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"Each of us plays a role; each time a different role. Maybe the last time I was the interrogator and you were the prisoner. The players change, the story remains the same."
Leoben to Kara Thrace in Battlestar Galactica (2003), "Flesh and Bone"

One or more of the main characters is the reincarnation of someone from the past, and they are forced to live with the effects of their previous incarnation's life, loves and choices. A device seen in some Shoujo stories, often allowing for a "destined love that survives death" plot element. Also used for a "duty that survives death" plot as well, and thus a good way to set up a character as The Hero. Sometimes allows for Time Travel to previous incarnations in the form of Visions of Another Self.

Usually, just like an Identical Grandson, a reincarnated person looks exactly like their previous self, unless the contrast is used for some irony — e.g., a couple of lovers being reincarnated as the opposite genders. Roles can change as well for dramatic effect. The Woobie might be reborn as The Hero, a villain finds redemption as a florist, but the bickering Vitriolic Best Buds are still at it!

When it's used in a Western series, the greater religious aspects are often ignored. It's common for the reincarnated character to have some form of Past-Life Memories, though Resurrection Sickness may set in with the flood of new thoughts. May manifest only in Dreaming of Times Gone By. Reincarnation-Identifying Trait is how the audience and/or the characters can tell another person is a reincarnation.

If you're looking for a reincarnation that occurs over the course of a series, see Back from the Dead. If a character explicitly has the power to reincarnate every time they die, it's Born-Again Immortality.

If you're looking for a Flash game about demons recapturing escapees from Hell, go here.

This can be confused with and is often incorrectly interchanged in fiction with the concept of resurrection: A dead person comes back from the dead in the same body (perhaps complete with a Mortal Wound Reveal) and their original spirit (a specialty of Jesus in Christianity, though some believe in both). Reincarnation's formal definition is the return to the land of the living with the same spirit but often in a different form than the same body you left behind (as a man rather than a woman, a flea, a sunflower, or the same gender, but in a different body... whatever.) That's the principle found in Eastern philosophy, such as Buddhism. And even then, in Real Life it gets complicated; in Eastern thought, just because one's "pattern" shows up again does not necessarily mean it's "you." (Buddhist doctrine reject it, while Hinduism traditionally accepts it).


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Angel Sanctuary:
    • Setsuna. The reincarnation may share some similarities with Alexiel but is not exactly alike each also it changes gender randomly.
    • In the manga, it's revealed that Sara is a reincarnation of Gabriel.
  • In Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day, this is the reason why Menma wants to fufill her original wish. Once it is fufilled, she can be reincarnated and can once again belong to the same physical world where her friends are.
  • Black Clover: Several of the Magic Knights, particularly those of the Golden Dawn squad, are in truth vessels for the reincarnated souls of the elves massacred by the Clover Kingdom nobles several hundred years ago during the days of the First Wizard King. The leaders of the Eye of the Midnight Sun gather the magic stones in order to help their souls completely take over their human hosts so that they can take revenge against the Clover Kingdom, with the final magic stone having the power to make the reincarnation permanent. Yuno in particular is the vessel for the soul of Licht's unborn son, who died within Tetia's womb during the elf massacre; because his soul had yet to develop an ego in life, it wasn't able to take over Yuno's body, which proved crucial in solving the crisis. Once the elf reincarnation is undone, however, Licht's son chooses to remain with Yuno, which eventually leads to the revelation that he is the source of Yuno's wind magic (which he inherited from Tetia), and that Yuno's true attribute is something else entirely.
  • Bleach:
    • When human beings die in the Land of the Living their souls go to the Soul Society (unless they change into Hollows). This also applies to Fullbringers like Ginjo, Tsukishima and Giriko. Once there, they'll either be normal residents of Soul Society until they die again or, if their souls are strong enough, become Shinigami. Eventually they're reincarnated back into the human world when they die in Soul Society; when they reincarnate, all memories of their previous life (both in the living world and Soul Society) are lost. As for Hollows, they remain stuck outside of the cycle until a Shinigami kills them with their Zanpakuto, upon which they're purified of the sins they committed in death and move on to Soul Society, where they reintegrate into the cycle. Humans and Hollows who sinned way too badly in life, however, get yanked out of the cycle and go to Hell.
    • It's eventually revealed that the cycle of reincarnation was created by the Soul King after he split the original world into the three realms of the Human World, Soul Society and Hueco Mundo. Before then, there was no death; people simply existed.
  • The main basis of Bokura no Kiseki. Not only is the male protagonist, Harusumi, the reincarnation of a princess, Veronica, nearly everyone in his high school class is the reincarnation of someone who was in Veronica's castle when it was invaded and destroyed by a neighboring country. According to the mythos of Veronica's country, all people killed by magic will be reincarnated.
  • Eriol Hiiragizawa of Cardcaptor Sakura and in the manga, the main character's father as well is the reincarnation of Clow Reed. In fact, Eriol's whole purpose in existing was to continue Clow's plans after Clow's death.
  • When devils in Chainsaw Man die on earth, they are reborn in hell, and vice-versa, without memories from their previous life, however. Physically, they seem to be maintain a similar but different appearance, as shown by Nayuta, who has the same Exotic Eye Designs and bite as Makima but distinct hair.
  • Daisuki! BuBu ChaCha: Chacha, the family dog, somehow gets reincarnated into a toy car.
  • At the end of Part 1 of Dance in the Vampire Bund, Alphonse sacrifices his reputation and his life to save Mina and the Bund. His one wish is to reincarnate into a flower for Mina (whom he's been in love with since childhood) to wear in her hair for a few hours. He gets it.
  • Himeko and Chikane in Destiny of the Shrine Maiden are the reincarnations of the priestesses of the sun and moon. Their story continues even after this series, starting with Shattered Angels.
  • Digimon Frontier: As in Adventure (regarding the good Digimon) and Data Squad, when most Digimon are destroyed, they are reborn as Digieggs. However, when Cherubimon dies, and his spirit purified, he seems to be welcomed into the afterlife by the spirits of Ophanimon and Seraphimon, despite the latter's Digiegg having already hatched into Patamon, implying that the Digieggs and the Digimon that hatch from them are the reincarnation of their physical data (which could be the case for evil Digimon in Adventure as well). Although Patamon does possess some level of Genetic Memory, and the spirits of the three Celestial Digimon manifest through their reborn selves in the final episode, as well as the spirits of the deceased and reformed Evil Legendary Warriors temporarily taking physical form through their Digieggs, which would likely hatch into completely different Digimon down the road.
  • Dragon Ball loves this trope: Piccolo being the reincarnation of Piccolo Sr. in the original Dragon Ball series and Uub being the reincarnation of Kid Buu in Dragon Ball Z. Interestingly, both of them are good guys, are reincarnations of Big Bads who had epic fights with Son Goku and both had a "rematch" with him in the World Tournament.
    • Piccolo Jr. took longer to befriend Goku, because he actually remembered his past life; while never as evil as his previous self, Piccolo Jr. was initially quite ruthless and went through a somewhat prolonged Heel–Face Turn (fueled by two Enemy Mine arcs in a row, and Goku's son as a Morality Pet) after his defeat. He also looks the same as Piccolo Sr. because in addition to being his reincarnation, he's also his son.
    • In Uub's case, Goku openly wished that Kid Buu would be reincarnated as a good person as he destroyed him. King Yemma heard the wish and had Kid Buu reincarnated as Uub. However, Uub is actually not unique in this area. This is how Hell works in Dragon Ball in general; evil people are sent to a personal Ironic Hell until their souls are cleansed of their evil and memories so they can be reborn as a new being. Yemma was simply doing a favor for Goku by having the cleansed Kid Buu keep his former self's power when reincarnating, and reincarnating him in a time and place where Goku could meet him. The only reason Frieza is still in Hell is because he's just that wicked and stubborn. Presumably the more simple-minded Kid Buu lacked the ego to stubbornly resist purification like Frieza did.
    • In both the original anime and Kai, despite the latter following the manga more closely and removing most of the filler, it still shows Cell, Frieza, King Cold, Recoome, Burter, Jeice, Guldo, Appule, Dr. Gero, and Babidi in Hell (not present in the manga), implying all of them were too hateful to be reincarnated, Dabura was sent to Heaven as he'd have enjoyed Hell too much (despite the reincarnation factor), and Vegeta was revived both times (specifically being spared by King Yemma the second time), where Raditz, Nappa, Cui, Dodoria, Zarbon, Android 19 (though he may not have a soul to speak of), Spopovich, Yamu, Pui Pui, Yakon, Bibidi, and Captain Ginyu (who would be dead at this point as Earth had been blown up, though he turns up alive in Super which disregards this depiction of Hell) are nowhere to be seen and were presumably reincarnated.
  • In Elfen Lied manga epilogue, the twins, young friends of Kouta's daughter, are implied to be the reincarnation of Nyu and Kaede.
  • Gate 7 is a Urban Fantasy about characters of Sengoku era's reincarnations fighting to find the most powerful Oni of the world.
  • Genesis of Aquarion:
    • The only reason humanity won a war 12,000 years ago was due to Apollonius and Celiane, two warriors on opposite sides who fell in love and put an end to the fighting. When the same war resurfaces, the human forces are scrambling to find their reincarnations in the modern era.
    • The Sequel Series Aquarion Evol takes place another 12,000 years later, with yet another set of reincarnations of those two fighting in another war, and with several side characters implied but never directly stated to be reincarnations of characters from the first series.
  • Granny Girl Hinata-chan:
    • The series is a Slice of Life manga following Hinata, a six year-old girl who retains her memories of a past life that ended at the age of eighty-eight. The result is a kindergartner with the personality and mannerisms of a grandmother. To her personal embarrassment, she never once considered the idea of reincarnation, instead wondering if she was simply in heaven, until one of the actual kindergartners suggested the idea to her.
    • Chapter four introduces Sakuya, a girl in Hinata's class who reveals that she, too, is a reincarnation who still has her old memories. Unlike Hinata, who tends to go with the flow and play with and socialize with the other children even if she doesn't always understand them, Sakuya avoids contact with the kids and ponders just why she and Hinata have reincarnated as they have. It is later revealed that, in her past life, Sakuya was a cat, one that Hinata's previous life's grandson tried to raise in secret.
  • After the climax of Gundam Build Divers Re:RISE, it is discovered that EL-Divers(and as it turns out, other digital lifeforms) that are deleted in GBN become the basis of a new EL-Diver that is spontaneously generated by GBN soon afterwards. It is later theorized that the EL-Divers are initially the reincarnations of Benevolent Precursors whose spirits somehow found their way ito GBN's corner of Cyberspace.
  • All of the high school warriors in Ikki Tousen are reincarnations of the main characters in Romance of the Three Kingdoms. A lot of them wound up in perky girl's bodies, which doesn't seem to affect their bloodthirstiness — or their names — in the least. Of course, one wonders why some of the greatest strategists in Chinese history would bother fighting over the control of Japanese high schools in the first place.
  • The main antagonist of Immortal Rain is a soul that has been repeatedly reincarnated over the history of the Earth and remembers every single life leading to some... major mental issues and sparking the plot of the series.
  • The atavists in Inu × Boku SS are said to not be just descendants of youkai, they are essentially a reincarnation of their youkai ancestors. Every time they die, they are eventually reborn in their family, bearing the same name, appearance and even birthday as in their past life. This becomes a plot point when almost all the main cast is killed and we see their reincarnated selves 23 years in the future.
  • Kagome in Inuyasha. Thanks to Time Travel and a little magic, she co-exists with the person she is a reincarnation of when she is forcibly revived.
  • The cast of I Can't Understand What My Husband Is Saying's Spin-Off series, My Girlfriend Without Wasabi are all reincarnations of characters from Cool-Kyou Shinsha's previous work Peach Boy Riverside. And when Aka, Aoyama, and Kiyu fade away at the end of the series, they all reincarnate as Rino and Nozomu's infant children.
  • The lesser-known manga Kagerou-Nostalgia is based entirely around the idea of reincarnation. Six heroes are reincarnated as teenagers in order to try taking care of some unfinished business. Given the nature of the setting this sucks for them.
  • Einhart Stratos of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid is the direct descendant and opposite gender reincarnation of Hegemon Klaus Ingvalt (or the closest equivelant, since the franchise runs on a strict case of All Deaths Final), being born with his silver hair, heterochromia, pieces of his memories, and his will to establish hegemony over all lands and protect his domain. The last one's a bit of a problem for her since she's now living in a peaceful era where there's no country to defend.
  • Part of the plot of Makaryuudo Demon Hunter, where the main character and her love interest were already lovers in a past life.
  • Naruto: Naruto and Sasuke are revealed to be this of the younger and elder sons, respectively, of the Sage of Six Paths. Likewise, Hashirama and Madara were their previous incarnations. Reincarnation works a little differently in the Naruto-verse, though; it's both the souls and chakra patterns of the Sage's sons that they inherit. There is a very plot-relevant distinction because it allows Hashirama and Madara to be revived as Edo Tensei zombies while Naruto and Sasuke are still alive.
  • In Nobunagun, the main characters are all reincarnations of important historical figures and are given weapons based on that person's actions and personality. The main character Shio Ogura is a reincarnation of Oda Nobunaga and inherits his love of guns by wielding a BFG.
  • Oda Cinnamon Nobunaga: Oda Nobunaga reincarnates in modern-day Japan as a Shiba Inu named Cinnamon. Other warlords, such as Takeda Shingen, eventually join him — also as dogs.
  • In Otogi Zoshi, set in feudal Japan most of the cast got killed by the middle of the anime. They reincarnate in modern Tokyo. Main characters kept names and basic appearances, but changed haircuts as to be more modern. Not everyone was lucky enough to get reincarnated as humans, through - one of their opponents seems to have become a cat. Or maybe just got a cat named after him.
  • Reincarnation is one of the main themes of Osamu Tezuka's lifework, Phoenix. It's a major theme in most of them, especially Houou (Karma in the U.S.), but it's actually a key element of Sun's unorthodox plot structure, which keeps flipping back and forth between past and future, with each time period being presented as the protagonist's "dreams". The truth, of course, is that these are two different lives lived by the protagonist, and both the past and the future scenarios are mirror halves of a tale of love, betrayal and redemption spanning centuries, in addition to setting up some of the events seen in the previous volumes.
  • The plot of Please Save My Earth revolves around this, and includes a female character who reincarnated male in order to be able to have a happier relationship with the reincarnation of the man she had unrequited feelings for, and two characters who reincarnated into look-alikes of each other. And a man who died many years after the other characters, so he's reincarnated much later and, as a result, he's a child whereas the others are teenagers. Except for one example, they don't look like the characters they reincarnated from.
  • The three younger knights in Prétear are implied to be reincarnations of three knights that were killed during a battle—we see the knights in flashbacks, and although their faces are always obscured they have the same outfits and hair.
  • In Princess Tutu, Fakir is revealed to be a knight from a fairytale "reborn" to protect his prince, who escaped from the story after the writer died before he could be completed. In the first season, he constantly struggles with trying to live up to the Knight while not having the same end (being torn apart by the claws of an evil Raven). In the second season, he slowly begins to give up on the role to take on his true calling as a writer...of the reality-warping variety. He has a birthmark that looks like a scar from the wound that killed the knight to confirm his identity.
  • Discussed in Private Actress, during one of Shiho's works. She's contacted by a young woman named Kozue Sugiyama whose sister Miyuki was murdered as a little girl, and such an horrible experience DEEPLY traumatised her and Miyuki's dad Shigehide. So Kozue hires Shiho to pose as a reinarnated Miyuki; she reasons that if Miyuki was reincarnated right after her murder, she'd be around Shiho's age, so if Shiho "plays" the role of the new!Miyuki well enough, Shigehide will finally be able to let go of his suffer and start properly living again. Not only does Kozue and Shiho's plan work, but it leads Shiho and Shigehide to find the Serial Killer who victimised Miyuki and other people and help to catch him.
  • Reborn! (2004): It is heavily implied that this is the real reason why the 1st and 10th Generation of the Vongola family resemble each other so much, if Daemon Spade is to be believed. The Generation Xerox is uncanny — they share looks, fighting styles, and in some cases, similar life stories. There literally can't be any other reason aside from divine intervention.
  • All of the Earth's senshi aside from Chibi Moon and Tuxedo Mask in Sailor Moon. In the manga, Sailor Pluto dies in the future, then reincarnates backwards in time so that her present self can still guard the Time Gate while still helping out. She was the guardian of the Space-Time Corridor/Gate, a place where time doesn't flow, so she could reincarnate in any time period.
  • Three of the four main characters in Saiyuki are reincarnations of gods who died protecting Son Goku (the fourth character).
  • Maou from Sekai Maou is the latest reincarnation of the Demon Lord, and can do or create virtually anything, but has no true memories of her past lives.
  • The twin brothers Yoh and Hao in Shaman King are both reincarnations of the original Hao.
  • Everyone in Spirit Circle. The protagonist's first life, Fortuna, caused a disaster that makes him and Koko's soul keep getting reincarnated over and over as enemies. In each reincarnation, they met and befriended many people, and the bond also caused them to keep getting reincarnated around them. In their current life as Fuuta and Kouko, the most prominent characters are all now their close group of friends.
  • Summer Time Rendering: In the new timeline at the end of the series, Haine is reborn as Ryuunosuke's daughter. She has no memories from her time as Hiruko's vessel, but she retains her "copy" ability in the form of eidetic memory.
  • In Toriko, the final chapter reveals that Acacia, Froese, Ichiryu, Jiro, and Midora are the reincarnations of the Gourmet Gods, a family of beings that have existed before the Gourmet Big Bang.
  • At the end of Wolf's Rain it appears that the wolves have been reincarnated as humans, on a reincarnated planet Earth (the implication being that the current incarnation is our version).
  • Several major characters in Yu-Gi-Oh! are reincarnations of people from ancient Egypt.
    • Seto Kaiba is the reincarnation of Priest Seto.
    • Yugi and Bakura Ryou are the modern-day reincarnations of Pharaoh Atem and Bandit King Bakura, respectively. Thanks to the Millennium Items, they get to share bodies with their past selves (amicably in the first case, less so in the second).
    • Priestess Isis is reincarnated in the modern era as Ishizu Ishtar.
    • The filler Orichalcos arc adds the implication that Yugi, Kaiba and Jou are also connected to the Knights of Atlantis.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX also features reincarnation, in that Judai/Jaden is the reincarnation of The Supreme King.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL has the Barians, an alien race that fights against Astral, and each one of the Seven Barian Emperors has a past life as a human.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V has eight characters who are the reincarnations of two different people whose souls were both split into four shards.
  • One of the characters in Yumeria turns out to be the reincarnation of someone from the future, who came back to avert The End of the World as We Know It.

