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The series starts off with a character (usually the protagonist) living in a perfectly normal world. Perhaps the character doesn't like how life goes for them, or they find their world to be boring. Or maybe they don't mind their world at all. But then, a fatal incident (usually related to a vehicle) ends up killing the character. Then they find themselves in another world (usually) with a new, younger body. Perhaps there's a huge difference compared to their origin world, like magic. Or perhaps it's nearly identical to the origin world, but with some minor differences. Usually, the character still has memories from the origin world intact. There may also be a New Life in Another World Bonus, even if this extra perk is only the prior knowledge they take with them.

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Because one died on Earth, there is (usually) less emphasis on There's No Place Like Home with Earth being that home. Responsibility to family members and culture died when they did.

Subtrope of Reincarnation. See also Born-Again Immortality, though most works just focus on one alternate world instead of multiple worlds. A supertrope to Media Transmigration, where the character dies and reincarnates into a pre-existing character within a Show Within a Show. Contrast with Trapped in Another World, which doesn't involve death and retains the possibility that the character in question could return home (though most anime fans use the Japanese term isekai for both.)


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Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Even Dragon Ball:
  • In Drifters, dying warrior Shimazu Toyohisa finds himself transported to a corridor of doors, where he is sent through the nearest door to another world. There he meets other great warriors like him who have been transported as well, to be part of a group known as "Drifters."
  • In Evil Dragon Reincarnation, an ordinary salaryman is killed in a traffic accident is and becomes reincarnated as a powerful dragon. Deemed evil even though he's actually a kind and laid-back creature, he’s approached by all sorts of challengers seeking to slay him. Then one day he eats a tiny orb and magically gains a handsome human form, enabling him to become an adventurer.
  • In the final few episodes of Fullmetal Alchemist, Edward dies and gets sent across the Gate into 'our' Earth in 1916. He gets transported into the body of his Earth counterpart and only is able to go back when he accidentally dies.
  • Isekai Cheat Survival Meshi involves Ordinary High-School Student Yuu getting hit by a car and killed, en route to a camping trip he was eagerly anticipating. He wakes up in the middle of a forest, no idea where he is, and is ecstatic at being in a low-tech world, having to rough it and hunting his own meals. Considering he's a Supreme Chef, this isn't too hard...
  • In Jimi na Kensei wa Sore Demo Saikyou desu, Shirokuro Sansui dies because of a mistake and is teleported to a different world, where he receives 500 years of training in order to become “the Strongest.”
  • In Reincarnated As The Strongest Wand, Reiji is killed saving a little girl from a truck and is reincarnated in an alternate world as a magic wand. Because he can't do anything himself, he convinces a village girl to wield him and become a Magical Girl.
  • Reincarnation Of White Bear I Became The Legendary Guardian Deity Of The Sacred Forest: the protagonist loses his life while climbing a mountain, then is reincarnated into a fantasy world as a polar bear. Not only does he now possess Super Strength, he also possesses the mysterious ability to survive in a leafy forest rather than on the ice caps as a normal polar bear would.
  • In Vision of Escaflowne, Big Bad Emperor Dornkirk was originally a man from Earth (heavily implied to be Sir Isaac Newton) who, upon apparently dying on Earth, awoke to find himself healthy (if still quite elderly) on Gaea.
  • In Yu Yu Hakusho this is Kurama's backstory. He was once a legendary bandit fox demon but was severely injured. His soul then went to the human world where he became human. Now he's a Significant Green-Eyed Redhead character.

