when Scott slays bystanders their coins take the shape of their bodies on the floor.
    • In fact, the comic comments on this when Gideon Graves is killed and those in the audience get hit in the head with the showering coins.
  • In Elektra defeated villains disappear in a puff of green smoke, something unique in Marvel Universe films. They're ninja — it's presumably deliberate so that the Hand's secrets are kept secure.
  • Captain America: The First Avenger has anyone caught within the shots of various Tesseract-powered weaponry disintegrating completely in a blue mist.
    • Inverted by Red Skull who was left for dead after disappearing during the movie climax but was revealed to be transported to Vormir to become the guardian of the soul stone.
  • The fate of the fifty percent of the universe erased by Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, including Bucky Barnes, Mantis, Drax, T’Challa, Falcon, Groot, Wanda Maximoff, Doctor Strange, Peter Quill, Peter Parker, Maria Hill, and Nick Fury, who disintegrate via crumbling into ash.
    • In The Stinger for Ant-Man and the Wasp, which occurs concurrently with the events described above, this fate also befalls Hank Pym, Janet Van Dyne, and Hope Van Dyne.
    • The Downer Beginning of Avengers: Endgame adds Clint Barton's entire family, minus himself, to the body-less count. Later, after the previously mentioned characters are restored, this fate befalls the 2014 version of Thanos and his army, courtesy of Tony Stark.
  • Harry Potter:
    • This is how Voldemort dies in the film version of Deathly Hallows. After all his horcruxes are destroyed and he finally gets blasted, his body dissolves into something similar to pieces of skin, like dandruff, which blow into the wind.
    • The movies apparently like this trope, if the deaths of Professor Quirrell, Nagini, and Bellatrix Lestrange are any indication. Well, at least for villains. Good guys seem to leave behind bodies when they die (well, except for Sirius).
  • In The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, well, how else do you expect a giant flaming eye to go once the deathblow is struck?
    • It also happens to the Army of the Dead when Aragorn declares that their oaths to Isildur have been fulfilled for helping him defeat the armies of Mordor.
  • The standard fate for most Indiana Jones villains. (Temple of Doom is the main exception: Mola Ram didn't disappear but was Eaten Alive by crocodiles).
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • Cyclops in X-Men: The Last Stand. All they find are his sunglasses.
    • In X-Men: First Class, Darwin is vaporized immediately by the blast he took, and one of his teammates even said, "We can't even bury him."
  • The probable first appearance of this in film (and the definite first appearance of the Stop Trick that enabled it) was in A Trip to the Moon. It reappears in a lot of other films by Georges Méliès.
  • In The Darkest Hour, the main "aliens" can shred a human body into dust in a slightly disturbing manner.
  • At the end of The Rock, Sean Connery's character, an Alcatraz inmate, runs off and asks Cage's character to tell the authorities that he was killed. Nicholas Cage's character does so, and when asked about the body, says that this occurred to him as a result of the bioweapon MacGuffin.
  • In Eragon, Durza disintegrates after Eragon stabs him.
  • In Your Highness, Leezar disintegrates when Fabious stabs him with the Blade of Unicorn.
  • After Alice defeats Freddy Krueger in A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master he disappears, leaving behind only his clothes. Alice kicks away the glove for good measure.
  • All over the TRON universe. Programs don't leave a corpse behind when they de-resolve, instead fading away as they reach critical failure, or shattering in a messy pile of voxels (that look like cubes of safety glass) that sputter out of existence. Justified in the universe setting due to the trope being part of video games. Of course Disney made use of this to hide scenes of horribly violent death in a way that still warranted a PG rating and a Disney trademark.
  • Identity: One of the major clues that something is off happens when the bodies of the victims up to that point completely vanish. This is because none of the people at the motel are real.
  • Those ritually killed (or "renewed") at Carrousel in Logan's Run explode cleanly, with no blood, ashes, or random body parts falling to spoil the illusion that they've been translated to their next life.
  • The two female aliens in Gamera vs. Guiron disappeared after they were killed. Many other science fiction films have self-cleaning aliens of this type.

  • In the Lone Wolf series, amongst others, the Darklords and their sorcerous servants the Nadziranim fade into nothingness when killed. As for their undead underlings, Vordaks and Helghast, they dissolve into foul-smelling liquids when destroyed.