    Card Games 
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: According to a Gagaga Tospedia storyline, the "Dragon Rulers" grow to a certain size, expanding their regions of power against the power of the other Attributes. They perform a cycle of condensing and purifying their energy inside their bodies. And, when each of them reaches their limit, the "Dragon Rulers" unleash their power, and their body, which carried that power, reincarnates into the form of a younger "Dragon Ruler".

    Comic Books 
  • Camelot 3000: Most of the cast are the reincarnations of characters from Arthurian legend.
  • DC Comics:
    • Batman: Bruce Wayne eventually ends up reincarnated at the end of Whatever Happened to The Caped Crusader?. He's eventually reincarnated... as himself. The reward for being Batman: You get to be Batman.
    • Hawkman:
      • The original (and current) Hawkman and Hawkgirl were reincarnated lovers; Justice League Unlimited combined this and the Silver Age science-fiction version by making it unclear whether the memories of past lives were real or caused by a malfunctioning memory-recorder device (though a later episode seemingly implied the former). Recent comics make more of their continual cycle of reincarnation, destined to be killed when they find love with each other (hence the current versions, knowing this, keep each other at arms' length not that that seems to have helped).
      • DC Rebirth revealed that Hawkman had not only been reincarnating throughout history, but also across the universe. In addition to the Earthling Carter Hall (his current form) and the Thanagarian Katar Hol, he had also been a Rannian named Katarthul and a Kryptonian named Catar-Ol.
      • Also continually reincarnated is their archenemy Hath-Set, who is the one destined to kill them. Their son Hector was reincarnated once, but has since followed his own son into the Dreaming.
    • Wonder Woman:
      • Wonder Woman (1987): All the Amazons are reincarnations of women killed by men, given form as adults made of clay by Athena, Artemis, Aphrodite, Demeter and Hermes. Diana is no exception, though as she was murdered while still in the womb she is given form as an infant and given a loving childhood.
      • Wonder Woman (2011): The Olympians reincarnate rather than possessing their former Resurrective Immortality. Zeus is reincarnated in the form of his own son Zeke and Athena is reincarnated in the form of Zola.
  • ElfQuest: Lehrigen believes this happens to human souls, though there's no evidence of whether this is the case.
  • In Hex Wives, the witches are effectively immortal; being reincarnated every time they die. However, there is no guarantee they will awaken to their power, and it is possible for one to live an entire lifetime and never discover they are a witch.
  • Marvel 100th Anniversary Special: Doctor Strange has been reborn as an African-American. Also, his spirit has apparently been reborn 17 times.
  • Nemesis the Warlock: It's revealed that Torquemada's soul was so evil, it has been reincarnated many times throughout history in various past villains. These include the original Tomas de Torquemada, Adolf Hitler, Maximilien de Robespierre, the Witchfinder General, and John Chivington.
  • Raptors: During his travels in India, the vampire Drago was involved with a beautiful woman who was enslaved by a local sorcerer. Drago killed the sorcerer to claim her for himself, but he resurrected into a new body before going after them with a mob of followers. Since this put them both in a stalemate, neither being able to permanently kill the other, Drago relented and agreed to a bargain where he would leave his land for good in return for the woman's good treatment.
  • Rorschach (2020) discusses this concept a lot, primarily exploring the idea of legacy surrounding the heroes of its distant predecessor, Watchmen. In-Universe, the villains are driven by a conspiracy theory that at the end of Watchmen, Doctor Manhattan dispersed the souls of the remaining costumed heroes to inhabit new bodies to eventually combat "the squids", a few of them believing themselves to be incarnations of the infamous Vigilante Man, Rorschach. Their theory very likely incorrect (it's based off of information that contradicts how events actually went down in Watchmen), but the series does nonetheless play with the idea of non-literal reincarnation; people convincing themselves to take on the moral legacy and alias of their idols, no matter how misguided those morals and their conclusions are.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (IDW): One of the more significant changes in this incarnation of the Ninja Turtles is the role reincarnation plays in their origin. The turtles that became the TMNT, it turns out, were the reincarnations of four Japanese brothers murdered in ancient Japan. Splinter, who like in the original incarnation is a rat-turned mutant, is the reincarnation of Hamato Yoshi, their father, who before being slain prayed for a chance at revenge on their murderers.
  • The Warlord (DC): When Death comes for Travis Morgan in #14, it is revealed that Morgan is latest incarnation of a long line of legendary heroes. This revelation gives Morgan the resolve to keep fighting and drive off Death.