    Comic Books 
  • Captain Atom was killed at the end of the "Public Enemies" arc of Superman/Batman via nuclear explosion, and reformed himself in the WildStorm universe, which lead to the events of Captain Atom: Armageddon.
  • Doomsday Clock reveals that Doctor Manhattan resurrected The Comedian in a new body in The DCU after his death in Watchmen.
  • Reborn: Any living being - both humans and animals - that have ever died reincarnates in this fantasy realm in a different form that they used to be in life (though they still retain their memories) and its random from person to person: Bonnie was a old woman before being transformed to a tall and buxom blonde, while her father Tom (who had an average normal build) first appeared in this world as a 3-year old before growing up into a hulking warrior, while evil individuals in general are often turned into twisted monsters and mutants. What happens to them after they die in this plane is unknown, but judging from Estelle's death in the final issue, its implied they reincarnate again in another life.
  • The setting of Requiem Vampire Knight works like this: on dying, people find themselves in a new body in Resurrection depending on their crimes in life: Mass murderers (Vlad Tepes, Attilla The Hun, Maximilien Robespierre...) become vampires, rapists become centaurs, fundamentalists become werewolves... Most people who just existed become zombies, those who died unjustly (Holocaust victims are those we see the most of) become Lemures.
  • Shakara: After Shakara defeats the Big Bad once and for all in a Heroic Sacrifice, in the last panels an alien ship crashes down on a planet in another reality where a yellow Shakara emerges from the ashes.
  • Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? mixes this with And Your Reward Is Infancy: every time Bruce Wayne dies in one parallel universe, he is reborn as his own infant self in another, to become Batman all over again.

    Fan Fiction 
  • The Voltron: Legendary Defender fanfic in mathematics, two planes will cross once, or never meet sees Shiro get reincarnated into the body of his Golion counterpart Takashi "Quiet" Shirogane after the events of the episode "Blackout", waking up shortly before the Golion pilots return home to a post-World War III Earth.
  • In the Harry Potter/A Song of Ice and Fire crossover fic The Last Lion of House Reyne, Harry was reincarnated in Westeros as Harrion Reyne following his "death" in Deathly Hallows.
  • In A New Divide, during Harry's trip to King's Cross in the afterlife, he hears a strange wailing, then finds a small orb of blue light and upon touching it is reborn as the previously stillborn Seekerlet Skyshadow.
  • Reincarnation Can Suck has Harry Potter die and be reincarnated as Xander Harris. The plot kicks off when he's dragged back to Harry's world (courtesy of Dumbledore) to finish what Harry started.
  • The Swarm of War starts with the protagonist getting killed by a car. He ends up as the Overmind in the Warhammer 40000 universe.
  • In Yeah, Kunai are cool but have you had dessert?, the Self-Insert protagonist suffers 'death-by-car' and is reborn in Konoha.
  • Played for Horror in an old Pokémon fic from some time around Generation III or IV: A bunch of kids in a world where Pokémon is fictional decide to get Pokémon tattoos at a sleepover, and unbeknownst to them, this really pisses off the intelligent Pokémon from a world where they are the only inhabitants, who are somehow aware of the other world but not vice-versa. So their leader, Mew, decides the best course of action to take to punish these kids is to kill them in their sleep and arrange for them to be reincarnated in a third universe closer to that of the Pokémon canon, as Pokémon themselves... with them starting to be conscious while still in the egg. Thus, the next several chapters are from the point of view of a traumatized main character who wakes up to find herself trapped in a confined space (since her body hasn’t developed enough yet to break the eggshell) in total darkness (since her eyes haven’t developed yet) while unable to breathe yet not actually drowning (since she’s getting all her nutrients and oxygen from the yolk sac) all while having no idea how long this will last or what she did to deserve this (since she didn’t do anything, really) yet with the horrifying realization that she is not dreaming. When she finally hatches, it’s a relief, only for her to scream when she looks in the mirror and sees a Pokémon staring back. If anybody can recall the fic’s title, please add it to this example writeup.
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    Film 
  • Jean-Philippe is about a Johnny Hallyday fan who wakes up from a coma in a universe where Hallyday gave up on his singing career early on.
  • The protagonist of Pan's Labyrinth was a princess of The Underworld who snuck to Earth and eventually died before reincarnating as a human. The attempts to get her home end with her dying again but going back to the underworld.
  • Yesterday is about a guy who gets hit by a bus and wakes up in an alternate universe where The Beatles never existed.