  • The Dresden Files is a fairly realistic urban fantasy, and, as such, most things do indeed leave the expected corpses. However, some things, such as demons and various Eldritch Abominations, manifest a body when they come into the real world, and when defeated, this body turns to ectoplasm which slowly evaporates. In other words, a thoroughly Justified Trope, used selectively for effect.
  • Likewise justified when embodied Auditors die in Thief of Time, because they build their human bodies out of molecules from dust and random debris, and can only keep them intact and functional by actively exerting their willpower.
  • An interesting variation occurs in The Iron King. When fey of any kind are killed, their bodies disappear and leave something else behind (be it a thornbush, needles, ice, branches, etc.). This, however, does not always happen instantly, the time it takes can vary.
  • In The Dark Tower series, we meet Father Callahan from Salem's Lot who finds that, when vampires die, they helpfully follow this trope.
  • This is mermaids' usual fate, according to Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid". They turn into ocean foam when they die.
  • Harry Potter:
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe:
    • In The Last Command, Joruus C'baoth's body is consumed by blue energy, presumably based on what appears to befall the Emperor's body in Return of the Jedi (especially considering the entire final battle draws heavily from the climax of that film).
    • During Galaxy of Fear, people attacked by Eppon can be turned to jelly and absorbed/eaten by it, leaving Empty Piles of Clothing. Unaware of what's happened, some characters speculate Imperials got them, but Imperials wouldn't leave the clothes.
  • Justified in His Dark Materials, where daemon bodies flash out of existence as soon as they or their owners die.
  • The Silmarillion: "Then [Fëanor] died; but he had neither burial nor tomb, for so fiery was his spirit that as it sped his body fell to ash, and was borne away like smoke [...]"
  • In Dracula, Dracula and his Brides are said to crumble into dust on death. Justified in text as a side effect of their unnatural preservation being removed and centuries of decay catching up with them. Subverted with Lucy, whose body remains intact, as her mortal death had occurred only a few days before her Vampiric one. This opens a plot hole that dozens of stories by other authors are built on: turning into a dust cloud or mist and traveling in that form is explicitly one of Dracula's powers.
  • Draconians in Dragonlance self-destruct in various ways when they die, with the exact manner depending on their sub-species.
  • In Dragon Weather, a slain dragon rots extremely fast. Lord Obsidian notes that this is useful for making sure that a dragon is not faking.
  • In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "Queen of the Black Coast", the hyenas transform back into men before crumbling.
  • In Dean Koontz's Phantoms, a small California town is wiped out by an Eldritch Abomination, but most of the residents are never actually found, having been eaten. The few bodies they do find suggest it's better that way.
  • Almost every monster in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians books. Sometimes a piece of the monster will remain if it was cut off before the monster died (such as the Minotaur's horn), or if severing it causes the monster to die (such as Medusa's head).
  • This also apparently happens to monsters in The Kane Chronicles, which Word of God confirms takes place in the same universe as Percy Jackson.
  • In Bloodsucking Fiends and its sequels, victims of vampires who haven't ingested vampire blood disintegrate. This includes Barry in Bite Me.
  • In the October Daye series, the night-haunts eat faerie corpses and replace them with humanised versions of the corpses, as faerie flesh does not rot. This becomes a problem in A Local Habitation, as the dead aren't being replaced, and Toby has to find out why.
  • In Jeramey Kraatz's The Cloak Society, when Phantom dies, she dissolves into shadow.
  • Standard for mages in The Black Magician Trilogy: any magical power they have at death is unleashed, disintegrating the body at minimum and sometimes making a mess of the surrounding area. If a mage does leave a body, it's cause for great concern, since it means they were either completely exhausted or had their power forcibly drained.
  • The demons in The Shadowhunter Chronicles dissolve within a few seconds or minutes when killed. Because their dead bodies are returning to their home dimensions.
    • In the TV series, killed vampires also dissolve in this way, in contrast to the books.
  • In Warrior Cats, if a cat dreams their way into The Dark Forest and is killed while there, their spirit ceases to exist altogether and their body disappears in the living world. This happens to Beetlewhisker in The Last Hope and Bristlefrost in A Light in the Mist.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Love and Destiny: Immortals' bodies turn to smoke and disappear when they're killed.
  • Ashes of Love: When immortals die, their bodies disintegrate.
  • The Invaders (1967) is probably the most iconic series to feature aliens disappearing upon death. Note that they could inflict the same thing to humans with their Disintegrator Rays.
  • Lampshaded on Stargate SG-1 in the Show Within a Show Wormhole X-treme! The lead actor is having trouble in a romance scene because the background is littered with the bodies of dead Mooks his character killed in the previous scene (which is kind of distracting, ya know). The staff remove the bodies and hope no one will notice the change in scene continuity (one writer proposes that they write it so that the alien weapons disintegrate bodies, but his idea is quickly shot down).
    • The reason the idea is shot down is because this is a nod to the zat'nik'tel, which was earlier shown to disintegrate bodies (or objects) with its third shot, an idea so despised it was quietly forgotten.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Joss Whedon explicitly stated that his vampires turn to dust when they die to emphasize that Buffy isn't killing people every week, and to avoid 20 minutes of cleanup at the end of each episode.
    • Averted in the third season episode "The Wish". Buffy kills a demon but it doesn't fade away and the Scoobies realise they'll have to bury it. Vampires, as Buffy notes, are so much easier. Stake, dust, no cleaning up.
    • In "Hells Bells" a demon attacks Anya during the wedding and is killed by Buffy. When it refuses to go "poof" Willow suggests covering it with flowers.
    • Also averted with the Master, who only partially dissolved, leaving a skeleton. Justified because, as an older vampire, he is significantly more powerful (and it allowed a plotline for the second season premier).
  • Likewise in Charmed.
    • Except in episode 15 season 5, "The Day the Magic Died", all magic ceased to exist for a day, and the demon they killed left a dead body and green blood stains. They had to quickly hide it in a closet, until magic returned. Justified in that it's explicitly explained that the demons deliberately set it up so that their body disappears after they die, in order to maintain the masquerade.
    • Lampshaded in episode 8 season 1, "The Truth Is Out There and It Hurts": After a warlock from the future gets killed, he is sucked into a vortex of some kind.
    Prue: I love it when they clean up after themselves.
  • This is very common in Sentai Tokusatsu shows. The Monster of the Week would generally vanish once vanquished with various cheesy effects — or eventually explodes, especially in older shows.
    • A good example is Uchu kara no messeji: Ginga taisen (better known as San Ku Kaï in Europe or Sankuokai in Latin America). Every villain of the week would explode (or sometimes liquefy or burn...) with color or visual related to their nature or powers.
    • Also generally used and abused in Power Rangers, where monsters tend to explode into a fine powder. But averted in Power Rangers S.P.D., where the villains use mecha rather than growing, and as such leave behind scrap. One early episode featured the main characters assigned to cleanup duty, picking up the massive debris left behind by the giant robot fight.
    • Semi-averted in Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue and Power Rangers Dino Thunder, where exploding monsters do leave chunks of burnt meat, which the villains then juice up to resurrect them at giant size. When they get blown up a second time at giant size though, there are (usually) no remains. Also oddly inverted at the end of Lightspeed Rescue, where Diabolico leaves behind an intact corpse for Bansheera to revive, despite his death explosion visibly reducing him to nothing but a wisp of smoke.
    • When the Super Sentai Series and the Kamen Rider Series play this trope straight, it's usually for drama's sake.
  • Subverted in Power Rangers Megaforce, where Vrak and his brother Vekar, after being dealt the final blow (Vrak even blowing up) their bodies are still intact with some damage, which make them the first villains to leave behind their corpses.
  • In First Wave, the invading aliens secretly use partially-human bodies as vessels. To prevent them from being analysed by humans and exposed as alien, they dissolve immediately after death, which also means anyone who sees an alien die becomes aware that something strange is going on. Interestingly, even this isn't enough to initially convince Crazy Eddie that there are aliens about. Being a conspiracy nut, he claims that he knows about a body-dissolving compound used by the government to hide their shady dealings. That's right, a conspiracy nut who denies the existence of aliens.