    Fan Works 
  • Emma Iveli is very fond of this trope. Two of her most notable fanfics, Souls Reborn and D Reincarnation involve One Piece and reincarnation.
    • The first one, Souls Reborn, has the crew (East Blue members only) and various others being the reincarnations of the Konoha 12, the Suna Siblings, and Kakashi, in order to kill Orochimaru for good, who killed all of them one by one in their past lives.
    • The second one, D Reincarnation, has devil fruit users being reincarnated as ponies in Equestria (known as Devil's Reincarnations), with Pinkie Pie being the reincarnation of Luffy. They are combating against the Devil's Alliance, who are reincarnations of many of Luffy's past enemies who intend to overthrow Celestia and rule Equestria in their own intended image.
    • She published another one called My Heroes Reborn, where a villain named Priestess manages to awake the past lives of five U.A. students. Said past lives are characters from various franchises and series, such as One Piece, Ranma ½, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, and even the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): It's eventually confirmed In-Universe that this is the eventual fate of every sentient thing that dies (with the possible exception of Ghidorah's heads and their shed skins due to their cloning nature). After death, there's a temporary Cessation of Existence, after which the soul is reborn as a new creature without their past life's memories. Though it's ultimately ambiguous, it's hinted that the newborn Manda might in fact be Dr. Serizawa's reincarnation.
  • Ask The New Hope's Peak reveals that Kaede Naegi (no relation to Akamatsu) and Akio Hinata, two children of the survivors from the future, are the reincarnations of Junko Enoshima and Chiaki Nanami respectively.
  • PandoraHearts post-series fics are all this, because the series canonically ends with two of the three main characters being reincarnated. The fanfic Beyond the Winding Road is a notable deconstruction, as Oz, the protagonist, experienced a terrifying childhood where he would switch back and forwards between his past and present identities with varying knowledge of either life, leading to times when he wouldn't recognize his own family or remember his own name. This situation didn't improve until Oz began to reassociate one identity with the other as he got older. Because of this, he was diagnosed with Disassociative Identity Disorder, a label which made his life even more difficult growing up. Also, because he has the face of a deceased famous person, he attracted more than a few unsavory people which his Knight Templar Big Brother Anderson had to chase off.
  • The Bolt Chronicles: Implied in "The Gift" for those who have died but not evolved enough to enter Nirvana. They are sent back to earth via down escalators to a new life existence in order to learn further lessons.
  • Butterfly Effect Elsewhere is the story of Rachel Berenson being reincarnated as Chloe Bourgeois, of all people. Needless to say, there was a massive knock-on effect.
  • Mariabella Fox of Castlevania: Nocturne of Ruin is implied, then actually revealed in chapter 10 to be Maria Renard reincarnated, and can access her past life's magical powers and memories. On top of it all, her resemblance to Maria Renard causes Alucard no small amount of discomfort.
  • Celestial Hearts: Helen is the reincarnation of Helena, one of the twin deities of the world of Ambrose.
  • Has been used as a plot point in DC Nation when it comes to the founding Titans. Dark Angel kidnapped Donna Troy to use as an experiment, sending her through Hypertime in a series of "short, unhappy lives." However, as Donna's incarnations lived, she found other souls with a similar spark to them, and acted as a kind of magnet to keep bringing them together through the centuries and lives.
  • In the Harry Potter fanfic Dominus Mundi : The King of Kings, it is revealed that Harry is the reincarnation of Anipheon IX, who was in life the Divine Sovereign of Al-Antidia.
  • Equestria Girls: Friendship Souls: As always, the cycle of life, death and rebirth. Once the living pass on, they either go to Soul Society or become Hollows, and once they die in Soul Society they return to the Spirit Realm to eventually be reborn in the living world. Memories between both worlds don't usually last the journey, though there are plenty of exceptions with Past-Life Memories and those who remember their living lives. Physical appearances and even gender don't usually stay the same either, though again exceptions do exist. However, it is the law of Soul Society to treat reincarnated individuals as their own person separate from who they were in a past life. Fluttershy for example is the reincarnation of former 11th Division Lieutenant Pansy, the mother of current Lieutenant Posey and the lover of Captain Hurricane, and according to both of them she's all but an exact copy.
    • How Sombra's soul absorption of Quincies work. When they die, he draws them into his own soul and body to gestate for a period time before they are reborn without memories of who they are. It can effectively be described as a faster method over how the usual cycle works. However, not all of the souls go to him directly, as was the case with Radiant Hope due to the fact she was cleansed by a Soul Reaper first and went to Soul Society rather than back to him, and presumably a Quincy soul devoured by a Hollow is equally lost. As it turns out, Twilight Sparkle herself is a reincarnation of Sombra and Radiant Hope's unborn child.
    • Sunburst was consigned to Hell because he was the reincarnation of a member of the Star family, who rebelled against Soul Society over the formation of Central 46.
  • A Hero's Wrath: It is mentioned that the current wielders of mantra are all reincarnations of previous wielders, the Eight Guardian Generals from the Age of Demigods having reincarnated into their descendants and Gohma Vlitra having reincarnated into Asura's son Izuku.
  • Infinity Train: Blossomverse: The purpose of the Train is for people to get their numbers down and confront their problems to go home. So what happens if you die upon this death Train? It's later revealed that your soul ends up being reincarnated into a denizen to finish the process.
  • One KanColle Fandom-Specific Plot concerns the existence of "Natural Born" shipgirls, shipgirls whose original spirits incarnated in babies born naturally to human women - hence the name - and grew up not knowing of their true nature until something prompts it to reactivate, contrasting with other shipgirls who are summoned deliberately or "dropped" as a prize for victory in battle. One of the anime's first lines introducing shipgirls as "girls born with the spirits of ships" provides some canonicity for the idea.
  • "The Modern Age" is essentially a sequel to The Lord of the Rings that features the elves and Gandalf returning to the present day to find that Arwen and many of their human and hobbit allies have been reborn in the present (Gimli has not been reincarnated only because the dwarf afterlife works differently)). While there are some differences, such as Frodo's reincarnation being female and Sam and Pippin are the children of the reborn Faramir and Eowyn, for the most part the important details remain the same in their new lives, such as Aragorn and Arwen's reborn selves immediately recognising their old attraction.
  • In the Danny Phantom fanfic Mortified, during the class's visit to Elysium, they meet with a bunch of Egyptian ghosts who reveal that Tucker isn't just a lookalike descendant of Pharaoh Duulaman — he's actually Duulaman's reincarnation, his previous incarnation having been cursed to "live twice" before he could properly become a ghost. After Tucker's liminality is increased when he's blessed by the Core, he's considered enough of a ghost to outright become the ruler of Duulaman's Kemet (or "Ghost Egypt", as the others call it).
  • In A New World, Maribel is Yukari's reincarnation. Byakuren has a brief conversation with Mary as to what this means for her afterlife. Also, Yuyuko notes that Youmu has already left the Netherworld after her death and reincarnated. It's later revealed she was reborn as Lunarian warrior Akiyoshi.
  • Inspired by the Pony POV Series, past lives are very important to the plot of Nightmares Are Tragic At least four characters knew each other in earlier lives — some exactly as in the aforementioned series.
    • Princess Luna, who as an Alicorn Avatar remembers her past lives, is an Aspect of Cosmic Luna, who had also manifested as Dr. Moondreamer Finemare, a top aerospace engineer during the technological Age of Wonders: Cosmic Luna fought against and slew G3 Pinkie Pie in the fall of the World That Was Not, and Moondreamer was married to her One True Love Dusk Skyshine; one of her best friends was Dash Firehooves.
    • Pinkie Pie was formerly G3 Pinkie Pie, and is one of the last survivors of the World That Was Not, from which she derives her Reality Warper powers. G3 Pinkie Pie fought against and was slain by Cosmic Luna, who helped destroy her whole timeline. It is unclear to what degree Pinkie Pie remembers her old identity.
    • Rainbow Dash was Age of Wonders fighter-pilot stallion Dash Firehooves, a good friend of Sundreamer, Moondreamer and Dusk — and a member of the Amareican Joe Team.
    • Twilight Sparkle was Age of Wonders stallion fighter-pilot and astronaut Dusk Skyshine, who was the husband of Moondreamer, which becomes important in triggering Princess Luna's Heel–Face Turn and starts Luna Fighting from the Inside against the Nightshadow. It's also implied that Twilight was also G3 Pinkie Pie's best friend Minty.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic Past Sins, the essence of Nightmare Moon gets reincarnated as a timid filly that Twilight Sparkle adopts and names Nyx. Then things get interesting from there...
  • The Pony POV Series:
    • There's an interesting version of this trope at play. When the G3 universe was created in an attempt to make a utopia, the G1 cast were erased from existence (likely along with others), resulting in the creation of Shadows of Existence (essentially an Empty Shell that is sent to Entropy's realm) while their Light of Existence (their soul) returns to Fauna Luster to one day be reborn. When the G3 World has to be erased, Shadows of Existence begin to fuse with the G3 ponies to form new ponies that live on into the G4 world, effectively making several G4 ponies joint reincarnations of both G3 ponies and G1 ponies, and in some case, G2 ponies (as many G3 ponies were reformated versions of G2 ponies). Twilight is G1 Twilight and G3 Minty (Dark World Minty Pie is the reincarnation of her Light), Rainbow Dash is G1 Firefly and G3 Rainbow Dash, Rarity is one of Princess Rarity who is implied to be a reformated G2 Melody, and Pinkie Pie is one of her G3 self, Princess Rarity (having gotten a part of her during the final moments), and G1 Surprise. Most of them are actually descended from their G1 counterparts as well. From Recursive Fanfiction, Sherlock is G3 Story Belle's reincarnation.
    • A straighter version is Chrysalis' death. She dies from her wounds after the Final Battle with Cadence, but due to The Power of Love, what little good she had in her is reborn as an innocent zebralicorn filly while all her evil is annihilated from her soul, giving her soul a second chance.
    • Zecora's religious beliefs include this. Because of this, she has no problem accepting she was Kimono and Mrs. Hackney in past lives.
  • Retrograde Motion: This is what everyone eventually concludes the younger Jason to be. While he still has the older Jason's general personality and mannerisms, and rudimentary memories of his past life, he's also his own person with his own experiences. After it's confirmed that Jason won't be turning back, it's treated like the older Jason has more-or-less died.
  • Sailor Moon Legends Of Lightstorm: The Sailor Scouts are sent to the future by something called an "Emergency Temporal Shift" performed by Queen Serenity. Because the Legends use extremely advanced science instead of actual magic, the reincarnation is caused by Serenity purposely binding the minds and powers of the Scouts to suitable human zygotes in the future. This is because the energies caused by time travel are deadly, and the Scouts could not survive physical time travel.
  • Sehnsucht: The main character Reiki Noriko is the reincarnation of the founder of the Cervello Family and Vongola Primo's top adviser, Cervello Cynthia. The fic also briefly touches on the idea that the canon protagonists are the reincarnations of the Vongola First Generation (which was implied in the manga), with Noriko wondering if she is just the only one who remembers their past life.
  • She Might Be Giant: Venus reveals to Melissa that all the sapient bugs were once human in their previous lives.
  • The Smurfette Village: It is believed that the young Smurflings in the new Smurf Village that appears in the story "How Things Smurf" are actually the reincarnations of the Smurfs and Smurfettes that perished in the old Smurf Village.
  • "Stargate Ascendant" reveals that the Balance of Judgement (Andromeda) is the reincarnation of Doctor Daniel Jackson (Stargate SG-1), allowing him to assert his authority as the last member of Stargate Command to try and rescue Samantha Carter after she is revealed to have been taken by a Goa'uld centuries ago.
  • In the Gravity Falls fanfic Transcendence AU, all souls are part of a reincarnation cycle.
  • Kamina is reincarnated in Weiss Reacts as Jaune's dad Andreas. It's implied the rest of the Dai-Gurren Brigade were reincarnated as the Arc family and their wives.
  • The Baravadans know all about reincarnation in With Strings Attached. Notably, Brox has been reincarnated as her own grandson. Deliberately.
  • In the Kim Possible fic The Worst Possible Sitch, Kuzco, Yzma, Malina, and a few other characters from The Emperor's New School have reincarnated in modern day America.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Adventures of Tintin (2011). This is used to create a connection between Captain Haddock and the Big Bad that wasn't present in the comic. Sakharine is the reincarnation of the pirate Red Rackham, who was defeated by Haddock's ancestor Sir Francis Haddock. As his ship sinks, Rakham cursed Sir Francis so they will continue their fight in "another time" and "another life".
  • In Bands on the Run, being melted down is the equivalent of reincarnation for rubber bands who have lost their elasticity. One old rubber band named Slim hopes that his rubber will be used to make a bouncy ball.
  • Moana: Gramma Tala, the protagonist's grandmother, is shown in the water by the shore with manta rays swimming around her and she says: "When I die, I'm going to come back as one of these. Or I chose the wrong tattoo" then shows her tattoo of a manta ray covering her upper back. As Moana sets off on her quest, Tala dies and immediately a blue, glowing manta ray appears to escort Moana across the barrier reef. Later in the movie, when Moana is suffering her Heroic BSoD, the blue, glowing manta ray returns and manifests as the spectral form of Tala who says "Guess I chose the right tattoo".
  • The Return of Hanuman is quite different as it doesn't involve death (but quite common in Hinduism); the main protagonist Maruti is the reincarnation of Hanuman.
  • Shinbone Alley: A poet named Archy commits suicide and is reincarnated as a cockroach, much to his frustration.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The romantic comedy Chances Are has a reincarnated man romancing his own widow.
  • A recurring theme in Cloud Atlas (though it is left ambiguous whether it is real). Also an explicit belief of the Valleysmen in "Sloosha's Crossin' an' Ev'rythin' After", of the Buddhist priests in Sonmi's era and of the Moriori. Luisa doesn't believe in it at all.
  • Dead Again: It becomes apparent that the protagonists are reincarnated spirits of murder victims. It turns out he was she and she was he in the previous incarnation. They're identical to their former selves, too.
  • In the Albert Brooks comedy Defending Your Life people have to go before a panel of judges and prove that they're enlightened enough to move on to Heaven. If they fail to do that, they're sent back to Earth to get it right the next time.
  • Enter the Void: The concept of reincarnation is mentioned early on by Alex to Oscar. He explains that according to the Tibetan Book of the Dead, after someone dies their soul may linger around their old surroundings for a period following their death. Oscar is shot by the police not much later and spends most of the movie as a disembodied spirit. At the very end, after witnessing his sister Linda being impregnated, Oscar experiences being born again. The face of the woman is obscured, leaving it ambiguous whether he is reborn as Linda's baby, or whether his first life is just starting over again.
  • In Fluke, it starts with the main character being reincarnated. It turns out that anyone who dies gets reincarnated - including Rumbo, who'd not only died before the start of the movie, and had been reincarnated as a dog, but then later dies and is reincarnated as a squirrel.
  • Godzilla vs. Kong: The novelization and Word of God reveal that Mechagodzilla is more this than Ghidorah Back from the Dead with an intact mind. Word of God describes the Mecha gaining sentience being the result of Fusion Dance between the Mecha's computers and Ghidorah's consciousness (or what's left of it), and the novel states that Mechagodzilla when it first gains sentience has no idea who or what it is, but it's "full of rage and the black joy of finally being" not unlike Ghidorah's defining malice.
  • In I Origins, a grad student named Ian Gray is studying the evolution of the eye to stop the Creationists using it as an argument for Intelligent Design. He meets a deeply spiritual girl named Sofi and falls for her. Then she dies in a freak elevator accident. Years later, he marries his lab assistant, and they have a baby. During this time, scanning eye retinas becomes common procedure for IDing people. However, when their newborn's eyes are scanned, they match to a recently-deceased man. This is brushed off as a fluke. Some time later, they take the boy to undergo an autism test, and he appears to pay attention to a specific set of images. When Ian investigates, he finds out that the images are from a documentary done on the life of the same deceased man. His wife suggests the possibility of reincarnation. After testing the eye scans of people he knows, Ian discovers that Sofi's eyes match a girl recently scanned in India. After spending a month tracking her down, he finds her and performs the image test. However, the results are only slightly more than random. As he's taking her back, she freaks out at the sight of an elevator, and he realizes there may yet be some connection to Sofi. The Stinger reveals that the doctor who performed the "autism" test on Ian's son is, in fact, researching this very phenomenon, attempting to match the eyes of famous people to those currently living.
  • This is a major plot point in Jupiter Ascending. In the antagonist's society, genes "have an almost spiritual significance", and when a "recurrence" or genetic duplicate of someone is born (astronomically unlikely except in the case of identical twins, but not impossible) they consider it a kind of reincarnation. The protagonist Jupiter is the reincarnation of Seraphi Abrasax, who wrote her possible recurrence into her will, leaving her the Earth.
  • In the movie Made in Heaven (1987), the protagonist drowns after saving some people. In Heaven, he meets his One True Love. She incarnates for the first time, while he begs Emmett (who specifically says he is not God) and is allowed to reincarnate early to try finding her.
  • The Master: The Cause teaches reincarnation as part of its beliefs. They use hypnotherapy to retrieve supposed Past-Life Memories, and thus help people deal with trauma from then. However, their leader Dodd then claims they aren't past life memories, but just imagined. Yet he still believes reincarnation, telling Freddie the pair knew each other in a previous life as French scientists during the 1870s.
  • Hinted in The Matrix: The function of the One is Inherent in the System and reappears every 100 years, near the time that the Matrix must be reloaded (restarted). Neo learns that he is the sixth One to appear since the Matrix was perfected.
  • The Mummy Returns makes use of this; O'Connell is the reincarnation of a member of the medjai, Evie is the reincarnation of an Egyptian princess, and Imhotep is brought back by the reincarnation of Akh-sun-Amun.
  • In the Bollywood movie Om Shanti Om, Om is reincarnated and looks exactly like he did in his previous life — complete with his tattoo becoming some sort of birthmark.
  • Reincarnation is a motif in Past Lives. Nora believes that people who have relationships in the present must have been something to each other in their past lives. At the end, after she and Hae Sung agree that they'll likely remain apart, Hae Sung asks her how she thinks they'll turn out in their next life. She responds that she doesn't know.
  • Sappho: Discussed by Professor Orlov, who relates Pythagoras' belief that all life reincarnates to Sappho, and shares it himself. After Sappho is dead, Phil and Helene comfort themselves by thinking this may be true.
  • Thunderheart: Grandpa recognizes Ray as being a reincarnated Thunderheart, a Lakota hero murdered in the Wounded Knee Massacre, who has come back to help them in their current troubles.
  • Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior: Shen is confirmed to be one to one of Mei Song's original companions (her first teacher, the Dragon of Invincibility, in fact), and it's all but stated that Wendy is one to Mei herself. It also means that Wendy is the reincarnation of her great-grandmother, who was the previous Yin Warrior.