    Literature 
  • Accomplishments of the Duke's Daughter: Iris Lana Armelia regains her Past-Life Memories as a Japanese accountant with the knowledge that she is the villainous rival of the otome game she played. And she's in the game's Good Ending climax where her fiancee Prince Edward publicly humiliates her and breaks off their engagement for the game's heroine. Iris leaves with as much dignity she can carry and enough sympathy to foster as she starts her new life as businesswoman.
  • Implied in Another World Reincarnation. Ren, the 10 year old protagonist, suddenly has the memories of a 30 year old researcher, who died in an explosion, manifest in her mind after she narrowly survives a carriage accident. She suspects she was that 30+ scientist, but is not certain, since she was raised as a girl her whole life and her Ren persona is the active and dominant one. She may have the researcher's memories, but not his traits.
  • Because I Reincarnated As A Succubus Ill Squeeze Out Milk: A teenage boy named Riichi is reincarnated as a succubus, which as a species is able to survive off of "man's life essence" (in other words, sperm). Riichi is straight, so he adamantly refuses, claiming he'd rather starve. Luckily for him, he can also survive off of cow's milk, and is given a superpowered cow to ease his burden.
  • Beware Of Chicken features a nameless protagonist who reincarnates into the body of Jin Rou in the world of a Spirit Cultivation Genre. Unfortunately for him, the city-slicker body-jumper finds life in the sects too violent and stressful for him so he quits and becomes a farmer.
  • In The Brothers Lionheart, a boy dies of tuberculosis and finds himself reincarnated in the fairytale land his brother used to tell him stories about.
  • In Didn't I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?, Kurihara Misato saves someone from being hit by a truck, only to be killed herself. Upon meeting the god set to reincarnate her into a magical world, Misato asks to be an average person, as being top-tier academically and athletically ostracized her from her peers and made her a target of exploitation by adults. However, the god decided that she would be mathematically average in terms of all lifeforms rather than just among humans like she intended, meaning she is half as powerful as an Elder Dragon. Thus Misato, reborn as the noble girl Adele von Ascham (a low-ranking noble family apparently being exactly in the middle of societal hierarchy, thus "average"), tries to live as normal as possible despite being 6,800 times more powerful than a typical human.
  • Gunota ga Mahou Sekai ni Tensei Shitara: Lute reincarnates in a new world with memories of his life in modern Japan. There's evidence he's not alone. And later averted, as it turns out the world that Youta reincarnated into is not another world, but rather, the future of our world, and he has no idea at all.
  • In The Hero And His Elf Bride Open A Pizza Parlor In Another World, the protagonist passes away during a pizza delivery gig, and reincarnated into another world where he is given a choice - he can become a wizard, a swordsman, or simply save the world with pizza. Before he can decide, the first two options are snatched up by other people, and he's left to manage a pizza parlor, assisted by the elfen daughter of a demon lord.
  • Isekai Onsen Ni Tensai Shita Ore No Kounou Ga Tondemosugiru has an unusual twist on this - the main character is reincarnated as an onsen (a hot spring).
  • Invoked in I am the Evil Lord of an Intergalactic Empire when a being calling himself The Guide shows up at the protagonist's deathbed, shows the protagonist how his ex just saw him as another wallet, never loved him, had a daughter that may not even be his, just to milk him for child-support payments and happily mocking him to the guy she was cheating with. After that little rage-invoking show is over, The Guide presents the protagonist a set of alternate worlds where he can get a second chance at life, secretly planning to see the protagonist fall into despair again. The protagonist takes him up on the offer and does indeed start to enjoy this new life when he becomes a Count and planet lord at age 5.
  • In Another World with My Smartphone: Touya Mochizuki is accidentally killed by God, who as a way to make up for it gives him the chance to live in a new world full of magic, and letting him take his smartphone fully functional with him (doing everything to make his existence as pleasing as possible).