    A later episode shows that the "dissolving" effect is only activated by uploading a Gua consciousness into the husk's brain. A blank husk does not dissolve upon death, which was used to fool the Gua into thinking that Cade is dead. Additionally, the dissolution also melts anything in the immediate proximity, such as their clothes. In one episode, this, unfortunately, results in a secret to a poison that affects on Gua being lost when the pages get dissolved along with the Gua carrying them.
  • There are never bodies left to clean up aboard the Lexx, because said Living Ship "absorbs" them (along with anything else it thinks won't be missed.)
  • In Red Dwarf, the crew are all killed in a radiation leak. After 3 million years there's nothing left of them except small, surprisingly neat, piles of dust. Lister found them very moreish until he discovered what they were.
  • Supernatural:
    • Mostly averted with supernatural beings who possess human vessels, such as angels and demons, since obviously the vessels remain intact despite them being gone. The one time this is played straight, when Anna is killed, it is because she is (rather brutally) incinerated, so it is logical that her vessel does not stay intact.
    • While there are monsters that turn to dust or don't leave anything to prove they existed (especially ghosts), the hunters know how to cover their tracks, and thus get rid of a body of a monster/demon they killed. Also they don't stay too much in the same place after the "job" for the missing person to be obvious or connected to them. A FBI Bloodhound (note that this implies some greater professionalism than your typical province sheriff/cop they have to deal with) actually "tracks" the Winchesters for a year or so and all he can put on their record are some grave-disturbing crimes and murders on ordinary people they weren't responsible for.
    • While Leviathans possess human vessels and most leave a body when they die, their leader, Dick Roman, plays this straight in the season 7 finale. Justified since the method to kill him is peculiar as compared to his mooks.
    • In the episode "I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here", Bobby's body disappears after Dean stabs him as he was a figment of Sam's imagination.
    • When Dean stabs Death with the latter's scythe in "My Brother's Keeper", his body simply crumbles to dust.
    • In "All in the Family", the Darkness kills Metatron by disintegrating him into non-existence.
    • For some reason, Lucifer's infamous Badass Fingersnap, which formerly turned others into Ludicrous Gibs, disintegrates them to dust from season 13 onward.
  • 666 Park Avenue: It seems the Drake absorbs anyone who dies there in order to hide the fact.
  • A villain-of-the-week in Time Trax is a scientist from the future whose specialty is high-energy weapons. One of which, a "sonic demolecularizer", is a One-Hit Kill against any person or object, which simply cease to exist as physical entities, breaking up into constituent molecules. The last time Darien tried to arrest the scientist, his partner was killed in this manner. Somehow, this is more horrifying to him than being shot, possibly because being shot does not necessarily mean he'll die, but being hit in any body part with the "demolecularizer" is fatal.
  • Star Trek:
    • A phaser on a high setting will often completely vaporize its target, as will other weapons like disruptors.
    • In Star Trek: The Next Generation, the Borg will often do this. One Borg drone is killed, and another will remove certain key components from the body, after which the dead Borg drone simply dissolves out of existence. It is explained that their link to the Collective is similar to a transporter beam; their bodies are transported away so that their components can be recycled.
    • In Deep Space Nine suicide pills that dissolve the body are shown. The idea is that this way spies can avoid having their government implicated in failed operations.
  • Doctor Who:
    • When the Doctor's grave is visited it turns out to contain not a body, but a swirling blue rift in time through which one can access his entire timeline.
    • In the episode "Time Heist", the "Shredders" left for the team are assumed to be suicide devices, so called because they seem to "shred" the body with an energy field. They turn out to be teleporters.
  • In an episode of The Flash (1990), Barry Allen's twin Pollux sacrifices himself by throwing himself in front of the bullet that the scientist who created Pollux had fired to kill the Flash, and then dies in Barry's arms, vanishing inside the suit he leaves behind.
  • HYDRA splinter bombs in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. completely disintegrate their targets, leaving no body behind.
  • In Dracula (2020), when Lucy dies for good, only a small mound of ashes remains.
  • After Adam Monroe's powers are drained in Heroes, he dies on the spot and dissolves.


    Tabletop Games 
  • Psionics: The Next Stage in Human Evolution
    • The Atomize talent tears the victim apart at the atomic level, leaving no trace of them.
    • Pyrokinetics that die from overloading burn up.
  • Old World of Darkness/New World of Darkness:
    • In both Vampire: The Masquerade and The Requiem, vampires rot to dust within seconds of their death as long as they are old enough. This is repeatedly commented on in Hunter: The Vigil — vampires are the only type of supernatural creature to clean up after itself. Everything else leaves corpses to deal with. Usually human.
    • Spirits from Werewolf: The Forsaken and Ghosts from Geist: The Sin-Eaters both discorporate when defeated. Justified in that they aren't material beings to begin with, and this usually doesn't kill them anyway — they will just reform in a safe place unless you drain all of their Essence and Corpus.
    • Sirens from the fan-made supplement Siren: The Drowning liquefy within a matter of hours after their death and turn into sea foam, unless the flesh is preserved in a freezer. This is a major issue for the Flensers, since they rely on eating Siren flesh to preserve their immortality.
  • Titanspawn in Scion usually evaporate, melt away, or otherwise cease to exist once slain. The only part left behind is a piece or an item (called a Trophy) that serves as a reward for the Scions that destroyed it. Some of them, like the nekomata, are more complicated.
  • In Warhammer 40,000, Necron bodies will seemingly dissipate if a battle seems to be lost. This is because the bodies are being teleported back to their tombs to be repaired. On the reverse, Necron weapons strip a target molecule by molecule, flaying the victim down to dust.
  • Call of Cthulhu. Several Cthulhu Mythos monsters will dissolve into liquid after they're killed, such as the Dark Young of Shub-Niggurath and the Mi-Go.
  • In the d20 Modern Urban Arcana setting, dead shadowkinds (i.e. creatures from the D&D world) are "reclaimed by shadow" (i.e. bodies are brought back to their home dimension) in 30 seconds tops, except for heroic shadowkinds who fades in between 2 to 5 hours.
  • Some monsters in Dungeons & Dragons are noted for this, including most elementals, genies (in editions where they're not already elementals), incorporeal creatures, oozes, and certain types of undead like vampires.