  • Sid and Irv make a deal that whichever one dies first will contact the living one from the afterlife. So Irv dies. Sid doesn't hear from him for about a year, figures there is no afterlife. Then one day he gets a call. It's Irv. "So there is an afterlife! What's it like?" Sid asks. "Well, I sleep very late. I get up, have a big breakfast. Then I have sex, lots of sex. Then I go back to sleep, but I get up for lunch, have a big lunch. Have some more sex. Take a nap. Huge dinner. More sex. Go to sleep, and wake up the next day." "Oh, my god," says Sid "So that's what heaven is like?" "Oh no," says Irv. "I'm not in heaven. I'm a bear in Yellowstone Park."
  • Three men arrive at the pearly gates but St. Peter says they are full - but they will have the chance to be reincarnated on Earth as whatever they want until room is made. The first says he's always wanted to be a bear. The second says he's always wanted to be an eagle. The third thinks and says "I've always wanted to be a stud." A week later the new rooms are ready and God walks up to St. Peter as asks where the three men are. St. Peter says "One is fishing for trout in a stream in Washington state, one is soaring through the Grand Canyon, and the third is on a snow tire in Alaska."


By Author

By Title

  • In The Aeneid when Aeneas visits the Underworld his father shows him the river Lethe, where shades drink for a thousand years until they've forgotten their past lives and are ready to be reborn. He then points out several souls who will be born as their great descendants, including Romulus, Julius Caesar, and Marcellus.note 
  • Adam R. Brown's fantasy series, Astral Dawn, plays the trope straight in the second novel (The Moment of Creation). Caspian not only learns he has other selves who lived in different time periods prior to his current lifetime, the Defilers are after them. The unlikely hero has to journey backward through time with a team of Keepers to do more than save Heaven; he has to save himself.
  • The novel Avalon High has its characters be High School renicarnations of Arthurian Legend.
  • Bazil Broketail: Relkin is eventually revealed as having previously been a Sinni in a past life, one of the higher beings who oversee the eternal struggle with the Enemy. He was incarnated as a human to aid this on the world where the plot's set, Ryetelth.
  • Bruce Coville's Book of... Nightmares II: A decidedly bizarre version in Circle of Life. Corey tries to have his dog Shags be reborn through a pumpkin whose seed he planted over the animal's grave. It works... but several other animals are also reincarnated in the same pumpkin.
  • In the Christ Clone Trilogy, the Antichrist spreads the belief that people aren't gone forever when they die, but are reincarnated with no memory of their past lives, to excuse the beheading of Jews and Christians, referring to their deaths not as executions, but as "liberations". This is, of course, a complete lie, along with almost everything else he says.
  • Cloud Atlas pretty much takes this trope and has a field day with it, in which its protagonists are all linked by a Comet shaped birthmark and similar circumstances.
  • The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein: That's the best way to describe what the Monster is. He has lingering memories from all the people whose parts were used to make him, including Henry Clerval and Mary's uncle Carlos Delgado, but is wholly his own person. Hence, rather than take on one of those names, he takes a new one of his own: Adam.
  • This is the essential theme of Katharine Kerr's long-running Deverry series, which feature a "present day" plot along with multiple parallel flashbacks featuring previous incarnations of the same characters. Later books often include a chart to keep track of them all.
    • Usually a soul reincarnates regularly as one gender, but to balance experiences, will occasionally show up as the opposite, particularly if a incredibly strong desire fuels it: In one incarnation, Gweniver desires to be a mighty warrior. Her next incarnation is the male Branoic, who is very much that. And woe betide if the character cannot forgive even a vicious enemy; that hate can bind the two souls together as strongly as love. Salamander and Sidro avert this by forgiving each other, when they had good reason to hate; both at the time and in the past.
  • On Discworld, you are (possibly) guaranteed reincarnation if you die while possessing a potato, though not necessarily a human incarnation. The abbot of the History Monks also practices reincarnation, and in his second appearance (Thief of Time) is a baby. He retains all of his prior knowledge and wisdom; unfortunately, he still has all of a baby's impulses and behaviors.
    • You don't always have to believe in reincarnation for this to happen. Reincarnation just has to believe in you.
  • A Dog's Purpose follows a dog through multiple reincarnations as different breeds with assorted owners. Eventually coming back to his first owner to be with him when he dies of old age.
  • In Dragaera, reincarnation is a fact of "life." For instance, Vlad is a reincarnation of Kieron the Conqueror's brother, founder of house Jhereg, and Aliera is a reincarnation of his sister. This has the occasionally useful side-effect of allowing Vlad to use the hereditary amorphia-creation powers of Kieron's family, despite now being a different species.
  • In An Elegy for the Still-living, Robin claims that he and Francis are reincarnations of Gilgamesh and Enkidu, and that they have died and been reborn countless times throughout the ages, possibly as other fictional characters who fall under some of the same archetypes.
  • In Elsewhere, in the afterlife, people are sent to "Elsewhere", where they age backwards until they become babies. They are then sent back to Earth and reincarnated.
  • In William Sleator's Fingers two teenage half-brothers are the joint reincarnation of a gypsy composer. This is due to the fact that when he died his head and hands were separated from his body. As a result, one of the half-brothers received his musical ability, while the other was gifted with his composing ability.
  • Fluke's titular canine protagonist gradually recalls his previous human incarnation. From a badger, he learns reincarnation to serve as a way to learn "acceptance from all levels."
  • Gallows Hill by Lois Duncan (filmed as I've Been Waiting for You) is of the "past events play out in the present" subtype, but with a strong emphasis on Screw Destiny—the protagonist was one of the girls whose accusations kicked off the Salem witch trials, and she has no intention of repeating the slaughter. Everybody Lives, she redeems herself, and she even winds up dating the reincarnation of Giles Corey.
  • In the Heralds of Valdemar series, all Companions (except the Groveborn) and some Heralds are the reincarnations of previous Heralds. There are a couple exceptions to being reincarnated as a Herald or Companion, however, as when Vanyel's Lifebonded partner Tylendel died, he got reincarnated as the Bard Stefen. The Firecats of Karse are the reincarnated spirits of previous (good) Sons of the Sun (except presumably the Firecat that Bonded with the first Son of the Sun).
  • Agrajag from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has been reincarnated as many different things, and almost all of them died because of Arthur Dent. A rabbit he killed in prehistoric earth and made into a bag, a fly he accidentally swallowed, the bowl of petunias created by the Infinite Improbability Drive miles above the surface of Magrathea, an old man who had a heart attack when he saw Arthur Dent at a Cricket game, a bystander at Stavro Mueller Beta who got nailed by a laser meant for Arthur but he ducked, and a horrific beast who built a temple of hate to Arthur Dent only to be accidentally killed by him again.
  • The Incarnate Trilogy takes place in a world where everyone is reincarnated after death—except for the protagonist, Ana.
  • Jonathan Livingston Seagull postulates that birds are constantly reborn into grubby, mundane lives until they learn to transcend mortality through the purity of perfect flight.
  • In Kyo Kara Maoh!, reincarnation is a normal thing for souls, and usually happens on its own. There are a couple of notable examples, though: Suzanna Julia, Conrad's The Lost Lenore, was a soul deliberately refined through the ages to become the one who would defeat Soushu once and for all in the end. She gave up her life to be reincarnated as Yuuri, the main protagonist. In order to facilitate this plan, Shinou's Great Sage agreed to deliberately reincarnate and keep his memories intact throughout the ages, so he could help guide their plan to fruition when the time came. His latest incarnation is Ken Murata.
  • In the Malazan Book of the Fallen, as of the time they are introduced, the current Sormo E'nath and the other child warlocks are actually the reincarnations of the previous Wickan warlocks who were executed by the Empress ten years prior, and whose souls were taken up by crows and brought to pregnant women to be reincarnated immediately. It is talked a lot about how Sormo's soul requiered eleven crows — as opposed to the usual one — to take his soul away to its rebirth. Even as a ten-year-old in this one, he is highly aware of his past life(s) and has no need to be taught magic.
  • A key theme and plot point of The Memory Wars, by Paul Anthony Shortt, in which people known as "reborn" are able to draw on the strength and knowledge of their past lives to aid them.
  • In The Moon Maid trilogy by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the hero of each book is the descendant and reincarnation of the previous: first, the captain of the 21st century space mission that makes contact with the peoples inhabiting the moon; then, a resistance fighter against alien invaders on 22nd century Earth; then, the leader of the force that finally defeats the invaders once and for all in the 25th century; then, in a timey-wimey twist, an American officer in the 20th century who tells the whole story to Burroughs' Author Avatar in the Framing Device. There's a brief hint that his 21st century incarnation's nemesis has a similar condition; during their final confrontation, the bad guy rants that the hero has been thwarting his ambition "all our lives".
  • Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation: The protagonist's reincarnation into another world is what sets off the plot. Played with too, in that the reader follows Rudeus from the moment he's born with all his past life memories. Orsted believes that without Rudeus' soul, the infant's magic would have been too powerful and result in it being stillborn, considering in previous loops "Rudeus Greyrat" did not exist.
  • In the novel My Name Is Memory, Daniel can remember things from his past lives going back to a life that started near Antioch in 520 A.D.
  • My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!: The plot of the series begins when the bratty daughter of a duke hits her head, suddenly remembers her previous life as an ordinary Japanese schoolgirl, and then passes out for five days. When she wakes up, she realizes that not only is this world identical to an otome game she used to play, but she has reincarnated as the main villain, who comes to a number of horrible ends in every route. Her attempts to avoid these destruction flags make her look insane, and she ends up averting the vast majority of them on accident just by being a nice person. By the time she starts school (which is when the game started), the story is completely off the rails, but she is still acting like she is destined to die and fighting to avert her many horrible fates.
  • In the science fiction novel Nation of the Third Eye by K.K. Savage, reincarnation is a major theme. The protagonist Jac McKay opens his Third Eye and starts remembering his past lives. He and his friends also travel to the astral worlds. There they meet people who are either between incarnations or are already done with the reincarnation cycle.
  • In The Night Land and Awake in the Night Land people who die, but do not have their soul Destroyded by the Lovecraftian horrors of the Night Land, are able to reincarnate in a future era.
  • In Others, a deceased unnamed movie star is reborn in circumstances to offer redemptive "test" - bodily deformity; a career as a private investigator, and a chance to help others with similar deformities.
  • H. Beam Piper believed in reincarnation, and wrote a Paratime novel examining what would happen if everyone had concrete proof it happened. (One fission bomb was dropped when the paratimers got involved. The general feel was "an interesting place to visit, but unless you can adopt a particularly accepting attitude towards your own death, you wouldn't wanna live there.")
  • In The Participants by Brian Blose, 12 immortal observers are reborn into new worlds with new bodies. They are over a hundred thousand years old.
  • The T'swa in John Dalmas' The Regiment also consider reincarnation a given, and their attitude resembles that mentioned in the Piper example above. Men who regard their own deaths as only a minor inconvenience can be very effective fighters. Reporter Varlik Lormagen adopts some of their ways of thought; a dream he has late in the book suggests that his closest T'swa friend, now dead, will be reincarnated as Varlik's son. And then the book ends with Varlik snuggling with his wife, evidently about to get down to conceiving his friend's next form.
  • Max Ehrlich's The Reincarnation of Peter Proud is about a California professor who has recurring dreams about the murder of his former self.
  • The Reluctant King: People in the series' world reincarnate to Earth when they die. It's also mentioned that many other worlds exist, into which people incarnate as well (presumably after this).
  • In Shadow Grail, many characters are reincarnations of figures from Arthurian lore. For example, the main antagonist is Mordred reincarnated.
  • In Sister Princess, sorceress Chikage reveals to her brother Wataru that they had been lovers in a previous life.
  • Titan's Forest: All souls reincarnate into new bodies after death, but all memories of their previous lives are stripped away in the process. In this, the gods' unique status comes from their ability to regain the memories of all their previous existences when they reach puberty.
  • Transformers: The Covenant of Primus, supplementary material for Transformers: Prime, reveals that the last member of the Thirteen, the original Primes, chose to enter the Well of AllSparks and be reincarnated as an ordinary Cybertronian. Said Cybertronian turned out to be Orion Pax. When Orion Pax was bequeathed the Matrix of Leadership, he regained his memories as one of the Thirteen, and subsequently retook his original name: Optimus Prime. Optimus chose to keep this fact to himself, and the only other 'bot aware of it is Alpha Trion, another member of the Thirteen.
  • Waking Echoes has the Visions of Another Self kind, only it's the incarnation that's traveling.
  • Warrior Cats:
    • Cinderpelt is reincarnated as her own niece, Cinderheart, who was born at the same instant Cinderpelt was killed defending the mother from a badger. She was given a second chance at life because the first time around, she was caught in the villain's trap and injured by a car, preventing her from becoming a warrior. Cinderheart eventually lives Past-Life Memories in her dreams, and realizes who she is. It's, however, shown that they're two different cats in StarClan despite being reincarnations.
    • Three modern cats are reincarnations of Ancient cats: Dovewing is the reincarnation of Dove's Wing, Lionblaze is the reincarnation of Lion's Roar, and Jayfeather is the reincarnation of Jay's Wing.
  • In The Wheel of Time series, people who become legendary heroes are put on a special track of reincarnation, each life resembling the other and creating its own batch of legends. They hang out in the World of Dreams between lives and are forbidden from interacting with mortals. Everyone else is also reincarnated but are of less central importance to the pattern. The Dragon Reborn is unique in that everyone knows who he is a reincarnation of, when even those who have also lived past lives as great heroes cannot be identified and rarely discover this for themselves.
  • Kim Stanley Robinson's epic novel The Years of Rice and Salt has the protagonists in a cycle of eternal reincarnation in order to explore 1000 (or more) years worth of history if the black death had killed all of Europe. In line with the original concept the True Companions play out different roles, relationships and genders (although their names always have the same first letter) in different reincarnations.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Implied in 7 Days (1998). One episode had a villain with a birthmark under one eye. He got killed, and the episode ends with a shot of a newborn baby with the same birthmark under his eye.
  • It even hits the soap operas: one 90's Brazilian soap titled A Viagem, based in spiritist theories, has the main couple being lovers from their past lives, and they fall in deep love again in their actual incarnation. The little fact that they die midway the story didn't stop their affair, as they encounter each other again in the afterlife by the force of their love.
  • The Minbari of Babylon 5 believe in reincarnation in a semi-closed system where the same pool of souls is constantly reborn. This is a key plot point in several ways. They get it wrong in case of Sinclair, though, whom they assume is the reincarnated soul of their ancient prophet Valen. In fact, due to a Stable Time Loop, Sinclair is destined to go back in time and become Valen, so it is, in fact, the very same soul in the same person.
  • Being Human (US): Zoe, a neonatal nurse, helps ghosts reincarnate into infants with her help and permission.
  • Turned up occasionally in Charmed. One episode reveals that the sisters are all reincarnations of their own ancestors. Due to Time Travel, Paige once got in a fight with her own past life. The "looking exactly like your past life" thing is explained to be due to their "souls recognizing each other", making them see each other as their current selves during a past-life regression.
  • In Chinese Paladin 3, Jing Tian finds he is the reincarnation of a thousand-year-old Warrior Prince. Later, he finds out that the Prince was only his first reincarnation, and that he was originally an exiled Celestial Champion. His Lancer, Chanqing, also has had two reincarnations—and two failed Reincarnation Romances.
  • While not a supernatural series, one episode of Criminal Minds dealt with an Unsub who developed a fascination with reincarnation after learning from his abusive grandfather that a mortally wounded serial killer was placed next to his pregnant mother in the emergency room before she died when he was five years old. Convinced he was the reincarnated form of Smith, the Unsub killed anyone he thought were the reincarnated forms of the killer's victims, leaving behind a sample of animal hair and maggots so that the victims never take their revenge by coming back in animal form. Intending to let himself die in the presence of a newborn baby so that he could be reincarnated, the Unsub nearly gains victory until the baby is taken away and the container holding his larvae spills over his body.
  • Speaking of soaps, the original Dark Shadows used this trope heavily, along with every other excuse they could think of to keep casting the same actors in different time periods and dimensions.
  • On Green Acres Eb is missing, and a stray dog shows up. Naturally Lisa thinks the dog is Eb "reincarcerated" ("reincarnation" means when you come back as a flower).
  • Houdini & Doyle: The subject of the second episode where a boy claims to be the reincarnation of a man who was murdered trying to take revenge on the woman who killed him. It turns out the boy was the man's illegitimate son and the woman was his biological mother who thought he died in childbirth.
  • The series The Intruders is about a secret society of people who have learned how to recall their past lives and use the knowledge accumulated over many lifetimes for success now.
  • JAG: In "Survivors", a Marine colonel believes his young son to be the reincarnation of a war buddy who died in The Vietnam War. The ending is left ambiguous whether this is true or not.
  • Lois & Clark had an episode with Superman and Lois Lane as reincarnated lovers (explaining that Superman's soul was from beyond time and distance), and had them time-travel to their past-life bodies to undo an ancient curse.
  • The premise of Mada Koi wa Hajimaranai, a dorama series from 1995, where the story revolves around a pair of reincarnated lovers from 200 years ago, and whether or not they'll get together this time around.
  • Married... with Children: The dog Buck died and was reincarnated as their next dog, "Lucky". Considering how bad the Bundys are as owners, this counts as a non-indicative name.
  • The poor Do-joon from Reborn Rich gets reincarnated into the youngest grandson of the wealthy Yang-cheol the founder of the Soonyang group where Do-joon used to work at after Do-joon gets killed. He was dead in the present, but Do-joon gets reincarnated as a boy in the past where he was still alive, but he has the mind and knowledge of a 40-year-old.
  • In Red Dwarf, Arnold Rimmer claims that in a previous incarnation, he was Alexander the Great... -'s Chief Eunuch.
  • Played for laughs in an episode of Round the Twist, where Linda hypnotises her brother back into a past life in the hope he'll better be able to complete his do-it-or-you're-suspended homework. When his previous incarnation starts trashing the house, she hypnotises the baby she's sitting to his previous life as a wrestling champion, only making things worse. Ultimately its the once Oxford University professor, their chicken, who helps them complete their homework.
  • A Saturday Night Live sketch on the 2020 Vice Presidential Debate had Herman Cain, who had died earlier that year from COVID-19, reincarnate as a fly that lands on Mike Pence's head to get revenge for supposedly convincing him to attend a Republican rally without a face mask.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985):
    • In "Her Pilgrim Soul", Dr. Kevin Drayton is the reincarnation of Nola Granville's husband Robert Goldstone. Her soul appeared to Kevin in the holographic projector that he created so that they could live out the full life together that they were denied when she died in childbirth in March 1943. Robert carried his grief at losing her over into his next life as Kevin, whose fear of experiencing the same kind of loss once again led him to distance himself from his wife Carol. The closure that Nola provides Kevin allows him to reconcile with Carol.
    • In "Memories", reincarnation is a fact of life in the Alternate Universe as everyone is able to remember the details of their past lives as if it had happened to them personally. Occasionally, souls go out of circulation for a time before being reborn yet again. New souls are created but such people often have a vacant look compared to people with past lives.
  • The Wheel of Time (2021): People being reborn in new bodies is a feature of the universe. The Dragon, an ancient savior, is prophesied to eventually be reborn, with many people claiming they are him. Others too mention this, however, for instance being happy at knowing that their loved ones will reincarnate in the future.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess does this a lot, including a very funny episode where an obsessive Xena fan (played by Lawless) turned out to be the reincarnation of Joxer.
  • In The X-Files, the concept of reincarnation is used in several episodes.
    • In "Born Again", a murdered cop is reincarnated as a little girl who is a bit of a Creepy Child. No wonder — she's channeling his desire for revenge because his murderers were not punished.
    • The character who swore revenge comes back as a fly in "The List".
    • In "The Field Where I Died", Mulder comes to believe that he was married to a female member of a cult in a past life, and under hypnosis claims to remember not only her but Scully and Cancer Man as reincarnated friends and enemies respectively.

