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Unexplained Recovery

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Bart: Ralph? I thought you were dead!
Ralph: Nope!

This trope occurs whenever a character is last seen with a serious injury, a situation that no one could survive, or was flat-out clinically dead; and then is returned in full health with no real explanation for their recovery. And Death Is Cheap.

In other words, the only reason the character is still whole and alive is because Status Quo Is God and the writers invoked the First Law of Resurrection: they just didn't want him to remain dead.

Also one of the possibilities in a Bolivian Army Ending or Left Hanging.

Characters will quickly recover from critical injuries due to Hollywood Healing. If returning from the dead is an explicit power of the character, see Resurrective Immortality.

Compare Snap Back, Staying Alive, Joker Immunity, Made of Iron, and Good Thing You Can Heal. The inversion of Instant Illness.


As this is a death trope, expect spoilers!


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Appleseed: Two Horns in the film Appleseed Alpha comes back from No One Could Survive That! on at least four occasions, without even a Hand Wave to explain it.
  • The personified nations in Axis Powers Hetalia seem to need little to no recovery time from injuries. At one point, Russia jumps out of a plane without a parachute. We're told that he broke his bones, but we never see him in any kind of cast. During one of the Christmas events, Switzerland shot France in the head. He was back on his feet in moments with no visible wound.
  • Train of Black Cat attempts to use this technique to explain why his recently completely amputated hands appear fine the next day, striking a pose and saying, "They grew back!" It doesn't work, and he has to explain.
    • Happens in the anime via an Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole when Train is struck by a nanomachine-empowered bullet that causes him to turn into a kid. In the manga, he has to go to Eve's creator, Dr. Tearju, for a cure, but since the anime wanted to save Tearju for anime-only arc at the end of the show he just gets better with no explanation.
  • Thanks to the author's painfully vague storytelling, many people assumed that Killy losing half of his head at the end of Blame! finally killed him for good. It didn't.
    • Killy isn't human, and has been shown to have an incredibly resilient Healing Factor; one chapter showed him recovering from an explosion that burned off half of his body-mass.
  • Bleach: The second time Ulquiorra puts a hole in Ichigo's chest, he's taken right to the brink of death and Orihime's healing ability mysteriously can't help him. Even more mysteriously, his need to protect her (the reason why he came to Hueco Mundo) drives him back to his feet as a fully-fledged hollow creature that promptly thrashes Ulquiorra to within an inch of life. And if that wasn't mysterious enough, the hollow powers suddenly leave Ichigo, leaving him fully healed. Fans have debated for years whether or not he actually died during that fight and what explanation could cover him coming back to full health when even the healer whose powers literally break the rules of the universe couldn't heal him. Not only that, but the characters that witnessed it were themselves thoroughly confused by what happened, making it a simultaneous example of an in-universe and fandom-observed one.
  • Blood+ has Diva's Chevaliers come back from certain death on multiple occasions, including Amshel being impaled on the Empire State Building's spire and struck by lightning, becoming a charred, blackened corpse. He comes back the very next episode with gaping hole in his body but more or less okay. The only time they're explicitly Killed Off for Real is when they're poisoned by Saya's blood and actually shown crumbling to pieces on-screen. The epilogue shows that Nathan, who was exposed to Saya's blood (which is an incurable poison to Diva's Chevaliers), is still alive. This is never specifically explained, but in retrospect one of his previous statements can be taken to imply that he's not one of Diva's Chevaliers at all.
  • The minor antagonist Mao from Code Geass was on the receiving end of a hail of gunfire from police officers that Lelouch Mind Controlled into shooting him. He showed up alive in the next episode saying Lelouch should have been more specific and told them to kill him. Despite the firing being from about fifteen feet away, by about ten officers and a Knightmare Frame. Too bad he decided to come back and try to take on Lelouch again. Didn't work out so well that time.
    • In the manga, he ends up being Killed Off for Real by the police and doesn't show up again, resulting in Lelouch learning about Suzaku's killing his father in a different way.
    • Jeremiah Gottwald is pretty damn good at this in the first season. Not even being crushed to the bottom of the ocean by C.C.'s Knightmare Frame can kill his loyalty (granted, by that point he was a cyborg, but it's still doubtful he could have taken that kind of punishment).
    • Ohgi was stabbed by Sayoko's daggers and fell off a cliff. He comes back a few episodes later without any serious injury, Villetta is in the custody of Diethard and the entire incident is never addressed.
    • The series practically runs on this. Every time it looks like a supporting character just died they have a 50/50 chance of turning up alive in the next episode. An egregious example of this is Guilford surviving an explosion his mecha was clearly caught in.
  • There was no explanation for Vicious of Cowboy Bebop coming back after the fifth episode, where a grenade went off just a couple feet away from him. Though since we don't actually see it explode while it's next to him he probably just outran the fireball by jumping over the railing right next to him.
    • The movie's Big Bad Vincent pulls a bigger one as he is holding in his hand the grenade that destroys the tube carriage him and Spike are in. He doesn't make any move to throw it and just waits for it to go off yet when we see him again, he was somehow completely unaffected by the explosion and no comment is made about the event.
  • Cross Ange seems to kill off Tusk and Mamoka at the conclusion of one episode, with both being shot and caught in massive explosions. The following episode, Tusk finds and comforts a grieving Ange who initially refuses to believe that he's alive. Later on, he takes her to reunite with an equally-fine Momoka. Absolutely no explanation for their survival is given, with the characters comically bitching about this in the On the Next.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • The earliest example of this is Tao Pai-Pai, who gets killed when Goku kicks his own grenade back at him, with an explosion leaving no trace of Tao behind. 75 Chapters and two Time Skips later, Tao appears again to enact his revenge after being revived as a cyborg. No explanation for this is given, outside of saying it took a lot of time and, in the anime dub, a lot of money.
    • Zig-Zagged when it comes to Frieza. The end of the Namek arc has him annihilated by Goku, leaving just a crater behind, and soon after the planet itself explodes. In the next Chapter, however, Frieza's body is found floating in space, and he's reconstructed into a cyborg. The unexplained part is how Frieza survived the explosion of Namek, something which he was worried about earlier in the arc.note 
  • Eden of the East seems to make it perfectly clear that Panties made a Heroic Sacrifice trying to give the heroes crucial information. However, he is seen in the final episode, bandaged and in the hospital, but otherwise cheerful.
  • Excel Saga's Hyatt could well be the Trope Codifier, in that she is seen to be so frail that the slightest thing will actually kill her, but that they do so repeatedly throughout the series, with her reviving inexplicably again shortly afterward. She usually dies at least once per chapter/episode, and sometimes multiple times depending on the situation, but is never Killed Off for Real.
  • Fairy Tail: Jellal was hit through god knows how many stories of a tower by a superpowered Natsu and exposed to dangerous levels of Etherion magic (the most powerful type of magic in the world). When he comes back he's in some sort of coma/trance as a result, but is otherwise completely unscratched. And a few chapters later he's up and kicking butt again.
  • Near the end of the Fate route in Fate/stay night, Rin Tohsaka is wounded by Kotomine and is presumably dying. However, after the final battle, she meets Shiro, unharmed. To be fair, she did say she had already magically closed her wounds. She may have been lying to make Shirou listen, but it's just as likely that she wasn't.
  • To a lesser extent, Gauron in the first season finale of Full Metal Panic! True, he had a Lambda Driver, but surviving three hundred kilograms of high explosive point-blank when his AS self-destructs? That's a bit much. Though he had other instances of miraculous survival such as when a young Sōsuke shot him IN THE HEAD (he explained that he had a titanium plate inside due to a previous "accident") or when Sōsuke blew him away with a cannon round; Gauron's AS is decapitated... yet a short time later, it is unscathed, only shut down due to overheating. This was repeated again in their next engagement: the Codarl blown to pieces yet minutes later being miraculously repaired for no apparent reason and its pilot being uninjured.
    • In the third season finale, Sōsuke found him dying on a bed hooked up to life support. Gauron managed to taunt him so much that The Stoic flipped off and shot him half a dozen times, flatlining him... and setting off a bomb hidden under the bed.
  • Being a cyborg with a fully artificial body, this happens a lot to the Major in Ghost in the Shell. And since she knows that any damage that doesn't harm her titanium encased brain can easily be repaired, she doesn't give getting away from danger a very high priority.
  • In Gugure! Kokkuri-san, Kokkuri kills and buries Inugami when he discovers that Kokkuri is trying to search for hair growth products online, and remains dead or a ghost for about half the episode. When the second half starts, Inugami is perfectly fine with no indication of how he came back.
  • Gundam:
    • Probably the most egregious frequent flyer of this trope as far as anime is concerned is one Heero Yuy of Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, who has attempted to "self-detonate" many, many times. And never succeeded. He is as ineffectual at killing himself as he is threatening to kill others. Thrice he appeared to succeed, only to recover later:
      • In Episode 1, he intentionally crash-landed in Wing Gundam, but regained consciousness soon after he washed ashore and was found by Relena. (He tried to fire a suicide bomb in his suit when she found him, but it malfunctioned.note )
      • In Episode 2, he rode missiles he launched at Wing Gundam to prevent Duo from recovering it. He was found face-down in the harbor soon after, but that didn't kill him either. He was captured by the United Earth Sphere Alliance, though, and was taken to a secured room at a hospital.
      • In Episode 10, he succeeded in blowing up Wing Gundam, and apparently himself with it. Trowa drove off with Gundam Heavyarms holding Heero's apparently dead body. Though in-universe he remains unconscious for a month, in terms of the show he wakes up one episode later.
      • There's also episode 25, where Trowa somehow survive the explosion of his Vayeate, although he lose his memories.
      • In the final episode, Zechs blows up the reactor of a crashing ship at point blank range. What is left of the ship is then vaporized by Heero's Beam Cannon. A year later, in Endless Waltz, Zechs shows up again, perfectly fine, with a new Gundam. No explanation is given for how he survived or where the Tallgeese III came from.
    • In Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ, the main protagonist's sister Leina is supposedly killed when the hut she is resting in is blown up by a falling mecha. She inexplicably returns near the end of the series (with no visible injuries other than needing to use a wheelchair), having been rescued by fan favorite character Sayla Mass from the original Mobile Suit Gundam. Though it was a nice cameo for the fans, exactly what Sayla was doing there or how she actually rescued Leina is never revealed.
    • In Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, Kira is supposedly "killed" when his rival's MS self-destructs. His crew finds his MS, the cockpit scorched and no body. A few episodes later, he is found, relatively unhurt considering the INSIDE of his MS was burnt to a nice crisp. The manga side story, Astray tried to Hand Wave it by having its main character find Kira and bring him to get medical attention... but it doesn't explain how in god's name Kira survived the attack that should have killed him initially.
      • Episode 15 has a nurse explain that Coordinators can survive injuries that would kill normal humans. Or maybe that whole "Jesus Yamato" thing wasn't so far off after all...
      • Lending credence to the nurse's explanation is Andrew Waltfeld, a Coordinator commander, who also survived a similar fate. He wasn't so lucky - he lost an arm and an eye - but he still survived to come back late in the series.
      • Played straight with Mwu La Flaga, a natural, who shows up in Destiny, after his mobile suit is quite clearly vaporized by the Dominion's Lohengrin. Although this seems to fall more under Retcon as the movie editions of SEED remove Mwu's shattered helmet from Strike's wreckage. The writers most likely intended him to die at the time, only deciding to bring him back later during Destiny's production.
      • Kira gets another one in the sequel where he manages to survive his nuclear reaction exploding literally underneath him. Somehow. They later try to Hand Wave this by saying Kira turned off the reactor before it exploded. Nevermind the fact that it was exploding in the first place because a gigantic energy sword had been shoved in it and there was in fact a nuclear explosion (complete with mushroom cloud after the fact). Yeah there are a LOT of reasons this series isn't well-liked.note 
    • Played for laughs in Mobile Suit Gundam 00, where Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain Patrick Colasaur keeps getting his mobile suit crashed or blown up yet inexplicably surviving without injury. It gets to the point that by the end of the show, when it very much looks like he got killed, fans simply didn't question it when he showed up alive in the finale. He even gains the in-universe nickname "The Immortal Patrick Colasaur" during the second season.
  • In Guyver, the Guyvers themselves and their ally Aptom are virtually indestructible — so long as respectively their Control Medallion or One Single Cell Survive, they'll just regenerate, no questions asked. Not so, however, for Zoalords, their primary antagonists, who have been shown to be tough, but far from unkillable - frequently needing days, if not weeks, of TLC in a hospital bed after an encounter with the Guyver even if they survive. It therefore deserves note that, after the Zoalord Guyot expended virtually all his energy in creating and then destroying a Black Hole, he dropped about a mile before crashing into a concrete floor, spent what little power he had left to activate an ancient alien MacGuffin, had his torso cleaved in half by an energy weapon, had his Zoa-Crystal (the source of his power and indeed survival) ripped brutally out of his skull, was perforated with several gravity bullets and then was dropped into an erupting volcano, he still turned up again about a year later with little more to show for his ordeal than a collection of scars and a slightly manic look, and no explanation given.
  • In Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple, Nijima is stranded on a deserted island, and comes back a couple episodes later with no explanation—even though the episode in question ended with a cliffhanger implying Kenichi would be starting a "Find Nijima" arc. Instead, he's promptly forgotten about, but turns out fine anyway. Later it is implied that Siegfried found him and rescued him while on his journey of self-discovery. Shigure Kōsaka appears to be fatally stabbed, but appears fine a few chapters later.
  • Last Exile: Near the end of the series, Mullin is part of a team that storms a battleship's Claudia Unit to seize it from its Guild operators. The last scene of him in this episode shows him bleeding profusely from at least one bullet wound, lying limp atop a control console, and with Dunya on her knees crying at his side. He inexplicably manages to survive to appear in the last few minutes of the final episode, alive and well.
    • While surprising and improbable, it is actually plausible; it just means that he wasn't shot by Instant Death Bullets, and that someone managed to give him medical treatment before it was too late. It just happened to take place offscreen, which is understandable given that it was during the Grand Finale.
    • And according to in interview with the creators in a supplemental artbook (and later the sequel series), Dio Eraclea.
  • Lupin III: Dragon of Doom has guest villain Genzai killed off twice, yet he reappears alive and well after both times before he's Killed Off for Real in Lupin's final showdown against him. Possibly hand waved by the fact that he's a Ninja.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima!:
    • Asuna and Negi on a Floating Continent, when Jack Rakan introduces himself by poking Asuna in the boob. Asuna punches him off the island, he falls screaming to his death...and then he appears behind them, none the worse for wear.
      Rakan: Just kidding! That's quite a punch you've got there, little lady.
    • Later, he got erased from existence. Not once, but twice... and he manages to come back again and again.
      Chisame: B-but you were taken down by Fate, and disappeared ...!
      Rakan: I came back with my fighting spirit!
      Chisame: Seriously?!
  • In Mai-HiME, the main character explodes taking out an orbital laser in outer space. They see the fiery ashes of apparently her and her CHILD from the explosion coming down. But...the next day, she comes into class, only vaguely curious as to why everyone is so sad. There's much speculation on this. The series finale has some of this going on, too, although (dramatic cheat or not) it's at least plausible under the rules of the series.
  • In Martian Successor Nadesico's Show Within a Show, Gekigangar III, this seems to be the case in the last episode when Joe — having died in the hero's arms ("JOOOOOOE!") in a pivotal episode — shows up in the crunch of the final battle, stating only that "this is nothing compared to true Hell." Akito remarks that the episode was terrible because things like that don't happen in real life.
    • And then Admiral Fubuke comes back after pulling a Heroic Sacrifice by overclocking a battleship to hold off the Jovians. They even poke fun at this by having him appear strumming a guitar and singing about how self-destructing a spaceship is a really dumb idea.
  • Mazinger Z: During the second-to-last episode, the Cool Airship where Dr. Hell was escaping in got blown up. Whatever was left of him after that explosion surely sank in the ocean. Nonetheless he showed up again in the last season of Great Mazinger, his body grafted into a Humongous Mecha. One eyepatch covering his left eye was the only mark of the ordeal he had endured. Little explanation was given other than a statement of Big Bad and Physical God Emperor of Darkness had relived him and turned into one of his Warrior Monsters (and high commander of his army). It may be worth mentioning many Mazinger-Z characters returned in the last episodes from the sequel, so maybe Executive Meddling was involved.
  • At the end of Megazone 23 Part 2, the bike gang members who were previously shown getting knocked off their bikes, shot up, and otherwise (apparently) dispatched by the baddies in various ways show up almost entirely intact with a few bandages on them. No explanation is provided.
  • Many, many characters get better in One Piece.
    • Pagaya, a minor character during the Skypiea Arc, is clearly seen being hit by an island-destroying attack early on in the arc, but reappears after the Big Bad's defeat with no explanation, except that it makes the resolution even happier.
    • The previous arc had another minor character, Pell, fly away while carrying a city-buster bomb in a Heroic Sacrifice to prevent the heroes and civilians from being caught in the blast. The bomb explodes while he's still carrying it. He's later seen alive and none the worse for wear... walking up to his own (empty) grave, as everybody in-universe had assumed he died too.
  • The Pokémon anime is specially guilty of this and does it all the time in different ways:
    • Evolutions during battles are treated as free Full Restores just to make them more tense against the winning trainer. May double as Deus ex Machina or Diabolus ex Machina, and sometimes a definite Ass Pull.
    • Right after intense battles, the defeated and badly battered monster will be seen standing and looking pristine as ever. Never mind the fact they took about 10 beams of energy to the face.
    • The trope is only ever averted when a battle causes a fatal broken limb. This condition appears very, very rarely.
    • When one gets down to it, though, the anime is actually following the game's logic. After a Pokemom faints, a Pokemon Center easily restores them to full health. Therefore, it's easily explainable.
    • Pokémon: Hoopa and the Clash of Ages has a flat-out dead and came back example with Latios who died saving Alto Mare and became the new Soul Dew at the climax of Pokémon Heroes. He just sorta shows up out of nowhere flying with Latias during the movie's beginning montage of the Legendary Pokemon set to appear. What's both the cause of his resurrection and reasoning how Alto Mare is still safe without a Soul Dew preventing natural disasters is apparently to please fans.
      • However this example is not particularly egregious, as an end-credits scene of Pokémon Heroes shows a group of three Lati@s flying near Alto Mare, implying that there are other Latios and Latias in the Pokémon world.
  • Nabeshin's return at the climax of Puni Puni Poemi makes NO sense whatsoever, and they're very aware of it. Lampshade Hanging does not do it justice.
  • Ranma ½ calls the trope by name in one of the later chapters. Ranma and crew are caught in a pit trap that was supposed to have killed them. Although the audience knows that they're fine the entire time, from the perspective of the Villain of the Week it fits this trope perfectly.
  • The first season of the Sengoku Basara anime led to Nobunaga killing off a large quantity of less important warlords and side characters, including the country's future unifier Tokugawa Ieyasu who at that point was a side character in the games at best. As it turns out, Capcom had plans for both him and a few other unfortunate casualties, what with the planned release of the series' third game, so Ieyasu, Tadakatsu, Hisahide, Oichi and Yoshihiro all came back from the dead in the second season. This after being, respectively: disemboweled by a scythe, blown up (twice, the second time when his power core detonated), suicide by blowing himself up, shot point-blank in the chest, and shot point-blank in the head (all deaths were on-screen). Hisahide mentions something about an "escape tunnel" and Oichi is implied to be a possessed corpse, but otherwise forthright explanations are lacking.
    • The second season also had the "death" of Motochika, who got pummeled flat by Hideyoshi in a Curb-Stomp Battle and then blew up his Base on Wheels, alongside himself, his own army and Hideyoshi's army, in an extremely flashy act of dying defiance/Taking You with Me Heroic Sacrifice. The entire battlefield later sank into the sea. He's back again the next episode, for no apparent reason, and his men were apparently 'captured'. Uh huh...
    • The Movie went on to return Mitsuhide, who burned to death (again, on-screen!) in the anime's first season, and Mori, who was last seen disintegrating in a beam of light at the end of the second season. Oh, and Nobunaga came back too, but he had an explanation.
  • Ryoko in Tenchi Universe has this. After she's grievously wounded by Kagato, she decides to help Tenchi rescue Ayeka by dropping him, Azaka and Kamedake at the Royal Palace, but then disappears, the last thing we see is her passing out (and presumably dying) with only Ryo-Ohki at her side. She shows up in the finale, no worse for the wear and ready to resume her quest to capture Tenchi's heart, knowing Ayeka's (and everyone else) is coming back, too.
  • In the Second Stage of Vandread during a battle with an Earth mothership, Gascogne's ship crashes into the mothership to save Barnette. Obviously, if someone's ship blows up in the vacuum of space, they are dead. However in the final battle Gascogne returns alive to help on the mothership that she has somehow managed to get onto, take over, and pilot without any explanation provided. The final episode is filled with Narm.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, most of the cast is killed. Then it's revealed they were trapped in another dimension instead. That's not the problem. One of the characters literally suffers heart failure before dying and fading away. He doesn't return when the others do. Instead, he inexplicably washes up on the beach about ten episodes later, with no explanation on how he's alive despite having had a fatal heart attack.
  • YuYu Hakusho Saint Beast Byakko survives falling off a tower after he explodes and falling into a pit of lava. He is finally killed when he is frozen and shattered.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • The main characters frequently suffer vicious injuries in the series, including losing chunks of flesh, breaking bones, and spraying High-Pressure Blood from injuries that by all accounts should have ended their adventure right there if not outright killed them. Yet, aside from plot-relevant injuries that keep them out of the game for awhile (such as Kakyoin being temporarily hospitalized from having his eyes slashed), the heroes are often back to full strength without comment by their next scene, or by the next episode at the latest.
      "Don't worry, I'm okay! That bullet only hit me in the head, after passing through several dogs!"
    • Used to great effect in the Vento Aureo a.k.a Golden Wind arc. Bruno goes to confront Diavolo and is suddenly impaled from behind by his Stand, King Crimson, and looks to have died. But somehow manages to live through it without a scratch on him to which he figures his stand managed to deflect the blow. However it's later found out that that the attack really did kill him. But Bruno's strong will combined with his Stand powers allowed him to come back to life as something of a zombie to finish his mission. Once they finally manage to defeat Diavolo, Bruno passes on.
  • In the anime film Eureka Seven Good Night Sleep Tight Young Lovers, Renton suffered a gunshot wound in his abdomen and bleeding profusely while trying to escape with Eureka from Holland's pursuit. He eventually succumbs to his wound and lost conscious. After he woke up in a beach, he found his bullet wound healed without any blood stain on his shirt as well.

