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Too Cool to Live

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"There he goes. One of God's own prototypes. A high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die."
Hunter S. Thompson, referring to his Heterosexual Life Partner, Oscar Zeta Acosta.

Let's say a character is a Ninja Pirate. Let's say he also has a giant robot. Let's say that giant robot also has an Infinity +1 Sword. Let's further say that said sword is actually a katana. No, make that a chainsaw katana. No, let's just say it's two chainkatanas... attached by a chain to make chainkatanachucks.


Clearly, this character is Made Of Cool. Equally clearly, this character, if he is not the Main Character, must die, because he overshadows the main character.

This is what happens when somebody is Too Cool to Live. This character is often relegated by The Plot Reaper to the job of being a Heroic Sacrifice, or the Sixth Ranger. Many a wise and awesome mentor has fallen victim to this trope. Depending on how it happens, such a death can be a severe example of The Worf Effect. There's also a very strong overlap with Sacrificial Lion.

Sometimes, a main character is Too Cool to Live, and so performs a Heroic Sacrifice at the end of a movie or television series. Apparently, there was no bus service in the area.

Sometimes results in a Disney Death due to Executive Meddling if the character is popular enough, but usually only if they Never Found the Body.


Alternatively, this character doesn't die, but is removed from the stage in some way. Or he turns evil, and his superior coolness is put to use as an obstacle for the hero to overcome. And we all know that Evil Is Cool.

It may be justified as it allows the next generation, mainly the hero, to improve greatly to make up for the loss of this person. Many Crutch Characters in video games channel this trope.

Compare Dying Moment of Awesome and Too Powerful to Live, a villain who is just too dangerous thanks to his Story-Breaker Power. See also Too Good for This Sinful Earth, a character who is just too gentle to stay in the story; and Too Happy to Live.

Being Too Cool to Live can be very subjective, so please try not to Edit War. Since this is a death-related trope, Here There Be Spoilers. You have been warned.