  • I Wish has K's master be reborn repeatedly as himself, with all his powers intact, due to a curse put onto him.
  • Witch Hunter: Tasha Godspell is the reincantion of West that was done by North whose being pulling the strings for her own personal benefit throughout the entirety of the manhwa. But question is: Why?

  • This is the main theme of the Indigo Girls song "Galileo" - the narrator sings about getting fixated on the idea of reincarnation and resenting her past lives for saddling her with their negative karma resulting in all her present life baggage, until she comes up with the idea of living a good life for herself and letting the next incarnation off the hook so she can try for enlightenment with a clean slate. She says that if she manages to pull it off, she'll write a book about the experience in her next life.
  • Ronnie Lane's "Stone" aka "Evolution" tells of a different birth (first person) in each verse.
  • The song Gonzo sings in The Muppet Movie, "I'm Going To Go Back There Someday" can be interpreted as being about reincarnation.
  • In Dream Theater's album Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory, the protagonist discovers that he is the reincarnation of Victoria (the girl he has visions of) and the Hypnotherapist is the reincarnation of Edward, who murdered Victoria.
  • In the video for The Simpsons' "Deep, Deep Trouble" from The Simpsons Sing the Blues, Bart goes to hell and is judged for a suitable punishment. He gets reincarnation, which makes Bart feel relieved, until he realizes that he returns as a snail.
  • The Evillious Chronicles have a lot of this, though it's interesting in that reincarnation is something that can only be done by certain individuals. The twin gods Levia and Behemo Barisol are capable of it as are their "successors" Hansel and Gretel. The function of a "Re Birthday" is essentially a cross between this trope and Cosmic Ret Con, "reformatting" and "purifying" souls en masse and completely resetting the world they live in. Subverted in the case of the original sinner, Eve Moonlit. The three women initially thought to be reincarnations of her—Mikulia Calgaround, Phantom Thief Platonic and Margarita Blankenheim, in that order—actually were her. Each of them were once their own person (though Margarita died when she was still a newborn), but when they died, Eve's soul took over for them.
  • The self-titled track "Highwayman" by supergroup The Highwaymen is about the numerous lives of a man. From his first life as a highwayman, a sailor, dam builder and starship pilot.
  • The third part of Marty Robbins' El Paso song trilogy, "El Paso City", is heavily implied to be narrated by the reincarnation of the protagonist from the first song of the trilogy, "El Paso".

    Mythology & Religion 
  • Between ten and twenty percent of Britons with a "traditional" Western religious background (i.e. not including Hindus, Buddhists etc.) apparently believe in reincarnation. note 
  • The Dalai Lama, who is believed to be living his fourteenth life as Tenzin Gyatso. Besides him, there were several thousands tulku (reincarnated lamas) in Himalayan regions and Mongolia.
  • While the belief in reincarnation is often associated with Eastern Religions such a Buddhism and Hinduism, it's also a core belief of Spiritism, a religion that has a lot adherents in Latin America, specially Brazil, and combines elements of both Christianity and spiritualism.
  • Theosophy teaches reincarnation, and is a major factor in introducing the belief to the West (with many other groups following).
  • A belief in reincarnation was one of the major things that set The Cathars apart from Catholicism.