    Video Games 
  • Virtually every video game where you destroy and/or kill enemies has them vanish a short time after being killed. This is largely due to programming and performance issues, plus piled up corpses would A) be disturbing for younger audiences, and B) get in the way of characters that can't jump or RTS units that can't just walk over the artillery riddled tank. Only aversions, subversions, and extraordinary genre examples or types of fade outs (smoke, liquid, etc.) should be noted here. Similarly, many games have your character "jump offscreen" whenever they die. The most famous example is Mario.

  • Kingdom Hearts:
  • Diablo averts the trope: not only do corpses stay behind, the bodies of acid/poison spitters can continue to damage you if you stand on them.
    • In the sequels, there are certain techniques that destroy bodies, which is important because some enemy summoners can resurrect them.
    • Some enemies (like the Maw Beasts in Diablo II) eat and spit corpses on you.
  • In the Resident Evil series, the Plaga parasites cause the host's body to break down chemically upon death, meaning it dissolves soon after it hits the ground. The C-Virus has a similar effect, except the corpse ignites to cinders due to the heat buildup typical of the T-Veronica virus that was used to create the C-Virus.
    • The remake of Resident Evil for Nintendo GameCube pretended to avert this to give you a nasty surprise. Any zombie killed remains behind, unless you burn the corpse or destroy the head. Later on it turns out they're Not Quite Dead; about an hour after killing a zombie it gets up and starts running around as the more powerful and deadly Crimson Head. Other enemies play it completely straight and vanish once you leave the room.
  • In Dragon's Dogma, the corpses of non-human enemies rot if you left them for a while, large enemies would decay and melt into a pile of bones. Corpses of humanoid enemies disappear instead of rotting however. The Dark Arisen expansion turns this as a gameplay mechanic, the corpses of enemies in Bitterblack Isles rot into piles of remains which stay on screen, and they allure various Necrophagus Creatures, including Death himself.
  • In Crysis, the final function of the nanosuit involves completely incinerating itself and the downed user (your character or one of his similarly-equipped Red Shirt colleagues) from the inside out to assure enemy forces aren't able to capture information from their corpse. Nifty. The Aliens do this too, their machines always self-destruct.
  • Doom:
    • Averted in the first two games, where corpses remain as 2D textures, but played straight in the Game Boy Advance ports, due to the performance reasons listed above.
    • Played straight in Doom³, for the performance reasons listed above. Power gamers, annoyed that their rigs weren't being used to their full potential, rapidly modded the game to force bodies to stay put.
      • Only demons burn away when they die. Zombies are left behind, unless you splatter them. Then they’ll disappear.
  • Averted in Primal. Corpses remain permanently, unless Jen is killed before passing the next Checkpoint. Then the corpse vanishes when its monster is respawned. There aren't enough monsters per area create an overload of corpses. Corpses also have energy for Scree to drain and may contain objects necessary to continue.
  • Oddly, this happened more often as the Tomb Raider series went on, despite the technical progress; in 1 and 2, enemies pretty much never disappear, 3 had them disappear after you had turned away for a little while, in The Last Revelation and every subsequent game corpses always disappear right in front of your eyes after a few seconds. However, Underworld has been confirmed to be averting this.
  • In Ōkami and Ōkamiden, your enemies turn into flowers when you kill them. Instead of spurting blood, they will literally shoot pure flowers from their veins. Issun explains this in the first game as "When a demon is exorcised, the gods power can return, and nature thrives." This doesn't explain how the flowers the Demons leave behind disappear too.
  • Since Shadow of the Colossus only has 16 enemies anyway, and they're too spread out to risk piling up, the corpses of killed Colossi remain throughout the whole game, and you can even have flashback-styled fights with ones you've already killed. The small creatures, however, such as lizards, disappear after you kill them.
  • Both played straight and averted in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. When killed, the elite FROG soldiers immediately dissolve into dust. However, when a normal soldier is killed, his body remains and must be disposed of to keep other soldiers from discovering it.
  • Spaceship wrecks in EVE Online last for about two hours before vanishing.
  • Baldur's Gate averts this trope. Everything you kill lies there dead for the rest of the game, unless you killed it in some way that doesn't leave a body (e.g. vaporizing zombies with your enchanted mace).
  • Golden Axe is possibly the oldest game that doesn't do this: in the arcade version, every enemy you defeat fades to gray and remains on the floor like that. In most ports, however, the enemies do disappear, probably because of memory constraints.
  • The first few Fallout games averted this in that corpses tended to stick around for several days unless the player managed to obliterate their opponent with certain energy weapons. After the corpses decay/presumably are eaten a pool of blood remains on the spot. Generally the blood pools disappeared after some days but those that did not sometimes hid useful items.
    • In the Anchorage Reclamation simulation in the Fallout 3 DLC Operation: Anchorage, corpses disappear in blue static a few seconds after death, preventing the player from looting bodies.
    • During the ambush at the end of the Lonesome Road DLC in Fallout: New Vegas, the Marked Men always melt into goo after being killed (as when killed with a plasma weapon), to prevent memory overusage from too many corpses in the room.
  • In Total Annihilation, destroyed units leave behind beaten shape of themselves, blocking way for other units and fire. Fortunately, they are easy to destroy. Or they can be recycled for resources, but this takes a lot more time.
  • Averted in Dawn of War, partially because the Necrons can re-use their corpses.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: Mostly played straight, save for two instances:
      • Redeads. When you kill one, it doesn't vanish into flame like every other enemy, it just sort of crumples. This gets especially creepy when now, every other Redead in the area will hobble over to their dead comrade, probably to eat them. Or mourn for them, which is strangely also a horrifying concept. If you remain for a while, however, the Redead's body will seemingly sort of... melt away.
      • King Dodongo is the only boss whose body remains after the fight, as he rolled into the lava pit in the center of the room and his corpse got stuck inside the cooled lava. It's still there if you return to the Dodongo Caverns as an adult seven years later In-Universe.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask: The Garo Ninjas, seemingly by their own unknown Badass Creed, are required to ensure that they leave no body behind. Common Garo Robes solve this by setting themselves aflame while the more hardcore mini-boss, Garo Master, decides not to take any risks, pulls out a bomb and blows his failing body to dust.
      Garo Master: Die I shall, leaving no corpse. That is the law of us Garo.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild:
      • Defeated enemies vanish in a burst of purple smoke while slain animals disappear in a puff of dust, in both cases only leaving behind their various Organ Drops.
      • The Monks in the shrines disintegrate into green particles, clothes and all, after Link has solved their puzzles and obtained their soul orb. Implicitly, they have fulfilled their duty and are now ready to move on.
      • Downplayed with Yiga enemies, who do not appear to die when defeated and instead teleport away, leaving behind their weapon, Rupees, and bananas.
      • This is subverted only by horses, who ragdoll onto the ground upon death and only vanish after a while. In a game where every other creature disappears, seeing your once-companion in a lifeless state like this is rather disquieting.
  • No More Heroes. In the English/uncensored version, the enemies, after being cutting in half, while stay for a few seconds before disappearing, giving enough time for blood geysers to erupt, where as in the Japanese/censored version, they just turn into dust right away. This is noticeable for the bosses. In America, the bosses won't disappear after dying. They'll just sit there, gruesomely dead, where as in the Japan, the bodies will turn to dust when needed. Special notice goes to Holly Summers, whose head gets blown off. In America, the head is gone and you bury her. In Japan, well, it's like in the cartoons where the character has black all over their face. And you still bury her.
  • Giants: Citizen Kabuto handwaves this trope by revealing that the planet you're on is host to an extremely ravenous race of scavengers who live underground, constantly awaiting fresh meat: Killing enemies greets you with the sight of hundreds of them popping up all around the newly formed corpse and rapidly devouring it before vanishing back underground, leaving only a bloodstain and a power-up.
  • Averted in Thief: The Dark Project and its sequels, which all involved hiding bodies (corpses or unconscious foes) to avoid alerting guards and other traffic (and inspired the body-disposal game mechanic of No One Lives Forever, above). With rare exceptions, such as haunts and fire elementals, all kills in Thief leave a corpse and a liability.
  • In Minecraft, all mobs explode into a puff of smoke when killed.
  • Played particularly bizarrely in The Conduit, where the enemies visibly dissolve or incinerate shortly after death — something that obviously should have an in-universe reason, as opposed to just disappearing because of engine limitations — but no-one bothers to comment it.
  • Nonhuman enemies in Final Fantasy X collapse into pyreflies (supernatural firefly-like insects) when slain. This is because they're the souls of people not given proper burial rites. Machines explode, but their parts and human enemies are subject to Everything Fades.
  • Subverted in Vagrant Story. On the island of Lea Monde, where the main game takes place, everything does fade as part of the black magic infiltrating every part of the ruins. In the prologue to the game, which does not take place on Lea Monde, the bodies of enemies do not disappear.
  • Averted in Far Cry 2, corpses tend to stick around until you leave the area far behind; then the area resets, removing corpses, replenishing supplies and guards, etc. The most obvious handwave is that the next patrol comes by, cleans up, and calls in reinforcements to restock the place, though you never see this happening. The game would quickly become super easy if everything you destroyed stayed destroyed.
  • When Samus dies in the original Metroid she explodes into pieces. In most other games in the franchise a game over shows this happening to her Powered Armor. In Metroid Prime Samus' plasma beam is powerful enough to completely vaporize enemies.
  • Zig-zagged in Parasite Eve 2. Monsters melt into evaporating puddles of goo whenever you kill them, but in the last part of the game, the stage becomes populated with killer cyborgs, and their bodies do not disappear, even if you leave the room and come back later.
  • A weapon in Team Fortress 2, a knife called "Your Eternal Reward," allows a Spy to backstab someone, cause their corpse to silently vanish, then immediately assume the victim's appearance, thus blending in near-perfectly with enemies who are left unaware that their real teammate is dead.
    • The 'futuristic space gun' weapons available to the Soldier, Pyro, and Engineer either incinerate or disintegrate enemies on death, leaving behind no remains (the effect is very similar to Half-Life 2's AR2 secondary fire). Unlike the Spy's knife, these are very loud and visibly obvious weapons, and are also shown in the kill feed.
  • Due to censorship, this is cranked up to eleven in the Australian version of Left 4 Dead 2, with bodies often disappearing before they even hit the ground.
  • Both averted and played straight in the Unreal series, which is normally powered by the sheer momentum of its Ludicrous Gibs, but has "gore settings" that can be adjusted all the way down to "bodies are indestructible and digitally disintegrate when killed."
  • Tank and vehicle hulls in Company of Heroes stick around a good long while if they're not hit by more explosions or crushed by heavy tanks, and actually present cover for infantry to use. The Panzer Elite can use repair vehicles to get any Axis tanks back in action so long as the hull remains mostly intact too. Infantry also tend to take a while to fade, and can be 'rescued' by Medics from a Bunker to form a new squad.
  • Destroy All Humans! gives us the disintegrator ray and the Ion Detonator.
