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Survived the Beginning

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Often in the first chapter or story arc of a series, Anyone Can Die. The main characters are not established yet and so when someone dies it is quite surprising since everyone was given equal character development. Of course, the death of friends and family motivates the survivors, who go on to become virtually immortal from there on out, not suffering a casualty ever again, except in the most highly dramatic way.

The inverse of Sacrificial Lamb. Will usually result in a First-Episode Twist.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Elfen Lied, many an anonymous guard is violently killed in the opening sequence, but surprisingly enough, so is the clumsy-but-lovable secretary Kisaragi, who you would've thought was well on her way to being a developed character.
  • In Outlaw Star, "Hot Ice" Hilda appears to be an important character at the beginning of the show. Unfortunately, her ship is destroyed while being pursued by pirates. She tries to use a cable wire to pull herself to Gene Starwind's ship, but it just so happens to snap at the last minute. As she floats into the nearest sun, she leaves The Protagonist with the parting words, "Outlaws never go down easy, no matter what happens to them."
  • Attack on Titan establishes its credentials as a series where Anyone Can Die in the battle of Trost, where many of the 104th Trainee Corps (which the audience has been following thus far) are killed off - including Marco Bott, who was well on his way to become a major character. Those that did survive, however, are all still alive. Well, most of them.

    Comic Books 
  • Uncle Ben was killed off in the first appearance of Spider-Man and has remained largely dead. Meanwhile, Aunt May has managed to even come back from the dead. Apparently, Spider-Man forgot to ask for his uncle back when making his deal with the devil.
  • In X-Men, Thunderbird was killed off in the issue after he joined the team. All other X-Men involved either are still alive or have failed to stay dead.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the opening of the first Mission: Impossible film, Ethan Hunt's whole team is killed off, including characters played by big-name actors Jon Voight, Kristin Scott-Thomas, & Emilio Estevez.
    • Voight got better, but you don't find that out until later.
  • The Transformers: The Movie: Tons of established characters are killed off in the first battle but from there on out no one can permanently die.

  • In the second arc of Wings of Fire, the seven dragonets of the Jade Winglet class are introduced and set up to be the main cast, only for one of them, Carnelian, to die halfway through the first book. However none of the others of the main cast, nor any other character who's not a villain, dies after this.
  • Halo: The Fall of Reach has seven characters who join Blue Team at some point in the novel: John, Fred, Linda, Kelly, Fjahad, Sam, James. Sam and James both die and Fjahad is crippled and leaves both the team and the series, all in the first book. The other four, however, go on to survive all the way up to the latest media in the series.

    Live Action TV 
  • Original Battlestar Galactica: Billions are killed in the Cylon attack but once safely away, the fleet manages to avoid substantial losses for quite a while.
  • Red Dwarf starts with everyone dying save a single survivor; Everybody's Dead, Dave. Not only do the entire crew of the titular spaceship die, but the entire human race goes extinct while Dave is a Human Popsicle. The first episode is appropriately called "The End".
  • In Stargate SG-1 Kawalsky seems set up to be a main character, but dies at the end of the second episode.
  • Star Trek: Voyager: Half the crew dies right at the beginning of the series. They never lost more than a handful after that unless there was a Reset Button handy.
  • Almost everyone who survived the first season of Heroes became virtually immortal in season 2 and after. The characters introduced from the second season on weren't that lucky.
  • The entire first episode of Survivors involves introducing several characters and then watching most of them die off into the tiny handful that would make up the cast for the rest of the series, as a plague which wipes out 90 percent of the world hits.
  • The first episode of The Last Man on Earth takes place two years after a virus apparently destroyed all life on Earth, with Phil Miller as the only survivor. Gradually, other survivors appear and join Phil, forming a little community.

    Video Games 
  • Dragon Age does this often.
    • While the Player Character of Dragon Age: Origins can't get killed other than by a standard Game Over during the first two major missions (Origin and Ostagar), his/her Player Party members can and will, so don't grow too attached to them. A case in point: PC's mother in the Human Noble Origin, Daveth, Ser Jory, and whichever companions you get in the Tower of Ishal depending on your class in Ostagar, and Mhairi after the first mission of Dragon Age: Origins Awakening. While your companions may die later in the game, it is always a properly foreshadowed event.
    • Played straight and subverted in Dragon Age II. You will lose one sibling partway through the prologue, and possibly the other at the first timeskip. Your mother dies around halfway through the game. Also, you have the option of killing a permanent party member at the start of the final mission.
  • Subverted in a different Bioware series: anyone can get killed in Mass Effect. In the first game, you will lose one of your first two party members (not counting the Sacrificial Lamb) before the end; in the second, bad choices can get everyone killed (including you); in the third, your actions in the first two and your choices here may kill effectively everyone from the first two (and some of those with you if you really err). Nobody is safe forever.

    Web Comics 
  • Goblins: A whole goblin raiding party is wiped out killing many, many characters. Since then the survivors have gone on to slaughter anything that looks at them the wrong way.
  • The Order of the Stick: Half the Linear Guild was lost the first time they met the OotS gang. Since then, the three survivors have consistently made it away while their newer members tend to get Put on a Bus or killed. (Though other characters have not been so lucky, notably poor Miko. And even Nale and Zzdri, one of the three aforementioned survivors plus another original member who came back, have bought it lately.)