  • Parodied in "Fredrickism", a skit by Hudson and Landry about a Scam Religion. When asked if Fredrickism believes in reincarnation, founder Freddie Schultz says they don't need to: if you follow all 26 Commandments then you never die.
  • John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme: A woman goes to a psychic to learn if she's been reincarnated. She's pretty annoyed and disappointed when he tells her that she has, but almost every person she ever was was either a peasant, a slave, or an extremely short-lived child, and not anyone important like she'd been hoping for.
  • In The BBC Radio 4 comedy series ReincarNathan, Nathan is an Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist, who is continually reincarnated as animals in order to learn lessons that will make him a better person if he ever gets to be human again.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Anima: Beyond Fantasy: Nephilim are basically souls of non-human races that have reincarnated in a human body conserving some of their former traits, including physical ones. It's even stated that starting at puberty they've fuzzy memories of their past life. The game mentions also a Life Stream, where souls go after death before reincarnating.
  • Chronopia: The One King was slain during an invasion by 3 nonhuman races. Centuries later, he eventually reincarnates to lead the human Firstborn to victory over their enslavers.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Reincarnate is an alternative to the raise dead spell that creates a fresh, adult body for the departed soul to inhabit, with the tradeoff that the body's race is determined by a dice roll. Recent editions of the game are nice enough to restrict the possibilities to the races in the front of the Player's Handbook, but back in the day, reincarnate had a chance to bring a dead player back as almost anything - a hydra, baboon, or even an undead creature!
    • As of 5th Edition, elves reincarnate after their souls linger for a time in their paradise of Arvandor. When young Elves trance, they experience Past-Life Memories of their previous incarnations, and are considered to have entered adulthood when their trance memories are of their current life. The drow don't share this trait, implying that they don't reincarnate.
    • A few Prestige Classes have this as a gimmick. The Jade Phoenix Mages from the 3.5th edition Tome of Battle are thirteen Magic Knights sworn to act as the wardens containing a monster known as the Souldrake. An experienced Jade Phoenix Mage is able to sense the presence of an old comrade, and can use a ritual to awaken the hero to their memories of their past lives (+2 bonus on Knowledge checks, even on untrained checks). There's no seniority in the organization, however, as a "senior" warrior may awaken a "junior" to their true history, then decades later be awakened by them in turn after dying and being reborn.
  • Eberron:
    • This is how true immortals work. There are always the same number of immortals in the multiverse. Killing one just means it will reincarnate later. The god-tier immortals like the fiendish Overlords or Lamannian Totems are reincarnated exactly as they were before; this is why they have to be sealed away to be dealt with, because killing them is just temporary. Lesser immortals lose memories, to the point of eventually suffering Death of Personality. The least immortals always fully reset on death, making the immortality of imps and minor elementals little more than academic.
    • The Path of Inspiration teaches that serving well in this life will allow you to reincarnate as a higher class of being in your next life. This religion sorts the races into such stages, telling everyone exactly where they are in their spiritual journey. Humans (the majority) are rather middling in the hierarchy, while changelings (who are hated everywhere else) are higher. The Chosen who are Inspired by the ancestors and rule Riedra are, of course, on the top. The fact that this religion heavily encourages keeping your head down, not making waves, and doing what you're told is surely just a coincidence.
    • It seems as though the Path of Inspiration is actually based on the real beliefs of the Quori, the dream demons who control Riedra. While it is an obvious and provable fact that individual Quori reincarnate as other immortals do, they also believe that their entire plane is on a cycle, where eventually the nightmare at the heart of the plane will die and be reborn as a pleasant dream. Since this will effectively kill all the existing evil Quori, they are trying to change the dream of the world to keep it a nightmare; the rebel Quori who became the kalashtar are trying to make the wheel turn faster through their own religion, the Path of Light. It should be noted that neither side has any proof that their tactics are actually working, which is why it is a religion based on faith rather than a scientific principle.
  • Exalted: The world works under a system of reincarnation, with a person's "higher soul" entering into the spin cycle until it's abandoned all memories of its former life. However, the titular Exalted effectively receive another soul at the moment of their Exaltation, and receive flashes of the life the previous bearer led.
    • The Neverborn are primordial gods who were killed and whose souls entered the cycle of reincarnation. However, since the mechanism of reality was never intended to process souls that big, it jammed and created the Underworld, necromancy, and by extension, all undead.
    • The Alchemical Exalted put a different spin on this: each Alchemical Exalt is created using a higher soul that has proven itself heroic in multiple lives. An Alchemical is basically a whole new incarnation, but incorporating characteristics (and potentially memories) of their previous lives.
  • Fireborn actually uses this as a core mechanic, interestingly they do this by making you jump between your current incarnation and your previous ones. It's actually stated in the source books of the game that Reincarnation is part of the draconic life cycle.
  • In Nomine:
    • Despite the game being set in a War between Heaven and Hell, reincarnation is the default for most of humanity. Mortal souls continue to cycle through the Earth until they either achieve their bright Destiny and reach Heaven or fall to their dark Fate and go to Hell. Souls that somehow achieve both at once go to neither realm, but reincarnate again. Some angels of Destiny have the power to see these earlier lives in order to determine where a soul missed its earlier chances and what its potential may be.
    • Blessed souls in Heaven can choose to reincarnate on Earth to help out in the War. Unlike "undecided" souls, they retain all of their memories and personality, although these are usually suppressed until puberty.
  • Ironclaw: Lutarists believe that everyone is reincarnated while the druids of the Phelan state that some are reborn while most are consigned to oblivion. The 1st edition has rules for characters with past-life memories.
  • Man Myth And Magic us based on this. The aim of the game is to reincarnate at least once in every possible character class, and to remember your incarnations in all of them.
  • Mutants & Masterminds: The Freedom City setting has the Scarab, a superhero who was originally the Pharoah Heru-Ra. Like Hawkman, he is destined to be killed by the reincarnation of the priest who killed him the first time, Tan-Aktor, who is currently Overshadow, the setting's Supreme Hydra Captain Ersatz.
  • Pathfinder:
    • A druid class archetype in Ultimate Magic, the Reincarnation Druid, will after reaching level 5 always reincarnate into a different race a day later. He or she will only stay dead if killed again within seven days of reincarnating.
    • The game also has an odd inversion in the android race: an android's body doesn't age, but after about a century its mind shuts down and its soul departs. Some weeks later, it restarts itself as a new soul comes to inhabit the body. Very rarely, an android can remember fragments of its past lives.
  • Shadow of the Demon Lord: The Ageless Fey are among the earliest sentient beings on Urth. They discover the newborn mortal races and are alarmed at how quickly they progress. Upon investigation they discover the reason, the mortal races actually have immortal souls that are reborn upon death and retain all they knew in their past lives. The mortals are actually more immortal than the Fey, who's souls are fused with their bodies and are annihilated if they were killed. To protect themselves from these immortal mortals, the Fey used their powers to create the afterlives of Heaven and Hell which would temporarily (or sometimes permanently) trap a soul and the Fey can then induce complete amnesia before the soul reincarnates.
  • Warhammer Fantasy: Tzarina Katarin of Kislev is rumored to be the Khan-Queen Miska, the nation's first ruler and a legendary ice witch, born again.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • In humanity's distant past, the first human psykers had the ability to reincarnate, allowing them to accumulate power and knowledge over several lifetimes to continuously protect the human race. However, as civilisation progressed, the Chaos within the Warp grew strong enough that reincarnation became increasingly difficult, to the point where it would have been impossible. The psykers decided to avert this disaster by committing mass suicide and all of them reincarnating into a single body. The person born from this became the God-Emperor. This explanation was explicitly Canon in the early editions, but recently it's been changed to being just one of many possible theories.
    • Lucius the Eternal, the Slaaneshi special character, is a strange version; whenever he is killed, his killer slowly turns into Lucius the Eternal, until all that remains of them is just another screaming face decorating Lucius' armor.
    • Some fluff indicates the Orks believe in this. According to them, "Deff ain't nuffin'. Gork n' Mork'll just spit ye out again!" It might be one of the reasons Orks are Not Afraid to Die. Whether or not this is actually true is not known, but reality does tend to conform to Orky belief...

  • In The Adding Machine, it's explained by Lieutenant Charles that souls get recycled until they're worn out, because it's not worth making one just to use it once. Zero has been there at least fifty thousand times before, and each time he went back he got worse.
  • The plot of Cats revolves atound a yearly event where cats compete to see who will be chosen to reincarnate. In the end, Old Deuteronomy chooses Grisabella to be reborn.
  • Daisy, the main character of On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, is actually the reincarnation of a woman named Melinda Welles, which her therapist discovers when he puts her under hypnosis. Inevitably he falls for Melinda.