  • Averted in Dragon Age: Origins, once you kill someone/something their corpse/skeleton will lay in the place you killed them for the rest of the game. Except for Abominations, they explode after you kill them, and Rage Demons and Shades, they disappear somewhere. Played straight in Dragon Age II, though.
  • Whenever someone dies in The Sims, they transforms into an urn (if inside) or a tombstone (if outside). As long as the urn/tombstone isn't deleted, the sim's ghost will occasionally came around at night. Some pre-made lots come with tombstones and are thus already haunted.
  • In Alan Wake, the Taken dissolve when they're killed. Alan gets freaked out by it.
  • This is common with character deaths in earlier Final Fantasy titles, such as with the deaths of Scott and Josef in Final Fantasy II and also with Galuf in Final Fantasy V.
  • Averted in Counter-Strike, as bodies of players who are killed remain on the map for the remainder of the map, and in the Counter-Strike Source are ragdolled and can be moved around by explosions.
  • Pikmin: Mostly averted in the games, since collecting dead creatures' bodies is the primary way to grow new Pikmin. The trope is somewhat both lampshaded and justified in the second game's Piklopedia entry for one of the bosses that does actually crumple to dust upon defeat, where Olimar notes how frustrating it is to have no study samples from that family of creatures due to its mysterious self-destruction upon death. Played straight to a very creepy effect in the Final Landing site Formidable Oak in Pikmin 3, where every defeated enemy collapse into puddles of golden liquid that swiftly evaporate.
  • One of the abilities the players can gain in Dishonored is "Shadow Kill", which disintegrates the corpses of people you kill. The game also plays the trope straight in the usual way, in that bodies disappear after a while - which is noteworthy because hiding bodies is an important part of gameplay when playing stealthily. It can become extremely unnerving when a carefully-hidden unconscious body is suddenly gone on a subsequent visit to its hiding place, leaving the player wondering if someone found the body and woke that person up, or questioning their memory of hiding a body there in the first place.
  • It's not at all unusual for slain enemies in NetHack to leave a corpse; it will rot over time but not vanish immediately and may have a variety of uses, though not all of them are necessarily always safe.
  • In Onimusha games, whenever you slay a Genma the corpse will dissolve almost instantly, leaving souls behind. Enemies killed with a Issen Counterattack will usually fade away faster. Bosses tend to last a bit longer, usually long enough for a cutscene to play, after which you can absorb the usually generous amount of souls from them.
  • Justified in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and its sequels, as most of your enemies are made of sand. This doesn't stop Shahdee (who appears to be a normal human) from vanishing in a flash of light after her defeat.
  • Averted and played straight in Marathon. Most of the Pfhor varieties and three of their slave races (the Lookers, Wasps and Hulks) leave corpses, as do the automated defense drones and humans. The exceptions are the S'pht, which dissolve when killed, and in the first game, the Pfhor Juggernauts, which explode with incredible force that vaporizes them (and does a lot of damage to anyone not on the far side of a wall). Marathon 2 versions apparently leave remains though.
  • In Sonic Lost World, when Zazz, Zomom, Master Zik, and Zeena were defeated in Lava Mountain, they exploded in a puff of smoke.
  • In The World Ends with You, whenever somebody in the Underground is Erased, they dissolve as a cloud of visible static. Accordingly, the fact that you do find the body of Sho Minamimoto has caused a whole forest of Epileptic Trees on whether that character actually died or not.
  • In the original Alone in the Dark trilogy, defeated monsters dissolve into bubbles(or maybe it's 3D smoke).
  • In Undertale, monsters disintegrate into dust when they die. Sometimes, dust can be found on items, suggesting that if it didn't belong to a monster that had died, it belonged to someone who killed a monster. In a No Mercy-run, Papyrus will comment on your dusty state.
  • The Ninja Gaiden reboot has defeated enemies melt into bloody ooze.
  • Minecraft: Story Mode:
    • Mobs and animals vanish upon death and leave behind their drop the same way they do in Minecraft proper.
    • Subverted with humans and the Wither Storm, as when it's finally killed in the end, its remains fall to the ground. It also leaves a unique black Nether Star behind.
  • In Halo, this is a regular hazard with human space travel. Even when a slipspace drive is offline, nearby items and people run the risk of simply disappearing. And when the drive is active, ships have a chance of going into slipspace and never returning.
  • The Haunted Ruins: Defeated enemies pop, with a popping sound, and turns into a puff of white smoke that fades away.
  • In Paladins, Lex's ultimate instantly kills and vaporizes enemies out of existence if they are sufficiently wounded. Enemies that aren't sufficiently wounded will just take some damage and be slowed.
  • In The Elder Scrolls series, this is the case for some vampire bloodlines. When slain, their bodies will turn to ash, which can then be collected as a valuable alchemical ingredient. This ash can even be collected off of some vampires who do leave a body behind.
  • Nexus Clash explains this trope with Death Servitors employed by the local death deity to gather player-character corpses and carry them away from the battlefield. Lich necromancers can bribe the servitors to deliver the corpses to themselves instead.
  • Phantom Brave averts this with defeated units simply keeling over on the ground, meaning that you have to manually destroy the body of fallen enemies to get them out of the way. Of course, this means you can revive your units mid-fight, alongside any neutral units.
  • The Outsider aliens from XCOM: Enemy Unknown are a Justified Trope (being made of Hard Light) as well as a Played for Drama example: no body, no Alien Autopsy.
  • If the Final Boss of Iji is allowed to charge his ultimate attack, a Wave-Motion Gun normally mounted on spaceships, he'll stomp the ground to pop you into the air before firing. If this hits, Iji's injury cry is suddenly cut short as she's hit with a weapon used to strip the atmosphere from planets, leaving nothing behind. The boss music even stops to emphasize how over the fight really is.