  • Knight's & Magic has a Humongous Mecha Otaku who after getting killed in a traffic accident is reincarnated as a (literal) Adorably Precocious Child in a medieval fantasy world ...with Magitek-powered mecha (called Silhouette Knights). Of course he resolves to become not just a pilot, but also to revolutionize Silhouette Knight design to build his own Ace Custom; it helps that as a modern-day human, he was a workaholic, highly-efficient programmer, which translates as him becoming a Badass Bookworm Child Prodigy.
  • Kono Subarashii Sekaini Shukufuku O! is a parody of this trope, right down to parodying Mushoku Tensei below. The protagonist, Kazuma meets an embarrassing demise from saving a girl from a farm tractor that he thought was a truck and dies of shock. Kazuma gets a choice to go to heaven or be reincarnated in a world with his current body; he chooses the latter along with Aqua. In addition, he's not the only one to be reincarnated in that world.
  • A Lily Blooms In Another World is a Light Novel about Miyako, an overworked wage slave who is reincarnated as the protagonist of her favorite otome game, Drop Fantasia. But rather than pursue the original Love Interest of the game, her heart is drawn to her favorite character, Fuuka Hamilton— the original villainess of the game!
  • Mushoku Tensei starts off with an Otaku NEET getting thrown out on the street by his sibling. He then witnesses three teenagers about to be run down by a truck. He successfully saves them, but at the cost of his life. He then reincarnates in a high fantasy world as Rudeus Grayant.
  • This is the main plot of My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!, where an unnamed tomboyish otaku reincarnates into the role of a Spoiled Brat rival from an otome game she was playing before she died. Since the character dies or ends up exiled in every route she plays a role in, she takes precautions to try and avoid her miserable fate. Of course, she's also an idiot, so none of her plans ever go anywhere and she instead ends up stealing the heroine role, along with winning the affection of all four of the love interests, the other two rivals, and the heroine herself by a combination of sheer dumb luck and genuine kindness. The series is also rather atypical in that it actually shows the effects her death had on Earth, with a side chapter focusing on her best friend Atsuko grieving over her loss. And for an extra twist, Atsuko also reincarnates into the game as one of the aforementioned rivals.
  • In Master-Mind of Mars, Ulysses S. Paxton ends up on Mars after dying in the trenches in World War I.
  • Prince On A White Horse by Tanith Lee is about a Knight in Shining Armor on a Quest for Identity; he can't remember his past before the opening scene of the novel. In the end, he regains his memories and learns that he is an example of this trope, having lived a full life in our world before dying and being reincarnated as the knight.
  • Reborn As A Vending Machine I Now Wander The Dungeon is about a vending machine-obsessed man who is crushed by one as he tries to protect it from crashing to the ground. Reincarnated as a vending machine in a fantasy world, he plans to see what the world has to offer, but is unable to move or talk due to his new status. Luckily, an adventurer agrees to carry him around on her back.
  • Re:Monster centers around the protagonist reincarnating into a goblin tribe, and follows his ascension into bigger, badder monsters as he becomes a strong overlord.
  • Ren Zha Fan Pai Zi Jiu Xi Tong anti-fan Shen Yuan dies from food poisoning after intensely ranting about the terrible end of the web novel he loved and hate-read. He then wakes as a character in said "Proud Immortal Demon Way"....as its Starter Villain Peak Lord Shen Qingqiu who dies as a human stick at the hands of Wish Fulfillment Villain Protagonist Luo Binghe. The plot revolves around Shen Yuan's attempts to avoid this fate by endearing himself to young and innocent Luo Binghe and the resulting consequences.
    • Later it's revealed the author of "Proud Immortal Demon Way" also reincarnated after accidentally electrocuting himself as minor character Shang Qinghua.
  • The Saga of Tanya the Evil: Rather than being a luckless 20 something Hikkimori with a good heart deep inside in order to save the world, the one who's being reincarnated is a Japanese Salaryman from a Human Resources department who favors efficiency above all else, heartlessly fires people...and gets pushed into a train by one of those people for his troubles. Reincarnating as a young girl in a magical Fantasy Counterpart Culture of early 1920's Europe was supposed to be a punishment by Being X for not only being a bastard, but also mouthing off God. Even as a child, Tanya is a horrible monster on the battlefield and set up the indirect deaths of two noblemen for not following orders and mouthing off to her.