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  • As mentioned below, almost any character played by Sean Bean.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Bleach: Yamamoto finally kicked the bucket but not before showing why he is feared by even the Big Bad.
  • STRAIGHT FUCKING COUGAR from Scryed. Especially jarring as his defeat made no sense, but still.
  • Ryoji Kaji from Neon Genesis Evangelion who was shot dead by an unseen assailant.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann:
    • Kamina, though Simon becomes more awesome after the Time Skip. Kamina himself admits this in the Lotus-Eater Machine. But hey, that comes with the job description.
    • Kittan as well, although he did die laughing about how awesome it was (his sacrificing himself to save everyone via a giga drill breaker).
    • Pretty much everyone who is dead on the good side is this. Hell, even some of the bad guys; this is a World of Badass, after all.
    • Speaking of bad guys, one stands out. Lordgenome, who not only has a mecha that is stronger than Simon at that point, but he gets out of it to pummel it with his bare hands. The fact he had dominated the fight, and Simon had to use a cheap shot to kill him cements him as this
  • Darker Than Black: Lives and breathes this tropes. First season had November 11, Mai, and countless others. Second season has had: Tanya, April, and Goran. July, however, has made it.
    • July died as well in the second season finale. In general, if you are attached to a character on the show, flip a coin to see if they die or become horribly traumatized.
  • Daigouji Gai in Martian Successor Nadesico.
  • Neil Dylandy, the first Lockon Stratos in Mobile Suit Gundam 00. Also played with Hallelujah, but He's Just Hiding!.
    • Sergei Smirnov and Ali Al-Saachez in season 2. The Movie added Graham Aker to the list.
  • Roy Focker in the original Super Dimension Fortress Macross. As a Big Brother Mentor who was still able to fight, he had to die so that Hikaru could take over command of Skull Squadron. Plus, his macho personality, something Macross makes a point of deconstructing, is what gets him killed.
  • Naomi Misora in Death Note was removed for this reason; Word of God was that she figured out stuff about Kira too quickly.
  • The men of the Zeppeli family in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure are all doomed to die terrible deaths for helping the heroes.
    • Will A. Zeppeli: Killed by Tarkus, used the last of his Hamon to empower Jonathan before dying.
    • Mario Zeppeli: Eaten Alive by Esidisi after pushing Caesar away from the sealed off Pillar Men.
    • Caesar Zeppeli: Used the last of his Hamon to create a bubble of blood containing his headband and antidote for Joseph after being mortally wounded by Wamuu. Then he got crushed by a roof debris.
    • Gyro Zeppeli: Killed by Funny Valentine, uses his last moments to teach Johnny the last lesson he needs to master the "Spin".
  • Balgus from The Vision of Escaflowne. Sure, he was the mentor to The Hero until this point, but he was a giant of a man with badass scars who took out an enemy mecha on foot with a BFS on a show where this sort of thing generally doesn't happen.
  • Mu La Flaga in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED. Then "Bring 'Em Back" Fukuda lived up to his nickname and brought the character back in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny, but really he might as well not have bothered.
    • In the back-story of Gundam SEED the Original Coordinator George Glenn was assassinated pretty much out of jealousy and envy of his awesome and cool accomplishments by the Blue Cosmos faction making him a sort of in-universe example of being too cool to live.
  • Subverted in Rurouni Kenshin; Kenshin's master is a huge, muscular man who is a master of the style. It even sets him up for dying in this way, as the traditional means of mastering the final technique was to kill your master while using it. However, Kenshin's reverse-blade katana saves his master from certain death, yet Kenshin still masters the technique. His master then goes on to save the rest of Kenshin's band from the minions of Shishio, while Kenshin goes to fight the Big Bad himself. However, he does drop out of the story after the prologue of the following arc to keep him from overshadowing the main characters.
  • Gantz's Joichiro Nishi. Not only was he the only guy who seemed to know what the hell was going on, but he was also smart, badass, funny as hell and something of a Magnificent Bastard at that. So of course, he had to die.
    • Only Nishi? Perhaps the more obvious case of Too Cool To Live in Gantz would be Kato, who quite a few people preferred to Kurono before the latter's Character Development (thankfully, he comes back in the manga as well). Sakata and Suzuki easily qualify late in the manga as well.
  • Vanessa and Elenore in Madlax were odd examples in that they were somehow both Too Cool To Live and Too Cool To Die. Their idea of splitting the difference was...interesting...
  • Vinland Saga has Askeladd, and to a lesser degree Bjorn as well.
  • Minato Namikaze from Naruto is a particularly notable example. He was hailed as one of the strongest shinobi ever, saved the Leaf village from the Nine-Tailed Fox's attack, was shown to be able to wipe out whole platoons of shinobi in the blink of an eye (to the point where enemies were ordered to flee on sight from him), and could teleport anything, even a Spirit Bomb level chakra blast miles away without breaking a sweat. Needless to say, a lot of potential threats to the Leaf would not be deemed so dangerous if he was still alive.
    • Jiraiya the Toad Sannin has become this over the course of Part II since his death. Possessing a high amount of badass skill, his own Super Mode, and being able to fight the Disc-One Final Boss and temporarily defeat him, as well as his own wisdom being used to redeem his fallen student through Naruto Uzumaki, it's easy to see why he's cool. Even Kabuto lamented his inability to use Edo Tensei on him.
  • Max Kaien from The Five Star Stories, except that he isn't dead. He was indeed so much of a Game-Breaker that he would disrupt the plot, but the plot itself was so tangled and complicated, that Mamoru Nagano simply had no need to kill him. Instead, he threw Max away into an Alternate Universe, where he found at least some match for him and surfaced only in occasional episodes ever since.
  • Ken from Godannar. What can go wrong with a badass pilot who has a Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot for a mecha? Obviously, they had to take him out. Unless he's in the Super Robot Wars universe.
  • Festa in Fang of the Sun Dougram. He defeats an enemy Humongous Mecha on a bike and saves the titular Super Prototype. Five minutes later he goes for a drive and a grenade goes off in his bike. A grenade that a dying enemy soldier dropped there in the previous episode. A grenade that he conveniently didn't notice at all.
  • Outlaw Star: "Hot Ice" Hilda served as the mentor for Geene Starwind until she sacrificed herself fighting off Space Pirates. A long-time dream of fans is the creation of a Prequel detailing just how she got to be so badass.
  • Danny in the Zatch Bell! anime. He's a strong fighter barehanded and has a spell that can heal all of his injuries (even resurrect him after getting shot to death) limitless times. So he dies in the same episode he appears, in a very stupid way and only to protect a statue.
    • But like darn near everything else in this series, it's a Tear Jerker anyway.
    • As a bit of an added punch, the statue he was hell bent on protecting broke before he was in that situation.
  • Cross Marian in D.Gray-Man necessitated a hunt across half of Asia by the Black Order, then sauntered in and saved Allen's ass on the Ark. His superiors at the Black Order were not amused by his tendency to go truant and put him under house arrest, and he spent quite a while lounging around headquarters, seducing women, racking up insane amounts of debt on the Order's tab, and completely outshining every damn person in the whole place, as was aptly demonstrated when Lulu Bell attacked. He was attacked at HQ and appeared to be dead, but his body disappeared, with his gun, and mask left at the scene. Komui exams the bullet hole in his mask, and tells other generals that all the blood belonged to Cross and that a wound of such magnitude would have been fatal. However, it's been revealed that he survived the shot to his head, but has only been placed in a Convenient Coma because of it. Road reveals it when she states she wants him to keep sleeping, in chapter 222
  • Yuuko from ×××HOLiC is so cool that Clow Reed warped reality to delay her death before she died for real.
  • Jack Rakan of Negima! Magister Negi Magi, with a suitable send off. Fate had to rewrite the laws of reality to take him out, and even then, he went down swinging.
    • Even then he comes back in the next chapter to do a SECOND Obi-Wan Moment by smacking (literally) some sense into Negi after he gives into his Superpowered Evil Side.
    • Subverted, now that he's WILLED HIMSELF BACK INTO EXISTENCE permanently.
  • One Piece:
    • A character who is the strongest, most powerful, most awesomely manly, and all-around most utterly badass character in a World of Badass. He dies at the end of the arc in which he finally gets to fight. His name: Whitebeard.
    • Fan-favorite powerhouse Fire Fist Ace qualifies; also qualifies for Too Good for This Sinful Earth. These two were the first One Piece characters to be Killed Off for Real outside of Death by Origin Story.
    • To elaborate, when Gol D. Ace was younger and hung with Luffy, he was already stronger than the latter with a Devil Fruit, while the former was Badass Normal beforehand. Not only was he was the third strongest person in a crew said to be the strongest in the current era; capable of fighting with a Warlord to a draw, he was also a much more well rounded person who easily surpassed Luffy in charisma and ability. It took the most unfettered of the Admirals to kill him after a long battle to rescue/execute with basically almost every superpower aside from a few notable people
  • In Soul Eater, Mifune. Yes, his death allowed Black Star to find his own 'path' and all, but damn wasn't that samurai guy cool. Plus he left behind cute little witch Angela.
    • This is, in fact, one of the ways in which the Gecko Ending of the anime improved on the manga. He survives and ends up going over to the good-guy side (can't really call it a Heel–Face Turn since he was never evil in any sense of the word).
    • While not as awesome as Mifune, the manga also has BJ. Nifty soul perception skills, he and Marie had a history, and member of a different part of Shibusen - Internal Investigations. He was every bit as weird as the rest of the staff...killed off within three chapters.
    • And now, possibly, Tezca the South American Death Scythe (the bear guy). Okubo seems to get steadily more bizarre with his characters, and the Demon Mirror could have been fun to watch had he not seemingly been offed by Justin Of course, he ''is'' a mirror...
  • This was almost played straight with Joe Asakura aka Condor Joe in Science Ninja Team Gatchaman; he would have died and stayed dead if there wasn't a second series in the works, and early planning for the second series had him Killed Off for Real and replaced by an android (while another draft had him resurrected as a villain and replaced by a never-before-mentioned brother). In the end, the trope was subverted by having him just barely survive, then implanted with cybernetics.
  • Reinforce (Eins) from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's. She's untouched by Nanoha's point-blank Excelion Buster and shows the girl a real Starlight Breaker. Clearly too awesome to be allowed to stay alive.
  • Claymore gave us Teresa of the Faint Smile. She's a major fan favorite, but she's so overwhelmingly powerful that she'd inevitably overshadow everyone else if she were allowed to stay, including her adoptive daughter Clare. Word of God has it that if she'd survived her battle with Priscilla or been revived later, the entire story would have been different.
  • Vegetto (Vegerot in the VIZ translation) from Dragon Ball Z. Yep. Guy comes, dominates Buu-Gohan (In his base form in the anime, he just transformed for kicks), even when turned into the world's most powerful candy, he lets himself get eaten by Buu so he can go save his friends. Unfortunately, he unexpectedly lets down his protective barrier and defuses. Story repeats itself in both Dragon Ball Super and Dragon Ball GT, with both Vegetto Blue which used all of his energy while battling Merged Zamasu and Super Saiyan 4 Gogeta, who didn't take Omega Shenron seriously while fighting him and defused because his transformation costed too much energy.
  • Anchan from Rainbow: Nisha Rokubou no Shichinin. This guy is looked up to by the other 6 main characters, including The Hero after he completely tears them up in a 6 on 1 boxing match in a prison cell. He's also extraordinarily durable. He lives through nearly being burned alive in a locked cell, and being starved and paralyzed with ice cold water until he could just barely see those white pearly gates as his friends carry him in an epic prison breakout, only to die from a stab wound and a barrage of bullets while on his way to see Mario's Heroic Rematch.
  • Prussia from Hetalia: Axis Powers. I mean, he's the resident Darkhorse and have you heard of Prussia? I wonder why.
  • Leomon and his subspecies in every Digimon series in which he's an ally.
  • Cho-san from 20th Century Boys, the detective so awesome had he not died he would have resolved the plot of the entire manga 21 in-series and 7 real-life years earlier than without him.
  • In her first appearance, Puella Magi Madoka Magica's Mami Tomoe summoned a thousand rifles and wiped the field of Mooks from space. She then took Madoka and Sayaka under her wing. 3 episodes in, she's violently decapitated and devoured by a witch gone One-Winged Angel. Also qualifies as Too Happy to Live, since she had literally just pledged her friendship to Madoka.
  • Anubis from Ronin Warriors who had the most Character Development to boot.
  • Daguza Mackle, aka Commander McAwesome, from Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn. Even his death was awesome: He jumps out of the Unicorn with a rocket launcher, shoots the Sinanju in the head in an attempt to blind it, and salutes to Banagher one last time before being incinerated by the Sinanja's beam axe.
  • Fujimoto of Blue Exorcist, despite only being there for a two episodes/one chapter. He was the most powerful exorcist in the world, holding the rank of Paladin before he died. And he has a cute familiar that looks like a cat.
  • Zoalord Purgstall from Guyver caught on with fans for being a badass, honorable, caring guy who happened to be on the antagonist's side. Fans still cling on to hope he'll somehow come back from the dead.
  • Tatsugoro, Otose's late husband, in Gintama who was an honorable, upstanding, all-around-awesome guy who fiercely defended his town, who got the girl and who was able to fight the baddest punk in town (who later became the yakuza boss and one of the four emperors of Kabukichou) to a draw. Of course, he goes and dies, taking the bullet for that punk (who was also his friend and rival for the girl), which set in motion opposing set-in-stone promises from two of the series' most stubborn characters, Jirochou and Gintoki.
  • Spike Spiegel from Cowboy Bebop is the main character version.
    • Although not even Word of God knows whether he's really dead or not.
  • Badass Preacher Nicholas Wolfwood from Trigun.
  • In Hellsing, MOST of the characters are awesome in some form, given that many of them are either vampires or vampire-hunters. And unfortunately, unless they're Alucard, they're either dead or permanently injured by the end of the series.
    • Father Anderson is probably the most noteworthy example here, since his death arguably falls into Ass Pull territory.
  • In Samurai Deeper Kyo, we have Muramasa, Taihaku, Fubuki, and most definitely Hishigi. One could also make an argument for Kyosaburo (also known as the Toudai Aka no Ou), a Posthumous Character who created the Mumyo Jinpu Ryu, techniques capable of killing God (the Sendai Aka no Ou).
  • Code:Breaker has Hitomi and Code:Seeker, who were both killed at the end of their arcs.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist being a World of Badass, pretty much any death gets this trope; but Maes Hughes, Kimblee, Wrath, and Greed in particular stand out.
  • The Lucifer and Biscuit Hammer had Shinonome Hangetsu, the dog knight. He was a martial arts master, even before gaining his Psychic Powers, was effortlessly cool and respectable, lightening the mood in a dark story, and was still a Fun Personified Manchild, with a love of Tokusatsu and anime. He is also the first knight in the manga to die, passing on his skills to the Anti-Hero, Yuuhi.
  • Hunter × Hunter has Uvogin who killed three well skilled Nen users while paralyzed from the neck down. For the plot, he served as Kurapika's starter enemy from the Genei Ryodan as the physically most powerful member, so Kurapika found out that he can defeat the members in terms of raw powers.
    • Kite, Netero, and Meruem; the last one was even the most powerful being who was born on earth.
  • Attack on Titan: Ian, The Special Operations Squad, Mike, Nanaba, and Gerger.
    • Then later, Grisha, Erwin, Sasha, Hange, Zeke and Eren.