    Visual Novels 
  • Fate Series: Servants dissolve into energy when they die.
  • Spirit Hunter: NG:
    • In the case of the Urashima Woman, her body - alongside the bodies of various fetuses that the murderer disposed of as well - couldn't be found by the police. It seems to imply that a person's physical body disappears when they turn into a spirit.
    • In some of the Bad Ends where Akira's companions die, their bodies will disappear after Akira finds it for the first time, causing him to question whether what he saw actually happened or not.

    Web Animation 
  • DEATH BATTLE!: In this show, some combatants end up suffering this fate. For a few of these combatants, it's justified due to having a Healing Factor and/or the ability to regenerate From a Single Cell.
    • Dig Dug impales and inflates Bomberman, causing him to drop his Super Bomb and get blown to ashes with it.
    • Vegeta vaporizes Shadow into smoke using Final Flash when his Golden Super Mode wears off.
    • As if ripping his body in half and absorbing his soul wasn't enough, Shao Kahn tries out his new Psycho Power by obliterating what remains of M. Bison's corpse.
    • Mortal Kombat!Raiden suffers a similar fate; the lower half of his body is obliterated by a single strike from Mjolnir, and his upper half is thrown into the sun by Thor and incinerated.
    • After Goku and Superman release their most powerful punches, the combined force of the impact explodes the Earth, taking everyone on it with the blast, and also disintegrates Goku, leaving only his boot surviving the destruction.
    • The end of the battle between Ryu Hayabusa and Strider Hiryu has Strider sending an Option C drone to drop bombs on Ryu, destroying his corpse.
    • At the end of the Pokémon Battle Royale, Blastoise starts eating Venusaur's flower. The rest of its body was presumably destroyed by Charizard's fire
    • After blowing Sektor up, Fulgore transforms his body to make machine guns blow up the remains of his body.
    • Godzilla vs Gamera ends with Gamera self destructing while Godzilla blows a hole in him with his Red Spiral breath.
    • Ryu Vs Scorpion: Scorpion's hellfire leaves nothing but a pile of Ryu's ashes in its wake.
    • Kirby Vs Majin Buu: It's noted that this is really the only way Buu can be killed, down the cellular level. It ends with Kirby blasting Kid Buu into the sun with Buu's very own Planet Burst attack.
    • Iron Man vs. Lex Luthor: Stark hoists Luthor out of the Warsuit and proceeds to disintegrate him with the Unibeam.
    • Darth Vader's suit and body were completely destroyed when Doctor Doom finished the fight by dropping him into a river of lava.
    • While Yang doesn't directly cause this, Tifa's corpse disappears into The Lifestream after she kills her.
    • Charizard and Red are completely vaporized by WarGreymon's Terra Force.
    • Bayonetta explodes in a bout of Ludicrous Gibs after being impaled with Dante's Lucifer blades.
    • Tracer's Pulse Bomb made sure there was nothing remaining of Scout, except for Archimedes and his hat.
    • In traditional Scott Pilgrim fashion, Ramona Flowers explodes into coins after being crushed under an arcade game, leaving behind only a pool of blood.
    • The heat from Natsu's lightning magic absolutely incinerates Portgas' body.
    • A massive Smokey Bear completely crushes McGruff the Crime Dog.
    • Getting hit by Six Paths: Ultra Big Ball Rasenshuriken AND a Tailed Beast Bomb at the same time can do this to you. Ichigo learned that the hard way.
    • Due to getting being hit by one of Kenshiro's Hokuto Shinken lethal techniques, Jotaro Kujo swells up before exploding into nothing but a puddle of blood shortly after.
    • Crash Bandicoot vs. Spyro the Dragon: Being hit by Spyro's Aether breath, which is capable of smashing atoms on the molecular level causes this to happen to Crash and Aku Aku.
    • Carnage had a powerful enough Healing Factor that could restore him from a pile of Ludicrous Gibs, but wasn't enough against vaporization by nuclear bomb-level amounts of heat that Lucy's Vectors could produce.
    • Thanos managed to snap away Darkseid with the Infinity Gaunlet. However, all he did was to snap away one of his avatars, allowing Darkseid to just make a new one.
    • Both Volnutt and Classic Mega Man are sucked into the black hole created by the beams of all the Mega Men. X and Starforce Mega Man are both vaporized by Megaman.EXE.
    • King Dedede sticks a Gordo up Wario's butt, causing the latter's Planet-busting Waft to explode within him.
    • The Dragonzord is hit by Mechagodzilla's Absolute Zero Cannon, turning into ice which shatters into dust.
    • Aang in the Avatar State vaporizes Edward Elric with a combined Elemental attack that leaves behind a black pile.
    • This fate happens to Lobo when Ghost Rider (with Zarathos in control) proceeds to burn all his clones with hellfire, completely decimating all of his bodies, leaving behind his ghost. Said ghost then gets his soul be hit with the Penance Stare and then eaten.
    • The Mask pulls out a giant bomb which detonates and reduces himself and Deadpool to dust which is blown away in the wind. The Mask reveals to be okay immediately after though thanks to Toon Physics. Deadpool on the other hand, is legit dead... until The Mask tricks Wiz and Boomstick into reviving him.
    • Static overcharges Miles, launches him skyward with ball lightning, and blows him up.
    • Leonardo explodes after Jason splits him in half.
    • Genos blows himself up, leaving only his head behind which War Machine crushes.
    • Booster Gold's Deadly Force Field crushes Cable completely, including his blood.
    • Danny Phantom's Ecto Beams disintergate Jake Long's body into ash, leaving Jake Long as a spirit whom he quickly captures in his thermos.
    • After Beerus eviscerates Sailor Galaxia's torso with a super powered beam, he sends her remaining limbs hurtling towards the black hole that they had created when their epic clash accidentally collapsed the sun.
    • Shoto Todoroki freezes Zuko's body completely, then shatters it and the glacier he's trapped in, reducing the Fire Lord into nothing.
    • Wally West punches Sonic so hard that it blows Sonic up and reduces him to pixels.
    • At the start of The Seven Battle Royale, A-Train splatters The Deep completely.
    • Crona and Ragnarok vaporize Venom completely with Scream Resonance.
    • Rock Lee ends up turning into dust as a side-effect of using the eighth gate of death, with Sanji only having lost a leg.
    • Broly does this to the Hulk, destroying reality around them several times to eventually come back to him holding the Hulk's dismembered hands which then dissipate into dust. The host even explains this was the only way to permanently kill the Hulk as he could regenerate otherwise.
    • King Mickey vaporizes Yoda with Ultima.
    • Ryūko and Senketsu are totally vaporized by Super Shadow's Chaos Blast.
    • Heihachi sends Geese Howard into a volcano where Geese gets burnt into nothingness in said lava.
    • Mikasa is completely blown up by Blake flinging one of her own Thunder Spears back at her.
    • Po's Chi Dragon eats Iron Fist, causing him to dissolve.
    • Star Butterfly vaporizes Steven Universe with a laser beam.
    • Although Cloud doesn't cause this directly in his rematch with Link, Link's body fades away after being sliced in half. With that being said, this is merely a visual effect, as the two halves of Link's corpse land in front of Cloud immediately afterwards, averting this trope.
    • Reverse-Flash throws Goku Black into the Sun, completely incinerating him. Even before that, Thawne does this to one of the past Blacks by vibrating his molecules to the point he no longer exist at the atomic level. One of the past Thawnes suffers this when Black uses the Black Kamekameha to incinerate him.
    • Alucard is reduced to nothing more than a rain of blood droplets via a barrage of punches from Dio's stand, The World.
    • Jinx's Super Mega Death Rocket completely obliterates Harley Quinn, leaving behind only her head.

  • RWBY:
    • The Creatures of Grimm dissolve into black smoke upon death, making it very difficult to learn more about them. Grimm hunting trophies, such as those owned by Professor Port are always taxidermied replicas. In the White Trailer, Weiss fights an enormous animated suit of armour that dissmoves into snowflakes when she finally destroys it. This is a clue that the armour is being animated by Geist Grimm called Arma Gigas, artificially created by the head of the snowflake-themed Schnee family, Jacques.
    • During the Battle of Beacon, Cinder kills one character by burning them from the inside-out with an incendiary arrow. With a single touch of her fingers, Cinder instantly cremates their body, which turns to ash and billows away on the wind, leaving behind only the deceased's armour and weapons. The character Cinder kills is Pyrrha; in Volume 4, the surviving metal from her circlet and weapons is incorporated into Jaune's own armour and weapons as a Tragic Keepsake.
    • During Volume 8, Ironwood starts wielding a massive laser-gun that is so powerful it can destroy anything in its path, including vapourising human bodies. While Jacques is in prison, Ironwood fires the gun at the cell, destroying the cell and leaving behind no trace of Jacques' body.
    • During Volume 8, an unusual Grimm is killed in battle, unexpectedly leaving behind a body. This shakes the heroes to their core; when Ruby and Yang discuss the implications, they are both reduced to tears. The Hound is an experimental Grimm created from a Silver-Eyed Warrior. Upon death, the Grimm body dissolves, but a human skeleton is left behind. Ruby and Yang are devastated by the realisation that Salem wants Ruby alive, despite historically killing Silver-Eyed Warriors, because she must have learned how to create these hybrids from their own silver-eyed mother, who died years ago under mysterious circumstances.

  • Girl Genius: Getting stabbed with a Nullabist knife will cause the victim to disolve and their remains be reduced to nothing but fine dust within half an hour.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Why illusions have to fall over the wall.
    • The Demon-Roaches disappear when killed, as seen in this strip, since they are extraplanar creatures from the Abysses.
    • Vampires that are killed turn to their Gaseous Form, or to ashes if they are burned under the sun. At the Godsmoot, several destroyed vampires turn to smoke, preventing corpses from piling around Roy. Later lampshaded by Elan:
      Elan: On the plus side, it's nice to kill something that cleans up after itself.
  • In Erfworld the bodies of the dead, if not moved or uncroaked, disappear at the beginning of their side's turn.
  • In Homestuck, defeating an enemy game construct causes it to turn into an amount of grist proportionate to the difficulty of the enemy. Grist takes the form of hexagonal blocks, cubes, ovals or diamonds, depending on the type. It functions as a usable material for building and alchemizing objects. This rule does not apply to player characters or characters in the game which are not necessarily intended as enemies, such as agents.
  • Witch's constructs in Whither turn into paper when they die, because that's what they are.

    Web Original 
  • In Darwin's Soldiers, Lockdown has the power to turn people or objects into anti-energy. This causes them to instantly vaporize.
  • Dream: Par for the course with Minecraft, but in addition, when he kills any of the hunters Dream will often burn the loot the hunters have on them if he can't use any of it himself, leaving behind no trace of them.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time: In the final episode, Fern, after killing the Grass Demon, disintegrates into a bunch of grass, leaving behind a seedling that Finn plants amid the ruins of the treehouse.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Princess Yue's body vanishes shortly after she dies to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence.
  • Code Lyoko:
    • The monsters explode when killed, and whatever debris they left behind quickly vanish. There is one enemy that does this a little differently. Creepers don't just explode, but also partially melt before vanishing completely.
    • The heroes also disappear when "devirtualized". Of course, this is inside a virtual world and overlaps with Everything Fades.
    • Similarly, in The Legend of Korra, once Korra defeats the combined Vaatu and Unalaq, their giant body dissolves into light and Unalaq's original body is completely gone (Vaatu is also gone, but still alive as he still has Complete Immortality).
  • Justified in The Dragon Prince. Rayla, Ezran and Callum fight against a giant leech, which then dissolves. Then it turns out that he was just an illusion.
  • Horseland: In the "Mosey" episode, Sarah's old cat Mosey has seen better days, and gets fatally hit by a passing car without warning. Knowing he has barely over a day left to live when Sarah watches over him, Mosey decides to take a stroll through the big snowstorm in his final moments because he can't bring himself to let Sarah see him dead once she wakes up. The instant he leaves and Sarah awakens, she is shocked to see that Mosey has mysteriously disappeared and spends the whole evening riding through the snowstorm on Scarlet until she sees Mosey's vanishing footprints and comes to the conclusion he is gone and not coming back, just before Bailey and Aztec arrive to take her back to the stables.
  • In Justice League, a lot of the beasties from the episode "The Terror Beyond" didn't leave bodies when destroyed, in many cases because they were incredibly squishy. The giant-claw-whale-monster-thing that kills Solomon Grundy dissolves into acid when killed, for some reason.
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, once hit with a magic energy wave representing his polar opposite, King Sombra is vaporized.
  • Happens to Candace at the end of the Phineas and Ferb episode "The Curse of Candace".
    Phineas: Ferb, we're gonna need a dustpan and some glue.
  • In The Smurfs (1981) cartoon special "The Smurfic Games", Gargamel's cousin Argus disappears when he dies, and so also does his castle before the evil wizard tries to do anything with it.
  • Steven Universe. When a Gem's body is very badly damaged, they will release their physical form (usually referred to as "poofing"), and retreat into their gemstone to regenerate. This looks like they explode into a cloud of dust, but none of the dust actually lingers.
  • When Jaga dies in the first episode of the original ThunderCats, his body turns to dust instantly, leaving only his empty clothes. A later episode reveals that he is actually trapped in another dimension.

    Real Life 
  • Happens to many invertebrates when they die. Unless they have a shell, rigid exoskeleton or calcite support structure, they leave very little behind. This is the reason why most fossils tend to be those of vertebrates.
  • Because Muslim burial practices dictate that a body must be buried very quickly after death, it is very hard for militaries fighting in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan to get an accurate body count on many of their enemies, which may lead to a perception of this effect.
  • Good luck leaving a fossil behind in life-heavy areas like the woods. Within a week to a month, the body will be gone. The bones... take a little longer, but they won't last if not calcified.
  • In June 2016, a visitor to Yellowstone National Park strayed from the designated trail and fell into a geyser. His sister, who was with him, called for the authorities. Unfortunately, by the time they arrived and tried to recover his body, it had dissolved.
  • There are precious few, if any, bodies left on the RMS Titanic. Not only has soft tissue long been devoured by the creatures that dwell on the ocean floor, but the sheer amount of pressure from those depths have also accelerated the rate at which bones dissolve. The most anyone can find of the ship's victims is their shoes, which were made and treated in such a way that they could remain preserved even long after their owners sank with the ship.


Video Example(s):


Jafar's Destruction

Following his lamp being knocked into his own lava pit by Iago, Jafar meets his end in a disturbingly explosive fashion.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (14 votes)

Example of:

Main / SoulJar

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