  • So I'm a Spider, So What?: After a Hero and Demon King use a powerful magic that rips through dimensions and blows up her entire classroom, a quiet lonely girl finds herself reincarnated into their fantasy world... as a spider. Now she has to use all her wits to try and survive this world's deadliest labyrinth. Subverted, as she never really reincarnated: she was essentially an Amnesiac Goddess, and her memories linked up with one of the students caught in the explosion. Played straight with the other students who reincarnated, though.
  • In A Symphony of Eternity, it's heavily implied that one of it's main protagonists Admiral Metternich travels between worlds each time he goes to sleep.
  • That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, as the name might imply, is all about this. The twist in the setting is that the mysterious Voice of the World interprets the main character's dying thoughts on Earth rather literally, concluding that he should be reincarnated as a slime.
  • Trapped in a Dating Sim: The World of Otome Games is Tough for Mobs: The protagonist is a salaryman who dies of exhaustion after being blackmailed into a 48-hour straight gaming session to clear an otome game for his selfish younger sister. He is then reincarnated into the game's world as a background extra or "mob character." Recovering his memory of his past life after some ten odd years, he goes about trying to eke out a peaceful life for himself in a matriarchal society where men are mostly only seen as good for either being trophy husbands or fodder to die in wars. Later on he runs into Marie, who happens to be the reincarnation of his younger sister, but doesn't discover that until after she attempts to manipulate the events of the game into her favor.
  • Played with in Trash of the Count's Family, where it's not clear if the protagonist actually died. It otherwise follows this trope: he fell asleep and woke up in the world of the novel he was reading in the body of a minor character, and there's no indication that he would be able to reverse the process and get back (not that he's interested in doing that).
  • The Villainess Will Crush Her Destruction End Through Modern Firearms: The protagonist reincarnates as the villainess in an otome game, who dies in every route. The twist is that in her previous life she was Gun Nut, so her plan is recreate modern firearms in the stock Medieval European Fantasy world she now lives in and shoot her way out of the scripted ending.
  • The Wise Grandson plays this straight, but pulls more focus on the consequences of someone bringing in Past-Life Memories of a modern world into a world where magic works primarily through imagination who is raised by a legendary mage and hero as his grandson. Needless to say, Shin is a Genius Ditz extraordinaire as he only learned magic skill and at 15 is thrust into the world to try to give him social skills to match his ridiculous magical power.
  • Woof Woof Story: The Protagonist is a salaryman who is quite literally worked to death, and his dying wish is to be reborn as the well-loved pet of a rich family. When a compassionate goddess grants his wish, he happily commits himself to the lazy, carefree, all-you-can-nap life of a pampered pup - until he learns that he was actually reincarnated as the legendary wolf king Fenrir.

    Live-action TV 
  • Life on Mars (2006) is about a detective who wakes up in 1973 after being hit by a car in the present. The opening titles sum it up:
    "My name is Sam Tyler. I had an accident and woke up in 1973. Am I mad, in a coma, or back in time? Whatever's happened, it's like I've landed on a different planet. Now, maybe if I can work out the reason, I can get home."
  • A time travel episode of Lois & Clark revealed that Superman was Earth's Robin Hood in a past life before being reincarnated on the planet Krypton.
  • Played with in The OA. It first appears that this form of astral projection is the only way to travel the multiverse. Characters die in one reality, while either in proximity to or performing the "Movements" (a special dance) and wake up possessing the body of their counterpart in another reality, and therefore each jump is a one-way-trip. However, this is later subverted when a new traveler is introduced, and repeatedly jumps back and forth with no ill effects. Apparently, the characters previously just had bad luck and died when jumping originally, which locked them outside their original reality.

    Theatre 

    Webcomics 
  • In The Beginning After the End, King Grey dies about five panels in, and the world he's reborn into contains suspiciously similar magic to his previous life.
  • In They Say I Was Born a King's Daughter, Suhee Kim is murdered by a rejected lover and is reborn as a princess—in a world where they have basically zero power.

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