    Video Games 
  • Souls can be reincarnated in Afterlife (1996), provided they believed in it before they died. This is achieved by chucking them through a glowing portal-nexus-thingy situated halfway between heaven and hell, which in turn is accessible by a special soul train.
  • In Agarest Senki 2, all three protagonists are the reincarnation of Chaos, leader god of darkness. The reincarnation happens after you play through the prologue of the game but you don't get to find out until the third generation.
  • Assassin's Creed has the Sages, human reincarnations of Isu gods and goddesses that have existed throughout history as multiple individuals.
  • Asura's Wrath: In The Stinger, most of the characters are revealed to have reincarnated into the modern day, with their new selves shown to either reflect or contrast their old selves in certain ways. Asura and Durga have reincarnated into a husband and wife, with Mithra reincarnating into their daughter and Yasha as a standoffish uncle. Wyzern is a pedestrian who Asura beats up for accidentally knocking Mithra over. Kalrow is a speed obsessed old man on a Segway. Sergei is a celebrity dancer. Augus is a Japanese tourist. And Deus and Olga are a businessman and his secretary, the former of whom deciding to help a reincarnated Emperor Strada cross the street. Even minor characters like the bathhouse employees and members of the Shinkoku Forces are shown to have reincarnated as well.
  • A major plot point in Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow: Graham Jones believes that he is the reincarnation of Dracula, who died in 1999. He's completely wrong; it's Soma Cruz who's the reincarnation.
  • In Cursery: The Crooked Man, this is an important plot point that sets up The Reveal of the game: The player's sister Renee, is the identical reincarnation of the Crooked Man's fiancee. His cursed ring triggers her previous life's memories, including the final moments before her death.
  • Subverted and played straight in Devil Survivor. The protagonist has the essence of Abel, who himself carried a bit of the huge demon Bel, but so do a bunch of other demons. However, the protagonist's cousin Naoya is the reincarnation of Cain, who remembers every single lifetime of every reincarnation since he killed Abel. Ironically, God bestowed this upon him as a chance to redeem himself by merely reflecting and atoning for his sin, but after millennia of incarnating, Naoya is understandably far too bitter to even entertain the possibility.
    • Played straight even further with Hijiri in SMT Nocturne as he is the reincarnation of a past sinner, he's forced to witness the struggle between order and chaos for all eternity.
    • The very first Megami Tensei (which translates to Reincarnation of the Goddess) game involves a reincarnation of Izanami. In fact, she is the goddess the title is referring to.
  • A major plot point in Digital Devil Saga. In the first game, it is stated that the dead turn into the Junkyard's rain and are then recreated as the "rookies". The second game reveals that all humans who die resolve into data and go to the sun, and then new humans are born based on that data. Everyone in the Junkyard was the reincarnation of someone who had existed in the real world thanks to Sera's power to extract data. The ending has all the playable characters reincarnate.
  • Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories: Rozalin happens to be having some dreams about a blood-smeared battlefield after her sudden departure from her luxurious mansion. These are actually vivid memories of her past life as the real Overlord Zenon. That life comes back to haunt her more than any reincarnation normally should.
    • In many Nippon Ichi games, reincarnation is a vital tool to power up your Player Mooks, you can even reincarnate the hero but he will still have the same form he did before reincarnating.
  • In Drakengard 3, Zero's partner Michael, the stongest Dragon, sacrifices himself in order to save her from One's Demon Dragon Gabriel in the prologue. Michael is then reincarnated as Mikhail. Zero is constantly frustrated by Mikhail's childish nature, thinking that he's a poor man's substitute for Michael.
  • Eastern Mind: The Lost Souls of Tong-Nou is about reincarnation. You have to die and reincarnate 9 times in the game, and three of your lives end instantly. There's no penalty if you do happen to die, either.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • In the series' lore, the Khajiit are led by the Mane, the unofficial "head of state". According to Khajiit tradition, the Mane is one entity reborn in different bodies with the passage of time. Thus, There Can Be Only One Mane, and historically, this has proven true as there has been no recorded instance of multiple Manes contending for power.
    • An esoteric concept mentioned in fairly deep lore (and further supported by devleoper written supplemental texts) is the "Dreamsleeve". When a mortal dies in Mundus (the mortal plane), and their soul is not bound to the world for some reason or claimed by a deity such as a Daedric Prince, it is believed that their souls enter Aetherius, the "immortal" plane and realm of magic. (Depending on the beliefs of the deceased, they may enter specific areas, such as Sovngarde or the Far Plains for Nords and Redguards, respectively.) Here, their soul may enter the Dreamsleeve, a process related to the cycle of death and rebirth, whereby souls are recycled within the Mundus. Altmeri (High Elven) religious beliefs (passed down to them by the ancient Aldmer), further support this and actively preach in the idea of reincarnation. (The Altmer are rumored to "cull" undesirable progeny and consider it an act of mercy for this reason, as it frees the soul to be potentially reincarnated in a better form.)
    • In Morrowind, the main quest revolves around the prophesied reincarnation of the ancient Chimeri/Dunmeri hero, Lord Indoril Nerevar. The Player Character fits the traits required by the prophesy, but so did many others before. The player character can wear Nerevar's Moon-And-Star ring, which is supposed to kill anyone who isn't Nerevar, but it is strongly implied that the player character might just be a convenient Unwitting Pawn for Azura to get her revenge on the Tribunal for defying her thousands of years ago. Whether or not the player character truly IS the Nerevarine is never made clear. Thanks to the Elder Scrolls series' act of "Mantling", the player character has most likely become the Nerevarine. Mantling makes it possible to become one with another person or deity by, essentially, tricking the universe into thinking that you're that being, generally by filling their role closely enough. By undergoing the same trials and tribulations that the Nerevarine is supposed to do, you've filled his role and have become him.
    • Mantling is also involved in one theory behind Tiber Septim's ascension as the deity Talos. The theory stats that Septim effectively "mantled" Lorkhan, the "dead" creator god of Mundus, the mortal plane. Between possessing the Numidium and the Mantella (an unimaginably powerful soul gem said to hold the soul of Zurin Arctus/Wulfharth Ash-King/the Underking, all possible Shezarrines), Septim found a way to claim Lorkhan's station in the universe. The Thalmor, who drive much of the plot of Skyrim, want to unmake Talos as a means of destroying Lorkhan and all he created, believing that this will return their spirits to a state of pre-creation divinity.
  • Fae and Arasai (an Evil Twin race) from EverQuest II all go through this process, so long as their spirit bud remains intact in-between lives.
  • Fake Happy End: Those who die inside the tower are reborn as monsters. Unfortunately, most monsters weren't able to maintain their sanity, save for a small community that the party can befriend. The majority of them also don't keep any memories of their human life, though those that remember more tend to be saner.
  • In Final Fantasy XIV, the Dotharl tribe of Xaela from the Azim Steppe believe that the greatest of their warriors can be reborn if they die in glorious battle. The tribe's leader inspects each newborn child for any signs of the spirit of one of their fallen warriors and, if any are found, declare the child that warrior's reincarnation and grants the child the warrior's name. These reincarnations can even cross gender lines: Sadu, the leader of the Dotharl in the game, believes herself to be the reincarnation of the male warrior from whom she takes her name.
    • Discussed in Endwalker as a possible theory for the fate of all souls: it's known that when a person dies, their soul returns to the Lifestream and its memories are washed away. Scholars debate whether that soul is then deconstructed into raw material from which new souls can be built, or is reborn intact but without memories, but the Echo being triggered by witnessing visions that recall the Final Days strongly suggests the latter for at least some percentage of the population. It could even be both to one degree or another.
    • The Player Character is all but explictly stated to be a (partial due to the intervening Sundering) reincarnation of a particular Ancient soul, several characters who were familar with that person and have the ability to percieve souls recognize their soul as being the same, or nearly so.
  • It's very strongly implied that Rhajat of Fire Emblem Fates and Tharja of Fire Emblem: Awakening are part of the same reincarnation cycle, though exactly who reincarnates into who is unclear: Rhajat's S-Support in the Japanese version of the game hints that Tharja reincarnated into Rhajat, while her last words, should Rhajat die, hint that she will reincarnate into Tharja. By that token, it's also hinted that there are three other cycles, though the implications aren't as explicit as the Rhajat/Tharja one: the Fates Avatar and the Awakening Avatar, Asugi and Gaius, and Caeldori and Cordelia which is kinda weird since there's a way to make Caeldori Cordelia's granddaughter. This is possibly averted since a dlc fight indicates both stories take place at the same time but in different worlds. Whether or not the dlc is canon can be debated though.
  • Horizon Forbidden West: Ceo, the leader of the Quen expedition, believes that he is the reincarnation of Ted Faro, the most sacred Ancestor of the Quen, who healed the world. Leaving aside the fact that the Quen completely misunderstood Faro's role in the end of the world, it should be noted that Ceo's ideas have no basis in the Quen religion. After he gets himself killed pursuing Faro's secrets, his closest adviser flatly says he was nothing but "an entitled egoist who twisted our beliefs into a sickening, self-serving fantasy."
  • In The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV, it's revealed that of all the people in the cast, Giliath Osborne is the reincarnation of the famous hero and emperor, Dreichels Reise Arnor. And he's being stalked by the curse of Erebonia taken form to accept his contract.
  • Every Link in The Legend of Zelda is explicitly a reincarnation of the Hero's Spirit. Though they aren't usually related (the Links of Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess being an exception), all Links throughout the franchise share similar physical traits and immense courage which gives them the right to bear the Triforce of Courage. Zelda's status is more muddied; the Zelda of Skyward Sword is a reincarnation of the Goddess Hylia, but whether other Zeldas are also reincarnations or merely descendants of Hylia's mortal incarnation is left open to interpretation. Regardless, like Link, all Zeldas resemble each other and share a specific character trait (Wisdom) that allows them to wield part of the Triforce in the fight to protect Hyrule from evil.
    • This topic is directly brought up in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, where the guardian spirits of Hyrule speculate as to whether Link is actually the reincarnation of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time's Hero of Time, with this Link ultimately proving himself to be worthy of the Triforce of Courage, reincarnation or not. And in another timeline, the Hero of Time appears as a spirit to train his successor in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.
    • Also, Zelda II gives us a Zelda cursed to sleep eternally until Link can awaken her, and in fact, it's in her honor that the tradition of naming princesses "Zelda" begins. (Yes, the second game goes out of its way to set the stage for an endless succession of similarly-named characters to allow them to mostly follow Negative Continuity.) The problem is that this takes place shortly after the first game, meaning two Zeldas exist at once much as two Links will coexist in Twilight Princess. It seems that the tradition of reusing names means not every Link or Zelda is the same person.
    • At the end of The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, after Byrne's death, Anjean reveals that while he may not have any memory of what happened, Byrne will eventually return in a new form years later. As a preface to this, Anjean noted that the spirit is persistent, implying that reincarnation applies to the Zelda universe as a whole, which would accord with the numerous instances of recurring characters throughout the series.
    • Ganondorf usually averts this trope, since almost all of his appearances are of the one who debuted in Ocarina of Time, either unsealed or resurrected. The exceptions are the one from The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures, who is stated to be the reincarnation of the original after his death in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, and the one from The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, who has a completely new backstory.
    • The English version of Skyward Sword heavily implies that Ganondorf is the incarnation of the hatred Demon King Demise bore for Link and Zelda. The Hyrule Historia and Hyrule Warriors, meanwhile, state that Ganondorf is Demise himself reincarnated.
  • Loser Reborn: Nya reincarnates the protagonist into a prince or princess. They also reincarnated the protagonist's friend and gave them the same headpatting power, only for their friend to oppose Nya as the Cultist.
  • Lufia 1 & 3, the blue haired heroines are both reincarnations of Erim the Sinistrals of Death, and both are in love with the red headed heroes with the same blood line. Since Lufia 3 is a sequel, this means the history repeats itself.
  • The concept of reincarnation comes up in the Mass Effect series as a religious belief for different alien species.
    • In Mass Effect 2, Mordin explains that many of his people, the salarians, believe in a reincarnation cycle called the Wheel of Life, which allows people to improve and fix past mistakes in their next life. Given that the salarians have an average lifespan of 40 years, Mordin posits the belief may have arisen out of that.
    • In Mass Effect: Andromeda, many angara also believe in reincarnation, believing that souls reincarnate within family lines. One mission actually involves Ryder and company seeking out an angaran man who is believed to be the reincarnation of an ancient angaran hero. Given that the angara were actually created by the long-extinct Jardaan, some believe that this 'reincarnation' may actually be a form of genetic memory, which would explain why people would only reincarnate within their own family lines.
  • According to his arcade ending in Mortal Kombat 9, Kung Lao wasn't just named after his ancestor, the Great Kung Lao, but is, in fact, him reincarnated.
  • In Pillars of Eternity, the past lives of the Watcher and several of their companions being extremely important to the characters in the present. "Awakening", where a past life's memories or even personality reasserts itself, frequently results in insanity, especially if the past life was traumatic or at odds with the present reincarnation. There's also ways to permanently remove souls from the cycle of reincarnation — undead are trapped in their bodies even as they rot and eventually turn to dust and bones, and the followers of Rymrgand, God of Entropy, seek to exit the cycle by reducing their souls to mindless soul stuff as a sort of nirvana.
  • In Ōkami, Amaterasu is the reincarnation of Shiranui. Thanks to messing about with time travel, the two meet up a couple of times.
  • As can be guessed from the name, it features strongly in Reincarnation (2008). Souls escaped from Hell return to their mortal bodies. The player is tasked with gathering proof that these "reincarnies" are still up to no good, then sending them back to Hell.
  • Seems to be subverted in Rhiannon: Curse of the Four Branches, in which the villain evidently thinks all four women named "Rhiannon" are the same person reborn. But if he's right about that, how can the ghosts of the previous three Rhiannons all be simultaneously haunting the home of the current one?
  • Ruina: Fairy Tale of the Forgotten Ruins: Enda is the reincarnation of the Dragon King, whose corpse is in the bottom of Dragon Tower due to being killed by Demon Lord Kulum. Her status as the Dragon King makes it so that the protagonist is required to defeat or recruit her in order to earn the right to wield Fia's Lazurite.
  • In Silent Hill 3, protagonist Heather is revealed to be a reincarnation of Alessa, and the baby given to Harry at the end of the first game. There's also Cheryl, Harry's original daughter, who had half of the soul while Alessa spent seven years in near-death in the hospital.
  • Sonic and the Black Knight: Sonic may be King Arthur's reincarnation.
  • Reincarnation is a central theme of the SoulBlazer trilogy, for the hero and the many creatures he interacts with. Blazer is implied to have been reincarnated many times in the service of The Master (Deathtoll calls him a "creature that suffers eternal transmigration of the soul and cannot die"), and Will and his friends reincarnate and meet each other at the end of his journey. Terranigma's Ark has reincarnation play out for him in a horribly depressing way. He is fated to continue the cycle of death and rebirth; resurrecting one world and destroying the other; himself included, each time switching between Light and Dark. It's said that he has done this countless times in countless lives and will continue to do it countless times again.
  • The Ur-Quan Kohr-Ah in Star Control II believe in reincarnation. This is one way they rationalize their genocide of all other life in the galaxy: any life they take will eventually be reincarnated as a Kohr-Ah, so there's no permanent harm done. There's no evidence to show that this is actually the case, however. The Pkunk also believe in reincarnation, and that it's applied to your Captain as well. There is evidence to prove this is the case in this instance, since their ships have a 50% chance of outright resurrecting when destroyed.
  • The Big Good of Subnautica is a philosophical, telepathic giant Sea Monster who apparently believes in this. After you save her young and ensure the survival of her species, she passes on without regret.
    "Perhaps next I will play as an ocean current, carrying seeds to new land... or a creature so small it sees the gaps between the grains of sand."
  • The entire main cast in Tales of Innocence. The main character, Ruca, was a general named Asras on one side of a war in Heaven dedicated to capturing the "Souseiryoku" and reuniting Heaven with Earth. Throughout the entire game, the characters explore the distinction between themselves and their past lives, with a climax in which Ruca discovers that two of the other playable characters' old identities betrayed Asras, and goes through a fairly explosive Heroic BSoD before having to reconcile his friends and comrades with the actions of their previous selves. In the end, he decides to go through with Asras' plan, with all of his allies (including some of Asras' old enemies) helping.
    • The point translates into gameplay, as every reincarnated person can assume their original form through a process called "Awakening", and each main character's Awakening is their Hi-Ougi.
  • The Talos Principle: As understood by a machine. If you choose to follow Elohim's directives, the "eternal life" you are given means that your personality and puzzle progress is reset, with those aspects deemed desirable by the simulation preserved and those insufficient being randomly altered. All of the bots who left QR messages went through the same process, except Shepherd, who remained on the tower to help others ascend, and Samsara, who remained on the tower to stop others from ascending.
  • The Hero of Tears to Tiara 2, Hamilcar Barca is the reincarnation of legendary king Eshmun.
  • Hieda no Akyuu from Touhou Project. It's part of her perpetual duty to record the history of Gensokyo. She will always be reborn into the Hieda line, with the downside of having a weak body that will only live for ten to twenty years. Her first incarnation, Hieda no Aichi, supposedly penned the Kojiki.
    • The series embraces Buddhist hells, so Reincarnation is actually an expected occurrence, though the series focuses on exceptional cases such as Mokou and Kaguya (the most perfect form of reincarnation in the series, but also the most impure) or Akyuu (who not only continues to inherit her predecessor's memory and is also born into the same family, but is fast-tracked through a process that should take an uncountable number of lifetimes).
      • This also comes up in Touhou Ibarakasen ~ Wild and Horned Hermit, where title character Kasen has the power to destroy evil spirits outright; the first time she does this, local shinigami Komachi chews her out, saying that sinners are supposed to atone and reincarnate and that it's wrong for Kasen to just take them out of the wheel of life completely. Kasen's attitude is "Like I care", and she's shown smashing more spirits over the course of the manga.
    • Inhabitants of the Heavens possess a variety of Reincarnation where they can still "die," but will always come back into existence. Background says that Celestials typically have enough strength to fight back against shinigami, which is why they never get carried off to judgment.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles:
    • Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Almost every single Blade will live through multiple rebirths throughout their existence as they resonate with a Driver, experience life, and then return to their Core Crystal after their Driver passes away before (as long as the crystal isn't destroyed) resonating with another Driver to repeat the cycle sans their memories, though sufficiently powerful feelings and emotions tend to leak through. This can cause a Blade no end of Existential Horror if they think about it, as they can wonder if they're truly the same Blade just with Laser-Guided Amnesia or an entirely new person with the same face. Any Blade that lives long enough and accumulates enough life experience/"data" will eventually undergo one final rebirth into a new Titan, where they cease to reincarnate and will die permanently but instead gain lives in the thousands of years independent of Drivers and will eventually begin to nuture new life and even Core Crystals. Any Blade that becomes a Flesh Eater will also lose their ability to reincarnate and will die permanently if killed, but in return they gain independence from Drivers, extended lifespans, and possibly new powers.
    • Xenoblade Chronicles 3: It's revealed relatively early on that everyone is constantly reborn to feed the Forever War. Whenever someone is killed their essence returns to Origin, where it is stripped of memories and returned to the cradles to be reborn. Especially traumatic events can cause memories to leak through, such as Eunie's memory of being killed by D or Ashera's memory of being executed in the proto-Homecoming ritual. Things get more complicated when it turns out that Noah and Mio are reincarnations of Moebius N and Moebius M, even though the process of becoming Moebius removes people from the cycle of reincarnation. Noah tells them that they are the representation of N and M's hopes and dreams for the future, cast off when they became Moebius.

    Visual Novels 
  • AIR revolves around the descendants of a samurai and a psychic (who, incidentally, also happen to be said couple reincarnated over and over) searching for the reincarnation of the one they failed to protect. However, unlike many other examples, they look nothing like their original selves.
  • The White Haired Girl from The House in Fata Morgana from each time era is implied to be a reincarnation. In fact, almost every main character from the first 3 chapters is a reincarnation doomed to misery as a result of the curse Morgana placed on their souls.
  • Used in Tsukihime, where the Big Bad, Michael Roa Valdamjong hijacked the cycle of reincarnation as a means of obtaining true immortality, ensuring that his soul - with his mind and powers - is reborn into the most talented child available whenever he dies.