    Comic Books 
  • Subverted in BIONICLE; the original Hydraxon died years before, but Dekar unwillingly gets turned into a clone of him. Another character remarks that he had already died, to which he replies, "I got better."
    • It counts as an even more apparent subversion if you take into account that mostly everyone around him seems to know the truth behind his return, while he himself doesn't care in the slightest, even dismissing his own corpse as just a trick. Dekar's consciousness is meanwhile buried too deep under Hydraxon's to reach him.
  • Parodied in the Superman: The Black Ring story arc. A particular character gets killed several times over the course of the arc, each time reappearing later apparently unharmed. The thing is, he's perfectly willing to explain how he did it, it's just that nobody else is interested, and he always gets cut off when he tries.
  • Poked fun of in the Marvel Western mini-series Blaze of Glory. When someone tells Two-Gun Kid they thought he was dead, his response is "I was. I got tired of it".
  • Captain America has had quite a few deaths go by where he reappeared again with no explanation and the death itself completely ignored by the plot.
    • In Dan Jurgens' Captain America vol. 3 #50, Captain America dies. He's fine by his next appearance, and his death is never brought up again. John Ney Rieber planned to write a follow up mini-series addressing this.
    • Captain America and The Falcon had an ongoing subplot about Sam coming unhinged because of Scarlet Witch's manipulations during Avengers Disassembled. Sam's mental state gradually got worse before he seemingly snapped out of it, and he was last seen confronting Anti-Cap. The series abruptly ended the next issue, with the final few pages showing Cap finding Sam's abandoned Falcon suit in a graveyard, ominously fluttering in the wind. This, coupled with Anti-Cap claiming to have killed Sam, was clearly meant to make his fate ambiguous. When Sam returned a few months later in Ed Brubaker's Captain America series, there was no mention of his prior disappearance or what exactly Anti-Cap had done to him.
  • In Civil War II, Doc Samson is Back from the Dead. You no longer need an explanation.
  • Daken's solo series ended with him committing suicide by blowing himself up after losing his Healing Factor. He later returned in Uncanny X-Force as the leader of the new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, with no explanation as to how he'd survived or regained his powers.
  • Dark Reign:
    • Andrea von Strucker is killed by Zemo in Citizen V and the V-Battalion #3, while her brother Andreas is killed by Norman Osborn in Secret Invasion: Dark Reign #1. They both return at a club in Illuminati #2, saying their father "took care of that."
    • X-Man Nate Grey returns in Dark X-Men, after turning into energy and spreading across the Earth in X-Man. Granted, the point of the miniseries was him pulling himself back together, but even still. The thornier issue was how he regained his powers in Uncanny X-Men in 2018 after having lost them in New Mutants several years before. This is later explained as the Life Seed having given him his powers back, and boosted them.
  • The Daredevil villain Nuke was killed after being blown up by the Iron Nail during Rick Remender's Captain America run. He later showed up alive and well in the Death of Wolverine mini-series, not even sporting any signs of injury.
  • Elektra Lives Again: Bullseye dies. It's not clear how he comes back.
  • In the Fantastic Four story arc 'Master of Doom', The Marquis of Death turns Doctor Doom's heart to stone and his blood to acid, then sends him back in time where he is eaten by a megalodon shark. When he is revealed to have survived, he gives no further explanation than "my hate kept me alive."
    • An issue of Dark Avengers some years later did give an explanation. When the Thunderbolts were sent back in time for unrelated reasons, they rescued Doom from the megalodon and healed him, though without knowing who he was at first. Doom then hijacked their time machine and returned to his present, but sent the team into the future to prevent anyone from knowing about his moment of weakness. His claim that his hate kept him alive was in fact an ego-saving lie.
  • Incredible Hulk:
    • Betty Ross died of radiation poisoning from a blood transfusion by the Abomination, but her death was an illusion by Nightmare. She really washed up on a beach and was brought back to health by General Ross, but if the previous events never happened, it doesn't explain what she was recovering from.
    • The Leader died in an explosion in #400, showed up as part of the Home Base organization and died, which may have been a hallucination by Nightmare, showed up at a trial in She-Hulk, and escaped from Hell with no explanation.
  • In Infinite Crisis, it was a result of Protection from Editors. In order to give the series a big death, an editorial mandate came down to kill Nightwing. The staff rebelled, offering to kill Conner Kent, aka Superboy in his place. Despite this, he still catches an energy bolt to the chest, leaving him lying in a pool of his own blood. But he's seen uninjured before the end of the book, with no explanation for how He Got Better.
    • The hardcover was given a few extra pages to keep the splash pages intact, and some of this space was given to Dr. Mid-Nite informing Batman and Robin that Nightwing would survive.
    • Lady Quark also showed up in Infinite Crisis as one of Alexander Luthor's prisoners, despite having been subjected to a Kill and Replace plot way back in L.E.G.I.O.N. '94 #62. No mention was made as to how Quark was suddenly alive again.
  • A well known "skill" of Batman's Arch-Enemy The Joker is to come back from obviously fatal ends. He's been shot, electrocuted, blown up, thrown off buildings, etc., but turns up a few months later without so much as a mention. One story arc ended with him clutching a crate of explosives to his chest and gleefully shooting it, with Bats barely escaping the detonating building. A few months later, he's back in a Santa suit on a road trip with Robin...
  • The X-Men member Cecilia Reyes was supposedly killed by Agent Zero near the end of the short-lived Weapon X series, and her death was later confirmed in the letters page of New Excalibur #1. She resurfaced years later in the second NYX mini-series, with no explanation given as to how she'd survived or escaped the Neverland concentration camp.
  • Near the end of Brian Bendis' run on Moon Knight, Madame Masque was killed after accidentally bashing her head against a fire hydrant. She later showed up as a recurring villain in Hawkeye, with absolutely no acknowledgement of how she'd survived.
    • One of the final issues of Hawkeye finally explained this by mentioning that Madame Masque keeps a multitude of cloned bodies in case of such events. This is actually a plot point that had been established years earlier in Kurt Busiek's Avengers run, but had been forgotten by subsequent writers.
    • Also in Moon Knight, Echo was killed after being shot through the chest by Count Nefaria's Eye Beams. She showed up alive and well in Charles Soule's Daredevil run, with the only explanation being a line in the issue's recap page saying that she'd mysteriously been resurrected through "supernatural" means. Her death isn't even mentioned in the actual issue itself.
  • Mortadelo y Filemón: In the 50º anniversary album a lot of previously deceased enemies appear with little or no explanation.
  • In The Bad Eggs, Jumbo Johnson has his head crushed during a rock slide in the third issue. By issue four, he's up and walking again, and no one ever brings up that he was nearly killed from the incident.
  • In the 90's, Marvel had a Spawn rip-off named Nightwatch, who ended up being violently killed in a Spider-Man Unlimited issue after his solo series was cancelled. The character returned a whopping 18 years later in an issue of She-Hulk, with the only allusion to his death being an offhanded remark about how he'd been "keeping a low profile" since his retirement several years earlier.
  • In Kyle Baker's Plastic Man series, Woozy Winks dies dramatically in the "On the Lam" plotline, but comes back smiling with no consequences in the last panel. For a while, being invulnerable like that was Woozy's power. Storywise, A Wizard Did It.
  • Runaways ended with Chase Stein getting hit by a car. He later appeared alongside the rest of the team in the Daken: Dark Wolverine series and a crossover with the Avengers Academy.
    • Prior to that, the second series ended with Klara being severely injured, and yet in the Secret Invasion tie-in, which took place mere hours after the end of their previous adventure, she is shown to have completely healed.
  • The Iron Man villain Parnell Jacobs was shot several times by his old partner, Stuart Clarke, in an issue of The Punisher: War Journal. Despite clearly being dead (complete with a shot of his dead face with the eyes wide open), he later showed up as a major supporting character in the second War Machine series. He even looked several years younger and was in much better physical shape.
  • The Sentry's wife was once killed by Ultron, and he resurrected her in a way that was never explained. Sentry himself in Dark Avengers was turned into combination of The Worf Effect and this. First he was aborted from time by Morgan Le Fay. After Morgan's defeat, he returned, scaring the hell out of all his teammates. Then his head was blown up by alien weapon, and in the next issue he acts like nothing happened. And it's confirmed, that he will appear in next year storylines, which means he will get better after last issue, when he was blown up to mere atoms. What's wrong with this guy?
    • Bob Reynolds is a psionic who is basically the Dr. Manhattan of the Marvel Universe, with a ridiculous level of power over his own form, and his surroundings (usually as The Cape persona, the Sentry). Pulling himself back together after every increasingly outlandish death is likely an extension of his near-omnipotence and a tongue-in-cheek allusion to superheroes always coming back after seemingly being killed off.
  • Spider-Man villain Hammerhead has been killed multiple times in seemingly irreversible ways, including a nuclear explosion, only to bounce right back with some hand waved explanation, if any at all. In the Ultimate universe, he had his head exploded by Gambit in Ultimate X-Men, only to appear sometime later in Ultimate Spider-Man, right as rain. When another character points out that he's supposed to be dead, his response is, "It sucked. I came back."
  • Spider-Man villain Mysterio commits suicide in Daredevil Vol. 2, shows up with a hole in his head in Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, and shows up in Amazing Spider-Man, explaining he helped fake Harry Osborn's death, but not explaining his own death.
  • In Amazing Spider-Man #687, Rhino and Silver Sable appear to die from drowning, one of the easiest types of deaths to recover from. In Amazing Spider-Man #690, Silver Sable is said to still be alive. The Rhino shows up alive in Amazing Spider-Man Vol 4 #2.
  • Across the various Star Wars media, there's a reoccurring joke about a certain Jedi Master called K'Kruhk who often gets killed on screen/panel and is seen alive and unhurt in later media. He's even aware of the trope, once commenting that "I've died any number of times in my life. Or so I've heard.". The kicker is in Legacy, set 138 years after A New Hope. K'Kruhk is not only still alive, but he suffers another "getting better" moment within a few issues of the comics.
  • The "Hunt For Raven" storyline in Teen Titans ended with Miss Martian stuck in a seemingly irreversible coma. When Miss Martian next appeared in Supergirl, she was completely recovered with no mention to her condition.
  • During The Thanos Imperative miniseries, Drax the Destroyer, Nova, Star-Lord, and Thanos all died, the last three being in a universe that was collapsing in on itself. All of them except for Nova have reappeared in major series with no explanation for their survival or escape. Pretty blatant example, since all of them died only two years before their return. Even more blatant for Drax, because he was outright confirmed to be dead, charred remains and all.
    • Original Sin finally revealed what happened: It's apparently impossible to die in the Cancerverse, which explains how Drax survived. He, Star-Lord, and Thanos were subsequently able to escape after Nova committed a Heroic Sacrifice by combining the Nova Force with the Cosmic Cube, creating a gateway back home.
  • Marvel Comics The Transformers featured one really blatant example. In one issue Megatron is becoming increasingly unstable and violent over shame that he didn't get to kill Optimus Prime. Brawl, one the Decepticons, finally gets fed up with Megatron's brooding and yells at him to get over it. Megatron promptly crushes Brawl's skull with his bare hands and smashes apart corpse against a nearby wall. Brawl later turns up perfectly fine.
  • Ultimate Spider-Man: The end of the "The Death of Spider-Man" arc ends with Peter Parker's death after his final battle with the Green Goblin, who also dies, with Miles Morales subsequently taking up the Spider-Man identity. In the first issue of Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man, two years after his death, Peter suddenly shows up alive and well at Miles' house, seeking to take back his web-shooters and get back in the game. He later explains that he simply woke up one day in an abandoned lab, and has no idea how he returned from the dead. The arc ends with he and Mary Jane Riding into the Sunset, leaving Miles to carry on the fight as Spider-Man.
  • Captain Britain was supposedly killed in an explosion during Ultimatum, and was even listed in the "In Memorium" section at the end of the series. He showed up in a later issue of The Ultimates with no mention of his "death", though he was now shown to be dying of cancer caused by his supersuit.
  • In Thunderstrike #23, Eric Masterson destroys Seth, who shows up in The Mighty Thor.
  • Ultron is destroyed in Annihilation: Conquest. Since Ultron can rebuild himself, rebuilt copies have shown up on Earth, without bothering to mention what exactly happened after Annihilation: Conquest.
  • The joke ending for The Walking Dead is made of this trope. A bunch of folks who died in the series 'get better' and go fight some zombies again. By punching them. A lot.
  • What The—?!: In issue #25, Forbush Man dies. This death is not referenced in his following appearances in Nextwave and Captain America: Who Won't Wield the Shield.
  • Wolverine:
    • Sabretooth died in Wolverine #55, but that was a clone, so he never really died. But Sabretooth did die according to Wolverine Goes to Hell, where Sabretooth is one of the dead opponents in Hell.
    • Wild Child appears to die by being impaled by Omega Red and thrown into molten steel, in Wolverine: Origins #39. Wild Child reappears in Wolverine Vol 2 #304.
  • Sometimes the recovery can be the result of a Series Continuity Error, when one writer or artist is unaware of what his/her colleagues did to the characters. Take the X-Men and their spin-offs for example.
    • Hellfire Club members Harry Leland and Friedrich von Roehm were both killed in Uncanny X-Men #209 (September, 1986), yet both turn up alive for a Club meeting in New Mutants #61 (March, 1988). The deaths had happened in an issue written by Chris Claremont. New Mutants creative team Louise Simonson and Bret Blevins apparently did not know of this development and re-used the characters.
    • Paolo, the right-hand-man to supporting character Aleytis "Lee" Forrester, was brutally killed in Cable #11 (May, 1994), an issue written by Glenn Gerdling. Apparently nobody told this to Larry Hama and Chris Claremont, so Paolo turns up alive in X-Men Unlimited #9 (December, 1995) and Uncanny X-Men #386-387 (November-December, 2000).
  • Dazzler dies and returns in New Excalibur, without bothering to explain how.
  • Vanisher dies in New Mutants Vol 3 #13, and returns in Astonishing X-Men Vol 3 #48 without explanation.
  • The D-list Spider-Man villain Hippo (an uplifted hippo) was introduced losing An Arm and a Leg to the Mac Gargan Venom, which he replaced with prosthetics, and then shortly afterward was Eaten Alive by Venom when attempting to seek revenge. Subsequently, Hippo has shown up in good health in stories such as The Superior Foes of Spider-Man, and with his limbs intact.
  • X-Force Stryfe is destroyed in X-Cutioner's Song, ends up in Blackheart's Realm, and shows up alive, attacking Latveria in a pyramid that explodes, shows up again and makes a Heroic Sacrifice, and is still alive in Messiah War.
  • X-Men: In "Eve of Destruction", Jean recruits a team to infiltrate Genosha and distract Magneto. Wolverine fatally stabs Magneto, leaving his body on the ground. By New X-Men, no, by Excalibur vol. 3, Magneto and Professor X play a game of chess.
  • X-Men: Blue reveals that Quicksilver is one of the characters who survived the destruction of the Ultimate Marvel universe during Secret Wars (2015). This ignores the fact that Ultimate Quicksilver had already been long dead by the time Secret Wars took place, as he was killed by Kang the Conquerer in one of the last issues of The Ultimates before the post-Cataclysm Retool.
  • Lampshaded in one of the U.S.Avengers tie-ins to Secret Empire. Squirrel Girl is shocked to see Ares alive and well, kicking HYDRA ass. She even mentions that last she remembered, he was ripped in half by the Sentry during the Siege of Asgard. This is actually a Justified Trope as Ares was resurrected during Contest of Champions and after leaving Battleworld, decided to set up shop in England with the other heroes there.
  • In the original Howard the Duck comic book, Howard's archenemy Dr. Bong had a French duck maid named Fifi, who ended up getting killed off in the 19th issue after helping Howard escape. In spite of this, she returned alive and well to assist Dr. Bong in his scheme to make television programs more realistic out of his irrational contempt for Saturday morning cartoons in the fifth issue of The Sensational She-Hulk.
  • The Transformers: Robots in Disguise: Subverted with Sideswipe. When the Decepticons invade his ship he's caught in a grenade explosion, which damages him severely enough to reduce his arms to skeletons and prevent him from walking. Brawl then finishes him off with a Coup de Grâce. When he's retrieved from the ship, his body's intact and the fatal head wound was changed to a wound in his chest that put him in a coma. However, even with that unexplained recovery, Sideswipe would still die from his wounds.

    Comic Strips 
  • In Fearless Fosdick, the "comic within the comic" in Al Capp's classic strip Li'l Abner, the titular Fosdick (a satirical Captain Ersatz of comic strip detective Dick Tracy) would often be ventilated by flying bullets in the course of his adventures, and left resembling a Swiss cheese by the end of an episode. Nevertheless, he always recovered from his "injuries":
    The Chief: Fosdick! I thought you were dead!
    Fearless Fosdick: Yes, but it didn't prove fatal. Just a mild case.
  • In Pearls Before Swine, Whale, a killer-whale character who was killed off via packaged explosive in 2006, inexplicably returns in a 2008 strip for a baseball game. When Rat confronts author Stephen Pastis about this, Pastis just casually answers that Whale had "undied". Partially subverted in the next day's strip, when Rat takes Whale off their team for being "technically dead". The irony is that the excuse of "[character] undied" is something Rat first used. He periodically writes a story called "The Adventures of Angry Bob", which invariably ends with the protagonist dead (most memorably after being assaulted while expressing happiness via a kazoo: "Many toots-for-joy later..."). To explain how he could write sequels, he started the first one with, "Angry Bob undied." (Goat reacts as one would expect.)

    Fan Works 
  • In A Hero, absolutely no indication at all is given for how Dalek Sec managed to come back to life in the world of Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Or how his previous condition was negated. Or how he got his casing back. Sec is as curious about it as us, but he's too Genre Savvy to investigate any further.
    • The Doctor later gives at least some of these answers.
  • In Christian Humber Reloaded, the main character, Vash, tears out Soku's throat in revenge for turning him in to the police. She comes back toward the end of Part 1, apparently wanting revenge against Vash, but he kills her again. His recurring enemies tend to come back to life, but Soku never returns.
  • In the Battlestar Galactica and Stargate Atlantis crossover Encounter At Dawn by JA Baker, Kara Thrace gives this explanation as to how she's not dead anymore after she's de-ascended.
  • The plot of the Undertale fan comic Growth Spurt hinges on Asriel Dreemurr not only being restored to normal, but given an inexplicable Age Lift to boot. How either of these happened is never explained.
  • Homestuck High; Karkat allegedly kills himself at the end of the first chapter, for no reason. He turns out to be alive, albeit injured, and inexplicably turns into Tavros.
  • In Light and Dark The Adventures of Dark Yagami, some of the characters returning to life are explained as being due to the Life Note being able to bring people back to life, but some, such as Blud, come back from being killed with no explanation.
  • From a novelization of Metroid: Fusion:
    Samus: You're not pissed off because I waxed [Kraid]?
    Ridley: Nah. He'll get better.
  • In the infamous My Immortal, Draco commits suicide by slitting his wrists. But a couple of chapters later "Voldemort had him bondage" like nothing ever happened...
    • Not to mention Willow, who B'loody Mary killed after she was expelled. This was apparently "kawai", but in the next chapter Willow is alive again with no explanation.
  • My Brave Pony: Starfleet Magic:
    • Nightmare Moon, who has survived her demise at the end of Elements Of Harmony, and Titan, after being blown up halfway through the story.
    • Speaking of Titan, turns out he survived getting THROWN INTO THE SUN and becomes the Big Bad of The Movie.
  • Nightfall: All the characters are alive again post game, including John's Dad who unlike everyone else was Killed Off for Real without reappearing in a dream bubble. The only exception, so far, are Bec and Jadesprite who're both merged with the current Jade.
  • Played for laughs in John Biles' Infocom / Love Hina parody, Photo Sticker Quest, when The Player finds himself up a mountain, talking to Millard Fillmore:
    Player: >SAY "AREN'T YOU DEAD?"
    Millard Fillmore: I got better.
  • Barely averted in Sherlock Season 4. Watson dies at the end of Episode 1, but the only explanation we get for his recovery is this:
    Watson: No I survived by hiding in basement.
  • Played for laughs in the Transformers fic, They Just Don't Care Anymore, where characters are often resurrected with little more than a Hand Wave.
    Reflector: Thundercracker? Weren't you shot?
    Thundercracker: I got better.
    Reflector: ...And then thrown out into space?
    Thundecracker: I got better.
    Reflector: ...And then reformatted into Scourge?
    Thundercracker: Look, what part of "I got better" don't you understand?
    • Note that this indeed happened, with the characters who became Cyclonus, Scourge, and the Sweeps (Scourge's clone army) appearing later without comment. It has to do with a lot of the production of Transformers: Generation 1 being rushed, so the animators and script writers also aren't always on the same page.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series manages to get away with this trope due to it's lack of having a fourth wall and Rule of Funny:
    • Serenity, the younger sister of Joey Wheeler, ends up going blind due to her eye surgery being a failure (as opposed to the original where she did, in fact, recovered from said operation). Eventually, Serenity ended up regaining her eye sight when "the writers" decided to make her a regular character.
    • In episode 58, Joey suffers a horrible injury during his duel with Melvin that nearly killed him. However, he's shown to be perfectly okay when he reappears at the end of the next episode. When Yami questions this, Joey literally responds by saying, "I just woke up while I was offscreen."
  • Dragon Ball Abridged had this happen to an entire species, the Kanassans, who were quite visibly murdered to extinction, but just inexplicably all just... got better one day. Much to the consternation of those around them. Presumably, this is related to their ability to SEE THE FUUTUUUUUUURE. Fridge Brilliance: They can see the future in an age of space travel, in a universe where magical orbs that grant wishes exist, though are exceptionally rare and almost completely unheard of. The Namekian Dragonballs are never implied to have been unused before Frieza's arrival, and yet are an integral part of the events that led to his death, and he was the one who ordered the Kanassans' extinction in the first place — which they knew was coming. All that considered, it's odd that they didn't revive in the canon version.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live Action 
  • Friday the 13th:
  • Dr. Evil kills Number 2 at the end of the first Austin Powers. He is back in the second, and his death doesn't even get a Hand Wave. It is never directly mentioned—however, Number 2's face has some noticeable burns on it.
    • An alternate "where are they now" ending of the first film explains that he escaped the fire pit alive. This ending could be considered Broad Strokes canon as Frau's LPGA tour career, brought up in the second film, is mentioned in this ending.
      • One thing that people miss is that when Number 2 is executed, he's sitting in the same chair that Mustafa was in when he was executed. When this happened the chair's execution mechanism misfired (literally) and Dr. Evil had to send down minions to finish the job. The upshot is that Number Two probably survived because the mechanism was never repaired.
    • All of his henchman should have died at the end of the first film when he blew up his lair. In addition to Number two, Frau and Scott are still alive despite never being shown escaping the lair.
  • Baron Munchausen in the Terry Gilliam film The Adventures of Baron Munchausen: "And that was only one of the many occasions on which I met my death, an experience which I don't hesitate strongly to recommend!" He follows it with a Happily Ever After. Well, that's because he's Baron Munchausen.
  • Big Money Hustlas and its prequel Big Money Rustlas has guys who had died during the film become this trope during the credits.
  • The Thin Man returns for Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, with no explanation for how he survived the explosion in the previous film.
  • The tagline for Crank: High Voltage is, "He was dead... but he got better."
  • Possibly Escape from New York. Though there is never an explanation, nearly every time Kurt Russell's character Snake Plissken meets another character for the first time, he is greeted with "I heard you were dead." At one point, I believe he replies "I get that a lot." Apparently, Snake Plissken is both famous among the prisoners on the island of New York, and famously dead.
  • In the epilogue of The Expendables, Gunner reveals to the rest of the team that Barney didn't kill him after all, averting a Shoot the Dog into a Disney Death. The surprise reveal is lampshaded by Barney right before Gunner suddenly appears in view.
  • The Faculty has none other than Jon Stewart in it who gets his fingers cut off by a student, then stabbed in the eye with a pen. The pen contains a drug that dehydrates the alien that had possessed Stewart's character leaving him dead on the ground. Then, later in the movie when they finally kill the queen parasite (thus killing all the drones, freeing everyone) we see Stewart somehow got better. Despite being dead for several days in the film's timeline he survived with only a bandaged hand and an eyepatch.
  • Flodder: Grandpa Flodder is killed off in the first movie, with the money he stashed away in his model trains becoming a plot point. In the third movie and the TV series, he's alive and a part of the family again without explanation.
  • Barely averted in From Russia with Love. At a
screening, the director's son noticed that a scene featuring the Bulgar assassin occurred after that character was shown to be killed. As a result, Karim Bey's Moment of Awesome had to be cut.
  • In George of the Jungle, the villain causes a guide to fall off a rope-bridge hundreds of feet into a gorge. The narrator says, "Don't worry, nobody dies in this story. They just get really big boo-boos!" Sure enough, in the next scene he's sitting at a campfire, scowling, with little criss-cross tape bandages on his face.
    • Comes up again when Lyle shoots George in the face with the gun he'd thought was a gag lighter. "George really got shot, but he can't die, because let's face it, he's the hero!" Sure enough, a cut later, he's completely unharmed.
  • At the climax of G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, the ninja Storm Shadow is run through with a sword, then falls several stories into freezing water, in the heart of a base in the middle of the Arctic which collapses several minutes later. It looks as if he has been killed, although popular fan speculation had it that he survived somehow. In the sequel, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, it turns out that he is still alive, and was in fact considered to be at large. No other explanation is offered.
  • In Godzilla (1998), mid-way through the movie, Godzilla is shot by submarine missiles in the Hudson River and apparently killed, with a shot of his body shown drifting lifelessly in the water to drive it home to the audience. However, the military must not have followed up on that, because after the protagonists destroy Godzilla's nest, he appears perfectly alive and well to the surprise of everyone. Apparently, nobody thought to look for Godzilla's body after he got shot.
  • The UN Secretary-General in Godzilla: Final Wars enters with the line, "I managed to escape." He was last seen on a plane that exploded. Even funnier on one release, where a Japanese grammatical ambiguity has it mistranslated as "I must have escaped somehow."
  • Dr. Sam Loomis from Halloween. In the second movie, he lights up a lighter in a room full of hydrogen to kill Michael Myers; he blows up practically the entire first floor of the hospital. However, in Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, he shows up, unscathed but for a burn mark on the side of his face, and a crippled walk. It seems that the good doctor is as indestructible as the killer he goes after! In the Rob Zombie remake, Michael crushes Loomis's skull, but he returned for the sequel. You decide which one is more badass/ludicrous.
    • Michael himself (who was originally just a regular ol' human). Before the explosion, Michael is blinded after Laurie shoots him in the eyes. In the fourth film, he can see just fine.
  • Tommy Five-Tone at the end of Hudson Hawk:
    Hudson: You're supposed to be all cracked up at the bottom of the hill!
    Tommy: Air bags! Can you fucking believe it?
    Anna: You're supposed to be blown up into fiery chunks of flesh!
    Tommy: Sprinkler system set up in the back! Can you fucking believe it?
    Hudson: ... Yeah, that's probably what happened!
  • One of the most infamous lines from Jaws: The Revenge is Hoagie's "It wasn't easy!", the only explanation he offers as to how he survived being trapped in a crashed plane under attack by a shark.
  • The Lemony Narrator and protagonist of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang complains about films bringing back dead characters, but, well, that's what happened with Perry, so he can't just cut it. Instead, he brings back all the dead characters in the film. And Abraham Lincoln and Elvis for that matter.
  • In the 1964 Czechoslovakian satirical pseudo-western (pant pant) Lemonade Joe the eponymous main character is shot dead by the antagonist, only to turn up later without a scratch - offering as the only explanation that "Kola-Loka", the soda he has been relentlessly hawking throughout the movie (which is his job) and which is the only thing he drinks, has incredible recuperative abilities. It is taken to a whole different level when, after the three main villains get shot, all it takes to revive them is to sprinkle them with the stuff - which is then advertised as being effective "even after rigor mortis sets in".
  • Elizabeth in Little Sweetheart. The character was shot twice and left for dead, face down, in the ocean, where the boat the character was shown to be seemingly fine on had to be at least five minutes away. Five minutes with a bullet in the arm and chest at age 9 followed by inhalation of seawater, is not going to just leave you with needing a band-aid.
  • In National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1 Becker is killed, then a few scenes later casually walks into the room. The only explanation: "I thought this was the sequel."
    • Destiny appears in the car at the end despite having been shot dead a bit earlier.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
  • At the end of The Matrix Neo is killed by Agent Smith in the Matrix and dies in the real world. Trinity somehow brings him back to life with a declaration of love and a True Love's Kiss.
  • Seven-year old Eric from Mystery Team claims to have been shot three times.
  • At the end of The Pink Panther Strikes Again, Dreyfus was seemingly disintegrated by his own Disintegrator Ray, yet in the next film, Revenge of the Pink Panther (as well as the subsequent films), he is back with no explanation at all. The onliest explanation is that the character was so popular, Blake Edwards just simply put him back in.
    • The film's novelisation has Dreyfus, his castle, the scientist who invented the Disintegrator Ray, the UN Building (which he made vanish earlier in the film) and half a dog - don't ask - be transported to another planet far across the galaxy. Which doesn't explain how Dreyfus got back...
  • In the Pirates of the Caribbean series, Captain Barbossa is miraculously alive at the end of the second film and during the third film with just the explanation that "he was only dead." Of course, being tended to by a voodoo lady who also happens to be the mortal prison of the goddess Calypso might have had something to do with it.
  • In Prometheus, the main character undergoes an impromptu c-section to remove a proto-alien parasite from her, something that requires roughly six weeks of recovery in Real Life. While medical science has presumably advanced by the time of the film, it still strains Willing Suspension of Disbelief that mere minutes later she's sprinting, jumping (and landing directly on her stomach, ouch!) with little trouble.
  • The Re-Animator trilogy:
    • The first film ends with Herbert West, the re-animator himself, seemingly dying after he is dragged off into the acidic mist by one re-animated corpse's guts, but he is back at the beginning of the next film with no explanation given.
    • At the end of Bride of Re-Animator a mausoleum collapses on top of Herbert West, in the sequel Beyond Re-Animator West is perfectly fine and still doing his thing.
  • Several people in the Scary Movie series, most obviously Brenda, who was literally torn to pieces and even had a funeral in the third movie, but was suddenly found on a crashed plane in the fourth.
    Cindy: Brenda, I thought you were dead.
    Brenda: Oh, I thought you were dead, too!
  • Happens in universe in Soapdish when soap writer Whoopi Goldberg is told to bring back a character who was decapitated 10 years prior. Hilarity Ensues.
  • In Star Trek: First Contact, Picard comments upon meeting the Borg Queen that she was aboard the Borg Cube that was destroyed in "The Best of Both Worlds". She chides him for thinking in "three dimensional terms".
  • In Takashi Miike's 13 Assassins, Kiga, one of the eponymous assassins gets a sword through his neck and his stomach slashed open, causing him to fall over and stop moving. At the end of the movie, he returns bearing only flesh wounds on himself and says that compared to fighting bears, swords are child's play. The movie contains hefty hints that Kiga might not be entirely human, and in an interview the director says it's up to the viewer to decide what happened.
  • In Thumb Wars, as Princess Bunhead runs onto the ship despite no rescuing scene being written, she says "I escaped somehow. Let's go!"
  • Invoked In-Universe in The Truman Show. Truman's father was "killed off" years earlier due to a contract dispute by his actor, but when he inexplicably returns, the producers try to explain away the incident as "amnesia".
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past: If the Bad Future is supposed to be from the original timeline, and this is the same Professor X from X-Men: The Last Stand, one can assume the body double resurrection procedure worked just fine, though it isn't brought up.

  • In an Artemis Fowl book, a character remarks to Battle Butler Butler (yes, that's his name) that he'd heard Butler was dead. The readers actually know what happened, but the only explanation we see Butler offering is "I was, but I'm better now."
  • Nearly everyone in Candide. Pangloss is hanged, Cunégonde is raped and stabbed by Bulgarian soldiers, Cunégonde's brother the Jesuit priest is slashed in the side by Candide himself...yet everyone, miraculously, survives to the end.
  • Cryptonomicon: Enoch Root is specifically outright declared to be dead by a professional doctor. He shows up alive shortly thereafter, with no explanation whatsoever and nobody commenting on it. (In The Baroque Cycle, it turns out he's an immortal alchemist.)
  • In Galaxy of Fear: Planet Of Terror, the Cool Ship The Shroud crashes spectacularly. It's been damaged several times before, but this time it's worse and characters actually believe it can't be repaired, and they sadly salvage bits of it. In the next book they're flying about in it with no comment. Addressed several years later in the Interquel Death in the Slave Pits of Lorrd, where Han Solo tows it to a mechanic he knows who'll fix it, and Tash says she's not sure why her uncle thought the ship was done - after all, her brother Zak's come Back from the Dead twice now.
  • In the Highroad Trilogy, Heredes dies twice. His response is the same afterwards: "It's terribly boring being dead."
  • Lampshaded in the first book of The Kane Chronicles, The Red Pyramid. Sadie is appalled to learn that the god her brother is hosting cut off the head of the goddess Sadie is hosting. When Sadie expresses her shock, the goddess reassures her, "I got better." This is despite the fact that killing a god or goddess can cause them to be stuck in the Duat (a kind of limbo) for thousands of years, if not forever. Also, in the graphic novel adaptation of the final story, The Serpent's Shadow when Carter Kane faces off against face of Horror, he says that he killed him, to which Face of Horror replies that "I got better. My master [Apophis] heals all wounds."
  • The last time we see Capt. Alan Barnes in The Atrocity Archive, he's on a hospital bed being treated for 500 rems of radiation poisoning. Then in The Jennifer Morgue, he shows up with The Cavalry like nothing happened. Bob lampshades it in the RPG by wondering what the Laundry had to promise to whom to get this effect.
  • Bruenor Battlehammer loses an eye in the first book of the Legacy of the Drow Series. The dwarven clerics try to heal him, to no avail. As it turns out, their spells have a delayed effect and he regains the vision in his bad eye after some years have passed, by the time of the fourth book.
  • Michael Crichton's The Lost World (1995), the sequel to Jurassic Park, is a prime example of this trope. In the book (although not in The Movie), Ian Malcolm suffers from septicemia from a T. rex bite, and is said to be dead during a conversation near the end of the novel. At the beginning of The Lost World, however, he is shown giving a lecture at a university, with no explanation other than that he was "only slightly dead".note 
  • A squirrel in Moominland Midwinter after getting frozen to death by The Lady of the Cold.
  • In Mercedes Lackey's The Obsidian Trilogy, it seems like the best way to assure you'll live is to accept a mageprice costing your life. This applies to almost every mage character on the allied side at some point, especially in the third book.
  • Henry Stamper in Sometimes A Great Notion. What happens when you are trapped on a log, running down a river in Oregon towards an Inevitable Waterfall? "I died, of course! A man can't survive a fall like that!"
  • Sirius Black in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. He gets mauled fighting with a werewolf, but later appears uninjured. Bill Weasley is a worse example as he is bitten by a werewolf (the same one who infected Remus Lupin) and never transforms. All he has is a couple of scars and a new preference for raw steak.
  • Randall Flagg in Stephen King's The Stand is standing right next to a nuclear bomb when it goes off, and is presumably incinerated instantaneously. He gets better in time to appear in The Dark Tower series. In a scene added to the end of the extended version of The Stand, after the bomb goes off, he finds himself walking out of the ocean on the coast of western Africa with no idea how he got there.
    • However, Flagg does in fact vanish the instant before the bomb detonates; his clothes are seen standing up with no one in them, and then they collapse. This appears to be Flagg's signature "get out of jail free" card. Why he does not use this ability to escape from Mordred in the Dark Tower books is not clear.
    • Perhaps it was a not conscious decision on Flagg's part to teleport away from Las Vegas as he did. It wasn't his ka to die then.

    • We have a term for that. In King's fantasy novel The Eyes Of The Dragon, he also appears, again as the main antagonist. At the end of the book he is shot in the eye with an arrow, and he does his usual disappearing-out-of-his-clothes schtick. The epilogue of that book mentions that one of the main characters has a hunch he's still alive somewhere, and he and another guy go after him. The narrator hints that they probably fought him again later on. This is pretty well-justified, because he's basically the King's-connected-universe equivalent of Satan (except in the Dark Tower books, where the Red King takes that role and Flagg is more The Dragon).
  • Skywarp and Ramjet in Transformers Retribution. They were last seen being eaten alive by the Sharkticons and clearly stated to be dead, but showed up near the end assisting Megatron in a possible editor mistake.
  • In The Twelve Chairs, the hero Ostap Bender is assassinated by his partner to avoid sharing the (actually nonexistent) loot. However, he returns alive in The Little Golden Calf. He has a scar on his neck from the attempted assassination, but never explains how exactly he managed to survive.
  • Played for Laughs and exaggerated with Ciaphas Cain. He kept apparently dying in completely unambiguous manners only to turn up again from God knows where. He did this so many times that eventually the Imperium's Administratum got fed up with having to do paperwork every time he "died" and came back, so they just left him permanently listed on active battle duty. After his apparent actual death, they buried him in a massive state funeral attended by thousands and the Administratum still lists him as alive, simply out of a paranoid belief that Cain will somehow show up again one day.
  • The Eye of Argon; Prince Agaphim is perfectly healthy when we first see him in chapter 2, despite Carthena's later claim that a few days ago she left him with "a dagger thrust his ribs". In the same chapter, the advisor Agafnd "found a sword blade permeating the length of his ribs", and in the final chapter reappears unharmed and gets his entire head bisected.
  • In 1919, the author Johnston McCulley wrote the novel The Curse of Capistrano, the very first adventure of Zorro. At the conclusion of the book, Zorro has a climactic sword fight with his arch enemy, Captain Ramon, and kills him. The novel unequivocally describes Zorro running the Captain through and spilling his life's blood. The Curse of Capistrano proved to be popular, and a few years later McCulley decided to write a sequel. In this second novel, astonishingly, Captain Ramon is alive and well and continuing to wreak his villainy with absolutely no explanation offered as to how he survived his fatal wounding in the earlier story.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In practically every episode of The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. in which he appeared, Pete Hutter would get killed at some point. Yet he would always show up again no worse for wear. The explanations he gave for his survival got increasingly ridiculous as the series went on.
  • In the pilot of Andromeda Trance was shot, only to revive shortly after with no explanation. In a later episode she actually said "I Got Better".
  • Buffyverse:
    • At the end of Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 2, Buffy is forced to kill Angel to save the world, resulting in him being Dragged Off to Hell by the demon Acathla. Three episodes into season 3, Angel is freed from said Hell, and it's never officially revealed how he came back; even years later, by the time of Angel season 5, Angel himself has no clue. While the First Evil claims to be the one who broke him out, considering its personality, it may very well have been lying.
    • In the Grand Finale of Buffy, Spike pulls off a Heroic Sacrifice to close the Hellmouth in Sunnydale. He comes back in Angel season 5, which is lampshaded.
      Spike: Flash-fried in a pillar of fire, saving the world. I got better.
  • Babylon 5 subverts this, with an entire episode devoted to what Sheridan experienced after his trip to Z'ha'dum, before his miraculous (in-universe, at least) appearance back on the station.
    Drazi ambassador: ...We thought you were dead.
    Sheridan: I was. I'm better now.
  • On The Bold and the Beautiful, Dr. Taylor Hayes died in her husband's arms after being shot, but three years later was revealed to be alive, having been spirited away from the hospital by a wealthy prince who fell in love with her the first time she was presumed dead.
  • On Days of Our Lives, Mad Scientist Dr. Wilhelm Rolf was accidentally killed in 2003 when a crate fell on his head. Rex and Mimi, who were partially responsible for the accident, sneaked the body into a morgue to avoid responsibility. The body was then stolen from the morgue and used by Larry Welch to fake his death; the body was set on fire and then misidentified as Welch. When Rolf reappeared in 2007, another character reacted with surprise as Rolf was thought to be dead. Rolf's only response was "Didn't take."
  • In Chou Sei Shin Gransazer, Proud Warrior Race Guy Impactor Logia blows himself up as he couldn't bear the loss against his rival. In a later episode, he returns inexplicably. The only explanation the narrator gives is that Logia's desire for revenge kept him alive, despite being blown to bits.
  • Doctor Who
    • In the serial "The Mark of the Rani", the Rani discusses the fact that the last time we saw the Master, he was being burned to death in a volcano.
      The Master: Come, come, the whole universe knows I'm indestructible!
      The Rani: Is that so?
    • Earlier, in "Time-Flight", the last time we saw the Master he was trapped in a mathematically-constructed city as it collapsed in on itself. The full "explanation" for this was as follows:
      The Doctor: So you escaped from Castrovalva. I should have guessed.
      The Master: As gullible as ever, my dear Doctor.
    • The Master was disintegrated utterly in "Death in Heaven". In "The Magician's Apprentice"...
      The Master: Death is for other people.
    • The Daleks are kings of this one. In the classic serials, most stories would end with them dying in droves, with their first ever ending with all of them dying. "The Evil of the Daleks" even had the Second Doctor proclaim it was their "final end". Naturally, they soon show up again fresh as daisies.
    • The Doctor saves Gallifrey from the Time War by shunting the entire planet into a pocket dimension, but he still has to get them back somehow, to the point that they even give him a full new set of regenerations since they need him. Eventually, they reappear, having pulled themselves out. How? We have no idea; the Doctor refuses to ask. "It would have made them feel clever."
  • All the characters from the little-known Australian show Double The Fist. Characters literally explode and appear fine in the next scene.
  • The final few episodes of Felicity had the title character going back in time after the death of Elena. In the series finale she returns to the present, where Elena is inexplicably alive and no one finds this odd. A deleted scene explained that she'd changed the past, but this still doesn't make sense as she made all kinds of other changes (like the death of Noel) that didn't stick.
  • In the very first episode of Forever Knight, Nick Knight's confrontation with his vampire sire, Lucien LaCroix, ends with LaCroix impaled through the heart, immolated and reduced to a pile of ashes. LaCroix maintains an onscreen presence throughout the first season via flashbacks spanning Nick's 800-year past, then returns in the present to menace Nick in the first episode of season two. How did this happen? Well...
    LaCroix: You didn't actually believe you'd killed me, did you? I'm much too old and powerful for that.
  • Friends:
    • Lampshaded when Joey is nominated for a Soapie award:
      Rachel: I mean, you're up against the guy who survived his own cremation.
    • One episode has Chandler making a huge scheme and ending up flying to Yemen to escape his on-again-off-again girlfriend Janice. The next episode does not address how he managed to come back.
  • In the eighth episode of the sixth season in Game of Thrones, the young assassin, Arya Stark, has a seemingly miraculous recovery from a stab wound to the gut she endured at the conclusion of the episode prior. She is shown suffering from her wound, but her total and rapid recovery is unexplained.
  • In the season three finale of Haven, Nathan is shot several times by Jordan, causing him to send Duke into the barn after Audrey rather than follow her himself. Season four begins six months later, and no mention is made of Nathan ever being shot.
  • Sylar from Heroes. Yes, he can heal, but he was reduced to a charred skeleton after his intended death, then just came back next season.
    • Even before Sylar got the healing power, he was pronounced dead when he was in Company custody, then just sorta randomly came back to life. Fanon has come up with numerous explanations, but the show itself didn't really bother.
    • This applies to all characters with healing powers. Adam, for instance, should have died when White Beard's camp blew up, since the regenerators can't survive trauma that kills the brain, and Adam, brain included, was blown to smithereens.
    • It was also lampshaded in the season one finale.
      Sylar: Didn't I kill you?
      Peter: Didn't take.
  • Knight Rider: In KARR's second appearance, KITT and Michael incredulously point out that the last time they faced each other, KARR fell off a cliff and they saw him explode on impact with the ground.
  • Lampshaded and played straight in the French Canadian show Le Cœur a ses Raisons. When Brett is buried alive and manages to escape, the details of his evasion aren't shown. Brett later breaks the fourth wall and says, "If my life was a TV show, the details of my miraculous escape would be included in the season's DVD." (which it wasn't). Later, when characters tell him they thought he was dead, he simply answers "I'm better, thanks."
  • The Obituary Montage at the end of one episode of Look Around You casually says, "Viewers may be pleased to know that Clive Pounds, who died during filming of this program, has since come back to life."
  • Mikhail on Lost walks though a sonic barrier and suffers a complete mental breakdown, complete with blood spurting from every orifice. He goes on to make a total recovery: "Fortunately the fences were not set to lethal levels." After that, he was beaten unconscious without suffering any damage, and got harpooned in the chest — and survived. He was finally killed by diving underwater and holding a live grenade to his face.
  • Murdoc from MacGyver was repeatedly "killed" only to return later, perfectly healthy and with no explanation as to how he survived.
  • "A Full Rich Day", a third-season episode of M*A*S*H which aired in 1974 included a subplot of Hawkeye apparently misplacing the body of a deceased lieutenant from Luxembourg. At the end of the episode the camp holds the funeral for the absent soldier, who staggers out of post-op saluting as the Luxembourg national anthem is played, resulting in the following exchange:
    Hawkeye: [to Trapper] I thought you said he was dead!
    Trapper: [shrugs] He got better.
  • Sir Leon in Merlin. Known amongst fans for being "immortal". Got fried by a dragon at the end of one series, was completely fine at the beginning of the next. Later seemed to have died during an attack on his patrol but survived certain death by drinking from a magical cup given to him by the druids and returned to Camelot more or less unharmed. And now, contrary to all reasonable expectations, he has actually survived the whole series. Something Arthur didn't manage to do. He's even in one of the last shots.
  • NCIS:
    • Ziva was explaining to Gibbs about a rogue Mossad agent who faked his own death, when Gibbs asked how he still manages to be alive, she comes back with, "Apparently, he got better."
    • The EXACT same exchange happened again in the eighth season opener with Mike Franks and Gibbs.
  • Night Court uses this trope as a Running Gag with Judge Harry Stone's dad, played by John Astin, who had been in a mental institution. When he does or says something 'crazy' (like talking about meeting Santa Claus to go around the world on Christmas Eve), he always finishes with a big smile and says, "But I'm feeling much better now".
  • Played with unintentionally in Oz. After having been killed, Peter Schibetta appears in the background in a later episode. However, he was canonically dead; the scene in question was filmed for an earlier episode.
  • Power Rangers:
    • In the finale of Power Rangers Lost Galaxy, no explanation was given for how Kendrix was restored to life. (Admittedly, no-one had ever directly stated she had been killed, although it was pretty obvious; the actress portraying her had to leave after being diagnosed with leukemia, and the writers felt that they were safe with such an option, given the almost universal positive response to Zordon's Heroic Sacrifice in the previous series.) There was a lot of speculation among fans, like that the Saber had something to do with it, but nothing definite.
    • Vypra was last seen in Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue when Bansheera absorbed and consumed her as punishment for failure. She reappeared later in Power Rangers Time Force, crawling out of a nondescript grave, but no explanation was given as to how she got there or how she managed to restore herself. (Whether this meant she was alive or undead, she didn't say.)
  • Supershock rips out Deena's heart out in the Powers season 2 finale. This merely lands her in a hospital.
    Supershock: What did I... I'm sorry. You're gonna be all right. I'm gonna put it back in.
  • Mel Tormé guest stars as himself in Sliders (his son Tracy was one of the show's creators) and is apparently killed by a car bomb after Rembrandt inadvertently reveals to the Mob that he's working against them - he refers to them "working together", unaware that the Rembrandt of this universe is the head of the FBI. He reappears at the end of the episode and offers only a cryptic explanation, the gist being that he's too smart and Genre Savvy to be killed in such a way.
  • Trill Symbionts in Star Trek are ridiculously hard to kill once joined to a humanoid Host. Dax has among other things died in a shuttle crash, from a heart attack during sex, and being shot by Force Lightning from an Energy Being. Once transferred into a new host body, it was literally as good as new within a couple of days, retaining all the memories and a great deal of the personalities of the former hosts. Dax had 8 hosts dying on it in over 350 years and is never mentioned as being particularly old or experienced by Trill standards.
  • Late in Supernatural's seventh season, Castiel is found amnesiac but otherwise unharmed after being taken over and blown up by the leviathans. Exactly how he came back this time is never explained (While God has resurrected Castiel twice in the past, it's not clear if he did it the third time or not).
  • The hit British motoring show Top Gear is constantly invoking this trope by having one of the presenters apparently die in a filmed segment and then cutting back to them perfectly unharmed in the studio. This usually occurs after an on screen crash (planned or unplanned) or after a presenter vanishes in a large fireball. Sometimes a lampshade is hung, sometimes it's just ignored.
  • The short-lived show The War Next Door has this as its premise. A retired secret agent and his arch-nemesis live next door in a suburb and constantly engage in battles. Each episode invariably ends with one of them (usually, the villain) dead, only to get better by the next episode. In fact, the pilot starts with the agent killing the villain before retiring, only for the villain to come back in the same episode. No explanation, of course.
  • Used for comedic effect in several skits in Whose Line Is It Anyway?
    Colin Mochrie: Last time I saw him he tried to murder me. But when you're trying to kill someone by chopping their head off, rolling them up in a carpet and lighting it on fire, you better make sure they're dead!
  • Like the aforementioned Master, Dr. Miguelito Lovless from The Wild Wild West, had at least two episodes ending where he appeared to have died, only to pop up again, no worse for the wear, never really explaining how he did.
  • In season 5 of 24, Tony Almeida dies in Jack Bauer's arms. In season 7, he's alive and well and has pulled a Face–Heel Turn, and Jack is genuinely surprised to learn this. It's implied that his death, which at the time appeared to be a genuine attempt to kill him by a captured terrorist with ties to President Evil, was in fact staged in the same manner that Jack's was in season 4. And if you thought Jack Bauer would kill him... and this time, he'd stay dead! Think again. He's a Reverse Mole! Wait a minute... Now Tony's bad again.
  • There have been many instances where Muppet characters have gotten eaten, only to be shown alive and well later (sometimes in the same production, sometimes not). Of course there have also been instances where characters got eaten but were still alive while inside the monsters who ate them.
  • In BBC's Sherlock as homage to the books, Sherlock somehow survives his "death" from falling off the Reichenbach Hotel. The next season has several characters state theories on how he survived, but how he actually survives is never explanied.
  • Once Upon a Time:
    • Prince Phillip shows up without a specific explanation as to why he's back, after having his soul sucked out by a wraith.
    • Sir Lancelot, previously thought dead, shows up. His excuse? "It's a long story".
  • The X-Files: In "Arcadia", the Ubermenscher tulpa appears to kill Mike Raskub, leaving a bloody mess, but Mike returns to save Scully. In "Anasazi", the Cigarette Smoking Man orders a boxcar to be burned, with Mulder inside it, who turns out fine. A dying Cigarette Smoking Man was thrown down a set of stairs in "Requiem", showed up alive and was killed by black helicopters in "The Truth", and is still alive by "My Struggle". In The X-Files: Season 10 comic, the Lone Gunmen have faked their deaths in "Jump the Shark", but still appear as ghosts in "The Truth".

  • The pirates in Cosmo Jarvis' Gay Pirates walk the plank... and somehow get better. It's not explained, but that doesn't matter, because it's a combined Moment of Awesome, Heartwarming Moment, and Tear Jerker.
  • In The Lonely Island song "Like a Boss", the titular boss recounts his typical daily life, which ends in turning into a jet (like a boss), bombing the Russians (like a boss), flying into the sun (like a boss), and now he's a dead (like a boss). His performance reviewer expresses incredulity that he can chop his balls off and die every day. The boss just shrugs it off.
  • Michelle Creber and Black Gryph0n's "Getting Stronger" starts off with the subject of the song being *offended* that their foe is surprised by their mysterious return.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • A staple of wrestling from its earliest days. Several times, one wrestler might be expected to compete in two or three matches a night. For instance, someone might be "severely hurt" in one match and carried out on a stretcher (to sell the injury), only to come out an hour later in full health to compete in a battle royal. During the television era, two wrestlers might compete in a main event-caliber match early at a television taping and sell a bloody brawl, only for one of the wrestlers to come out 25 minutes later and make short work of a jobber, with no evidence that he had even been hurt, much less involved in a match. (This was the case when segments were taped out of order, rather than sequentially, especially before the Internet era.)
    • This was also common when stations aired two programs from the same promotion the same weekend, with one of the shows showing a particular wrestler being "badly injured" (such as to begin a new feud) and the other show depicting him in full health and taking on a jobber. This became confusing to unsophisticated viewers, particularly if the latter example aired after the show where said wrestler was "injured."
    • A blatant example was at the end of the 2000 Survivor Series Pay-Per-View, which ended with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin hijacking a forklift and dumping a car containing Triple H from high up in the air. The next night on Raw Is War, it was revealed that Trips had only suffered "minor injuries" and seven days later, he reappeared on television looking as good as new aside from some medical tape around his ribs.
  • A strange example occurred when John Cena was supposedly "injured" after getting stabbed by Carlito's bodyguardnote , as Cena then returned a couple of weeks later at Survivor Series without stab wounds whatsoever.
  • On 4/19/10, the Guest Host of RAW MacGruber accidentally blew up R-Truth. Yes, as in he accidentally blew him up with the pyrotechnics. The next night on NXT, Truth was indeed present as if nothing had happened. The weirdest part about all of this? R-Truth is a face; you wouldn't think a face would be the Butt-Monkey of elaborate pranks on the part of the guest host.
  • This happens in a lot of storylines involving The Undertaker. It's somewhat justified by the fact that he's portrayed as a supernatural being. It also seems to apply to the people around him. In 2004, he buried manager Paul Bearer alive, filling the tomb with concrete. Bearer returned with no explanation. Justified in the Bearer case: the live audience saw an extended ending to the burial clip, with Bearer surfacing for air and being stretched out of the arena. The following Smackdown he was announced as alive but "gravely injured" to write him out of the storyline. It also helps that said return took place about six years later.
  • A particularly egregious example comes from WCW, which just seems to go Serial Escalation for pure strangeness, even for wrestling. After a Monster Truck Match on a rooftop for a PPV, Hulk Hogan and the Giant (now The Big Show in WWE) have a scuffle at the edge of the roof. And, yup, the Giant takes a tumble over the edge. Hogan's in shock... and then for the main event regular match between the two, on the same night, the Giant comes out without so much as a scratch. Not much in the way of explanation is ever provided, although Bobby Heenan once said that they wanted the Giant to come to the ring with a fish in his tights, to explain that he fell into the river.

  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy ended its first radio series with Zaphod, Trillian and Marvin being eaten by a shape-shifted alien. The Christmas special that launched the second series brought back Zaphod and Marvin (and changed Trillian's fate to Put on a Bus). Zaphod's first words in the episode were "I've recovered." Marvin had lost an arm shortly before getting eaten; as this was never referenced again, it presumably got better too.
    • Since he was a robot, it was probably replaced. Every other part of his body was replaced at some stage, except of course the terribly painful diodes all down his left side.
    • In episode 13, it was revealed that Zaphod's adventures on the Frogstar and Brontitall had simply been induced by being extremely drunk. Marvin had, in fact, had his arm welded to his side, thanks to being trapped on a ship as it flew into the nearest star.
  • The first 2011 run of BBC Radio 4 statistics show More of Less ended with host Tim Harford falling off the roof of Broadcasting House, in a parody of the death of Nigel Pargetter in The Archers. The second run opened with the show now presented by Graham Seed, the actor who played Nigel, only for Harford to return and quickly take back control.
    Harford: I ... got better.
    Seed: I see. I wish I had.

  • In Candide, Candide meets Cunegonde, who was earlier apparently killed, and in the duet "You Were Dead, You Know" asks her how she escaped death. She dodges the question.

    Video Games 
  • Massmouth 2 has Linguica re-appear without explanation soon after being killed in a boss battle ("I'll kill you for killing me!"). "Doesn't anybody stay dead any more?", Massmouth ponders.
  • In Arfenhouse 3, after Evil Kitty makes a Heel–Face Turn, she gets killed by Billy in a parody of Aerith's death scene from Final Fantasy VII. Housemaster vows to avenge her death, but Good Kitty later returns with no explanation whatsoever.
  • In Ashen Amara is seemingly killed off in a very dramatic fashion during the boss fight with the Shadow of the Ashen. She appears at the end of the fight, no worse for wear with no explanation given for her recovery. It's possible that the Ritual Stone had something to do with it, but it's never specified in-game.
  • In Assassin's Creed II, Ezio is stabbed in the stomach by Rodrigo Borgia in the penultimate boss battle and collapses in a spreading pool of blood, complete with fade to black. Then he wakes and stands up, completely shaking it off. The sequel explains it by his armour blunting the attack. But if that was the case... why was there so much blood?
  • Twice in Asura's Wrath. First when thrown from an orbiting spaceship and second after being tossed into lava with both arms ripped off. Applies to Vlitra as well, since it's never explained how it keeps coming back. This is actually explained in the DLC, Chakravartin (God) was bringing both Asura and Vlitra back. He was trying to groom Asura to be the new God of the planet, and was trying to make him worthy using Vlitra as an enemy.
  • In Baldur's Gate II, almost any time you run into an NPC who could have joined your team in the first game, you are given the option "But I killed you," or "What are you doing here, I saw you die!" as any character can die permanently. This is essentially what all the characters reply.
    • The setting does have resurrection magic, but said magic does have its limits...
  • In Beyond Good & Evil, this happens near the end of the game with Jade's uncle Pey'j. However, despite his casual dialogue concerning his death-and-resurrection, there are a few reasons he tries to give...
    Jade: Pey'j, I... but you were...
    Pey'j: Dead. I know.
  • Dracula in Castlevania. Interestingly, his defeats in the first two games actually seem to take a toll on him, as he becomes weaker the next time around. (He's astronomically difficult to beat in 3, the first chronologically, still a tremendous challenge but less so in 1, and an absolute pushover in 2.) That still doesn't explain how he comes back (none of the games are clear on this), and it's especially egregious in 2 because completely destroying him is supposed to be what ends the curse.
  • The Curse of Monkey Island:
    • The insurance fraud puzzle:
      Guybrush: I died! I really did!
      Stan: And you just... got better?
      Guybrush: Well... yeah.
    • Considering Stan himself had just survived being trapped in a nailed-shut coffin for presumably months, he's really not one to talk. In fact, he even acknowledges that he's been dead in his life insurance sales pitch.
    • Something of a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment, considering Guybrush really does die at the end of Chapter 4 of Tales of Monkey Island, when LeChuck dramatically stabs him in the gut. Naturally, Guybrush really does "get better" in Chapter 5.
  • Eliphias the Inheritor from the Dawn of War series appears to be heading this way. At the end of the Chaos Stronghold mission in Dark Crusade, Eliphas was killed by a demon prince. Now he's coming back in Chaos Rising. Considering the manner Eliphas died, it certainly sounds as if he's headed for this trope.
    • In fairness, if your soul goes straight to the Chaos Gods, they can put it back in a new body. They usually do this in order to make the next life even harder for you.
    • General Sturnn in Winter Assault is resurrected at the Field Command after 10 seconds every time he gets killed. His only 'excuse' is "I've returned".
  • In Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, exactly how did K. Rool manage to come back from being munched on by piranhas?
  • Dragon Age:
    • The player has a choice to invoke this in Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening, if they import a save from Dragon Age: Origins where the main character died in the end. Doing so basically retcons away the death, having the plot be that you Take a Third Option, and nobody in the expansion mentions it ever happening. There is a confused inquiry as to how you survived what is normally a fatal event, though...
    • Similarly, if the player ended up killing Leliana in the first game, she shows up in future games with little explanation as to why she's still alive other than claiming possible divine intervention. In other words, A Wizard Did It. The Trespasser DLC of Inquisition provides an answer: it wasn't Leliana. A spirit, probably of Faith, broke the Veil and impersonated her.
    • In Dragon Age: Inquisition ambient dialogue between Cassandra and Cole has Cole mentioning a Templar he once met.
      Cole: A pretty Templar... she died protecting Rhys and me. But she got better.
      Cassandra: I don't even want to know what that means.
  • High Priest Rolo in Dragon Quest VIII. When we last see him, he is facing two very pissed off thugs, completely unarmed and with no visible means of escape. He even tells the thugs to "do their worst". However, in the ending, not only is he still alive, but he's the new head of the Church of the Goddess.
  • Lampshaded in The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion by an insane Argonian NPC at the Shrine of Sheogorath, the madgod.
    Argonian: I used to be a dog. I got better. Not a better dog, though. I'm a terrible dog now.
  • Fallout:
    • Harold, when telling his stories in Fallout 1&2, if asked, "How did you survive?" answers, "Didn't! Got killed!" Harold loves that joke.
    • Fallout 3 originally had either the Lone Wanderer or Sentinel Lyons sacrifice themselves to activate the purifier and subsequently melt into a puddle of goo, but Broken Steel retconned the ending so that the Lone Wanderer is rendered comatose for two weeks instead. However, Lyons still dies for real if you send her into the control room.
      • Fallout: New Vegas reverses the situation in a sense, with the main character starting off by getting shot in the head and buried- only to be dug out and revived by the nearby town's doctor. Although you'll know exactly how you managed to survive having your brains blown out, at no point does the game allow you to explain to your bewildered assailants why you're not dead. Instead, you get this exchange when you do eventually meet up with one of them:
        Jessup: What the hell? You're that courier Benny wasted back in Goodsprings. You're supposed to be dead.
        Courier: I got better.
      • This causes the man to wet himself and say something along the lines of, "Damn, and I thought we were hard to kill". There's also an option to say, "I'm a ghost....woooo!" Jessup is not amused.
      • You can also tell Cass about your incident when she asks why you're wandering the Mojave:
        Courier: I'm looking for the man who shot me.
        Cass: The man who shot you?
        Courier: Twice. In the head.
        Cass: And you got better.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • This trope occurs in some form in several games. And also, you can't ignore how, in regular battles in several of the games, a character can be turned to stone and then shattered, which incapacitates them for the duration of that battle, but then you pop 'em a Phoenix Down and they're good as new.
    • Even more blatant use of this trope is seen in Final Fantasy IV in which ALL but five of the player's party members suffer tragic deaths, with all of them - even Cid, who rode a nuclear bomb into a pit, was at the epicenter of the explosion, fell several thousand feet and landed on some pointy rocks, had even more rocks fall down from thousands of feet above to seal the passage between the underworld and the upper world (this being the POINT of setting off the bomb), then dragged himself several miles to the dwarf city to rest up - coming back near the end. Except Tellah.
    • Contrast to Edward. Leviathan attacks ship—leading to Edward apparently twisting his ankle. Apparently he shattered his shinbone, because he will be bed-ridden or, at the very best, chair-ridden (in the tank at the end) for the rest of the game. Meanwhile, Yang (same Leviathan incident) can still fly through the air with his foot out in battle. Rydia also suffers in the same boat accident and is seen being eaten by a giant see snake! Yang goes through an even less survivable experience: he destroys the Tower of Bab-il's Super Cannon by apparently stuffing himself into the barrel before it fires, resulting in a massive explosion that destroys the entire chamber containing the cannon. He's presumed dead until you discover that a bunch of sylphs found him and nursed him back to health. Palom and Porom turn themselves to stone which is accompanied by sad music and the distraught characters trying to revive them only to find they can't. Then near the end of the game they just turn up again saying their elder healed them (note, Tellah who is hailed as the greatest magic user in the world and had already recovered all his forgotten abilities claims they can't be revived). Oh, and Cid, the "Old Man" (quoth Edge about 10 times), back to blacksmithing approximately 3 hours in-game time after blowing himself up. Yang's case is, while still egregious, not quite as bad given that he is the World's Strongest Man if his stats are to be believed.
    • Final Fantasy VI: Kefka survives being stabbed by Celes, and the destruction of the floating continent, as the party survives an airship being torn apart, "the very day the world collapsed", shown as a series of explosions visible from space, and the rearranging of the continents.
    • Rufus from Final Fantasy VII supposedly died from the Weapon assault on Midgar, yet he's fine in Advent Children. When Cloud meets Rufus Shinra in Advent Children, he's shocked to find his supposedly exploded enemy alive. Rufus begins to explain what happened — and Cloud cuts him off impatiently, and turns to leave.
      Rufus: ...The day of the explosion—
      Cloud: What do you want?
      Rufus: I managed to get out of the building—
      Cloud: Why did you call me here?
      Rufus: before it collapsed—
      Cloud: I'm leaving!
    • It's been said in Dirge of Cerberus that Rufus Shinra merely 'ducked' to avoid being killed. He was later evacuated from Midgar when Meteor fell, via helicopter.
    • Additionally, contrary to popular belief, Tseng never died in the original game either. The line with Elena who implies he's dead is actually a mistranslation for 'Messin' my boss up'.
    • Final Fantasy VIII: Squall takes an ice shard to the chest, and wakes up fine by the next disc. However, he game does explicitly show mere minutes later Selphie attempting to use Cure to heal Zell after he was roughed up by prison guards, meaning that healing magic isn't just some abstract thing that only exists in gameplay, so while it's not explicitly stated, it's not too far of a stretch to just assume that Edea or someone healed Squall's wounds so that he could be interrogated.
  • In Final Fantasy X if a team member gets petrified in water they sink a few inches before shattering almost immediately after. They still get brought back the normal way, though fighting enemies that can petrify is almost a certain game over if armor isn't modified accordingly.
  • In Fire Emblem Awakening, Gangrel, Emmeryn, Walhart, and Aversa all die in the main plot, yet have special paralogues accessed after the main game is mostly complete, allowing you to recruit them for the final battle. Not a single one of them get any explanation as to why they're still alive. Although some dialogue suggests Walhart is a Risen. Also Yen'fay is not an example, he's from an alternate timeline where his sister died instead.
  • Phone Guy reappears in Five Nights at Freddy's 2, despite being killed on Night 4 of the first game, making it look like this. This is actually the first hint that the second game is a prequel.
  • Herumor in The Fourth Age: Total War is good at this. It's justified in that he appears as an ancillary rather than a controllable character, to reflect the fact that he is working in secret. One of the mechanics in the game is that whenever your faction leader dies, his ancillaries will pass to his heir.
  • The Dread Lords in Galactic Civilizations. They got crushed by the humans and their allies in the game Dread Lords, but there was a set-up that it was a ruse. They came back and got beaten again in Dark Avatar. In Twilight of the Arnor they're back AGAIN with no explanation at all.
  • In Gothic 2 Night of the Raven expansion pack, you can meet the character Bloodwyn from Gothic. One dialog option is to note that you killed him back then, to which he comments that he has "survived a lot of things".
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Villain Toreno seemingly explodes in a helicopter. Several missions later, he's having C.J. ride around in a monster truck. No explanation is given for living—or for the truck.
    • Its implied through his dialogue he just fooled CJ into thinking he got on the helicopter - he knew CJ was trying to kill him, and needed him to think he had in order to get his help.
  • In Guilty Gear Xrd: REVELATOR, Ramlethal Valentine is seemingly killed when she is caught in an antimatter explosion, which not only convinces everyone else she is dead, but also apparently blows her to barely recognisable pieces if the word of Ky's attendant is anything to go by. She later shows up out of nowhere during the final chapter almost completely unscathed save for her left arm and leg being heavily bandaged, with no explanation whatsoever. Clearly That Man had something to do with her recovery, as it is Raven who teleports her to the final battle, but how was done is never even alluded to. Apparently, Valentines are just that hard to kill.
  • Halo: If one completes Halo: Combat Evolved on Legendary, they are treated to a video of Sergeant Johnson and an Elite fighting over a plasma rifle on the Halo ringworld, who end up hugging as they see The Pillar of Autumn, the ship that destroys said Halo, begin exploding. In Halo 2, he's still alive. How? That's confidential information, soldier. note 
    • Bungie remarked on this in the Halo 3 Legendary Edition bonus DVD by saying that he was "Like Kenny" he could die in every single level he's in, but he'll be alive in the next one.
    • On the other hand, Johnson has died on-screen in Halo 3... presumably for good, now.
  • In the original House of the Dead, the protagonist's girlfriend, Sophie, is apparently killed after being gravely injured by the Chariot. Not only is she shown alive and well in the good ending, but she actually goes on to marry Thomas, with their daughter Lisa appearing as one of the main characters of House of the Dead III.
    • House of the Dead 2 opens with James and/or Gary finding a gravely wounded G who urges them to go on without him, strongly suggesting he's only come Back for the Dead. Later, Harry does pretty much the exact same thing, giving you the keys to his car with what appear to be his dying breaths. Both appear in a distant shot to greet the protagonists in the standard ending, and Rogan outright confirms they made it out okay in the Golden Ending. Regardless of which ending is canon, though, G's return in parts 3 and 4 definitively settles the question of his survival even if it's never stated how he did, aside from the implication that he's just that much of a badass.
  • Injustice 2:
    • Scarecrow is a confusing case. The Joker murdered the doctor to get a hold of his fear toxin which kick-started the plot of the first game, making Scarecrow the first character to die in the story-line, as revealed by the prequel comics. In Injustice 2, the good doctor reappears with no explanation, and in one of the pre-fight interactions he comments on the Joker stealing his fear gas, but not on the whole killing him part. Other interactions, however, suggest that the Scarecrow persona became a Legacy Character and that it is not Jonathan Crane under the mask.
    • Likewise, the Injustice: Year Two comic revealed that the John Stewart version of Green Lantern was murdered by Sinestro. Despite this, John still appears as a Premier Skin in the game, and his pre-fight dialogue sometimes even references his death.
    Batman: You're supposed to be dead.
    John Stewart: Maybe you noticed; I don't die easily.
  • In Jak II, Sig appears to have been destroyed by a huge Metal Head but shows up at a party later, invoking this trope as a Badass Boast.
  • Despite the fact that the second-to-last level of Katamari Forever involves Dismantling the Roboking, he appears in the postgame without any explanation.
  • Kirby does this even more confusingly, given he eats his foes. This is most obvious with Bandanna Dee from the Revenge of the King game in Kirby Super Star Ultra: Cut him, zap him, burn him, swallow him whole and he'll still show up for the Masked Dedede fight.
  • The Infocom text adventure game Leather Goddesses of Phobos features various scenarios where your helper character (Trent or Tiffany, depending on a decision at the beginning of the game) dying in horrific fashions, at one point hopping on a grenade and exploding right in front of you, but he/she always comes back at a later point with an improbable explanation of how he/she could have possibly survived.
  • In Legacy of Kain Vorador, who was beheaded in Blood Omen, is alive in Blood Omen 2 with no explanation. Especially frustrating since being a vampire, his resurrection is not out of the ordinary and could have been explained in one or two lines had the writers actually bothered.
  • Perhaps the better question in Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals is where in the world did Dekar get a whale to return from his Heroic Sacrifice on the back of.
    • His recovery in the remake, Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals, is explained. He got thrown into another he blew up the entire dimension.
  • Played for laughs in MadWorld with the Black Baron, who introduces every deathtrap mini-game only to be made into a quick demo of each one by his ladyfriend. Despite being brutally murdered at least once in every level, he never so much as has to change his outfit, and is actually the last boss of the game.
  • In Mass Effect 2's DLC, Zaeed Massani survives a bullet in the head. His "explanation" is "A stubborn enough person can survive just about anything. Rage is a hell of an anesthetic."
    • On the mission when Shepard goes to recruit Thane Krios, Nassana Dantius exclaims "But you died." Shepard's response: "I got better."
      • That said, Shepard's recovery is fully explained in-game: (S)he was brought back from being technically dead via an awful lot of expensive medical and cybernetic work. By one of his/her enemies, no less. That said, it becomes a Running Gag that (s)he isn't inclined to go into the whole story with every character (s)he runs into who is surprised to see him/her alive.
  • Zero's infamous "I hid myself while I tried to repair myself" when he returns in Mega Man X6.
    • Almost subverted as he, when he has the occasion to do so, asks Doctor Light if he's the one who repaired him. After a short silence, Doctor Light say his resurrection was a miracle. But no proper explanation is ever given. Even the popular fan theory that Wily did it conflicts with another popular theory that Isoc is Wily because Gate mentions at one point that Isoc is searching for Zero's body, implying that he thinks Zero is still dead.
    • In Rockman 4 Minus Infinity, Shadow Man becomes a Bonus Boss in Wily Stage 4 if you unlock him, even though he had died in Cossack Castle 1.
  • In the thrilling conclusion to Mega Man 3, Dr. Wily gets completely flattened by a stone block. Not only is there never any explanation as to how he returns in 4 (and is even pulling the supposed villain's strings), no one ever mentions this incident, not even Wily himself. Although, in all fairness, Wily's survival was briefly foreshadowed in the original ending sequence when Mega Man looks up at the sky - the tiny object moving around the tree is not a bird but Wily's UFO in the distance. One of the theories out there is that the final boss was just another dummy robot that got crushed before it could humiliate.
  • In Metal Gear Solid Liquid Snake is the epitome of this trope. You "kill" him no fewer than four times (firstly in the Hind D battle, secondly in the battle with REX, thirdly in the fistfight on top of REX, and finally during a car chase). He eventually ends up dying of FoxDie in the ending cutscene.
    • In Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty it seems that Liquid is still not dead, but instead possessing the body of Revolver Ocelot. By the time Metal Gear Solid 4 rolls along he's in full control.
      • Of course, it turns out that the possession was a fake in MGS4, but real in MGS2. And the legitimate possession gave Ocelot the idea for his greatest Gambit Roulette.
    • In Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots this also happens with Raiden, who seemingly dies, complete with a Really Dead Montage, saving Snake from the Outer Haven submarine when, in fact, he survives. The characters don't even seem to think his survival is a big deal, casually mentioning it.
      • Not to mention the entire ending sequence with Big Boss.
      • Nanomachines.
  • Metal Slug features tough, brawny Allen O'Neil, who slumps over in a spray of blood at the end of his encounter in nearly every game (even being EATEN BY A WHALE in 2) with a death cry of "See you in Hell!", and yet is alive and kicking in the next game, or in the case of Metal Slug 3, LATER THAT LEVEL.
    • In 3, It's easy to assume that the Allen you face is a Martian in disguise, since that's what his superior Morden reveals himself to be after you beat him in the course of the level, and that the one that appears later to help you escape is the real one. And in 4, what appeared to be him was actually a robotic copy. Doesn't stop him from returning in any of the other games.
  • In Metal Wolf Chaos, you can shoot down and blow up a reporter's helicopter. When you do, he says "My fellow viewers, please rest at ease, for I, Peter McDonald, have somehow managed to escape. I'll return to the action in another helicopter."
    • Likewise, at one point a resistance helicopter is shot down, and you hear a message on the radio saying, "Don't worry Mr. President, us resistance soldiers have thorough knowledge of how to escape." All very good and well, except that the helicopter was hit by a missile from a tank, exploded in a ball in flame, and then the burning wreckage plunged into the Hudson River. Thorough knowledge indeed.
  • In Metroid series, some of the bosses that Samus has killed would often return in the next chronological game without any explanation whatsoever.
  • Strange as it may seem, this is almost always subverted in Mortal Kombat, at least as far as canonical deaths go. There's usually a pretty good explanation given when this happens (which, granted, does tend to occur a lot). The only real exception was Shiva, who was supposedly killed by Kano at the end of the 3, but back in Armageddon, with no explanation as to how.
  • In No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle Destroyman comes back after having been cut in half in the first game. Someone just added a cyborg half to each side, so now there are 2 of him. Also, Letz Shake comes back, but he's an earthquake generator like Dr. Shake in the first game.
  • PAYDAY 2:
    • A bonus Escape mission may trigger after the end of a heist, resulting in your escape van crashing and your driver, Twitch, dying. Despite this, Twitch will still be called in just minutes later to get you out, in an identical-looking van, while the original Twitch's corpse is still present.
    • The Custody mechanic can lead to this: As long as you have a hostage, you can even come back from falling out of a plane.
  • Portal:
    • In Portal, GLaDOS gets destroyed in a pretty brutal explosion. However, in Portal 2, she's fine (albeit a bit battered) after a reboot.
    • At the end of Chapter 1 of Portal 2, Wheatley is crushed by GLaDOS. However, he makes a return at the start of Chapter 3. Aside from a crack in his optic, a battered shell and an occasional wiring issue causing him to spark and twitch, he's completely fine. He does try to explain how he recovered, but considering he's telling the story as you're bouncing 50 feet into the air, we never find out just what saved him.
      [Chell jumps]
      Wheatley:'ll never believe what happened, I was just laying there, you thought I was done for, but...
      [Chell jumps again]
      Wheatley: ...a bloody bird! Couldn't believe it either! And then the bird...
  • The Nameless One from Planescape: Torment does this all the time, and at one point (at the beginning of the game) actually says: "I think I actually had died... and got better." The general plot of the game revolves around his attempts to figure out exactly why this keeps happening to him.
  • In Red Steel 2, the protagonist is standing on top of a train that is blown up. The next cutscene shows him standing by the destroyed train without a scratch on him. His friends assume him to be dead and question how he made it out alive; one of them even tells him not to die again.
  • In Resident Evil 4 if you shoot the Merchant, he reappears later, but never again in the same place as where you shot him.
  • In Robopon 2, a lot of characters pull this, especially Riggs, who blew himself up and Dr. Disc, who was severely wounded when the Zeros fired on past!Baba Village. The former even lampshades it by pointing out that the epitaph caption that came up for him didn't explicitly say that he was dead.
  • Squid Baron in Shantae: Risky's Revenge who is a boss dying in the classic several-explosions like manner but later appears unscratched. This is also lampshaded by the characters.
  • Flynn in Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse, after having been kidnapped and held captive on a crucifix surrounded by some sort of barrier, is back on his feet when the heroes find him again in Tsukiji Konganji, and on top of that he easily lays the smackdown on Odin, who had previously put you into a Hopeless Boss Fight with him. Subverted, as revealed later: Not only is Odin faking his defeat, but it turns out the Flynn you rescue and assist later on in the assault on Lucifer's and Merkabah's forces is actually Shesha in disguise.
  • In Silent Hill 2, Maria is killed by Pyramid Head in the basement of the hospital, but James later finds her alive and well in a prison cell under the Historical Society. When James becomes understandably confused as to how she's still alive, Maria insists she was never killed to begin with. After James manages to break into the cell, however, Maria is once again a corpse. Later on he finds her alive yet again strapped to a rack in the hotel, being menaced by a pair of Pyramid Heads, who kill her. Depending on the ending you're going to get, she shows up one more time as the final boss.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • How Dr. Robotnik survived plummeting from orbit in a burning mecha body suit in Sonic & Knuckles is anyone's guess.
    • In Sonic Adventure 2, Shadow had fallen down to earth after using Chaos Control with Sonic to stop the Space Colony ARK. In Sonic Heroes, he is found to have been alive (but with amnesia), but there were no details about how he survived the fall. note 
    • How did Dr. Eggman exit the White Space in Sonic Generations is also anyone's guess. He reappeared in Sonic Lost World with no explanation whatsoever.
  • Star Trek: 25th Anniversary ran a print adverting spot that consisted of a picture of Kirk looking surprised to see Spock and asking "I thought you were dead!" Spock replies "I rebooted."
  • Anyone in the first 2 Suikoden games who is not a main character can get Final Death; but will mysteriously show up in the sequels. Some of them, (Luc, Sheena) actually have snarky comments about this.
    • A specific example happens in Suikoden IV. Ramada is spying on the enemy forces in Fort El-Eal, when he's found by Graham Cray, impaled by a knife, and from the events that follow, it seems fairly evident that he died... Only for him to show up inexplicably after the final battle to take a second (and poisoned) knife meant for Elenor. He survives this, too, somehow.
  • Bowser from the Super Mario Bros. series. No matter how Mario defeats him, he will be back in the next game. The same applies to his underlings. The fact that "1-ups" are a tangible object that exists in this series may have something to do with it.
    • In Super Paper Mario, during the final chapter, each of the heroes is seemingly killed one by one. When they show up before the final battle, Peach and Bowser have valid explanations for having survived, but Luigi doesn't, which is made more confusing by the fact that Dimentio did the same trick which killed Luigi in Chapter 6. Of course, it turns out that Dimentio kept him alive for his evil plan.
  • One of the Squirrels in Super Meat Boy gets revived twice for mysterious reason. Meat Boy himself doesn't count since he's clearly seen respawning during one of the cutscenes.
  • Tales Series:
    • We get two of these in Tales of Vesperia:
      The first is after Raven's Heroic Sacrifice in the Baction Shrine. The whole place collapses on top of him. It's implied that his subordinates dug him out, but how was he not crushed to death?
      The second was when Yuri falls off of The Enduring Shrine of Zaude. All we're told is that Duke saves him, but how exactly is someone saved from falling off of something that high in the air? Duke isn't shown to have any type of flying device/creature at that point. So how on earth did he save Yuri?
      • At the time, Duke was partnered with Khroma, a draconian entelexia who could fly (remember the scene with her descending upon a heat-stroking Yuri in the desert?). Most likely, she caught Yuri and Duke simply took the credit.
      • There's also Zagi. He survives an explosion on a burning ship in the middle of the ocean, as well as falling from a very high fall.
    • In Tales of the Abyss, Luke resolves to sacrifice himself along with 10 000 replicas in order to neutralize the miasma. He ultimately survives the ordeal.
      • The game subverts this because Luke ends up becoming terminally ill. Doubly subverted when he seems to have come back to life after a Heroic Sacrifice, but whether or not its truly Luke or Asch is purposefully left vague.
      • The God-Generals sans Asch are resilient enough to last for three boss battles each, despite various members being buried in an avalanche, getting blown sky-high, and falling into the core of the planet. Dist in particular is said to have the tenacity of a cockroach, and it shows. He's the only God-General to survive the game.
    • In Tales of Symphonia, there's a series of scenes where your entire party appears to sacrifice themselves so Lloyd can move forward.
      • Regal takes on a massive group of angels by himself, with the implication that he can't defeat them all on his own.
      • Sheena is seen falling into a massive pit, pulled by a tree root.
      • Raine is also seen falling into a massive pit after the floor collapses underneath her.
      • Presea is trapped and restrained in a room with no way to exit— perhaps one of the less threatening of fates compared to the rest of the characters, but she'd probably starve eventually.
      • Genis helps Lloyd escape an approaching force field (that is implied to be fatal), but is unable to escape himself due to his lack of "physical reflexes."
      • Despite all this, they all show up just fine in the next scene. Apparently Zelos (or Kratos, if you went his route), very improbably, rescued all of them, although we have no idea how he managed to pull this off.
  • Shredder, from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games based on the original cartoon series (and earlier). Okay, the first arcade game DID say that he may have survived by zapping to Dimension X (which he probably did). But that doesn't account for him being there in the first place, given that in the first NES game, he completely disintegrates in a pool of fire. It only gets worse in The Manhattan Project, where you kill him TWICE, once as his normal sword-swinging self and the second time in his mutated form. Given this, it shouldn't be too surprising that something as mundane as the fall he took in Turtles in Time (second and last arcade game, fourth console) didn't finish him, he was back and ready to rumble in Tournament Fighters.
  • The Time Crisis character Wild Dog who is in every game bar Crisis Zone, in a series where the protagonists change each game. In the first game he falls off a castle and drops a radio detonator, detonating a huge set of explosives that goes off during the fall. In the second game, at the launch site of a nuclear satellite he leans against what appear to be warheads before using another radio detonator. The third game features the protagonists asking him "Don't you ever die?!" before he uses the same radio detonator again. The fourth game has him buried beneath large, full, metal boxes weighing at least tonnes only for his arm to burst out of the rubble to activate what appears to be the same radio detonator. The only lasting effect of these is that between the first and second games one of his arms is replaced with a machine-gun.
  • Used in Universe at War: Earth Assault. Orlok apparently kills some major characters during the Hierarchy campaign — they show up alive and well in the Masari campaign with no explanation of how they survived. It only adds to the Shoot the Shaggy Dog feel of that entire leg of the game.
  • Reaper from Unreal Tournament III, he is killed by the Krall in the opening cinema, but is later healed up, and in the very next scene, shooting a rocket launcher against his allies for a training session.
  • Valkyria Chronicles has "Ty the Immortal". The Elite Mook who you fight, and kill, three times in the game. Other than his name, it's not explained just how he does this.

    Web Animation 
  • In the final chapter of Broken Saints, Raimi and Oran are miraculously alive and well, despite that fact that in the Grand Finale the former was hit with some crazy mind blast thing that threw him across the room and made him unable to move, and the latter had his hand cut off and was later stabbed about ten times with a big ol' knife, with no suggestion that they received immediate medical attention.
    • One possibility is that when Shandala reversed the broadcast to positive energy, it manifested in some kind of healing magic that kept Raimi and Oran alive, although even if so, that they survived long enough to be healed is itself a miracle.
    • And then of course there are the Epileptic Trees: Raimi and Oran aren't alive in the final chapter.
  • Dreamscape: How Dylan was brought back after his soul was shredded during Death-T, which Keela mentions off-handedly in the flashback in "Tale of the Unworld".
  • DSBT InsaniT: Not only with Balloon, but also with the groups campsite in 'The Camping Webisode', which is heavily pointed out by Bill!
    Bill: Wow. Despite the fact that everything was burned and broken, we STILL managed to recover all the food to its natural state, fix the tents without stitches or anything, and repair the flashlights!
  • In the early days of The Frollo Show, Frollo tended to come back from the dead quite a lot, sometimes through outside help (like a 1-Up Mushroom) and sometimes without any explanation whatsoever. This got better later on. The third time he died, he made good friends with Hades, who let him out. This specific time was also the only canon death, with the other "deaths" being gags.
  • In first season finale of If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device, Fabricator General breaks down and explodes mid-word. Nobody seems to notice this, and he's back in the next shot without as much as a word of explanation, or anything else for that matter.
    • Though Vulkan being a Perpetual means that his ability to resurrect is explained in-universe, no one in the setting actually knows he's a Perpetual, leading to them being confused, elated, or resigned (in Corvus Corax's case) when he repeatedly keeps coming back to life.
  • Happens several times in Potter Puppet Pals. Several people get Avada Kedavra'd (Harry and Ron in "Bothering Snape" and Snape in "Trouble At Hogwarts) and the whole rest of the cast gets blown up by Voldemort in "The Mysterious Ticking Noise", but everyone's always as good as new in the next episode. It remains to be seen whether Gourd!Neville is permanently dead, however.
  • In one of the (non-canon) endings to Red vs. Blue, Sarge is shot in the head at close range by a sniper rifle. He shows up less than a minute later, and Tucker says "I thought you were dead!" and he responds "I was dead, Doc revived me!" He is then killed again.
    • Flowers mysteriously comes back to life, just in time to die before he can tell Tucker how to fix everything.
    • Season 9's Quirky Miniboss Squad was shown being dispatched in a number of unpleasant ways (being punched into a wall mid-flight, getting catapulted off of a freeway, taking a Kill Sat shot to the face), but all except for Sharkface return for Season 10.
    • AT least one of the other Mooks is seen with a new metal arm and a desire to get back at the Freelancers for it, so at least they didn't all get out unscathed.
  • In issue 3 of Teen Girl Squad, The Ugly One gets "MSG'd!", destroying her stomach lining and leaving her, if not necessarily dead, limp on the ground with X'd-out eyes. In the next scene she reappears good as new, finally saying "My stomach feels better."
    • The whole idea of Teen Girl Squad is the various Teen Girls dying in wild and creative ways, with each of them returning as good as new in the next episode.
    • Also, Homsar after Strong Bad drops a heavy weight on him in his first appearance. Later lampshaded in a message on Marzipan's answering machine when he mentions being in the hospital after the incident.
  • In If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device, episode 9, the Fabricator General hits a fatal error while pronouncing "buttcheeks" and explodes. He is back within 15 seconds.
  • PONY.MOV: In one of the panel videos, Spike asks why Rainbow Dash is still alive. She explains that the video isn't canon.

    Web Comics 
  • Parodied in this early Adventurers!
  • Ansem Retort:
    • Darth Maul had "gotten better" from his death in The Phantom Menace by the time he shows up in the comic. All he says about it is Obi-Wan got in a Hollywood cheap shot.
    • Note that Riku getting better at the end of Season Six is NOT an example despite it looking to be. He says he's got an explanation.
  • Happens in The Cartoon Chronicles of Conroy Cat, "The Brat Came Back".
  • Casey and Andy featured "Two Mad Scientist Roommates Who Occasionally Die." Through a run of exactly 666 strips, this was lampshaded continuously, directly questioned by other characters numerous times (including Satan), and explained not once.
  • In Ctrl+Alt+Del Ethan jumped off a second or third-story fire escape in his underwear because according to video game logic if he's lighter he'll be less injured. He lands on concrete and winds up with about two inches of bone sticking out of his arm. He goes to the hospital and is sent home the same day (in real life he'd probably have to stay for at least one night's observation) with "Paaaaaaaiiiiiiiiin killers!" and a cast. The next comic he's featured in there's no evidence he was ever injured despite having a break that would've taken months to heal (then again...) and would've at least left a nasty scar.
  • In Dead of Summer, Ed returns at the end to save everyone, having last been seen in Book 1, drowning.
  • In FreakAngels: "I don't want to say 'I got better' because it's a rotten cliche, but..."
  • Girl Genius:
    • Othar Tryggvassen (Gentleman Adventurer!). So far, he has been tossed out of an airship on three separate occasions, as well as dropped into a bottomless pit, and comes back each time with no real explanation. Made of Iron doesn't even start to cover the bugger's inability to just die.
    • Othar's repeated survival of freefall is explained in his canon Twitter Adventures: He has rocket boots. Of course, this is only revealed when he tries to use the boots to survive a fall and his suitcase blasts away to safety because he's not wearing them... He survives anyway, somehow (involving honey).
    • Othar has become so infamous for this that in a later comic, Gil actually takes advantage of it by making Othar accompany Tarvek when the latter has to escape an airship.
      Gill: Don't worry, Othar here is the master of escape! He's always falling out of airships and stuff, so if you're with him, I know you'll get away! Oh, and let me know how he does it!
    • During the same sequence, he emerges unscathed from having a seven-foot-tall super-soldier land on him feet-first thanks to "Special trousers. Very heroic."
  • El Goonish Shive has the following exchange. Funnily enough the explanation is truer than not, as his ex is a red-headed macho mage lady, he did get transformed against his will due to someone being mad at him, and said transformation would have worn off on its own eventually without outside influence, because it was designed to do so. You'd think a partial animal shapeshifter wouldn't be so quick to disregard such an explanation... though in his favor, he only knew about born-shapeshifters.
    Sarah: He's not your cousin! He was a cat because... his ex-girlfriend was mad at him!
    Hedge: What?
    Sarah: Yeah! His ex is a crazy red-headed macho witch woman! She got mad, and turned him into a cat! ...he got better...
    Hedge: Not buying it.
  • The return of Fructose Riboflavin in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!
  • Irrelevator has this, they die and come back, often directly lampshaded. "Repeatedly coming back to life seems kind of unrealistic, don't you think?"
  • Kagerou has this exchange:
    Kano: I think I died over there one time.
    Starless: Indeed.
    Kano: I got better.
  • In the beginning of Kid Radd, Kobayashi's kill count is "one half."
    Radd: How did you "half" kill somebody?
    Kobayashi: Um, he got better.
  • Ahbon from Kiss Wood got crushed by a building, but he's later seen with only a broken arm.
  • MegaTokyo has two; Ed who has been rebuilt from scraps by Sony twice (at least on screen, more times are implied), and Miho, who was blown up quite thoroughly by Ed, and mourned by all of her 'followers', only to be found in a hospital by Yuki, using instructions Miho gave to Piro years earlier.
  • Agent 300 wasn't supposed to survived his introduction comic, and he's last seen in it with a pretty graphic head wound. But Humon liked him so much that he pops up completely unharmed in the next strip.
  • Pointed out by a third character complete with Lampshade Hanging in No Rest for the Wicked.
  • In No Rest for the Wicked, November tells Perrault how Red had told her about being eaten by a wolf — well, obviously she recovered.
  • Visage invokes this trope by name in this strip of Parallel Dementia.
  • Tycho and Gabe of Penny Arcade have each died numerous times and come back without any explanation at all. Of course, the strip avoids continuity like a plague...
  • In one strip of The Petri Dish, a comic that usually has a solid continuity, Thaddeus Euphemism is seen as a skeleton after waiting for Bob to check the time on his phone. However, in the next strip, he's right as rain. It's possible that that skeleton wasn't the real Thaddeus as Bob did say, "Don't be so dramatic".
  • Played for laughs in this "Questionable Content". (Not actually a Questionable Content strip.)
  • The dwarf killed in the very first strip of Rusty and Co. (and eaten by a gelatinous cube) comes back in strip #40, simply saying "I got better." Okay, not for long.... The FAQ section's answer to "Will we be seeing <character name> again?" is "Yes.", so...
  • Schlock Mercenary:
    • Overall, while the comic has people regularly get healed from excessive amounts of deadly injury, it isn't unexplained recovery due to setting's medical technology being just that good. However, some occasions still apply or at least reference the trope.
    • Kevyn gave quite a surprise to his captain and ship's AI by having made a clone of himself before the original blowing himself up along with a bunch of military goons that were holding him hostage and were nearly about to kill him anyway.
    • Der Trihs claims he just got better after having parts of his brain removed and eaten by a torturer. Notably, the technology at the time was not equipped to easily restore brain damage like that. Later on, the explanation follows: the torture story is a cover-up, he was a test subject for military program that attempted to enhance his brain and instead partially broke it.
    • Flinders "almost" murdered a guy, but she's claiming self-defense. Also, "he got better." She thought he was going to stay dead, but she was unaware of the super-secret Healing Factor nanomachines he had.
    • Since then, limited application of those nanites has became mainstream technology. It became possible to restore people after their brain was lost as their memories are backed-up in the nanites spread through their body. Murtaugh and Ebbirnoth needed to have a go with it. As well as making remote back-ups of people that can be used to recreate them from a case of complete and total disintegration. Schlock had been restored like that even before the technology made it available to more normal meat-made species, and Captain Tagon needed such a recreation after his Heroic Sacrifice, later followed by a sizeable chunk of the company, including Kevyn and Para after their ship got destroyed with them on board.
  • This seemed to apply to Sluggy Freelance's leggy redhead ninja assassin Oasis after she'd seemingly died at first. Later, it was proposed that she just had a really good chance of surviving due to superior physique — only to have her clearly die and pop right back again. However, by then at the latest it became clear she can come Back from the Dead for a mysterious reason that has been unrevealed for ages since — it's a plot point how she does it, not just an un-justified joke or because Status Quo Is God as in this trope.
  • The Suburban Jungle has a character who got eaten more than a decade ago in Kevin & Kell turn up. He too "got better."
  • Tower of God: How did Baam not drown after hours at the bottom of the lake until they drained it?
  • VG Cats has this strip. His severed arms were also restored with no explanation.
    Leo: You've got a Time Machine?! You gotta let me use it!
    Aeris: But... but I aborted you. From time.
    Leo: I got better.
  • In the Walkyverse, how Mike came back from being Deader Than Dead and unrevivable in It's Walky!, to working at a toy store in Shortpacked! is only questioned once when Robin started. It's finally explained by Joyce that she sent the resurrection chamber blueprints to a rival company as well as Mike's bloodstained shirt to thank him for saving her life. Making this the second time Joyce helped resurrect a SEMME agent through his bodily fluids.
  • Wonder Momo: Ahiko/Amazonia is killed by a power-tripping Momoko/Wonder Momo ripping out her power orb. Ahiko reappears about a dozen strips later; no explanation of how she survived OR got back to Earth. Ahiko changes the subject when someone tries to ask.
  • 8-Bit Theater:
    • Fighter uses this to explain how he survived being stabbed in the head by Black Mage.
      Black Mage: Your brain was pierced with a sharp stabbing implement. I was going to add to it today so it wouldn't look like an accident.
      Fighter: Oh yeah, that was yesterday. This is today. I slept, it's cool.
      Black Mage: And?!
      Fighter: And now I'm better.
    • This is, of course, because in most Final Fantasy games, characters are revived after a stay at an inn or the use of a tent. Not, however, in the first game, off of which the strip is based.
  • Once or twice in Sinfest, the Old Year brought Death with him, when Death finally killed him. Death always got better. Justified because if Death didn't recover, there would be no death.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • American Dad!:
    • Stan shoots a man three times, drops him off a cliff, runs him over, feeds him to an alligator, shoots the alligator, and has it skinned and turned into clothing and a handbag. When he gets back the man is fine except for three bandages over the bullet wounds, offering the explanation "You can't kill a love like this."
    • There's also the episode "Season's Beatings":
      Stan: Jeff! I thought you drowned!
      Jeff: Nope.
      Stan: All right.
  • In The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!, The Vision becomes badly damaged at the end of "Ultron Unlimited". He then appears briefly in "Yellowjacket", in perfect condition. This recovery becomes undone just as inexplicably in "Emperor Stark", which begins with him getting repaired in Iron Man's laboratory. This example arose from "Yellowjacket" having different writers than the episodes preceding and following it.
  • Avengers, Assemble!:
    • Ultron is destroyed near the end of Season 2 after plunging into the sun. He returns in Season 3 after A.I.M. comes into possession of his remains. It's never explained how A.I.M. got a hold of him or how there was anything left of Ultron to begin with, since, to reiterate, he was thrown into the sun.
    • In the final episode of the "Thunderbolts" story arc from Season 3, Klaue is transformed into a being of living sound, and then seemingly dies after being completely disintegrated. He returns in the episode "Panther's Rage," where not only is he still alive, but back to his normal human form as well. Klaue just gives a dismissive Handwave when it's pointed out that there's no way he could have survived being disintegrated.
  • Just how did Harley Quinn survive the fatal fall in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker? Reportedly, the writers have confirmed that Poison Ivy's stamina booster from back in the day is responsible for her survival. It also helps that The Joker himself was a master of this kind of thing.
  • For examples of Mr J being a master of this kind of thing, see Batman: Mask of the Phantasm and The Batman/Superman Movie.
    Harley: Puddin'!
    Batman: At this point, he probably is.
    • The episode (and earlier comic) for the Trope Namer of Mad Love features Batman punching Joker off a moving track and falling directly into a factory's smokestack. He lives, of course, and by this point his ability to survive anything is so taken for granted not even a cursory attempt is made to explain it.
    • Another example from the series: He didn't die, but at the end of "What is Reality?", the Riddler's ends up trapped indefinitely within his own simulation, and Batman has no idea how to get him out of it. Somehow he manages, because the Riddler makes a cameo later, and a full recovery to be the antagonist in "Riddler's Reform". Exactly how is never revealed.
  • In the second season finale of Beast Wars, Inferno suffers death by vaporization. Despite this, he reappears in the next episode with only Amusing Injuries to show for it.
  • Harry Sachs from Beavis and Butt-Head the man Beavis and Butthead constantly harassed to make fun of his name died twice, in "Butt Flambe" he's in the emergency room for a bullet wound to the stomach, he later flatlines at the operating table and the doctors are unable to revive him, he later shows up alive in "Nothing Happening" where he's in a high speed chase with the police who shoot him after he is thought to have a gun, his body is seen covered with a sheet, and yet years later in "Doomsday" alive and well with no explanation.
  • Ben 10:
    • The third time Kevin shows up (despite apparently being killed previously) his explanation of how he survived boils down to this, as well as a recap of what happened last time.
    • At the end of Tough Luck, both Hex and Charmcaster's powers were sucked by the destruction of the Charm of Bezel. Yet, when we see them come back, their powers have come back without any clear explanation. Averted with Hex turning back into a child however, as it's specifically said that the Fountain of Youth's effects were temporary. Played straight in that we never see how Charmcaster retrieved her magic bag after the end of A Change of Face.
      Gwen: We saw you two go up in an explosion!
      Octagon: Yeah, that sort of thing occurs on a fairly regular basis.
  • In Black Dynamite there's Durul who "shot himself in the head playing Russian roulette, and then was hung by his own intestines." The CIA Agent then says "He got better."
  • In Dan Vs. "Canada," Chris tells Dan the story of his great-great-grandfather who disappeared in the forest one day, never to be seen again:
    Dan: Wow. Great story.
    Chris: It's not done! He comes back.
    Dan: You just said, "never to be seen again."
    Chris: Except when he came back.
  • Despite having an enormous gravity cannon blow up in his face (taking about half of the city's tallest building with it,) the title character of Darkwing Duck survived... although he was still wearing casts and was bandaged head-to-toe several days later.
  • Played for laughs in Duckman in the episode "Westward, No!". The character Big Jack McBastard is trampled by a horse, eaten down to his skeleton by buzzards, said skeleton is crumbled by Duckman, and finally his remains are buried. He returns at the end of the episode to scare off the posse of ranch hands, completely unharmed. When asked how he survived he simply replied "long story", said his goodbyes, then left.
  • Roberto from Futurama is killed twice in the episode "The Six Million Dollar Mon", the second time without being resurrected, though he appears yet again for the last two episodes of the series. If one were to follow "Lethal Inspection", it's explained that each robot, except for Bender, was built with a wireless backup unit that save a copy of them every day.
  • In the final episode of Fantastic Four, Doctor Doom is seemingly destroyed after colliding with Galactus' force field over Earth. Though Mr. Fantastic says that things are never quite what they seem with Doom, no explanation is given for Doctor Doom's survival when he subsequently shows up in The Incredible Hulk episode "Doomed", which is in the same continuity.
  • Invader Zim hilariously does this in a conversation with the often screwed Invader Skooge:
    Zim: Skooge? I thought the Tallest killed you?
    Skooge: Yeah, but I'm OK now.
  • Kaeloo: The characters have suffered fates such as decapitation, being blown up, and killed themselves, yet by the next episode they're always fine.
  • Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies: Virtually every classic cartoon involving Wile E. Coyote, Sylvester the Cat, Yosemite Sam, Elmer Fudd, Daffy Duck and so forth. Many of the gags involve these villains getting squashed, crushed, burned, etc., only to be at full strength and to try progressively more elaborate ways to capture their prey or defeat their antagonist. Usually, the last gag will have the villain "killed" for good and the character they were trying to get has the last line (usually, the punch line).
    • A famous example: "Satan's Waiting," starring Sylvester trying to protect his nine lives, and a Satanic bulldog exploiting this to capture the puddy tat's soul upon the death of the ninth life by goading him into chasing Tweety. Sylvester indeed dies at the end, but not in the expected way; he takes refuge in a bank vault, but two robbers use too much nitroglycerine and blow themselves and Sylvester up! ("Now he tells them!" growls the cat as he heads toward Satan, upon hearing the robbers in front of them remark about their mistake.) Two months later, Sylvester was back, good as new and in full health, in the Hippety Hopper cartoon "By Word of Mouse."
    • Of course, during the height of Saturday morning cartoons, when The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Show was a cornerstone, often more than cartoon starring the same villain was placed back-to-back. For instance, Sylvester might be seen meeting his fate in one cartoon (e.g., in "Tweety's Circus," being mauled to death (off-camera) by the lions in the final scene) and then after the commercial break, appearing in full health in a cartoon co-starring Sylvester Jr. and Hippety Hopper.
  • Hilariously lampshaded in Mad Jack the Pirate:
    Mad Jack: Didn't you die a while back?
    Angus Dagnabbit: Aye. I got better.
    Mad Jack: You were DEAD! How do you get better from being DEAD, you Scottish twit?!?!
  • In Megas XLR, Magnanimous was dropped into a quantum singularity at the end of episode 2. Early in the second season, he shows up again with no explanation for how he returned beyond "it wasn't easy".
  • Metalocalypse:
    • In the season 3 premiere Offdensen is revealed to be alive — having "gotten better," despite having been shot, pronounced dead, and presumably undergone an autopsy and coroner's report certifying him as such, after the end of Season 2. Then again, other previous indications have shown that he's not quite human to begin with.
    • In "Doublebookedklok," there's a flashback to the season 02 finale. Offdensen is bleeding from his injuries but still alive and coherent, asking a Klokateer to "kill him." With this ambiguous wording, it's entirely possible that he was alive the whole time and just staged his death. It's still a bit unclear.
  • In My Life as a Teenage Robot, there is an episode where Jenny tries to date a boy who is afraid of machines, and when explaining why, tells a story about his father being "horribly maimed" because he got stuck on an assembly line. However, a man rides up on a bicycle after the story and Jenny says, "Is that your dad?" and the boy literally says, "Yeah, he got better."
  • In Rainbow Brite, the Dark Princess returns in the last episode attempting revenge on the heroes. She gives no explanation on how she survived her spaceship exploding with her in it in her previous appearance.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Ralph Wiggum's return in "Simpsons Bible Stories".
      Bart: Ralph? I thought you were dead!
      Ralph: Nope!
    • Also in "King of the Hill" when Grandpa tells a story about his mountain-climbing days; "I fell 8,000 feet onto a pile of jagged rocks. Of course, people were a lot tougher in those days. I was jitterbuggin' that very night!" Note that his story begins with him warning Homer not to try climbing a particular mountain: "You'll die up there, just like I did!"
    • In another episode, Groundskeeper Willie recalls when he allegedly worked as a miner. According to him, at some point the cave he was in collapsed, a tragedy that claimed the lives of all miners in the cave at that time, in that "not even Willie" escaped!
    • And Dr. Marvin Monroe returned with the line "I've been very sick.", despite the Marvin Monroe Memorial Hospital from several seasons before. He even had a tombstone in the cemetery.
    • In "Bart's Dog Gets an F", the Soap Within a Show features a Priest walking in on an illicit affair, to which the woman says "I thought you were dead." The priest jovially responds "I was!"
    • Hans Moleman has been killed on-screen numerous times in various ways, from being run off the road and crashing into the birthplace of Norman Vincent Peale, to being executed in Springfield Jail on what's implied to be a shoddy legal basis, to Mr. Burns confusing him for Lucky the Leprechaun and taking a power drill to his skull in order to "get his Lucky Charms". Yet he still returns.
    • In later seasons, Gil starts falling victim to the same fate, finding himself gored by bulls, shot to death in a bank robbery, and presumably burnt to a crisp when his car explodes, among other things.
    • In the movie, Dr. Nick Riviera was impaled on a giant shard of glass the size of an SUV. He manages to cheerfully shout "Bye bye, everybody!" before losing consciousness. Even Word of God confirmed that he was dead. A year later he showed up on the series, as good as new, with no explanation.
    • Though not quite death, there was Homer's version of that Harry Potter parody. "I escaped from the hourglass somehow!"
  • South Park:
    • Kenny, after his ultimate death at the end of season 5, was reintroduced at the end of the following season with little more than the following explanation: "Oh, I've been places."
      • Kenny also reappeared unscathed, despite (obviously) dying in the Season 1 finale, returns in Season 2 by simply rejoining the main characters at the beginning of the episode.
      • A Cerebus Retcon many seasons later in the "Coon and Friends" saga explains that Kenny has the superpower of not dying, so when he is killed he returns to life with only him remembering what happened. Kenny's parents made a deal with Cthulhu that their son would always be reborn the evening he dies and grow up overnight, awakening the next morning not knowing how it happened. Kenny's mom now thinks this sucks almost as much as Kenny does. Kenny's parents probably didn't know they made the deal, largely because they spent their time drinking the free booze that was served at the meetings, which was the only reason they joined in the first place.
    • Notably in episode "Die, Hippie, Die" Mayor McDaniels shoots herself in the head but turns up at the end of the episode with her head wrapped in a bandage.
    • In similar fashion, Bill Gates makes an appearance in another episode, with band-aids covering his forehead. That probably had to do with the fact that he was SHOT IN THE FACE in the movie.
    • In "Krazy Kripples" Saddam Hussein is suddenly alive again with no explanation.
    • In "Osama bin Laden Has Farty Pants", a trip to Afghanistan features the death of Osama Bin Laden. Many seasons later, he's still operating in the Middle East when the town contacts him to help stop New Jersey from taking over the rest of the world.
    • In a case where we don't actually see the recovery between deaths, Steve Irwin dies in "Prehistoric Ice Man". Much later in "Hell on Earth 2006", Satan is throwing a Hell party, and Steve shows up with the same stingray that was the actual cause of his death in real life.
    • One particular spoof on the concept: Cartman responds with this when Kyle taunts him by saying that he was a stillborn.
  • Zorak's debut episode of Space Ghost ends with the titular hero redirecting a missile that destroys the planet the mantis villain was on at the time. He returned in subsequent episodes with no explanation. Decades later, in the spinoff series Space Ghost Coast to Coast, Space Ghost and Zorak watch the full episode with MST3K-esque commentary and Space Ghost asks how he survived the planet's destruction. Zorak snidely answers that he "ducked."
  • Many characters in Teen Titans suffer apparent death, then show back up unharmed without explanation:
    • The most blatant occurs in "Aftershock, Part 1", where Terra hunts down and seemingly kills all five Titans. In order of apparent certainty: Starfire is knocked off a cliff into water (which Terra should know is little more than an inconvenience). Beast Boy and Cyborg fall down a crevice that Terra closes after them (Cyborg is also very durable, while Beast Boy could turn into something small enough to crawl through the space). Raven is pulled under in a pool of mud (she could have teleported out, though Terra should have noticed). Finally, Terra smashes Robin with a boulder at point-blank range, at which point it immediately cuts to her kicking his crest across the floor to Slade, implying she found a corpse to take if off. And then they all show up underground looking little the worse for wear and ready for round two.
    • Matched (if not topped) by the fifth season premiere, where the Doom Patrol falls one by one as they fight their way to the Brain's lair, except not really.
    • In the series finale, Terra has seemingly recovered from petrification. No one has any idea as to how.
  • Scott in Total Drama All Stars after being mauled by Fang in Revenge of the Island.
  • At the beginning of the Transformers Animated episode "Nature Calls", a familiar-looking construction worker is attacked by the Monster of the Week, and is implied to have died. He still shows up again. However, this could be writer miscommunication: Sparkplug 1.0 has a different voice actor and completely different speech pattern from Sparkplug 2.0.
    • They pull this again the third season: A flashback has an appearance by a character named Warpath. However, he actually had already appeared in a smaller role in another flashback a couple episodes earlier, namely a dismembered body in the middle of a battlefield. Despite this, he's still in a crowd shot set in modern-day Cybertron. (Same body-type?)
    • The original G1 series had this too in regards to the Coneheads - despite Unicron seemingly eating them in the movie, all three turn up alive and frequently in Season 3. The Insecticons, who became the Sweeps (and possibly Cyclonus, in Bombshell's case), also show up prominently in the Season 3 multi-part opening, "Five Faces of Darkness".
  • In the series Wakfu, Tristepin's master Goultard thought to be dead, returns in episode 22 of season 1
    Tristepin: But you died.
    Goultard: Death was overrated.

    Real Life 
  • Finnish fighter ace Ahti Laitinen (10 kills) was shot down 17 July 1944 and his Bf 109G went down in flames. He was reported to have been killed in action. Miraculously, he had survived and was taken as a prisoner of war. His family thought he was dead and published his obituary in local newspaper. When Capt. Laitinen returned from captivity 1945, he later added his own obituary on his pilot's scrapbook.
  • Wild Bill Hickock, while grossly exaggerating the odds against him in a fight would answer the breathless question "What happened next, Bill?" with "Why, boys, they killed me!"
  • Mark Twain's famous "quote": "The report of my death is an exaggeration." (New York Journal, June 2, 1897)
  • Averted with Rasputin the Mad Monk, who was simply shot in the head and thrown in a lake. All the rumors and exaggerations about the allegedly numerous attempts to kill him were invented by his assassins years later while in exile in France.
  • Towards the end of the Winter War, Simo Häyhä was shot in the face, supposedly shot the guy who shot him in the face and fell into a coma he woke up from eleven days later.
    • Half of his jaw was blown off by an exploding round. Not only did he get up eleven days later, he demanded to get back to the front, request which was denied by the government due to the war ending. That's right - Simo Häyhä terrified the Russians so much, they pulled out of Finland when he woke back up. He lived on for fifty years after the events, dying of old age.
    • The information of the incident that reached his hometown led people to believe he had actually died. Häyhä had the rare privilege of reading about his own memorial service from the newspaper.
  • Before the Catholic Church declares an event (usually a healing) to be a miracle, a careful investigation is conducted to rule out any natural explanation.
  • During the Battle of the Coral Sea (World War II), the Japanese thought they had fatally damaged the CV Yorktown. After 3 days of repair in Pearl Harbor (and some time while the ship was underway), USS Yorktown sailed to take part of the Battle of Midway, to be sunk by a submarine following the battle.