    Comic Books 
  • The Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers is an Anyone Can Die series, so of course, it offers up one of these to die before the rest of the cast. Rotorstorm is The Ace, able to simultaneously pilot two spacecraft and use both to hit small targets, and always ready with a "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner... and he dies first.
  • Lord Voll in ElfQuest. He would have been a Cool Old Guy father figure to all races of elves, laughing and flying around while guiding them in unlimited space travel and bringing about worldwide harmony. A single troll arrow kills him. In the end, it takes the elves another 1500 years to achieve what he could have given them in a day.
  • Marv from Sin City, whose only starring role in a full-length story basically serves as one big Heroic Sacrifice and ends with him dead in the electric chair.
  • Sync from Generation X.
    • And Blink, especially considering very shortly after her death, an incredibly badass alternate reality version of her was depicted in significant detail.
  • MVP, from Avengers: The Initiative, gets a lot of focus in the first issue as clearly being the best of the new trainees. This is made doubly-impressive when you find out he has no superpowers. At the end of the first issue, his death signifies that this is not a perfect program for perfect candidates and that this is going to be a story about the more troubled kids.
  • One of the first main characters to die in Fables is Colin, Bigby's snarky yet surprisingly wise best friend who's also the only one of the Three Pigs to have any morals.
  • Rio Morales in Ultimate Spider-Man. Her death serves as a major Wham Episode that lets the reader know how serious things have gotten.
  • Planet Hulk: Caiera is shown to be a very powerful and skilled fighter with an honorable streak despite serving such a cruel master in the Red King. She ultimately turns on him when she discovers he was the one behind the disaster that befell her village in her youth. In the final issue she is killed by a bomb set by loyalists of the Red King which prompts the Hulk to go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the Illuminati whom he mistakenly blames for her death.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animated 
  • Mufasa from The Lion King (1994) pretty much needed to die so Simba could become king and replace him.
  • Hexxus in FernGully. It helps that he's voiced by Tim Curry. And he's the Big Bad.
  • Necron99/Peace from Wizards. Dressed head to toe in sleek red armor, a crack shot with a rifle, and willingly takes on an enemy tank all by himself to defend his comrades; so of course, he has to die. Unfortunately, his death at the hands of a possessed Elinore, who literally stabs him in the back, proved to be an extremely underwhelming way to go.
  • Rod "Torque" Redline from Cars 2. Voiced by Bruce Campbell, said many funny one-liners, and killed in his second appearance.
  • Tadashi from Big Hero 6, was a good older brother, a noble worker, and intelligent student - which ultimately means that he dies at the end of the first act of the film. Hilariously lampshaded in this comic.
  • Peter Parker, in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Saved the city more times than he can count, is a fully-fledged celebrity in his Spider-Man persona, used the money to create a fully-fledged superhero headquarters stocked with gadgets and suits, and the first time we see him in person he's fighting off the Goblin and the Prowler at the same time. So, of course, he gets killed off, and it's left to Miles Morales to attempt to save the world in his stead.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 2012: You just had to kill off every one of the cool Russian characters except for Yuri's bratty kids, didn't you, movie?
    • Jerkass deadbeat husband main character Jackson Curtis vs Gordon Silberman, main character's ex-wife's new husband who cares for kids that aren't his own, undergoes major Character Development and saves the party multiple times with his flying skills. Divorce Is Temporary. Do the math.
    • What, you didn't think that Roland Emmerich could possibly cast Danny Glover as the President and not kill him off, did you?
    • Charlie Frost, Crazy Survivalist and Conspiracy Theorist extraordinaire who stands at the brink of an exploding volcano just to give his viewers what it was like. It's too bad he died, but man, what a way to go.
  • Alien and Alien vs. Predator:
    • Ripley, Vasquez and Hudson, from Aliens, hell all of the colonial marines for that matter.
      "Game over man! Game Over!"
    • Alien: Resurrection: The gravely-voiced head of the Betty crew Captain Elgyn is portrayed as a carefree space pirate and ladies man. He's also the first of them to die in a rather sudden and painful death.
    • Alien vs. Predator (2004): The general opinion people have of Adele Rousseau, with most reviewers stating that she's the only character they liked. So of course she's one of the first to die. And Scar, for somewhat obvious reasons.
    • Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem: Wolf, as some people wished he would've avoided the status quo of killing the Predator thanks to putting up one hell of a fight.
  • Dog Soldiers:
    • Joe and Spoon are Badass Normals who do most of the heavy lifting with regards to fighting the werewolves, both of them sharing The Big Guy role - so it was inevitable they'd go down fighting.
    • Sgt Wells is A Father to His Men, played by perpetual darkhorse Sean Pertwee and rejoins the fight after having his intestines nearly ripped out. You know he's going down with an incredibly badass Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Godzilla:
    • Joe Brody in Godzilla (2014). Narrowly subverted with Godzilla himself in the final battle.
    • Mechagodzilla in Godzilla vs. Kong, very much. He's a colossal, silver-and-crimson cybernetic skeletal version of Godzilla, armed to the teeth with missile launchers, thrusters, a plasma punch and a drill tail, and he's basically King Ghidorah reincarnated to boot once the Ghidorah skull's consciousness remnants hijack him and grant him Ghidorah's sadistic tendencies. Compared to Ghidorah's screentime in the previous film, Mechagodzilla has only two scenes, and once he gains a mind of his own he only lives for about ten minutes before being destroyed in the Final Battle.
  • Jurassic Park:
  • Kingsman: The Secret Service:
    • Galahad, the suave, lion-hearted, polite and soft-spoken ass-kicker, who sadly meets his fate. He got better.
    • Gazelle, the crazy, lethal Dark Action Girl.
    • Kingsman: The Golden Circle:
      • Roxy/Lancelot gets killed off at the beginning in an unheroic way, along with the rest of the Kingsmen by Poppy firing missiles at each of their locations.
      • Agent Whiskey, the charming cowboy with a cool laser lasso, ends killed at the hands of Eggsy and Harry when he turns out to be a villain.
  • Mad Max:
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
  • The T-800 from Terminator 2 and Terminator 3. And Sarah Connor between these two films.
  • Transformers:
  • X-Men: First Class: Darwin. He has the power to survive anything through gaining whatever adaptations he needs. So, naturally, he gets an anti-climactic death way before any of the other mutant characters.
  • Father MacGruder from Braindead. He kicked ass for the Lord, and we sure hope the Lord appreciated the effort when MacGruder met up with Him shortly thereafter.
  • From the Star Wars films: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Mace Windu, Darth Maul and Boba Fett.
    • Apparently, while everyone agreed with "cool" describing Fett, they took issues with the "to live" part.
    • Guess what? Maul is back too. But presumably not for long.
    • In a less action-y way, Qui-Gon probably fits. Had he survived to be Anakin's mentor (as was the actual plan), the rest of the series probably wouldn't have happened due to his extreme level-headedness and wisdom.
      • Yoda admits as much (at least to himself) in the novelisation of Revenge of the Sith, declaring to Qui-Gon's ghost that Qui-Gon's bend-the-rules-and-adapt mentality had been correct all along and he (Yoda) had essentially led the Jedi to disaster.
    • And as of Episode VII, you can officially add Han Solo to that list.
    • The Last Jedi knocks off Supreme Leader Snoke, Captain Phasma, and Luke Skywalker.
    • Narrowly averted with General Veers in The Empire Strikes Back. Originally, he was supposed to get killed when a Rebel snowspeeder kamikazes into his Imperial walker, blowing him up, but the scene was cut.
    • Grand Moff Tarkin from A New Hope. Peter Cushing regretted not being able to reprise the role for the sequels.
    • Rogue One ups the ante on this by killing off every single new character it introduces who's not already Saved by Canon.
    • While the title character is obviously safe, Solo still pulls this by killing off Rio Durant and Val, Tobias Beckett's two likable and very badass mission partners. Even the film's screenwriter regretted the loss.
  • Frankie Four-Fingers (Benicio del Toro) in Snatch.. This also applies to Bullet Tooth Tony (Vinnie Jones, bitch), but he lives a bit longer.
    • As well as Boris the blade.
  • Naveen Andrews' Badass Bookworm and Freddy Rodriguez' Drifter in Planet Terror, the first half of Grindhouse.
  • Let's be honest, the moment you saw John C. Reilly playing a badass, funny Crazy Survivalist and war veteran who kills pterodactyls with a samurai sword in Kong: Skull Island, you knew he was a goner long before he pulled out the photo of his beloved wife. Which is it what makes it all the more shocking and satisfying when he makes it off the island and is happily reunited with his family.
  • Hero, Heroine, and Jason Mewes in Feast. The former survives about thirty-five seconds of screen time before being messily eaten. Heroine lives for most of the movie is extremely resourceful and helpful, but also dies. Jason Mewes gets his face ripped off in the first ten minutes.
  • Mani, the Sidekick from Le Pacte des loups, English title: Brotherhood of the Wolf.
  • Tristan, the cool dude with the hawk in the 2004 King Arthur movie. 'Course, he's played by Mads Mikkelsen, so what're you expecting?
  • The Consultant in The International, although admittedly he could have been more Genre Savvy.
  • Serenity kills off the two inarguably coolest members of the crew - Shepherd Book and Washburne. Because this is Joss Whedon we're talking about, he specifically stated they were chosen because they were the two coolest members of the crew, and because we wanted to indicate to the audience that no one was safe. Damn you, Whedon...
  • Captain Kaneda in Sunshine. He's professional, he's pragmatic, and he cares deeply for the success of his crew's mission. Plus, he's played by Hiroyuki Sanada. If he hadn't died within the first half-hour, he'd probably have broken the plot.
  • Inglourious Basterds: Let's face it—as soon as you saw Hugo Stiglitz and the Bear Jew in all their badassery, you knew that they wouldn't make it out alive. They are both awarded a Dying Moment of Awesome.
  • Doc Holliday from Tombstone. Granted it's based on a true story, and he lived the way he did partly because he was slowly dying of Tuberculosis, but still.
  • Subverted in Zombieland when it looks like resident badass Tallahassee is going to be killed off during the shootout at Pacific Playland. Instead, he's too cool to be too cool to live. His coolness wraps around itself to defy trope conventions. Played straight with Bill Murray.
  • Raze from Underworld.
  • Sgt. Brodski from Jason X.
  • One from Resident Evil (2002), The character was in the movie for all of fifteen minutes (and the evil AI had to cheat to kill him), but the actor's strong performance made a lasting impact. Residen Evil Retribution revisits the cloning subplot, so One and Rain (who was also too cool to live) do return... As villains.
  • Christopher Pike in Star Trek Into Darkness.
    • Also Kirk himself, but this is averted when he's brought back to life.
  • Pacific Rim:
    • Aleksis and Sasha Kaidanovsky, the Cherno Alpha pilots. Also, the extremely talented triplets of Crimson Typhoon, and, lastly, Stacker.
    • Subverted with Hannibal Chau, who survived getting Eaten Alive, and he wants his goddamn shoe back.
    • Not just the human characters: Striker Eureka performs a nuclear flavored Heroic Sacrifice to clear the way for Gypsy Danger. This trope applies to all Jaegers but Striker Eureka stands out due to its heroic looks, statistics and combat record.
  • Parodied in The Other Guys, where Danson and Highsmith, two badass policemen, deliberately jumped off a tall building while chasing jewelry robbers in the hopes they would land in the bushes. They didn't survive.
  • Tackleberry between Mission to Moscow and the next Police Academy film, and for good reason.
  • Brian could become an example in Fast And Furious 7, for the same reason mentioned directly above. He ultimately doesn't.
  • Roy Batty from Blade Runner.
  • Out of all the mercenaries in Rambo IV, only En-Joo does not survive the climax of the movie.
  • Valli from Northmen A Viking Saga. He was played by Amon Amarth singer Johan Hegg, which made him incredibly cool and was one of the first characters to die.
  • Saurod in Masters of the Universe. A slinky, almost silent reptilian mercenary in gold armor with a Cool Helmet shaped like a flared cobra's hood, complete with syringe-like projections on his face mask and what amounts to a metal ponytail coming out of the back of the cobra hood/helmet. And then when the Quirky Miniboss Squad disappoints Skeletor, it's this guy he chooses to zap out of existence. Even better, right as Skeletor is about to strike, Saurod can be seen drawing his gun in anticipation of the attack, proving he had some quick reflexes and enough self-preservation to draw a weapon against his boss. Unfortunately, he wasn't quick enough.
  • Mortal Kombat (2021): Kung Lao is built up as by far the strongest of Earthrealm's fighters as well as easily getting the best Fatality of the movie. He also ends up being the sole Earthrealm casualty of the film (aside from Kano who had already made a Face–Heel Turn beforehand), courtesy of Shang Tsung himself.

  • Garet Jax in The Wishsong of Shannara. The man is called a "weapons master" because no matter who his opponent is, and what weapon he uses, he will still manage to come out alive. Well, until he defeats an ancient Eldritch Abomination in a heroic sacrifice.
  • Boromir in The Lord of the Rings. The only member of the Fellowship to bite it, he combines this with Redemption Equals Death. Taken Up to Eleven in the film, where he's played by doomed-cool-guy extraordinaire Sean Bean and has a glorious Dying Moment of Awesome.
    • Possibly even more so Gandalf (though he got better), whose magical powers could have solved many of the problems the fellowship faced after Moria.
  • Both Thomas and Pug from the The Riftwar Cycle have become too powerful to be sufficiently challenged by the threats that often appear in the later books. As such they are often described as being elsewhere or just missing.
  • Inigo Skimmer is the best damn character in The Fifth Elephant (beyond Vetinari, who is, to be fair, employing him). He's also an absolutely superb fighter and Assassin. Sadly, when he's attacked by a large group of werewolves, not superb enough. One of the best Discworld characters and he only got through half a book. Tragic.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: Syrio Forel, Beric Dondarrion, and Oberyn Martell, the Red Viper of Dorne, to name a few.
    • Robb Stark and badass wolf Grey Wind.
    • Eddard Stark however is pretty awesome and his death sets the tone for the whole series brilliantly.
      • Fittingly, in the HBO adaptation, he's played by Sean Bean, who tends to play these sort of characters a lot.
    • And Khal Drogo. His actor in Game of Thrones was so upset that the character got killed off that he proposed to the showrunners that a Backup Twin could show up in the second season. They worked him into the season finale, albeit in a different way (from beyond the grave).
    • Qhorin Halfhand. Too badass.
    • Oberyn Martell deserves a special mention - the guy certainly gained a huge following while he was around.
  • Everworld has a character with the appropriate name of MacCool who fits the trope very well for a minor character. MacCool is an elf who is a romantic rival to Christopher, and as his name implies, his characterization mainly consists of being cooler and more impressive than Christopher. He dies fighting against a danger very unfamiliar in Everworld: humans armed with machine guns. And of course, there is a perverse satisfaction in the fact that Christopher was the one who had known about the gunmen and how to protect against them, but MacCool didn't follow his instructions.
  • Primus and Septimus, from Stardust.
  • Talaan, the main Action Girl from Heroes Die, who may have been a better fighter than Caine.
  • Rachel from Animorphs. Though she does last quite a while (she dies in the final book).
  • Les Misérables: Enjolras and all the Amis. Gavroche. In the end, even Valjean has to be united with the For... wait, wrong fandom.
  • The Wicked Witch of the West and her counterpart Elphaba.
  • In Guy Gavriel Kay's The Fionavar Tapestry, first Kevin then later Dairmuid. Basically all the most cheerful characters. Though the later is partly a subversion as Dairmuid dies to save Arthur from this trope.
  • Joe Buckley in 1634: The Galileo Affair.
    • This is a Baen Books (the publisher of 1634) in-joke. Anytime a character of that name appears in a Baen title, he will die.
  • The Dresden Files
    • Shiro Yoshimo is a Cool Old Guy with A FREAKING HOLY KATANA... Although it turned out that he was diagnosed with cancer, and was going to die anyway, but he instead went out with a Heroic Sacrifice.
    • Shadow of Lascielnote  started off as a villain to tempt Harry and turn him evil. But his inner goodness and stubbornness lead to years of resisting its charms and temptations for three years when most people submit to a Fallen's Shadow in less than a month. No one lasted this long. After Harry notes that as something living in his head, which is malleable enough to be turned evil, she can be the victim of the same aspect. She can change, and after said three years, she is no longer the same Shadow he first met. So, he calls her Lash and this kick starts her quick Heel–Face Turn. However, as she would be able to grant Harry perfect memory, perfect recall, the knowledge of a Fallen Angel without needing him to sacrifice his morals the former villain would be a huge Game-Breaker in-universe. So a Heroic Sacrifice was used to remove the redeemed villain.
  • Roy Meritt from Daemon. His status transcends death, being revered by Darknet operatives well into the sequel.
  • Bridge to Terabithia: poor Leslie. This is intentional, as this book is Based on a True Story of how the best friend of the author's son was suddenly killed by lightning, AND she is described as remembered by Jess and others, thus looking cooler than she would otherwise.
  • In the timeline of World War Z, General Raj Singh narrowly escapes this trope (unwillingly—he rediscovered tactics that would have worked against the Zombies with enough ammo, and has to be punched unconscious to be 'coptered to safety), only to play it straight during an evacuation—by manually detonating the bomb on a mountain pass, so that the safe zone remains ghoul-free.
  • The Good Captain Hajj in Galaxy of Fear. For the captain of a space cruise liner, he was quite the Reasonable Authority Figure.
  • Penny is probably the most notable example from Gone; she had the most unique ability to horrify people in the entire series, as well as being slightly insane. Other candidates for this trope include Orc, Duck, and Brianna.
  • In The King of the Sea we have Paddy O'Brien, a Mad Scientist calling himself "The Demon of War" and saying he has invented a ray that blows up enemy munition stores from afar (in the 1860s). During the final battle he's told to prove it, he does by blowing up one of the five enemy warships... And then he's killed by a grenade that also destroys his death ray.
  • Nehemia in Throne of Glass. She's reminiscent of Princess Leia in that she's a courageous and strong-willed princess who is Wise Beyond Their Years and is secretly supporting the rebellion. She's skilled at deceiving and manipulating others, with her strengths lying more in political manoeuvring and spy-work than than just throwing her weight around. She's actually more proactive and heroic than Celaena is (at first). Unfortunately, she gets killed off just two books in, with her death even serving to motivate Celaena into actually being the hero. A lot of readers were disappointed by this; it's also been pointed out that it has problematic implications given that Nehemia is a woman of color - and pretty much the only major character of color in the series to boot - whose main role is to die to motivate the white protagonist.
  • Murtagh, the Ensemble Dark Horse of the first Inheritance Cycle book, is a snarky, shrewd Badass Normal with a mysterious and troubled past. His fans often find him to be a better written and more compelling protagonist than Eragon, who in the first book can come off as a very naive, flat Luke Skywalker expy before his Character Development in subsequent books. Murtagh goes missing at the start of Eldest and is presumed dead...until he turns up in the ending, now serving Galbatorix (and cooler than ever, seeing as he's now a dragon rider as well). Some readers wondered if Murtagh was made a villain in an attempt to avoid overshadowing Eragon. Ultimately, this trope is averted; though he been considered it, even Christopher Paolini thought that Murtagh was too cool (and had been through too much crap) to kill him off and he gets Redemption Equals Life.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Tuvix, from the Star Trek: Voyager episode of the same name. Those MURDERERS!
    • Also One, the future Borg from "Drone."
  • Faith from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Actually, she was lucky — she got off with eight months in a coma and then most of the rest of the series in prison.
    • Likewise Kendra, Joyce Summers, and Jenny Calender.
    • Doyle from Angel also fits this. Sadly, Glenn Quinn in real life as well.
    • A few one-shot or minor recurring characters might count, as well. Some examples include Holden Webster from "Conversations With Dead People" and Skip from the 3rd and 4th seasons of Angel.
  • Curtis from 24. Whom TWOP calls the show's "Handsome Black Agent", who teams up with Jack and dies ignominiously.
    • And President Palmer.
    • And Bill Buchanan.
  • Fringe has quite a number of these, unfortunately...
    • First up is David Robert Jones, the first real villain in the series. Twice.
    • Alternate Lincoln Lee was as cool and they come.
    • Thomas Jerome Newton, the series most badass and suave villain to date - and the only one to transition over two seasons. Sadly, it was not meant to last.
    • September too.
    • Sam Weiss. Yes, HIM - and worst of all, he was given an extremely unceremonious off-screen death accompanied by only a passing mention.
  • Omar from The Wire. Not until the last season though.
    • Not to mention Snoop.
  • Pretty much any character that the audience likes from Supernatural as the show seems to relish in killing off fan favorites (sometimes bringing them back seasons later just to kill em off). Honestly, it's easier to count the ones that don't die.
    • Gordon Walker
    • Likewise, Agent Henricksen.
    • Gabriel seems to be this in spades.
    • And now as of the previous season, Bobby Singer.
    • Ellen Harvelle.
    • Most recently, Charlie Bradbury.
    • Benny.
    • Castiel was intended to be this in "Hello, Cruel World", but was brought back several episodes later.
    • Kevin Tran.
    • On Hell's side, Azazel and Lucifer certainly qualify.
    • And of course, John Winchester.
    • Death himself ends up being this.
  • Chris dies at the end of the second series of Skins.
  • The BBC's Robin Hood introduces Meg, a smart, spunky girl who shows intelligence, compassion and an endearing sense of entitlement that gets Guy of Gisborne to stop moping and rethink his priorities. Meg's counterpart Kate spends the entire episode sulking and moaning (as per usual) and tops it off by trying to manipulate a dangerous situation so that her romantic rival is killed off. Now, guess who dies and guess who survives the entire show.
  • Victor from Burn Notice. He's as intelligent as Michael, he plays off Michael's personality very well, he would be very useful and interesting in Michael's day-to-day jobs, he is funny, he is played by Michael Shanks, and he dies in the episode where he teams up with Micheal.
  • Alas, poor Peggy. When the battlestar Pegasus shows up halfway through Season 2 of Battlestar Galactica, she was doomed from the start by virtue of being a more advanced and awesome battlestar than the Galactica. And so, alas, she was taken from us far too soon, at the hands of recently-promoted (idiot) Commander Lee Adama - after only appearing in any significant roles in a couple of episodes before her demise. Because Ramming Always Works.
  • Vikings: Erik, a towering, heavily muscled Viking warlord who hewed apart Saxons with a single strike, who sent men flying with a single shield bash, and who was played by Vladimir Kulich, is this in spades. He was mourned, both in-universe and out. His death also spurs the main character to bring down the despot Earl who rules the tribe.
  • Game of Thrones: Has its own page.
    • There are so many examples of this present, it has led to some fans jokingly suggesting that the show could easily be renamed, "Too Cool To Live: The Series".
    • This trope could conceivably be renamed "The Oberyn" without any problems.
  • Salim from Snabba Cash was an effective career criminal and Nice Guy to boot. He tried to leave the criminal lifestyle for good. Unfortunately, he was killed by the Big Bad due to sacrificing himself to save his loved one.
  • The ground rule in Super Sentai seems to be that if you are an anti-hero/villain with ranger-like powers, you will not survive your respective series. Examples include Choujin Sentai Jetman's Gai, Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger's Burai, Mikoto Nakadai of Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger and Rio from Juken Sentai Gekiranger.
  • There's no way Dollhouse could keep Bennett around. She's just too damn distracting.
  • The white-haired British guy in Stephen King's Rose Red. Level-headed, brave, not too bad-looking, and friendly with the rest of the characters, even the crazy leader who, like a certain Jack Torrance was way too comfortable in the sapient, giant, evil house — yup, he was doomed.
    • What makes his death a real shame though was that he died saving the life of a woman who was stupid enough to leave the group in the middle of a house that was trying to kill them. And why did she leave? She wanted some iced tea.
  • Adam Monroe from Heroes definitely fits this trope.
  • who's the second most short-lived Doctor after the Eighth Doctor (who has the excuse of being in a TV movie), in spite of being concentrated amounts of eccentric awesomeness.
  • Really, all the Doctors from Doctor Who qualify to a certain extent. They all get replaced by another awesome incarnation right after regeneration, though, so it's all good.
    • The Tenth Doctor may fit this trope more than most, being the shortest-lived Doctor in canon since he is confirmed to have only lived for 6 years whilst other incarnations such as the 11th and 1st are known to have lived for centuries. The Ninth Doctor also had only one season, making him the shortest Doctor onscreen (except for the War Doctor, who only appeared in the 50th anniversary and a prequel).
    • The DoctorDonna, who had all of the Doctor's experience and Time Lord knowledge combined with human creativity.
    • Father Octavian, from the 2010 series. Iain Glen really is just THAT awesome. Even the Doctor is genuinely bummed out by his death.
    • Mrs. Moore from Rise of the Cybermen/Age of Steel also qualifies.
    • Rita from The God Complex is intelligent, competent, witty and all-around awesome, to the point that the Doctor jokingly tells Amy she's fired as his companion within a few minutes of meeting her. She is so very doomed.
      • Lampshaded earlier in the episode by Rory.
        Rory: Every time the Doctor gets chummy with someone, I have the urge to inform their next of kin.
    • Played With in the case of Jenny, his cloned daughter from the 2008 season. Witty, tough, and capable of standing up to her dad when necessary, as well as proving to be both an Action Hero who very much took after her father in joie de vivre and love of adventure. She got killed at the end of the episode, pulling a Heroic Sacrifice, naturally. Then she was resurrected. Then she has never appeared since.
  • An episode of Eerie, Indiana featured a classmate of Marshall's named Devon Wilde. His name alone tells you what was in store for him.
  • Boardwalk Empire has Jimmy, Manny and Richard.
  • From Legend of the Seeker resident Badass, Deadpan Snarker, Hell-Bent for Leather, Agony Beam wielding, Tsundere, Cara and Knight Templar, Magic Knight, Badass Long Robe, Manipulative Bastard, Faustian Rebel, Darken'Rhal had a kid. Take a moment and guess what happened the same day said kid was born.
  • Lucifer (2016): Father Frank, so much. The man only lasted one episode, but he had a piano duel with Satan.
  • While Bryce Larkin might not be the most sympathetic guy in the series, he is certainly much cooler than the lovable loser the main character is at the beginning of the series. Accordingly, he is killed in the pilot. He gets better.
  • Sokichi "Boss" Narumi from Kamen Rider Double, a hard-boiled detective who lives by the ideal created by authors like Raymond Chandler and who radiates awesome and badass from every single fiber of his being, but deep down still has his soft side. And all this is before you factor in that he's also a Kamen Rider. To put it simply, the Boss is a smooth criminal.
  • Lawrence Kutner and possibly Amber Volakis from House.
  • Brain Cooper was considered the car-fixin' Big Brother Mentor to pretty much every kid on the block. He was even one of the few people to tell Wayne to stop beating up on Kevin. He gets shipped off to 'Nam and dies in the first episode of The Wonder Years.
  • Pearl from The Vampire Diaries was a 400-something-year-old Asian vampire who kicked all sorts of ass, put the series' biggest Jerkass in his place and still managed to be pretty high on the Friendly side of the Sliding Scale of Vampire Friendliness despite being introduced as an antagonist. And then a few episodes after she's introduced she gets a bridge dropped on her.
  • Travis in Blake's 7.
  • Kristina Kell in Survivor: Redemption Island was probably the only player besides Rob on the Ometepes who had a brain. First thing she thought upon seeing the return of Boston Rob and Russell Hantz? Rob's gotta go ASAP. She proceeds to find a hidden immunity idol before the first tribal council with no clues. A show record. Unfortunately she's voted out fourth and booted early, ending hope of anyone interesting from the Ometepe tribe going far.
    • Kristina definitely had a bunch of enemies in the editor crew - She only got screentime when she was shown finding the idol, during tribal council, and on redemption island. The "recap" before the finale conveniently glossed over how Kristina caused a schism in Rob's tribe so early, and Probst didn't even so much as look in her general direction at the Reunion show.
  • Several characters on Lost. Mr. Eko steps out though because he died so early on and with so little time on the show.
  • Godric from True Blood was arguably cooler than the main cast. Naturally, he dies just a few episodes after his introduction.
  • This happens frequently on Merlin what with the writers' remarkable gift of writing fascinating One Shot Characters, casting veteran actors to play them, and promptly killing them off. Notable examples include the druid Aglain (played by Colin Salmon), the Warrior Monk Alator (Gary Lewis) and the sorcerer Ruadan (Liam Cunningham). That last one was an incredibly rare example of a magic-user who was opposed to Camelot and the Pendragons, but not overtly evil, making his death all the more frustrating. There was also Finna, a Cool Old Gal and Isolde, one of the show's few Action Girls.
  • Tortuga from Breaking Bad. A wise-cracking, rather helpful informant to the DEA and played by Danny Trejo? Obviously can't last for more than two episodes.
  • One of the first truly major characters to die in Babylon5 is Kosh, the likable Trickster Mentor and one of Sheridan's closest, most powerful allies. His death had a massive Nothing Is the Same Anymore effect on the show and fully cemented that anyone of the cast could die, even badass aliens that border on being demi-gods.
  • Captain Roy Montgomery from Castle, who was easy-going enough to allow Castle to shadow Beckett, mainly because he knew Castle could make her more at ease. He kept him on even as he helped her piece together her mother's murder, even with his own place in it. He ultimately died taking one of the bad guys in that conspiracy with him, atoning for his own part in it.
  • The second season of GARO has a time-traveling wandering samurai named Igari Juuzou. In order to prevent himself from dying from an incurable disease, he strikes a deal with a demon residing in a katana. What makes Juuzou such an awesome character, is that he is so far the only character in the entire GARO franchise to be fully in control of his body after a demon possessed it. When the demon commands him to kill innocents so it can feed on them, Juuzo simply cuts open his own body and tells it to feed on his blood. In his final battle with one of the heroes, he shows he is in complete control of the demonic powers. The downside of this great character is that he basically amounts to a Monster of the Week, lasting for only one episode.

    Myths & Religion 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Pretty much all the Planeswalkers in pre-Time Spiral Magic: The Gathering. Planeswalkers, previously, were godlike beings of immeasurable power over not just one world, but all worlds and the games were supposed to represent their duels (which were more like petty games than actual wars, since they could not be truly hurt). However, Wizards of the Coast realized that this meant that any time a character became popular/powerful enough, they could no longer write stories or make cards about them, and also made it difficult for the players to relate to them. So it was decided to tone down the power of Planeswalkers, and in the process, the board was wiped clean, with virtually every existing Planeswalker destroyed.
    • To give you an idea, post-time spiral, only Nicol Bolas and, later Karn have managed to survive. Venser, the first of the "Neo-walkers", also proved to be too cool to live. Phryexia as a concept has also managed to make it back from the dead, though.
  • All the Primarchs in Warhammer 40,000 are dead or ascended in the contemporary setting. As genetically engineered demigods of war, they would unbalance the grimdarkness considerably. They do appear in the Horus Heresy though.
    • An example from the latter series would be Hastur Sejanus, a member of the Mournival and Horus' best friend. Famed for his even temper and levelheadedness, his death on more or less the first page of the first book is an 'in-universe' example of this, as with him around, the first trilogy likely would never have played out this way, since the plan hinged on Horus' feelings of loneliness and abandonment.
    • However, the arrival of the 8th Edition and the Gathering Storm campaign present to us the revival of Roboute Guilliman. Now he has taken the task of putting the Imperium back together while fighting the advances of his daemonic brothers, who are not quite happy with his return...
  • It is actually possible for players to invoke this in Rocket Age with the Experienced trait. The trait gives more character creation points while cutting down the number of story points, which are mechanically Plot Armor. The trait can even be taken multiple times, meaning that the more experienced and cool a character is, the less influence they have on the story and the more likely they are to die prematurely. It essentially turns someone into the cool supporting character.


    Video Games 
  • Archsage Athos. He was so powerful he would've affected The Binding Blade too majorly had he still been alive, so he had to die. Dark Sage Bramimond is implied to suffer a Bus Crash between the two games, likely for the same reason.
  • All post-Heel Realization Black Fang leaders/elites, except Jaffar (he's really cool, but he survives the events of the game).
  • Fatal Frame:
    • Fatal Frame has Mafuyu Hinasaki, the protagonist's older brother. Overall presented as an amazing guy, Mafuyu took care of his sister after their mother's suicide, headed into the haunted mansion simply to find and help his professor and is clever to realize what is going on, leaving notes for Miku to find. He decides to remain with Kirie at the Hell Gate, so she will not be lonely anymore and ease her suffering.
    • Fatal Frame IV: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse the ex-police officer turned detective Choushiro Kirishima. He's the one who discovered the kidnapped girls on Rougetsu Island and has been spending his entire time finding and bringing You Haibara to justice. Badass is the simplest way to describe this guy, for all the things he does. Turns out, he's been dead for years and his ghost is what's been doing all that work.
  • Metal Gear:
  • Final Fantasy loves these guys:
    • Zack Fair from Final Fantasy VII and Crisis Core (also The Ace).
    • This also applies to Aerith. For the period she's with the group, she's one of the most useful members (being the best magic-user and the primary healer) who's final limit breaks are flat out game breakers, not to mention her loveable tomboyish personality and status as Last of Her Kind. It makes it very easy to get attached to her, until... well.
    • Auron from Final Fantasy X: Badass Longcoat, check... Rōnin style, complete with katana, sake bottle, and arm-in-coat, check... The Stoic, check... Auron is so undeniably too cool to live, he's been dead since before the game started!
    • Judge Magister Drace from Final Fantasy XII.
    • Final Fantasy XIII got a rare female example in Oerba Yun Fang. Her Australian accent in the English dub only increased her already considerable badass quotient. Fortunately for the shippers, she only goes into crystal stasis. Fix Fic here we come!.
    • Come now, this trope has been in Final Fantasy since the early days. Tellah from Final Fantasy IV, Galuf from Final Fantasy V, General Leo (and possibly Shadow) from Final Fantasy VI... but the champion of this is Final Fantasy II. Scott, Josef, Minwu, and Richard Highwind... so badass, they made a bonus mode starring them in the afterlife!
    • In fact, the only time this is subverted in the mainstream games is in the very first Final Fantasy. Wherein all deaths are undone due to the heroes destroying the villains "Groundhog Day" Loop scheme by hitting the Reset Button.
  • Kratos, of Tales of Symphonia decides to accompany a giant comet made of mana into outer space at the end of the game, never to be seen again. The big bad is dead, there's no reason for him to go, but he does anyway because he's "A relic of the past."
  • Tales of the Abyss: Damnit Asch if you'd stop overshadowing Luke, you wouldn't be dead now, would you?
  • Zero averted this, thanks to fan outcry over his Heroic Sacrifice. (That, and the creator wanted him to be the new Mega Man but Capcom said no.) Depending on the endings you get, he dies later, but not canonically. In X5, he dies again, but comes back due to more Executive Meddling, and seals himself away at the end of X6. By the end of his own series, he dies permanently...but is brought back as Model ZX in Mega Man ZX along with the Guardians.
    • Mega Man X: Command Mission has Spider, who's so cool that he died before the game even started. Possibly. It's unclear when the real Spider dies, but he definitely never made it to the game's halfway point.
  • Wodan Ymir from Super Robot Wars. So imagine that you've got the awesome Sanger Zonvolt, and then you CLONED him and said clone inherits ALL his awesomeness. Can the universe keep itself from imploding with the awesomeness those two emit? The clone gotta go.
  • In the Metroid series:
  • Nihlus Kryik from the first Mass Effect. Spectre, intrigued by the potential of the human race, clearly established as a mentor for Shepard, dies thirty minutes into the game. Samara (from the second game) describes how he outwitted her after a two week game of cat and mouse: namely, turning her own Code against her. Bear in mind that Samara is a thousand-year-old asari Justicar that started fighting injustice around the same time Napoleon was marching on Moscow.
  • Thane Krios and Mordin Solus from Mass Effect 2 are both very popular with fans and highly likely to die during ME2's suicide mission; Thane is terminally ill and Mordin is at a fairly advanced age for a member of a race with a 40-year lifespan, and neither character's skillset is well-suited to front-line combat. If they make it to ME3, Mordin is all but guaranteed to die during the mission on Tuchanka unless a very specific set of requirements (one of which is killing off another former squad member) is met, and Thane inevitably dies stopping Kai Leng from assassinating the salarian councilor.
  • Also in Mass Effect 3, Legion dies no matter how the situation on Rannoch is resolved, either committing a Heroic Sacrifice to help save the geth, or going berserk and forcing Tali to kill them in order to save Shepard.
  • Depending on your opinion on the characters, any member of the team in Mass Effect 2 if you haven't completed their loyalty missions (and sometimes even then).
  • Parodied with Santino from Tales of Monkey Island. Dead to Begin With, a skeleton in fact, though his crewmates didn't realise. When he was alive, he was charming, handsome and looked up to and respected by all, and was also the only member of Coronado De Cava's crew who could swim proficiently and speak manatee, both necessary skills in obtaining the MacGuffin. Guybrush lampshades this by remarking to De Cava "Kinda put all your eggs in one basket there, didn't you?"
  • Bill Overbeck from Left 4 Dead. In the new campaign for L4D2, it is explained that Bill sacrificed himself in order for the other three Survivors to go on, allowing them to meet the L4D2 Survivors. Even worse is that you can actually see Bill's dead body later in the chapter.
  • Teddy from MOTHER. Appropriately enough, his appearance in the popular EarthBound fancomic The Chosen Four is a hilariously blatant Captain Ersatz of Kamina.
    • It should be noted that Teddy doesn't die, but the fact that he's injured to the point that he can't fight (or even speak) until the ending sequence still makes the trope applicable.
    • What about EVE? Too cool and powerful to stay with the team toward the end?
  • The Suikoden series loves this trope:
    • In Suikoden you have first Odessa Silverberg (Flik's lover and former leader of the Liberation Army), Teo McDohl (your father), and Ted (your best bud and the original wielder of Soul Eater Rune)
    • In Suikoden II you have Genkaku (your father figure) and Annabelle (Muse's mayor).
    • In Suikoden III Jimba bites it, moments after revealing who he really is to his oblivious daughter, who'd spent a sizable portion of the game searching for him.
    • In Suikoden IV you have Glenn the chief of the Knights of Razriel and your father figure (more or less).
    • In Suikoden V you have Ferid and Arshtat, your parents. Actually, whenever you are the parent of the main hero please apply for a swift death at the hand of this trope.
  • Starkiller from The Force Unleashed because logically he just can't be around to kick the Empire's ass for the rebels.
    • Except it didn't really take the first time around. So he was too cool to live and too cool to stay dead.
  • Your snarky prettyboy Glass Cannon Ensemble Dark Horse teammate Leon, from Tales of Destiny. In the remake, he got a nice Obi-Wan Moment Heroic Sacrifice, staying behind to activate an elevator allowing the rest of the party to escape a flooding abandoned mine.
    • Since Namco enjoys teasing their fans, the director's cut of the remake includes a New Game+ option to play through the game following Leon as the main character instead of Stahn. Fans were hopeful that there would finally be a story path where he wouldn't be too cool to live. Nope, he still dies, and the game ends there.
    • If that weren't enough, Stahn himself dies between Tales of Destiny and Tales of Destiny 2. (Although due to messing around with the timeline, in the end he gets better.)
  • The World Ends with You: Sho Minamimoto. Zetta duh.
    • And yet he maybe didn't as he didn't get erased despite clearly being in the UG. He probably passed out at best.
  • Pankraz from Dragon Quest V. Since he's never actually player-controlled, the game only gives brief glimpses of how badass he is, but it's more than enough to show he would've been a top-tier party member all the way to the end of the game. Especially given his unique ability to attack twice every turn.
  • In the Halo series, Sergeant Johnson appears to fall into this trope twice, but survives off-screen the first time around.
    • Comes up again with the five members of Noble Team who die in Halo: Reach. To clarify, the dead characters are the elite squadron commander, the girl with the robot arm, the guy with the skull on his faceplace, the guy using a turret as his primary weapon and the main character who spends his/her last minutes trying to hold off the entire Covenant army. Too Cool To Live indeed.
  • Johnny Gat spends the first two Saints Row games establishing himself as an insane badass, only to die in the first half hour of Saints Row: The Third. Part IV reveals that he was in fact Too Cool To Die, and he actually survived the events of the third game.
  • Advance Wars: Days of Ruin features the grizzled, experienced, charismatic, and tirelessly selfless Captain Brenner, the undisputed commander of his unit of heroic soldiers, and, for all intents and purposes, the protagonist of the first half of the game. Since the younger, far more Bishōnen Wide-Eyed Idealist newcomer Will has to have some plausible reason to take the mantle from Brenner, he pulls a Heroic Sacrifice by holding a bridge and telling Will and the others to run. He eventually takes a nuke to the face.
    • In the same game we also have Forsythe, a revered CO from Lazuria. A father to his men, and despises dirty tactics, telling Caulder straight to his face he won't endanger his men by using dangerous experimental superweapons. He even called in a cease-fire while fighting Brenner's father in order to bury the dead. In fact, when you face him, he's gone out of retirement just to defend his country. How does this cool old guy meet his death? Peacefully surrendering to Rubinelle, only to get killed on the spot.
  • E-102 Gamma from Sonic Adventure... and then his parts are used to create E-102r, a.k.a Chaos Gamma... and then he gets an extremely badass "younger brother" E-123 Omega (who was first voiced by Jon St. John, of course.)
  • In Baten Kaitos Origins, party member Guillo is a total badass, a hilarious Deadpan Snarker, a big Game-Breaker in combat, and has a compelling backstory. It sacrifices itself almost immediately after the final boss to save Sagi from a malfunctioning machina.
  • Ghost from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. He was all around a badass special forces mofo, but the thing that really set him apart was his iconic skull mask. He was killed off rather unceremoniously, however, the fan reaction to him was so strong that there was talk of making a spinoff game starring him. The game seems to have been scrapped, however, he did end up being included in Sony's ambitious Intercontinuity Crossover commercial Michael.
  • Trevor from Phantasmagoria 2 wasn't cool in the traditional sense, but he was still the most likable character in a cast full of assholes and Too Dumb to Live idiots.
  • Deke from Fear Effect. Thankfully, he gets better in the best ending.
  • The Super Emeralds which made the normally Infinity +1 Swords Chaos Emeralds the Infinity -1 Swords of the game. After that game, they never appeared at all in the Genesis and Modern games, making the fans wonder where they were and leaving the Chaos Emeralds as the sole Infinity +1 Swords of the series. After many years, Sonic Mania finally gave the fans an answer of where they were all this time : all gray, cracked and drained of their power after the events of Sonic 3 & Knuckles. Making the whole thing an item example of this trope.
  • In Season One of The Walking Dead, the protagonist of the game is an unassuming history professor named Lee Everett, who was in the midst of a personal crisis when the Zombie Apocalypse hit. While Lee's personality is determined to a degree by the player's choices, he's charismatic, empathetic, courageous, witty, moral, and above all will go through hell itself just to protect Clementine, a little girl he's taken under his protection. Even when he's infected with the zombie virus himself, he if anything becomes even more badass when he realizes he now has nothing left to lose. Even as he breathes his last, he uses these moments to give Clementine a few last words of advice on surviving in this horrible new world. Lee may be dead as of the end of the first season, but he lives on through the words of wisdom and encouragement he gave Clementine, who replaces him as protagonist for the remainder of the series. Whenever fans discuss the villains of the second season onward, such as Bill Carver and the New Frontier, the consensus is always, "Lee would have taken care of them easily".

    Visual Novels 
  • Random Hajile in Snatcher. However, he does live in SD Snatcher.
  • Mia Fey in Ace Attorney. So awesome that it doesn't even take - she keeps being channeled through the Phoenix arc by her younger sister and later her cousin.
    • Who else could become an Ensemble Dark Horse post-death than prosecutor and noble thief Byrne Faraday?
  • Sakura Oogami from Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc. The Super High-school Level Martial Artist with the buffest body among all of the students trapped at Hope's Peak Academy; though strong and intimidating, she was also level-headed and polite. It also happened that she was The Mole for Monobear, who outed her to the rest of her classmates, which led to them growing distrustful of her. As such, she poisoned herself with the intent of uniting the students against their common enemy after her death, and also broke the lock of the headmaster's office; proving instrumental in providing the group vital information.


    Web Original 
  • Max aka HandofBlood in Tube Clash, a German YouTube series, where animated versions of german Youtubers team up and fight each other to survive, Battle Royale style. The aforementioned Max makes it all the way to the penultimate episode, by now qualifying as the greatest badass of the remaining three, having defeated a giant serpent all by himself earlier and using a gigantic Samurai sword as his weapon of choice. Despite his physical superiority over the others however, he chooses to instead sacrifice himself to allow the remaining two to move on. May also qualify as Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Pyrrha Nikos in RWBY ended up being an example of this; by far the best fighter in the main cast, she was both a mentor and a love interest to the male lead, in addition to being a world-renowned athlete. She met her fate against The Dragon in the third season's finale and came very close to winning despite The Dragon having recently gotten a massive power boost.
  • Agent York in Red vs. Blue was a charming, snarky badass and quickly became a fan favorite, but died at the end of the Out Of Mind miniseries after being shot by Agent Wyoming. To make up for this, he was given a large role in the prequels.

    Western Animation 
  • Jet in Avatar: The Last Airbender.
    • Combustion Man is a villainous version of this.
  • Amon/Noatak from The Legend of Korra. He learned how to bloodbend outside of the full moon with his mind by the age 14. At the same age, he left home and went into a raging blizzard by himself and made it out alive. When he was revealed to be a waterbender, his bending was shown to be especially badass. Then Tarrlok blew up the boat they were on. It's understandable considering that no matter how much he could change, he'd still always be broken, but still, it's sad to see such a badass like him go.
    • Book 3 ends with only the least overtly showy and spectacular Red Lotus operative surviving long enough to go back to prison...and he's the Big Bad.
  • Tigerhawk in Transformers: Beast Wars is also the latest of latecomers, being in only the last three episodes. Sell those toys!
    • Ditto Dinobot, Depth Charge, AND Dinobot 2.
  • Omega Supreme in Transformers: Animated who performed a Heroic Sacrifice the episode that he came online.
    • Subverted when he was revealed to not only have survived but was brainwashed into becoming Megatron's chief weapon. Double Subversion when he ends up back into sleep mode anyway but triple subverted in that he is eventually brought back fully in control of himself and makes it back to his home planet where he is finally recognized as the hero that he always was.
    • Also in TFA, Prowl. Just when he's mastered the cyberninja arts and has become totally awesome, he sacrifices himself to save Detroit.
    • Also in TFA, Blurr. A very competent secret agent who's able to use his superspeed to curb stomp squads of Decepticons. Too bad The Mole realized Blurr was about to blow his cover and had to dispatch him (according to some cut material, he may still be alive...)
    • The newest member of the too cool to live Transformers club, Cliffjumper from Transformers: Prime. Awesome car form? Check. Has cool Viking horns on his head? Check. Voiced by The freaking Rock?! Check. Dead before the second commercial break? Check.
      • Skyquake, a Decepticon version of this Trope, could be considered the Decepticon version of Cliffjumper.
      • Makeshift is another example from Prime. Power to change his appearance? Check. Can replicate the abilities of whoever he changes into? Check. Discovers the location of the Autobot's base? Check. Killed at the end of his debut episode? Bingo. Heck, even the writers confirmed that the reason he was killed off was because he was downright overpowered.
      • And we can add Dreadwing to the list...
      • The Star Saber is an equipment version of this trope. Awesomely powerful, and shattered the episode after Optimus got it.
  • Subverted-Charles Foster Ofdensen from Metalocalypse. He died at the end of season 2 only to return in the nick of time in the season 3 premiere in a truly awesome fashion.
  • Nabu from Winx Club. Seriously! On top of being an incredibly sweet and nice guy, he managed to single-handedly take out Duman and close a powerful magical portal that would've sucked all of the Earth fairies into oblivion in just one episode…only for him die after using up all his energy. None of the other Specialists ever reached the level of Badass that he did and they have had twice as much screen time. Even though he appeared in the second movie, it seems he is still dead as of season 5.
  • New Brian was beloved by the Griffins in Family Guy and replaced Brian...until he pissed off Stewie. After that, it seems he shot himself, hacked up his body and threw it in the trash.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars:
    • Ima Gun-Di and Captain Keeli are both fairly badass, which of course means they only show up for one episode and die in a heroic Last Stand.
    • This generally applies to a lot of the Clone Troopers. They're all badasses with endearing quirks and likeable personalities, which of course means that most of them die after you get attached to them, particularly if they're serving alongside the main characters.