    Web Animation 
  • I'm Anton!: Kreha's mother Katherine died from a brian hemorrage. Years later, Kreha gave birth to her daughter Charlie. When Charlie turned 4 years old, she started saying things that only Kreha and her parents know. She went to Anton's company for help and Alex found out that Charlie is reincarnated as her dead mother.
  • In RWBY, the fantastical beings of the Ever After do not experience death like the living creatures of Remnant. Afterans live their lives to serve a purpose or role. When they complete their purpose, fail the purpose, or lose their way, they are taken into the Great Tree and "ascend", being remade into a new life with a new purpose.
  • Smash King, This happens to nearly every character when they lose their 10 stocks/lives and die. It has been implied that some characters, like Bowser, are actually different from their previous selves over the time of being trophies and having multiple incarnations.

    Web Comics 
  • Spacefaring paramilitary groups in Among the Chosen are Crazy-Prepared enough to have protocols for if a reincarnated former agent remembers working for them in a past life.
  • DICE: The Cube That Changes Everything: In the prologue, souls roll a giant die, which determines their happiness in the next life. Dongtae rolls a 1. He recalls this scene near the end of the series.
  • Ennui GO!: In Volume 8, one of Izzy's wives gives birth to twins. Her nephew Max (who recently started being tutored in magic) is able to use his Aura Vision to tell that while the boy has a brand new soul, the girl "has done this before. And she's NOT happy about it." While the exact identity of the soul isn't specified at the time, it's heavily implied to be that of her late grandmother (and namesake) Morrigan.
  • In Heartcore, reincarnation is the closest equivalent to bearing children that demonkind has. Since demons are never truly born nor do they die naturally, when they choose to renounce their life, they produce an egg that hatches into their offspring who will eventually inherit the predecessor's heartcore. Said demon offspring will also adapt traits of another demon the predecessor was close to. Thus far, the two demons known to be reincarnations are Amethyst (reincarnated from Lilium, with Royce as her father) and Carval (reincarnated from Volaster and also "fathered" by Royce).
  • In the universe of Jack, souls in Purgatory or Hell have the option of reincarnation and making another attempt for Heaven, which no one seems to want to leave for long. Though those condemned to Hell have to recognize their sins before they're allowed out, which is rather difficult given the delusions many are under and some of the punishments they are subjected to. And not everyone in Purgatory thinks a second chance is worth the risk of ending up in Hell.
  • Leif & Thorn has a few types of reincarnation.
  • Aleksander and Alison from My Life In Blue have been reincarnated together many times over the ages, brutally dying every time.
  • Off-White: All spirits are shades of gray, except that each species has a single White Spirit and Black Spirit to keep the balance between the other spirits. The White and Black Spirits can be reincarnated, but apparently they also can die a final death, one in which they don't rejuvenate. Apparently being eaten alive is one way for this to happen, going by what Skoll said.
  • The One Piece fan-comic Return to the Reverie takes some cues from Naruto in its Fanon:
    • King Imu believes that Joy Boy’s Haki was so extraordinary that his will literally reshaped reality and allowed him to be reborn in a new vessel, the same way that Queen Umi would be reborn and be destined to stop him. According to him, Joy Boy has been reincarnated as first Gol D. Roger and then Monkey D. Dragon, and Queen Umi has been reincarnated as Rocks D. Xebec, who has survived to the present day as King Imu himself. Or at least that’s what Imu thinks; Roger himself thought his rival was crazy and the only thing that is passed down through history are will and dreams, through memories and legends.
    • The Ancient Weapons, Poseidon, Pluton and Uranus, are all reincarnations of Joy Boy and Queen Umi’s three children, each possessing a facet of their father’s special Observation Haki (the Voice of All Things) that allows them to command a behemoth species of their world.
  • In Sailor Moon Cosmos Arc, after her Suicide by Cop, Usagi reincarnates into Chibi Chibi, who resolves to go back in time to convince her past self to destroy the Galaxy Cauldron.
  • Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal deconstructs the concept in a strip named after this. One girl points out that if you lose all memories of your past life or only keep a few, then you are still dead. She compares this directly to a Death of Personality.
  • The Secret Knots: In "Quinton Page Eats a Sandwich", a young Danish boy claims to be the reincarnation of Quinton. As Quinton had already proven that he had lingered as a ghost (and continued to star in movies as a ghost), the press takes this claim in stride, as its no more unbelievable than anything else regarding him.
  • The title character of Sister Claire is the reincarnation of the famed Bright One/Horned One. A legendary witch both admired and reviled by modern society. Known to her friends as Clementine.
  • Slightly Damned
    • It's revealed by Darius that reincarnation is essential for Medius to function, specifically after a median soul spends their allotted time in their appropriate afterlife the medians life energy is recycled and mixed with the energy of other souls and the new median can be of any of the Standard Fantasy Races. However, after Death disappeared looking for Gaia and Syndel, Darius has been filling in for him but wasn't given the ability to reincarnate the souls and nobody's reincarnated in fifteen years.
    • He also reveals that angels and demons have something different. When one dies their life energy immediately goes back to their respective god to be remade into a new angel/demon, meaning oblivion the that individual.
  • In Something*Positive, Silas was a minor character whose one gag (narrating things) proved insufficient to keep the creator from killing him off; he was later showed in Hell. However, eventually an "Old Familiar Faces" strip showed him alive again as a small child. He's popped up a few other times and is apparently a friend of Mike's son, Shazam. His entry on the cast page sums it up:
    "He's the only person to make it off the dead cast members page and will remain so—proving that the only way to get a second lease on life in S*P is to be completely useless."
  • Unsounded: Both the major Kasslyne religions, Gefendur and Ssaelism, teach that human souls are stripped of memories in the khert and reincarnated as they go through lives working towards their final incarnation and are deemed worthy of joining the gods/god. The khert stripping them of and storing their memories after death is provable—reincarnation not so much—and the whole thing is used to excuse genocidal bigotry. As "beasts", from dumb animals to other sentients, do not have a Kasslyne soul they are considered inferior, and slaughtering a bunch of adherents of the opposing religion can be disregarded as sending them on to their next incarnation and closer to perfection, on both sides.

    Web Original 
  • The short story The Egg features a man dying and meeting God, who tells him that he will be reincarnated as a Chinese peasant girl in 540 AD. After some further questioning, God reveals that everyone who has ever lived and ever will live are all just different incarnations of this one person. This was then adapted into Logic's album Everybody.
  • Sasha Hunter of Greek Ninja is in fact the reincarnation of Eli of Thrace, a mythological hero.
  • Many characters of the Whateley Universe. There's Fey (past life Aunghadhail), Tennyo (past life the Star Stalker) and all the New Olympians (past lives guess who).

    Web Video 
  • Critical Role: Campaign Two: Played with. Lucien's soul shattered when he was killed for the first time, but a fragment remained with his body, becoming Mollymauk. Lucien was later fully resurrected after Molly's death, but upon his final death and revival, returned as another person called Kingsley. It should be noted that they do not see themselves as the same person and identify as separate individuals with different experiences and personalities.

    Western Animation 
  • Aaagh! It's the Mr. Hell Show!: "Hi, my name's Josh, and I'd like to talk to you about reincarnation..." (dies horrible death).
  • Adventure Time:
    • In "The Vault", Finn discovers that the mysterious ghost woman who has been haunting him was the guilt from when his own past life, a female mercenary named Shoko who befriended and betrayed Princess Bubblegum. It eventually turns out that Finn is the reincarnation of the Blue Catalyst Comet, just like the Lich originated as the Green one. Whereas the latter embodies Mass Extinction, Finn seems to embody rebirth.
    • In "Elementals", Pim reveals that she, Princess Bubblegum, Flame Princess and Slime Princess are all reincarnations of the Classical Elements Ensemble who've been around since life began on the planet.
    • The series finale "Come Along With Me" introduces two characters who live 1000+ years after the events of Adventure Time named Shermy and Beth, who appear to be reincarnations of Finn and Jake.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Every time the Avatar dies, he or she is reincarnated. It isn't specified how many Avatars there have been, but it is implied that Aang from the original series is the latest in a long, long line of Avatars. It is also stated that if he or she is killed during the Avatar State there will be no more reincarnations. The Sequel Series The Legend of Korra stars Korra, the newest Avatar and the reincarnation of Aang. It's eventually revealed in Korra that the original Avatar was a Street Urchin named Wan, who made a pact with the great spirit Raava in order to obtain the power to bend all four elements in order to save the world from the dark spirit Vaatu. He died ten thousand years ago. Every time the Avatar is reincarnated, they are born into whatever nation comes next in the cycle of fire, air, water, and earth, since that is the original order Wan learned the elements.
      Wan: I'm sorry Raava. I failed to bring peace. Even with Vaatu locked away, darkness still surrounds humanity. There wasn't enough time.
      Raava: Don't worry. We will be together for all of your lifetimes. And we will never give up.
      [Wan breathes his last...and a baby cries as it is born]
    • It's implied a few times that everyone is reincarnating, not just the Avatar, but only the Avatar can remember their past lives easily. A number of gurus and spiritual leaders speak of such things, and of course the world is heavily inspired by Asian spirituality, where reincarnation is common.
  • Played with in a Family Guy episode where Death gets in a car accident and meets a taller Grim Reaper who tells him that he was dead and now is dead-dead meaning he gets born as a baby in China. Then he disappears, and reappears a second later. Apparently Death was incarnated as a girl.
    • Peter Griffin seems to have been a demon in a past life, if his little episode when Quagmire hypnotized him is any indication.
  • Bobby Hill of King of the Hill may or may not be the reincarnation of a Buddhist Lama, which evidence heavily leaning towards "may". However, when he heard about the vow of celibacy he would have to take, he purposely failed his second test so he could continue to date Connie. Except he technically passed that too, but the head monk was nice enough to call it a failure for Bobby's benefit.
  • Sometimes referenced by Hindu character Apu in episodes of The Simpsons. In one episode, as he's getting ready to hang himself, he looks at a "reincarnation chart" to see what he'll be in the next life: he was a cobra, then a tiger, then himself (little picture of Apu) and his two next incarnations will be as a tapeworm then an assistant to Lorne Michaels. "It's going to be a rough couple of lifetimes," he sighs. In a Treehouse of Horror episode parodying The Most Dangerous Game, he dies but immediately reincarnates as a rabbit.
  • Steven Universe: The title character's unique relationship with his mother has elements of reincarnation, as his gemstone (the core element of a Gem, from which the body is merely a projection) was once hers, and the end of her existence was one and the same with the beginning of his. It is made clear that even if Steven can be considered a reincarnation, Death of Personality applies, and he chooses to distance his identity from that of his predecessor, dramatically conflicting with the villains who insist on treating him as the literal same person as his mother, holding him personally responsible for all her sins.
  • Wakfu
    • Ecaflip demigods reincarnate up to nine times directly, but while their core personality remains the same they have no memories of their past lives.
    • The Original Six Eliatropes and their Dragon siblings are the most noticeable since, as the firstborn of the Goddess Eliatrope and the Great Dragon who are the Creator gods of the setting, they have Born-Again Immortality that lets them revive eternally throughout time with no limit, though like Ecaflip demigods they don't retain memories of their past lives even if their base personalities are often the same. The sole exception is Qilby and Shinonome, who do remember everything, making them technically the oldest existing beings in the universe aside from their progenitors.

    Real Life 
  • Famous American general George S. Patton believed that he had been reincarnated several times prior to his "current" life. He even believed himself to be the reincarnation of the historical Hannibal.
  • A very famous instance of alleged reincarnation in the west is a boy named James Leininger, who's maintained that he's the reincarnation of a WWII fighter pilot named James Huston Jr. From a very early age, he could recognize small details in World War II aircraft and had recurring nightmares of being trapped in a cockpit of a plane that was shot down by the Japanese. When inquired by his parents, he was able to name one of the aircraft he allegedly flied with (Corsair) and even the name of his aircraft carrier (Natoma). Eventually, he gave the name of the place his previous self died at (Iwo Jima). There was only one pilot from Natoma Bay who died in that battle, James Hudson. He's probably one of the most compelling cases of someone believed to be a reincarnation, to the point of appearing in mainstream media outlets whose typical fare is usually not along the lines of religious or spiritual matters. Others haven't been convinced though.
  • Another well-documented case is a boy named Ryan, who allegedly recalled a life of Marty Martyn, a Hollywood talent agent. Ryan first identified "himself" in a photo from a movie "Night after night", the only film where Martyn appeared (as an extra) and was able to provide many verified details (including place of residence, description of a house, and even the correct age of death, as the original death certificate was incorrect).
  • Admiral Tōgō Heihachirō, who led the Japanese fleet in the Russo-Japanese War, said "I am firmly convinced that I am the reincarnation of Horatio Nelson." His skill as a naval commander left others convinced as well.
  • Brian Lumley, one of the most prominent Cthulhu Mythos writers of the post-Lovecraft period was born about nine months after H. P. Lovecraft himself died, which has prompted much half-joking speculation about his previous lives. Lumley himself doesn't take it seriously at all, though.


Video Example(s):


The Hero-King Inglis is reborn

The Hero-King Inglis had only one regret in life, never truly mastering the sword, so when granted a dying wish he asks to be reborn as someone who can do just that... however, this reincarnation comes with a surprise.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / ReincarnatedAsTheOppositeSex

Media sources: