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"At the beginning of the second season, Warner Bros. suggested that I introduce a hotshot pilot to the show, and my first thought was, 'I'll kill him by the end of the season.'"

Characters that die, get eaten, go on a long trip, spontaneously vanish, or otherwise exit the show — and almost as soon as they join.

These characters might be brought Back for the Dead or have someone drop a bridge on them. Writers might reassign their arc to an existing character or to a totally new character. It may not be a writer's intentions to get rid of a character, but the actor who portrays them may want out sooner than expected and plans must be redrawn. These situations may lead to Commuting on a Bus.


On elimination-based game shows this usually applies to a contestant who is the first one to go unless they reappear in the series later on.

Compare Sacrificial Lamb, Shoo Out the New Guy. If the character was a hardly-seen Recurring Extra who finally gets A Day in the Limelight only to be killed off, that's A Death in the Limelight. Might result in the cast itself forgetting their fallen friend.

NOTE: This is a Death Trope, or at least a trope about a character exit. Unmarked spoilers ahoy.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Kannabi no Mikoto in Air is killed one episode after her introduction.
  • Iwasawa in Angel Beats! passes on at the end of Episode 3, her A Day in the Limelight episode.
  • Due to the nature of the series, this happens in Attack on Titan a lot. The sheer anonymity of Marco Bott's death serves as the catalyst for Jean Kirstein's Character Development.
  • In the Birdy the Mighty anime, Tute, Birdy's police partner, dies by the third episode of the first season.
  • This is the fate of Acta in Black★Rock Shooter: Innocent Soul, who dies the same chapter she's introduced.
  • Bleach: Chojiro Sasakibe, despite being the vice-captain of Division 1, is usually relegated to a background character that does nearly nothing major. At the very beginning of Vandenreich invasion, he's abruptly killed off. His memorial is used by the Shinigami to reminisce about his in-universe reputation, which is a revelation to the audience, but it's only to set up future consequences for the Gotei 13.
  • Bokurano:
    • In the manga version Junji "Katari" Karita, is first shown appearing on TV and falsely claiming to be the pilot of Zearth and is shot dead by an assassin a few pages later.
    • Waku is introduced in volume 1 and dies in the same volume.
  • Most of the episodic characters in Casshern Sins.
  • Miyu Shinohara of Corpse Party: Musume. A character original to the manga, and has an established backstory with some of the established characters. Unfortunately, Miyu is also a Sacrificial Lamb, and is unceremoniously killed off three chapters in without further development.
  • Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School:
    • Daisaku Bandai in Side:Future, who only lasts a few minutes before his NG code is triggered (which, by the way, is witnessing any kind of violence during a killing game).
    • The entire student council in Side:Despair, whose introduction scene was seconds before the 5-minute game they were all slaughtered in. Natsumi Kuzuryu is also a victim of this, as she only spent a few scenes getting to know Hinata before her death and being subsequently forgotten by the plot.
  • Death Note:
    • Matt got maybe 12 panels in the manga before he gets killed. All we know is that he likes video games and is good friends with Mello.
    • Ukita, the member of the task force who charges off to Sakura TV and gets killed by Misa, gets more panels, but less development. His death largely serves to prove that it's possible for a death note user to kill without knowing someone's real name if in possession of the Shinigami Eyes.
    • Hatori of the Yotsuba 8 is killed off much earlier than the rest; he only appears in one scene for one of their meetings, and a careless outburst leads to him being Killed Offscreen by Higuchi.
  • The start of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba introduces Tanjiro, the main character, as well as his mother and other siblings. A demon attacks them while Tanjiro is away, resulting in Tanjiro's sister Nezuko being turned into a demon and the rest of their family being massacred.
  • In Diamond Cut Diamond the story proper begins with Otowa Kyouichi, an old member of Esper Shounen, having been killed off. We don't know anything about him, his name is the first thing we find out and we don't even really get to see him except as a flashback profile face. And he never even got a single line before being killed off.
  • Leomon in Digimon Tamers. Introduced in ep 21, dies in ep 34 in a way that was fairly disturbing, seeing as it was the first Killed Off for Real of a main character in Digimon, ever.
  • Fairy Tail: Rob was a wise old member of Fairy Tail who died pulling a Heroic Sacrifice to save Erza's life before he received any character development, but his death inspired Erza to join his guild.
  • Gamaran: since the series in heavily focused on battles, often with strong warriors taking down weaker ones with ease, is not uncommon to see people interesting-looking, named characters who are however quickly dispatched before we can learn more about them. This trope becomes increasingly common in the second part of the series, in the war between the Ogame School and the vast legions of the Muhou School, with many of their officers and elite warriors introduced and killed in the same chapter they appear.
  • Gantz tends to introduce several new characters per arc... who usually suffer gruesome deaths just like their predecessors before the end of said arc.
  • Takashi Shirogane in GoLion, sort of. He was revived in Voltron.
  • Hunter × Hunter:
    • Nichol is introduced in the Hunter Exam arc as the Awesomeness by Analysis character who can find even confidential information on his fellow examinees...and proceeds to be the first one to fail the exam as Tonpa and the Amori Brothers sabotage him through some unseen way.
    • Of the fourteen princes of Kakin (who can be either male or female; they are called princes regardless), twelfth prince Momoze is the one with by far the least characterization, her most memorable trait being that she's a cute little girl. She is also the first one to be eliminated by death during the succession battle after the king announces his retirement.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Dire from Phantom Blood is introduced as a powerful ally to the heroes, only to be killed off by Dio Brando soon after, only really existing to let Jonathan figure out a way to defeat Dio. Likewise, Dio's mother is introduced in an early flashback, and then revealed to have died in between then and the events of the story, with most of what we know of her being told to us by Dio posthumously.
    • Mark from Battle Tendency is a friend of Caesar and a Nazi soldier with a loving fiancée, and that's all we get to know about him before he's killed by the now awakened Pillar Men. There's also Loggins, who's killed by Esidisi before we really learn anything about him, and Santana, who's sealed away by Joseph early on and only exist to introduce the Part's Big Bads.
    • This tends to happen to many of the minor antagonists of Stardust Crusaders, the most notable being Arabia Fats, who's only introduced after the heroes have already defeated him and been knocked unconscious.
    • Shigechi in Diamond is Unbreakable is killed the chapter after his introduction arc by Yoshikage Kira, though the anime slightly expands on his screen time, so more was revealed about him before his death.
    • Carne from Vento Aureo is both introduced and killed in the span of barely a minute, though this is justified as his Stand only activates after his death.
    • Subverted with Stone Ocean's Etro. She is initially killed by an Explosive Leash, but Foo Fighters, a colony of plankton with its own Stand, later adopts her corpse as its landgoing body.
    • In Steel Ball Run, Gaucho is killed by Ringo Roadagain immediately after getting his first line, Scarlet Valentine is accidentally killed by Mike O.'s Stand two chapters after she's introduced, and D-I-S-C-O only gets 2 lines of dialogue, gets knocked out by Gyro 2 chapters after his introduction, and proceeds to spend the rest of his appearances unconscious.
  • Many characters who die early in Legend of Galactic Heroes qualify, but the most notable among them is probably Jean Robert Lappe, Yang Wen-li's best friend since their cadet days who is reputed to be of similar calibre as Yang but has the misfortune of being assigned under an incompetent commander and is ultimately killed in action in episode 1.
  • From the Lupin the Third movie "First Contact" we have Brad, Lupin's best friend before he met Jigen he is onscreen for a brief amount of time before he is assassinated by a mafia hitman, most of what we learn about him comes after his death.
  • Gai Daigouji from Martian Successor Nadesico dies both needlessly and anticlimactically in the third episode, sending a clear message to the viewer that it was not a Super Robot show, but a Real Robot show.
    • Thank goodness for Super Robot Wars.
    • Not to mention this one female pilot that replaces the main character in one episode. She gets all of two scenes and five sentences of dialogue; the last one being spoken mere moments before she bites it.
  • Laguna Harvey in Mobile Suit Gundam 00. He's the mysterious sponsor of Team Trinity and we get a glimpse of how powerful he is through his activities: CEO of Linear Train Industries, a hand in the orbital elevators administration and a major shareholder in JNN. He quickly get killed before we learn anything about his past, agenda or motives.
  • Heine Westenfluss in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny. The Typical Gundam SEED Destiny notices that his voice actor was probably very expensive.
  • In Negima! Magister Negi Magi, this happened to Quartum, Quintum and (maybe) Sextum Averrunci. Although they may be Not Quite Dead.
  • One-Punch Man is fond of this with its villains. A villain comes in and starts wrecking everything, introduces itself, and then gets onepunched by the protagonists right after you'd have enough for a cool fight with a different, less overpowered hero. Often Saitama doesn't even let them finish.
  • In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Mami Tomoe is introduced near the end of the first episode. She dies at the end of the third episode, although she does show up in a handful of later scenes that take place in an alternate timeline.
  • In Tegami Bachi: Letter Bee, Lily Confort is introduced, given a small backstory, suggested as another love interest for the main character... and then has her Heart eaten by a Gaichuu over the course of four chapters.
  • Terra Formars, having the almost the same cast member life expectancy problem as Attack on Titan, has a lot of this happening too, especially come around the third Mars expedition.
  • All of the recruitable characters in the anime adaptation of Valkyria Chronicles. Contrast to the game where the characters have character, and you'll pull your tank and all available troops just to make sure no one dies.
  • Kolulu from Zatch Bell! gets defeated pretty fast, although she is still one of the most important characters since she was Zatch's inspiration and the one that made him want to win.

    Comic Books 
  • 52 spends a surprising number of pages on the origins of Native American hero Superchief and then has him join up with a team of kooky side characters, only to kill him off a few issues later for basically no reason.
  • John the Skrull in Captain Britain and MI13. Dies by the end of the first arc.
  • Dinocorps: Buzz, one of the members of the Dinocorps, has very few lines and spends most of his time in the background doing nothing, or isn't even present with the group. When he tries to save Winston from getting kidnapped, he's shot and killed very abruptly.
  • Family: The comic opens with Kurt accompanying a more seasoned cop during a police raid on a Family warehouse. He knocks Kurt unconscious when he decides to just go in guns blazing, but is almost immediately killed himself when the presumed-to-be-dead Silver Odysseus appears to blow up the building.
  • Alexandra DeWitt, the the girlfriend of Kyle Rayner, is introduced in Green Lantern Vol. 3, Issue #48. She's infamously "fridged" just six issues later.
  • Ferro Lad from the Legion of Super-Heroes. In the cartoon, he shows up at the start of the Sun Eater arc and then pulls a Heroic Sacrifice at its end; he was around for only slightly more time in the original comics.
  • The Mice Templar, which is filled with dozens of battle sequences, isn't shy about killing off background characters who have had very little characterization or lines. Trabek, Haxton, and Draicus, for example, are all seemingly important characters who are killed off less than two issues after they're introduced.
  • Red Robin: Tim is joined by Zeddmore Washington, Owens, and Prudence Wood, three interesting and personable League of Assassins members, when Ra's al Ghul decides to "help" Tim on his quest for more clues about what really happened to Bruce. Zed and Owens are then unceremoniously killed in an ambush four issues later.
  • Saga hypes up a particularly scary villain character, then has her suddenly and unexpectedly offed by another bad guy just an issue or two later. Possibly an example of the Sacrificial Lion trope.
  • Touch: Dex becomes the first character to die in the series (not counting Rory's wife, a Posthumous Character) five or six pages into his only issue.
  • This happens to new X-teams quite a bit:
    • The original Thunderbird, John Proudstar, died just a few issues after he was introduced in the Giant-Size X-Men #1. And he stayed that way, at least until the Hickman run decades later.
    • Serpentina, one of the characters introduced in the first issue of X-Men 2099, was killed off in the third issue. She later came back as a zombie, though.
    • The original lineup of the young mutant team Generation X included a character named Blink, a nervous girl with teleportation powers and pink skin. She was killed less than a month after her first appearance. Blink defied this trope, though, by proving extremely popular with fans despite her small number of appearances. So Marvel decided to bring her back... without resurrecting her. Instead, they made the Age of Apocalypse version of Blink (who, incidentally, was several shades more badass) the leader of a new team called the Exiles, which were then given their own series.
    • Speaking of the Exiles, at the end of the first arc one of their original five members, Magnus (son of Rogue and Magneto from another reality), is killed. In the second issue of the series. This set the tone of Exiles and the series would go on to have a high fatality rate among characters, whether they'd been just introduced or were longtime team members.
    • Lorelei appears in just a couple of issues of Ultimate X-Men, and as a background character at that.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Fire Emblem Fates fanfic A Brighter Dark, Corrin kills Kaze and Rinkah in Chapter 3 (the story's adaptation of Chapter 2 in the game) after defeating them in a one-on-two duel instead of sparing their lives. Kaze's death is a major Trauma Button for his brother Saizo, but Rinkah and the Flame Tribe are never mentioned again afterwards.
  • In the Azur Lane fanfic Chronicles of the Siren War, Admiral Hawkins introduces protagonist Andrew Thorson to the Eagle Union shipgirl project in Chapter 1, which with the beginning of the attack on Pearl Harbor. In the second scene of Chapter 2, Hawkins is revealed to have been mortally wounded in the attack. He barely manages to give Thorson his final orders and his dog tags (which are later revealed to be hiding the geographic coordinates to the abandoned Azur Lane base) before dying. That said, he later turns out to have been directly responsible of a good deal of Tennessee's issues, having among other things tricked her into being his mistress.
  • Flashpoint 2: Advent Solaris: The fic is a particularly big fan of this as several characters in the fic are introduced and just as quickly are taken out of the story.
    • Lady Mairghread, Kalibak & Grayven are all one chapter wonders who are killed in their debut chapter.
    • Cyber Doomsday, a revived version of Doomsday from Death Of Superman is introduced and also completely obliterated in the span of 30 in-fic seconds.
    • Grail is introduced in Chapter 21 and built up in the ending scene as Darkseid's new right hand and even heiress to his empire. She doesn't appear at all in Chapter 22, and only gets one more major plot relevant scene in Chapter 23 in which she is impaled through eye and skull by Shadow the Hedgehog and left to rot on the scene.
  • New Tamaran: Thunder, Lightning, Bushido, and Killowatt are all introduced on the long list of Supergirl's sex partners, and aren't mentioned again until they're unceremoniously killed by Blackfire.
    • This applies to Herald as well, except that he also plays the important part of getting characters in and out of Raven's mind.
    • Subverted with Jericho, as he's last seen aiding in the capture of Lex Luthor.
  • The Night Unfurls:
    • The Mortadella brothers are killed off in the same chapter they are introduced (Chapter 8).
    • In the remastered version, Oliver, one of the rogue Black Dogs joining Kyril's Great Escape, succumbs to his crossbow bolt wound in the back one chapter after his introduction. Besides showing that the Great Escape is not a 100% smooth operation, his death serves to fuel conflict between the the whole crew, especially Chloe and Fredrick.
  • Mariko in Perfection Is Overrated dies in the prologue as a result of Akane's Child being destroyed, having made the entire Fuuka Academy Campus, Akane included, consider her their most important person. She is mentioned from time to time later and is also featured in the SUE-centric "A Common Enemy Without A Common Cause", but even there, is the first to die.
  • The The Loud House fanfic Requiem for a Loud has Adrien, a boy suffering Leukemia who appears in just 1 chapter. In this chapter, he and Lincoln meet in the hospital and spend some time bonding over their oncoming death. Sadly, we don’t get to see Adrien again after this encounter since he dies off-screen shortly afterwards. We next hear about him when his mother drops by at the Loud House to give Lincoln a letter Adrien left him.
  • In System Restore, the first murderer doesn't stay around for very long, since the premise of the fic is having the intended target die instead of the one who got killed by accident. This doesn't quite count for the victim, who, despite dying much earlier than in canon, makes posthumous appearances from time to time.
  • In A Thing of Vikings, Chapter 106 features Toothless being reunited with his long-lost sister, who has been helping protect dragons in her area since at least Mildew took power in that area. Chapter 107 has the other Night Fury receive the name 'Fearless' and the offer to return to Berk with Toothless, only for her to sacrifice herself to trigger a volcanic eruption in order to stop the Screaming Death that was once her nest-lord from killing Toothless and Berk.
  • Despite surviving for four chapters, Minoru Yoshihara of Despair's Last Resort doesn't get as much development or interaction with the main character compared to previous victims. The author realizes this, and blames it on lack of free time spent with the character as she intended to have more about them revealed in his free time events.
  • Judith Sharavi, an Israeli Defense Force lieutenant, is introduced in Chapter 24 of the Robotech fanfic Marque and Reprisal, having taken command of an israelui bunker after her superiors were killed in an enemy attack. In the enxt chapter, she is killed on a mission to deliver the wounded to another bunker.
  • Plenty of named characters in Tiberium Wars end up being Red Shirts due to the realistic nature of how often people die in war. The most egregious examples occur in Chapter XIII, where various characters are brutally killed by Lieutenant Cristos mere sentences after their full name and rank are revealed to the readers.
  • Some characters in What Lies Beyond the Walls seem interesting enough to have their own subplot or backstory, while others seem like they're important to either the plot or the primary characters. Said characters have a nasty habit of being slain very abruptly before the readers can find out a good deal about them.
  • Kendra dies in the very scene she's introduced in Your Eyes Have Seen after Xander mistakes her for a Terakan assassin.
  • Where Talent Goes to Die has Shiro Kurogane, the first victim. His only scenes before his death are a rather tense (re)introduction to Kaori Miura, exploring the school with her group and giving her a "The Reason You Suck" Speech before storming off and getting killed not long afterward. His killer also counts, since also only had one conversation with Miura before the murder and class trial.
  • Mastermind: Strategist for Hire: Glimmer, a Sidekick working for Uwabami, is introduced along with her Quirk in Chapter 8, immediately before being stabbed to death by Mastermind (aka Izuku Midoriya).

    Films — Animation 
  • Chicken Run: Edwina is killed early in the movie for not laying enough (read: any) eggs for the last five days.
  • Epic (2013): Tara and Dagda, the latter even more so as he dies offscreen.
  • Ellie in Up. Thanks for the adventure. She was only alive for about ten minutes of the movie, but those ten minutes were so brilliantly crafted to make sure that you would care when she died and understand Carl's motivation through the rest of the film.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Jimmy Olsen appears just long enough to get killed off. To add insult to injury, the theatrical release doesn't even mention that he is Jimmy Olsen.
  • Dead Birds: We don't really get to know Joseph or Sam much before they're possessed.
  • Mouse from G.I. Joe: Retaliation.
  • Plenty of the other tributes in The Hunger Games films, given the premise. Besides Katniss and Peeta, only seven (Glimmer, Marvel, Cato, Clove, Rue, Thresh, and Foxface) of the other 22 tributes are even named.
  • In the beginning of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, we meet one of Indy's closest allies Wu Han. He gets killed off shortly by one of Lao Che's thugs.
  • The original Lancelot in Kingsman: The Secret Service. He appears early and doesn't last much, despite making quite an impression.
  • The Last Leprechaun: Right after Laura is introduced, the banshee kills her and takes her body.
  • The Last Wagon: All three of Sheriff Harper's brothers. One is shot dead from a distance by Todd in the film's first few seconds. When the remaining Harpers pursue Todd for revenge, one (who is wearing a Red Shirt) is shot after less than ten seconds of screen time and just one quick line of dialogue. Harper's third brother, Cole, lasts a few minutes longer and has some dialogue, but falls to Todd after a close-quarters battle.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
  • Trevor Hanaway in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, who gets killed just barely over a minute into the film.
  • Unstable bank robber Wayne gets killed during the opening heist sequence of Momentum. All his dialogue is spoken while wearing a voice-distorting mask (so the actor's real voice is never heard), and his face is only shown during one brief posthumous shot.
  • MonsterVerse:
    • Sally Hawkins' character Vivienne Graham was only featured in two movies and was given little onscreen characterization outside of supplementary materials as anything other than a Satellite Character to her mentor Serizawa, before she suffered Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome by Ghidorah roughly a quarter of the runtime into Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019).
    • In Godzilla (2014):
      • Serizawa and Graham have several other colleagues monitoring the Black Site in Janjira where the MUTO cocoon is located, all of whom bite the dust less than twenty minutes after being introduced when the MUTO hatches and destroys the site.
      • Also dying in the 2014 film, both of Ford Brody's parents. Sandra Brody is introduced and dies in the Distant Prologue within fifteen minutes, a victim of the Janjira nuclear meltdown caused by the MUTO; while Joe dies roughly 40 minutes into the film after sustaining injuries from the MUTO awakening as an adult.
    • Victor Nieves in Kong: Skull Island doesn't get much characterization throughout the movie until his death before the climax.
    • Alan Jonah's right hand Asher in King of the Monsters. He's only in two scenes before getting sniped by Colonel Foster during Ghidorah's awakening, and is in fact the only one of Jonah's Mooks who dies in the movie at all. That said, he gets some much-needed Backstory and character development in the novelization by Greg Keyes.
    • In the graphic novel Skull Island: The Birth of Kong, Helen Karsten among the expedition is the girl who dies first, and it happens within five minutes of the group's arrival on the island.
  • MouseHunt: Mayor McKrinkle dies at the beginning of the movie from eating half of a cockroach at Ernie's restaurant.
  • In Shark Week, one of the eight captives, Roger, is killed within minutes of arriving on the island. The audience never even learns what his role in the death of Tiburon's son was.
  • General Slocum in Spider-Man only appears for two scenes before the Green Goblin kills him.
  • About half of the titular team from The Suicide Squad are introduced into the first few minutes of the movie and promptly killed off.
  • Team America: World Police depicts a member named Carson in the opening scene who is killed off quickly by a jihadist. The team then hires Broadway actor Gary to replace him.
  • Top Gun: Maverick: The enemy pilot who Hangman kills to save Maverick and Rooster only shows up about a minute before dying and most of the minute is spent following the heroes' reaction to his approach. In contrast, the Worthy Opponent and his wingman who appear much earlier and get greater focus are only non-fatally shot down.
  • Ben Talbot is killed only a few minutes into The Wolfman (2010).
  • Virus (1980): The first 80% of the book is just introducing a progression of one-off characters who play a role in the spread of the virus or provide some exposition or social commentary about the virus and the death of society. Nearly all of them either die during their sole point-of-view scenes or die off-screen with the rest of the world afterward. Yoshizumi, The Hero, is the only character to appear in the final 20% of the book who physically appeared at any earlier point in the story. The Movie abandons this to focus on a more limited number of characters before getting to the Antarctic arc about halfway through the story.
  • Chris Bradley is the first victim of Team X in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

  • In Battle Royale, four of the students (Mayumi, Izumi, Hiroshi, Ryuhei) are offed before any information about them is revealed, other than the last two being part of Kazuo's gang. Also, Fumiyo is killed before the games begin...for whispering, and their original teacher, Mr. Hayashida, was Killed Offscreen after protesting the Program.
  • Bazil Broketail: Dook dies shortly after being introduced, as a one-shot villain who's quickly killed by the heroes.
  • In Dragon Bones'', there is Landislaw, whom the main character didn't know well, and of whom the reader doesn't see much before he is fed to a monster by the main villain, as he has outlived his usefulness. There is also Erdrick, who has just been introduced as point of view character when he is killed off.
  • Dragons of Requiem tends to introduce minor characters who seem like they're important to the plot, but they either spend time in the background and are killed off, or they're introduced in a POV chapter, only to get killed at the end and forgotten about.
  • Endgame Trilogy: Markus dies right at The Calling. We only got two chapters to get to know him.
  • Hey, look guys; It's the new GONE book! Oh, looks like they've added in a new character...Oh don't worry about it, he died in his first page. Horribly. (See Roscoe, Bette, Paint, Jasmine and Tyrell)
  • Gregorovitch the wandmaker, Bathilda Bagshot the historian, and Gellert Grindelwald the imprisoned dark wizard in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. (Granted, Bathilda was already dead by the time we met her, whereas Grindelwald and Gregorovitch are killed by Voldemort, as seen through Harry's consciousness.)
  • Being only told from the perspective of one tribute, The Hunger Games naturally falls into this, with 13 unnamed tributes being killed in the opening bloodbath. The heroine can't dwell on their deaths, since she's being hunted herself.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians Poor, poor Bianca Di Angelo. While Riordan developed her pretty well for the limited time she appeared in the third book, and she's a interesting and likable character, it was hard to really feel at a loss for someone who all you really knew is that she was Nico's sister.
  • The POV character of the prologue chapter in every book of A Song of Ice and Fire is doomed to die, and the same applies to the epilogue characters in the two books which have them. None of these characters' POV is shown anywhere else in the books, and all but two (Varamyr Sixskins and Kevan Lannister) are pretty insignificant characters that we mostly haven't seen close-up before.
  • Ogilvy, Henderson, and Stent in The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells. All three of them die together early in the book, have no real bearing on the plot, and are almost never mentioned again.
  • Redtail from Warrior Cats, who had a scene in the prologue of the first book and was killed offscreen a few chapters later.
  • Several of the Forsaken in The Wheel of Time die before the reader gets to know them well, notably Rahvin (who hangs around for several books but appears on-page rarely and is given little backstory or motivation) and Be'lal even more so (introduced late in the third book, appears in the flesh in only one sequence and then dies although later in the series Demandred, who is extremely similar to Be'lal but about ten times as badass, is an extremely significant villain. Subverted with Aginor and Balthamel, who are the first of the Forsaken to die after a brief fight scene in the first book- and then show up in reincarnated bodies anyway several books down the line.

    Live-Action TV 
  • This was a recurring trope on 24. The series established this reputation by killing off Jack Bauer's first boss, Richard Walsh, in just the second episode. Perhaps the most extreme example for a named character is Joz, a bystander in Day 4 who is killed off four seconds after being introduced by name. Joz was subsequently memorialized (only slightly tongue-in-cheek) in Jon Bois' 24 retrospective video, "I Wish Everyone Else Was Dead".
  • Alias: Renee Rienne is one of three characters introduced at the start of the fifth season, as a badass international terrorist and #8 on the CIA's most-wanted list. By the 13th episode Sydney is offering her a spot within the CIA. Naturally, she ends up with her throat cut by an even more badass international terrorist by the end of the episode
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Understandably, this is an occupational hazard for many of the characters.
    • Agents Isabelle Hartley and Walters die in their first episode, along with Hartley's friend, the mercenary "Idaho."
    • Agent Eric Koenig (Patton Oswalt) managed to last two episodes.
    • Marcus Daniels, a parahuman nicknamed "Blackout," dies in his second episode.
  • Angel / Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Doyle died of a heroic sacrifice midway through the first season of Angel. Joss had always wanted to have a Sacrificial Lion, though Real Life Writes the Plot was also in play due to Glenn Quinn's drug addiction. Whedon wanted to bring him back later, but Quinn died of a drug overdose in 2002.
    • Joss Whedon enjoys this trope. Whedon wanted to have a character be placed in the credits of the Buffy pilot, only die in that very episode. Budget constraints prevented him from doing so. This character would be Jesse, Willow and Xander's best friend since grade school. He was introduced in the first episode, in the next episode he is turned into a vampire and Xander is forced to kill him, all the while we never really got to know him or his past. And he is never mentioned again.
  • Are You Being Served?: Mr. Goldberg, an old Army acquaintance of Captain Peacock, joined the staff after the retirement of Mr. Granger and Mr. Tebbs. He only lasted one season before disappearing without explanation. He had two successors, Mr. Grossman and Mr. Kline, who only lasted three episodes each before they, too, vanished from the show.
  • Babylon 5:
    • The source of the page quote; even with a spot in the opening credits Warren Keffer was not slated to live past the second season. The character was created because of Executive Meddling after the end of the first season. Straczynski never found much appeal in the idea of a Starfury ace pilot character and killed him off at the end of the second season. Reportedly, when JMS finally did get rid of the character the executives had forgotten that they had ever asked for him in the first place and did not care that their orders had been circumvented.
    • Two other examples from the Pilot episode: Commmander Takashima, where this trope was played straight (she was replaced by Ivanova from the first season on and never heard from again) and Lyta Alexander, where the trope was subverted by replacing her with Talia Winters and then later re-replacing Talia with Lyta in the second season.
  • Bates Motel: Audrey Decody, who is the mother of one of the show's central characters Emma Decody, finally makes her debut in the series only to die in her very first episode before even having an onscreen encounter with the daughter she never knew thanks to Mother.
  • While reality shows are noted further below, in the US run of Big Brother, this is especially prominent when it applies to houseguests who find themselves on the receiving end of a first day or first night elimination twist, when normal gameplay would allow even the first eliminations to persist through the season for a few episodes (seven days to as many as sixteen days, which amounts to a lot of time on the live feeds). Jodi Rollins (6 hours at best), Glenn Garcia (midway into Day 2), and Cameron Heard (11 hours in) all got evicted at the opening moments of their respective seasons. The latter two were lucky enough to have a chance to win their way back into the game, but both fell short of victory. Jodi was permanently out, resulting in fan backlash because of how much she'd been cheated out of the season and the Obvious Rule Patch being introduced where if these twists happen, the game has to balance it out by giving the victimized contestant a lifeline with the Battle-Back Competition.
  • The Big Valley aired its first episode, "Palms of Glory", with five Barkley children, including Eugene Barkley, whose character received very little attention. In "Forty Rifles", the next episode, we learn from Victoria that a bit of time has gone by since the first episode and Eugene went college. He shows up for a few more episodes, then his actor gets drafted, and by episode seven Eugene is permanently off to college and that's all we ever hear from him again.
  • Breaking Bad: Christian "Combo" Ortega is one of Jesse's friends and the first fatality of Jesse and Walt's organization, killed by a rival gang. When Jesse reveals the news:
    Walt: ...Which one is he?
    Jesse: You did not just ask me that.
  • The Brittas Empire has Brittas' secretary Angie, who lasted for six episodes before being replaced by her Suspiciously Similar Substitute Julie, and Penny (the solarium manager who replaces Laura for Series 6), who only lasted a series as well before she vanished entirely.
  • CSI: Holly Gribbs, who is fatally wounded in the first episode and dies off-screen in the second.
  • CSI: Miami: Kim Delaney's character.
  • Roadkill Jim from Curfew first appears at the start of the second episode. He's implied to be important as he has a brief conversation with another racer. However, about fifteen minutes after his introduction, he's shot by a soldier and crashes his car.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Ninth Doctor, who was in only one series of 13 episodes. As he also has barely any Expanded Universe material (Christopher Eccleston left the role less than a year in and before the revived series got prolific and was no longer advertised in supplementary materials as the main Doctor), this makes him by far the (real world) shortest-lived and least-featured Doctor, though we later learn he spent a century travelling alone.
      • Until the War Doctor, who appeared in only 2 episodes and one mini-sode of the series before his regeneration. In the Expanded Universe, he gets twelve additional audio stories with John Hurt reprising the role, but sadly, Hurt was battling pancreatic cancer and suddenly passed away two days after his birthday in 2017, genuinely cutting short his time as the Doctor. Comics and literature have managed to keep hammering out the details of his character's presence in the series.
      • In universe, it's the Tenth Doctor who gets the short end of the stick. Including an extra regeneration he burns up to keep the same face, his incarnation lives only 6 years!
    • The Eighth Doctor is an aversion. Although he has a reputation of being the shortest-lived Doctor due to only having two on-screen appearances (the 1996 movie and the 50th anniversary prequel mini-sode, The Night of The Doctor, in which he regenerates), he has actually appeared in more stories than any other Doctor thanks to his extensive appearances in audio plays, novels, and comics.
    • Katarina joins the TARDIS crew in "The Myth Makers", and dies early on in the serial immediately following it, "The Daleks' Master Plan". The same story also introduces a companion named Sara Kingdom, who is killed in the final part.
    • Adam Mitchell, probably the shortest-serving companion ever. And don't ask what happened to him. However, he does appear in Prisoners of Time as a villain, where he dies.
    • "The Tsuranga Conundrum": Chief medic Astos dies in the first act.
  • Earth: Final Conflict: William Boone. He came back in the final season for a couple of episodes, only to be Back for the Dead after they Dropped a Bridge on Him.
  • Flashpoint: Team One member Rolie is promoted to lead his own team at the end of the first episode and is never seen on the show again.
  • Frontier: Mr. Carruthers is killed off in the same episode he's introduced when he refuses a business offer from Samuel Grant and is subsequently murdered on Grant's orders. His late wife Mrs. Carruthers and her continuous rivalry with the Grant company for control of the fur trade in Montreal are far more significant to the plot.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Lady. She is the first of the Stark direwolves to be killed in the second episode.
    • Karsi. The no-nonsense Action Mom and leader among the Free Folk, very reasonable and devoted to saving her people at Hardhome. Died in the episode in which she appeared.
    • Ser Stafford Lannister doesn't even get any screen time before being killed. The same is true of the books, as he's only mentioned briefly before and after the battle.
    • White Rat only appears for his death scene. Poor bastard.
    • Lord Axell Florent quite literally turns up for his death scene.
    • The Baratheon General only appears briefly in two episodes before he's killed at the Battle of Winterfell.
  • Glee: Matt was the twelfth member of New Directions, said only two lines, had no solo in any song, and was gone at the beginning of Season 2.
  • Happy Days: Chuck Cunningham, who strangely disappeared and was never seen again.
  • Heroes:
    • Quite a few of Sylar's victims, whose fascinating powers are quickly swallowed up into his repertoire, preventing most of them from seeing any interesting use. Perhaps most notable among these was Hiro's Love Interest Charlene "Charlie" Andrews, who is introduced and immediately killed. Hiro goes back in time to prevent her death… and fails, so (depending on how timeline shenanigans work) she was introduced and killed twice, in the span of two episodes. Later Hiro again tries to undo her death, and actually succeeds… and then she's immediately whisked away by ''another time traveller''. Hiro finally finds her… only to recognize that she, having been dropped off in the past and having lived another full life complete with grandchildren (all of which occurs off-screen), deserves to have her life left intact and decides not to try again.
    • This happens to an astonishing number of Primatech's female employees: Eden McCain, who has a short but memorable run as a plant monitoring Dr. Suresh before she tries to kill Sylar, who effortlessly No Sells and murders her; Candice Willmer, who has a similarly short yet memorable run as a Company agent tasked with capturing and keeping watch over Micah Sanders and later Sylar, up until he abruptly murders her; and lastly but most notably, Bridget Bailey, a psychometric women who may very well hold the world-record for this trope, as she has a single scene in which she's introduced to Sylar and then, say it with me, immediately murdered. In fact, she's brought in expressly for this purpose (Angela flatly states she called her down solely so Sylar could kill her), and doesn't even get a line — we only ever hear her scream.
    • There's also Nathan's supersoldier Scott in Season 3. He is introduced in the third season as the top Marine in the Pinehearst super soldier program. The episode climax is devoted to his injection with the ability-inducing formula, which grants him the power of super strength, and the episode ends with others questioning his status; he grins and says "I feel good". In the very next episode, he is promptly and unceremoniously murdered by minor villain Knox, who walks in and snaps his neck without any resistance.
  • In the BBC/HBO adaptation of His Dark Materials there's Adele Starminster, who's introduced towards the end of Season 1, Episode 2 as a potential ally of Lyra's, only to be unceremoniously murdered minutes later by Lord Boreal when he crushes her daemon (a butterfly) in his fist.
  • House: Dr. Amber Volakis, otherwise known as "Cutthroat Bitch", is an example. First appeared in Season 4, Episode 2, died in Season 4, Episode 16 (the finale of that season). But a hallucination of her is vital to the plot of the following season's finale.
  • Las Vegas: In the two-part episode "Three Weddings and a Funeral," the writers poke fun at the inscrutability of Montecito owner A.J. Cooper by doing a couple of small reveals (and several implied off-screen reveals) about his past. He is then apparently killed off-screen in a plane crash, but shows up in the final minutes of the second part, crashing his own funeral.
  • The Last Man on Earth does this to the extreme once a season, starting in season two. The characters in question always die within a minute of their first appearance and are always played by well-known actors:
    • First, Tandy and Carol follow the others to a mansion in Malibu and discover they've found another survivor named Gordon (Will Ferrell). Carol sneaks up behind him and yells "Boo!" This gives him a fatal heart attack.
    • Then in season three, a man named Pat raids the mansion with a pair of men named Darrell and Lewis. Darrell is shot by Melissa and only has enough time to give a quick goodbye before succumbing to his wounds. Darrell is played by Jon Hamm while Melissa is played by January Jones. Essentially, Betty Draper just shot Don.
    • In the third season finale, Pat returns and is shot by another survivor named Pamela. The fourth season premiere picks from there and Pamela introduces the group to Roy (Jack Black). Roy is in the middle of introducing himself when it turns out Pat isn't dead yet and kills him.
  • Law & Order:
    • In the original series, Max Greevey is Killed Off for Real after one season, while his replacement, Phil Ceretta, is Put on a Bus a third of the way into Season 3 (his second) — there's a reason many people forget that Lennie Briscoe (who came in after Ceretta's departure) wasn't an original cast member. Nina Cassidy also leaves (without explanation) after one season.
    • Law & Order: Criminal Intent has quite a few: Carolyn Barek disappears after one seasonnote , while Falacci doesn't even get that much (although in her case it was known from the start that she was temporary), Detective Stevens and Captain Callas are introduced at the beginning of Season 9 and disappear after the Season 9 finale, and Captain Hannah only appeared for one (exceptionally short) season before the show was cancelled.
    • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit loses two major recurring characters pretty quickly, with Cassidy departing the squad halfway through Season 1 (although he would eventually return as a guest character) and Jeffries leaving at the beginning of Season 2. In later seasons, you have Chester Lake, who joined the cast in the Season 8 finale, getting arrested for murder at the end of Season 9, and Mike Dodds, who joined midway through Season 17, dying in that same season's finale. A number of ADAs (basically every primary ADA from the first 12 seasons who wasn't Alex Cabot or Casey Novak) also stuck around for less than a season.
  • Lost:
    • Almost all of the Tail Section Survivors fall into this category - in particular, Libby had an often-hinted-at character that stood almost entirely unexplored when she was killed, seventeen episodes after her introduction. (her backstory continued to go unexplored until an episode late in the final season). Also, the infamous Nikki and Paulo.
    • In a repeat of the Tailies, out of the freighter crew only 2 characters (1 main and 1 recurring) remain alive just a season after their intro (keep in mind that both seasons were quite short compared to the first three).
  • Maid: An example that does not involve death. Early on, Danielle and Alex befriend each other at the domestic violence shelter and become close. Danielle even lends Alex some clothes for her custody hearing and cheers her up when Sean gets one-week custody over Maddy (saying how one week is nothing compared to months other moms have faced). For a while, it looks like Danielle and Alex will end up as best friends. However, Danielle suddenly vanishes and Alex learns she returned to her ex-boyfriend as per habit at that point. Alex later runs into Danielle, wanting to know how she's doing, but Danielle pretends not to know her (possibly to protect her from her abusive boyfriend).
  • Men Behaving Badly: Dermot was only there in the first series out of six. He was replaced by Tony, who most fans agree is a much better character, but still....
  • Merlin: Freya, who was introduced as a Love Interest to Merlin simply so that the writers could kill her off at the end of the episode, thereby making her a spirit that could retrieve Excalibur from the bottom of the lake.
  • NewsRadio: Invoked Trope in-universe, where some guy named Ted who none of the main cast knew about died in what seems to be a freak accident with a photocopier. It ultimately turns out that nobody knew anything about him, and the episode ends with Dave attempting to deliver a eulogy, citing the fact that "Ted" was a Star Wars fan, along with the newly-discovered facts that he was a member of the Klu Klux Klan (due to Klansmen comprising the entire audience) and enjoyed tennis.
  • Orphan Black: Has clones Katja and Beth, who don't survive the scenes that introduce them - though this is a Subverted Trope, since Sarah goes on to impersonate both of them and has a few scenes where her character is playing Beth in almost every episode of the first season.
  • The Princess Wei Young: Xin Er's family and the real Wei Young only appear briefly. Justified, since their deaths set off much of the plot.
  • Reality Show: A non-lethal example is on this type of show that feature all of the contestants in the opening credits, and then promptly kick off one contestant/team in the first episode.
  • Red Dwarf: Petersen, who we never see again after the Series 2 episode Statis Leak. The novels imply that his return in Series 8 would have made for some hilarious moments, if only the actor had been available.
  • Revolution: This show kills off so many characters (or just makes them disappear) that it would take time to list them all. A non-exhaustive list goes like this: Templeton/Stern Soldier in "Pilot", George in "Chained Heat", Fletcher, Ray Kinsey in "The Plague Dogs", Rob in "Soul Train", Jacob, Drexel in "Sex and Drugs", Jane Warren in "The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia", Beth, Ken Hutchinson, Alec Penner, Ashley in "Kashmir", Bernie Lev in "Home", Steve, Mia Clayton in "Ties That Bind", Bill O'Halloran, Billings in "Clue", Cutrone in "The Love Boat", Curt Thompson, Dixon, Duane, Emma Bennet, Hawkins, Joseph Wheatley, Reed, Ryan, Pete Bowers, Slotnick in "The Children's Crusade", Sophie Hudson in "Ghosts", Trevor in "No Quarter", Rose/Rosie in "The Song Remains The Same", Colonel Starkey in "The Stand", Major David Kipling in "Nobody's Fault But Mine", the Blackmores in "The Longest Day", Dan Jenkins in "Children of Men" and "The Dark Tower", and so on.
  • Roar: Glas, the Oracular Urchin, was Killed Off for Real midway through the first and only season (probably done in an attempt to avoid problems with the child actor growing up too fast).
  • Robin Hood: Carter, a wildly popular One-Shot Character, was brought back in the season finale, seemingly just so they could Drop A Bridge On Him.
  • RuPaul's Drag Race:
    • The first queen eliminated each season, especially since the first challenge usually involves creating an outfit out of unconventional materials, which can be a daunting task even for queens with a design background. As a result, many talented queens have been sent home in the first episode when they couldn't get over that one hurdle. Averted by Season 2's Shangela, who returned in Season 3 and later All Stars 3 (where she was a finalist); Season 8's Naysha Lopez, who was brought back within her season; and Seasons 9, 12 and 13, where no one was sent home in the first episode, allowing an extra week to get to know everyone (two in season 13's case.)
    • The second queen eliminated may have it worst of all. The first is remembered simply by being the first and leaves fans wondering What Could Have Been, and the third lasts just long enough to be remembered one way or another. Meanwhile, the second queen is almost always met with indifference. The only aversions have been Season 1's Tammie Brown, Season 4's Lashauwn Beyond, and Season 6's Vivacious (by way of her alien headpiece "Ornacia").
  • Smallville:
    • This happens to so many minor characters it would be pointless to try listing them all. Alicia is a notable example.
    • In season eight, Davis Bloome doesn't get much development other than being Doomsday, despite being a main character of the season.
  • Stargate Atlantis: The Atlantis mission's military commander, played by Robert Patrick, died in the pilot episode.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • Charles Kawalsky. After being a main character in the movie that inspired the series, he was taken over by Puppeteer Parasite and died in the second episode.
    • Another example is Jonas Quinn. He was created out of whole cloth as a replacement for Daniel Jackson after Michael Shanks decided to leave, and stayed as a member of SG-1 throughout the sixth season. Then, after Shanks changed his mind, he was written out, came back in one episode of the seventh season, and after that, was never seen again.
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
      • Tasha Yar. Even though she was Killed Off for Real in a pointless way, the actress returned as her Half Romulan daughter.
      • Star Trek: The Next Generation also had Ensign Sonya Gomez, who appeared in two consecutive episodes in the second season, featured so prominently that viewers could only assume she would be a recurring character, then never was seen or mentioned again. She was intended to join the cast full-time, but scheduling conflicts and/or controversy around her taking a minor but very memorable role in Total Recall forced her actress to drop out, and the producers chose not to recast the character.
      • Similar high-profile guest stars that only appeared once or twice include Selar, Jellico, Shelby, and Robin Lefler...who would all feature prominently in the Star Trek: New Frontier novel series... and Jellico would eventually become fleet admiral in the Expanded Universe.
    • Played with in issue 19 of Star Trek (DC Comics), in that it's actually a plot point. The issue centers around the death of Ensign Lee, a security officer who is killed saving Kirk's life while on his first away mission. The entire story centers around the fact that no one knew anything about him other than what his Starfleet records had to say.
  • Supernatural:
    • Usually happens to someone from the Winchesters' past - Pastor Jim, Caleb. Missouri Moseley was for a long time the only one that was still alive until getting Back for the Dead in season 13 after 12 years of absence.
    • Several people they saved in Season One came Back for the Dead in Season Eight.
    • In Season Eight, we meet John's father, Henry Winchester, who is a member of the Men of Letters — a secret society dedicated to studying the supernatural. Of course he dies in the same episode he's introduced.
    • Averted by Samuel Campbell, Mary's father. Sure, he dies in "In the Beginning" in Season Four, but then he comes back as a secondary antagonist in Season Six.
    • After Charlie's death near the end of Season 10, the first episode of Season 11 introduces what seems to be a suitable Replacement Goldfish for Dean: Jenna, a cop who Dean quickly becomes friends with, even making an offhand comment about being into girls to make her more similar to Charlie. She ends up killed one episode later.
  • Super Sentai:
    • Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters, a largely unconventional Sentai series, did a movie where one of the characters wished a certain tragic event did not happen, ending up in an alternate universe that resembled a more traditional show. A montage of scenes from various resulting "episodes" introduces Sixth Ranger Atsushi, sets up a Love Triangle between him, Hiromu and Yoko, and kills him off, all within the span of about a minute.
    • Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger had Jagged, who was established to be one of the generals of the invading Deathgalien forces. He was Killed Off for Real with about just as much fanfare as the average Monster of the Week, in the first episode of the show no less. This is lampshaded in the Zyuohger Returns movie, where the Big Bad of the movie resurrects all of the series' generals, including Jagged. None of the characters, either ranger or villain, really remember him at all, much to Jagged's dismay. During the actual fight, Jagged lampshades his early demise by saying it happened because he wasn't paying attention during his first battle.
  • On Survivor, the first two people who leave the game are usually people whose screentime is at a modicum either due to the simple fact they didn't have much time to settle in or the editors don't find them captivating. Amusingly, one first elimination, Francesca Hogi, came back in the Fans vs. Favorites season, where she was eliminated first again, with almost no difference in how it transpired.
  • S.W.A.T. (2017): Erika is introduced and barely lasts half a season before being killed off.
  • True Blood:
    • Sookie's fairy godmother Claudine was hyped up to be a very mysterious, interesting character at the end of the third season, and also she appeared to be very important to the plot, especially in the season 4's first episode, where she lead Sookie into the fairy-realm and was revealed to be of ambiguous morality, participating in a human-harvesting plot and all.. And then, the next time she appears in season 4, it takes Eric about ten seconds to drain her dry and see her disintegrate into glittery dust. It gets even weirder when you realize that in the books the series is based on, she was a very central character and she didn't die till much later!
    • Partly a Justified Trope as her brother Claude is supposedly going to fulfill her role in future seasons of the show.
    • ...Until he died too, and the show seems to have cut all the book's fae-related characters and plots with the sole exception of Sookie's powers.
  • The Ultra Series have literally hundreds of different monsters, but not all of them are memorable.
    • The very original installment of the series, Ultraman, introduces Chandler, a giant bat-like monster whose role is to get brutally killed by Red King and quickly forgotten. Later on there's the ape-like Gigass who lasts for maybe ten seconds longer than Chandler, but still dies before Ultraman could show up.
    • Ultraseven: The two-parter episode with Alien Guts starts with Ultraseven fighting a bird-looking kaiju called Daron, seen on a monitor screen, for less than a minute before the monster is killed off.
    • Return of Ultraman: The very first episode starts with two gigantic sea monsters, Takkong and Zazahn, emerging in Tokyo Bay. Zazahn gets unceremoniously tackled to death by Takkong however, even before Ultraman Jack could show up.
    • The offspring of the Muruchi fought by Jack shows up in the next series, Ultraman Ace at the last few seconds of a two-parter episode... before receiving a Family-Unfriendly Death in the first minute of the next. Fans were quite baffled even until today on its sudden reappearance.
    • Ultraman Taro: Say hello to Tangarl! He's a giant octopus monster who's seen fighting Giant Enemy Crab Ganza and... nevermind, he's dead.
    • This actually happens to a couple of nameless Ultras in the first episode of Ultraman Tiga; the three ancient giants are the protectors of humanity in prehistoric times, slumbering in statue form until the present. While Tiga gets resurrected after bonding with Daigo's life-force and becomes the main ultra of the show, the other two weren't so lucky and are smashed to pieces and never mentioned again.
    • In Ultraman Gaia, the titular Ultra is introduced fighting - and destroying - an unnamed serpentine monster (Tsuburaya's sources says its called a Vision Dragon) before even meeting his human host.
    • While most kaijus and aliens in Ultraman Nexus are either Arc Villains or lasts for at least one single episode, the creature Frogos shows up only in a flashback before getting killed off.
    • In Ultraman Orb, the titular Ultra's first kill is Maga-Ghanathor, the King Demon Beast of Darkness, which he destroys offscreen a century before the series even started. The monster's demise is confirmed by Gai Kurenai, Orb's human form having Ultraman Tiga's power card in his possession.
  • The Vampire Diaries: Had several, including:
    • Lexi, who was adorable, sweet, wise and... promptly staked. The only upside to this was that at least she never fell victim to the dreaded Forgotten Fallen Friend disease.
    • Mason Lockwood, who was killed off quite quickly after his introduction with just a five or six-episode stretch as the Always a Bigger Fish. All we really learned was that he was very protective of his family, he was sleeping with Katherine, and he had a bitchy werewolf friend who came back to haunt us. The writers like this one, because we also have: Jules, who was pretty much just a slightly sympathetic jerk who tortured Caroline, taught Tyler how to be a werewolf, was used by Klaus, and, oh, died. All after about four episodes.
    • Logan Fell. Not that we really wanted to get to know him....
    • Vicki Donovan, who is looking to be back for a while now that Jeremy and Matt are back from the dead, but it doesn't last.
    • Pearl, who seemed pretty cool, but ended up dead because of John. (Who, while showing up quite often, was also a bit of this trope.)
    • Andi, Damon's S3 two-ep girlfriend and Forgotten Fallen Friend after an episode or two.
    • Zach too, who is apparently Stefan and Damon's nephew.
    • Mr Tanner, Harper....
  • Veronica Mars: Ms. Dent disappeared without explanation eight episodes into the first season due to budget constraints (and the fact that her character didn't really have much to do). Her exit is explained as maternity leave in a throwaway line a few episodes later.
  • The Walking Dead has many examples of this, but perhaps the biggest one is with the character T-Dog. He was Demoted to Extra the moment he first appeared, only getting screen time to be the Butt-Monkey. This was especially the case in Season 2 where for majority of the episodes, he doesn't even get any lines of dialog. It got so bad, it was even lampshaded by T-Dog, himself, during an episode of Season 2 after he got a blood infection from a cut. And in the beginning episodes of Season 3, he is killed off after another black man is introduced, who dies even quicker than T-Dog, but had more lines of dialog and Character Development beforehand.


  • Any number of fodder/fringe characters in Survival of the Fittest. In the abduction scene (the prologue of each game) teachers are almost invariably killed off, usually after being introduced only at the beginning of the scene. This also holds true for characters that die very early on. Britanny Ashworth of V2, as well as Tyson Neills and Anthony Burbank of V3 were all killed off in their first scene. (in the case of the latter pair, first post)
  • In Solomon Academy, Armin Norriga shows up during the battle against Leviathan, fights the first-years for a bit...and is unceremoniously killed off by Juliana.

    Video Games 
  • In Eternal Sonata, you only get Claves in your party for one short section of the game before she leaves, only to be mortally wounded soon afterwards. What's notable is that she then spends a good ten minutes lamenting her fate before she dies alone. You can get back, though, at the very end of the game by completing a Bonus Dungeon. It doesn't really add much to the story, though, as in the ending the characters still act as if she isn't around. In the PlayStation 3 version, though, you can get a bit of additional dialogue in Encore Mode in a second bonus dungeon if you play it after she's been revived.
  • In Granblue Fantasy, the "Right Behind You" event introduces a new Society NPC named Lester (with a unique artwork and voiced dialogues, to boot) in its prologue... only to be killed by a weapon that transforms into a robot, a few seconds later.
  • In Metroid: Other M, Samus meets up with Adam, Anthony, and four other federation soldiers on the Bottle Ship. Of the four soldiers, three are dead within the first third of the game, the body of one of which is never found, and the other dies later on. None are characterized very much. K.G. (he who was never found) in particular gets just two lines.
  • In Blaze Union, minor villains Norn and David both die in the first chapter—Norn at the beginning of the fourth fight, and David exactly one battle later. David had been hyped as an important character (though he still is, as far as providing a reason for another character's Roaring Rampage of Revenge goes). It's an apt tone-setter, really.
  • Dragon Age:
    • Mhairi of Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening is introduced during the first area, given some hints of a personality, and even has an opportunity for you to gain or lose approval, before failing the Joining and dying.
    • Depending on Hawke's class, either Carver or Bethany will die in the prologue of Dragon Age II, cutting short their respective character arcs, which'd otherwise span the entire game. Also, Orsino is introduced in the end of the second act, has a few scenes in the third act before going One-Winged Angel and getting killed by Hawke in the finale no matter what decisions you made.
  • Dragon Quest V: King James gets assassinated after only a few appearances on screen.
  • Several characters in Mass Effect:
    • Nihlus is introduced as badass senior to the Player Character, and seems like he could've made a good mentor. He gets killed by Saren twenty minutes into the first mission.
    • Jenkins is a trusted squadmate who despite the name is a trusted soldier who averts the Leeroy Jenkins trope. He dies about one minute after the first mission begins and is replaced by Ashley.
    • Benezia, Saren's lieutenant and Liara's mother, gets a brief cameo at the beginning, her boss fight... and that's it. However, she does get a little more development if you take Liara into the battle.
    • You only meet Sovereign near the end of the game. Of course, he dies in the endgame, though the few scenes that show him are VERY memorable.
  • In Mass Effect 3, we have Lieutenant Tarquin Victus who dies via Heroic Sacrifice one mission after the one he's introduced in.
  • In Neo Contra, Mystery G. You fight him as the Mid-Boss of Stage 2, and if you do well enough, he performs a Heroic Sacrifice in Stage 5 to save you from Master Contra. Last thing he does before dying is give Bill Rizer a Rousing Speech about how Bill isn't a fake if he risks his life fighting for his ideals.
  • Wing Commander:
    • Elizabeth "Shadow" Norwood is Blair's only friend for the years after he was accused of allowing the Tiger's Claw to be destroyed. She serves as his wingman during the first set of missions, but then gets killed off, a victim of Retirony.
    • Can be invoked to Blair during Shadow's funeral by dying right in the first mission of the first game.
  • The Walking Dead contains dozens of characters who die in the episode they appear, but some examples of characters who died after one or two scenes include Shawn Greene, Irene, Jolene, Chuck, Reggie and Doug or Carley, depending on which is saved in Episode 1.
  • The main character's mother Hinawa of Mother 3 is killed in the first chapter of the story, right after the player gets relatively attached to her.
  • X3: Terran Conflict: Jesan Nadina is a mercenary fighter pilot who hires the player for the "Operation: Final Fury" plot. He gets about six lines in the recruiting mission, then is unceremoniously killed in action offscreen two missions later.
  • Medal of Honor series:
    • In Medal of Honor: Underground, Manon's brother, Jacques, dies in a munitions truck explosion at the end of the very first level.
    • In Allied Assault, the player character's entire squad is slaughtered in the first level. Major Grillo, the SAS agent you rescue during the first mission, is killed off at the beginning of the second.
  • In Fallout: New Vegas: Honest Hearts, the entire Happy Trails caravan is wiped out in a White Legs attack at the beginning of the DLC.
  • In Fallout 3, you only get to meet Jonas once, during the tutorial prologue, before he is beaten to death by Vault security at the beginning of the main story.
  • Soldier of Fortune II's Madeline Taylor, the Shop's replacement for the first game's Hawk, is given little characterization, much less action, and is unceremoniously bumped off by a random mook halfway through the game.
  • Eastern Mind: The Lost Souls of Tong-Nou has a few lives that end very quickly. Retsu, Gyou and Zen all only get to move around for a little bit before their untimely deaths; Retsu is thrown at the King of Life by another reincarnation of Rin, Gyou accidentally sets himself on fire and dies, and Zen inexplicably explodes after sounding an intruder alarm. There's also Jin who manages to be an exaggeration of this trope, as he doesn't even make it out of his introductory cutscene before biting the dust.
  • The Wolf Among Us: Faith, the very first victim Sheriff Bigby rescues in the game and so far the first person who treats him with respect, is killed off and has her head delivered to his doorstep in the very first chapter in a few hours after rescuing her. However, it's somewhat implied that the girl killed might not have even been her in the first place. Nevertheless, an unknown character's death triggers the story arc.
  • Strange Terror From The Deep: Don was a minor character in the first game in the series. His corpse can be found in this game.
  • Boris Schultz from Thimbleweed Park doesn't get any development as he's murdered one or two minutes into the story. Someone sent him a note to rendezvous under a bridge, but a figure gave him a Tap on the Head from the bushes.
  • Brauer from Sniper Elite III. He has maybe 20 minutes of screen time across 3 missions.note  Half of that is an Escort Mission in the first, followed by a Big Damn Heroes moment at the end of the second, then he plays spotter in the third for a while before getting blown up by a Tiger tank.
  • In Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls, Yuta Asahina and Taichi Fujisaki, relatives of characters from the original Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, both die almost immediately after being introduced.
  • Ghost Recon: Future Soldier's prologue has an entire Ghost unit wiped out on a botched mission in Nicaragua, including the initial player character.
  • Ben Bertolucci in Resident Evil 2 only gets two scenes before he dies; his first scene has him tell Leon how to escape through the sewers. The second scene has him brutally wounded (or implanted with a Chest Burster) by the mutated William Birkin, giving Leon the dirt on Chief Irons before dying. Ben doesn't fare any better in the remake where he only has one scene of him telling Leon to let him out of his jail cell in exchange for him giving Leon a key card. Ben is then grabbed from behind by Mr. X through a wall and it squeezes his head until it pops.
  • Life Is Strange 2 has Mushroom, a puppy who is introduced late in Episode 1 and dies early in Episode 2.
  • In WinBack, Steve is only seen alive in the tutorial, as he is already dead when you find him in the story, Matt gets sniped by The Dragon immediately after you meet him, and Law performs a Heroic Sacrifice to save Jean-Luc during his sole cutscene.
  • Modern Warfare is a series where Anyone Can Die, but there are a few cases where this affects playable characters too.
    • The first game has Yasir Al-Fulani, whose sole playable scene is Controllable Helplessness that ends with him being executed.
    • The third game introduces Andrei Harkov and Marcus Burns, both playable characters complete with briefing screens displaying their names... and both never appear again after their first mission. Harkov is shot dead by Makarov at the end of "Turbulence", while Burns' fate after "Mind The Gap" is more ambiguous — he survives the chemical attack on London, but he's never seen again past that.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Animation 
  • A meta-example for DEATH BATTLE! would be Bucky O'Hare, who was pitted against Fox McCloud.
  • In Flicker, immediately after being introduced Kees goes to leave and ends up being the first one offed.
  • Quite a few one-shot characters get immediately offed soon after their introductions in The Oats Series, but Crazy Pete is the most notable. He's introduced as one of the three trigods of Multidimensional System 3 in Oats Movie 2, but he only has one scene towards the end where he doesn't even have any lines and is immediately killed alongside Lazy Pete at the end of it.
  • In RWBY, Sienna Khan, the leader of the White Fang, only has one scene of screen-time before being unceremoniously usurped and killed by Adam. Though she is at least given a little more screen-time in Adam's character short (that takes place before the above encounter of course), we even get to see her participating in a fight scene with her own unique weapon and fighting style.
  • Lampshaded in the Strong Bad Email "sbemail206", where the Compé was replaced by the Lappier after only three sbemails, which is way less than any of Strong Bad's other computers. He even says "Oh, Compé. We hardly knew ye!"

    Web Comics 
  • Nin Wah's old crew in Commander Kitty. They show up for all of five comics before getting kidnapped by Zenith and are all confirmed dead much later in the comic.
  • Golden Jane in Everyday Heroes. Hardly surprising, since the story arc is about how her teammate gave up a life of crime.
  • Abraham from El Goonish Shive. Okay, he's not technically dead, but he had very little screen time during his arc, then voluntarily turned himself into stone after his arrest.
  • Girl Genius: The Lord High Conservator, the primary authority of The Incorruptible Republic of the Immortal Library of the Grand Architect, is murdered by Smoke Knights three pages after his introduction.
  • Hetty from Gunnerkrigg Court. After Reynardine saw how horrible she was, he promptly killed her off within the very chapter her character was introduced.
  • Homestuck:
    • The Black Queen in both iterations of the kids' session. In the Beta session, Jack killed her and took her Ring of Power after getting sick of being forced into clown outfits. In the Alpha session, she's presumably killed offscreen by the Condesce, who takes her position.
    • Similarly, both Kings barely get any screentime in all sessions before they're quickly offed.
    • Terezi's lusus spends most of its time in its egg, and dies one page after hatching.
    • Tavrisprite exists for three panels before killing itself out of self-hatred.
    • The Hegemonic Brute hardly gets any screen time in either human session before getting killed.
      Poor HEGEMONIC BRUTE. His time in the spotlight has been cut tragically short. You almost feel sorry for the guy.
    • For the adventure game Kickstarter, a pledge of $10,000 would allow you to make a fantroll canon. However, the prize for an amount of $100,000 was 'your fantroll becomes canon and lives beyond one page.' Two people opted for the first option. Sure enough, the trolls lasted exactly one page before they were violently killed off.
  • Nebula: Ceres appears for just two comics and had no actual dialog before being ripped in half by Sun; despite (or maybe somewhat because of that), they're a Small Role, Big Impact character.
  • Trevor: Dr. Jim Clay is the first of the rest of the medical team to be offed by Trevor.
  • Unsounded: Rilursa, Queen Sonorie's trusted sister and heir, gets assasinated within pages of her introduction, not even lasting an entire chapter.
    Web Videos 
  • In Noob's Season 3 Celebrity Star episode, the character played by the celebrity in question created an avatar, joined the main guild, obliviously used Real Money Trade and got banned from the game for doing so within about an hour.
  • During his review of Patch Adams, The Nostalgia Critic created an expy of the titular doctor (as portrayed by Robin Williams) called Dr. Bitch Spasms. The critic shoots him dead within moments. He does mention him in the next review, but only to confirm he's not coming back.
    Nostalgia Critic: Oh he's still dead. I should do something about his corpse, he's starting to smell.
  • Exaggerated in Twitch Plays Pokémon with CCC the Hitmonlee. In a cooperative playthrough going continuously for over a week at that point, he only existed for about 38 minutes before being accidentally deleted.

    Western Animation 
  • Several characters in The Animals of Farthing Wood were only around for 1 season or a few episodes before they were killed off. A few such examples are the Pheasants, Dreamer, Bounder, the baby field mice, and the Newts.
  • Princess Yue of Avatar: The Last Airbender turned out to be the someone who dies tonight after only being around for three episodes.
    • Oddly though, we see her several more times as the moon spirit.
  • The second Blue Beetle, Ted Kord, dies via flashback in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Fall of the Blue Beetle!" His Heroic Sacrifice was awesome, but it's sad that he had to die in his first animated appearance...
  • In the pilot episode of The Cleveland Show we are introduced to the family dog, Meadowlark Lemon; in the next episode he is accidentally run over and killed by Cleveland.
  • Former Urpney leader Captain Crigg in The Dreamstone. We see him for about a minute in the first episode, when he is executed by Zordrak.
  • The Guardians of the Globe from Invincible (2021). They are introduced as a team of superheroes who fight alongside Omni-man. At the end of the first episode they all get slaughtered by Omni-man.
  • Buckley from King of the Hill. We hardly knew anything about him before he was killed off, he appeared in at most about 10 episodes, he was kind of lazy and spoke in a monotonic voice, he loved to crack sex jokes, rarely showed any emotion beyond sarcasm, and we never knew his last name or met his family.
  • My Little Pony:
    • None of the ponies from My Little Pony: Rescue at Midnight Castle return in any subsequent episodes, despite receiving a number of prominently-marketed toys.
    • My Little Pony Tales: Logan Barrington was inducted into the girls' club as the first and only male member at the end of "The Tea Party", after the girls realize that keeping someone out based on their gender is wrong. He never makes another appearance for the remainder of the series.
    • My Little Pony (G3):
      • "A Charming Birthday": Razzaroo and Kimono. The former was the protagonist of said special and the latter was the wisest, most sane, and levelheaded of the ponies, cute in their own way, and set up as recurring members of Ponyville, but they're never seen or mentioned after the special.
      • The Core Seven era characters (G 3.5) as a whole, though most notably Toola Roola and Starsong, both of who are not even in earlier G3 material.
    • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
      • Bab Seed, Applebloom's cousin from Manehatten, was introduced and made a member of the Cute Mark Crusaders in season three and made a second appearance a few episodes later, seemingly setting her up as a regular supporting character. But afterwards, Babs was relegated to only appearing in EU material do to her VA leaving, while in the show itself, she only got one more mention in season five.
      • King Sombra is a villainous example. We don't get much introduction other than that he was an evil sorcerer king whose body was destroyed by Celestia and Luna, and during his two-parter "The Crystal Empire", he shows off very minimal characterization, and then he dies at the hooves of his former slaves. According to Meghan McCarthy, this was intentional. Though the comic did expand greatly on his character, giving him both a proper origin and even a redemption arc. Sombra finally makes a proper return to the mane series as the Starter Villain of season nine... but at the cost of the previously mentioned development from the comics being disregarded and him being Killed Off for Real this
      • "Dragon Quest", in Season 2, introduces Peewee, a phoenix chick pet for Spike. Peewee then goes unseen and unmentioned until the Season 3 episode "Just for Sidekicks", where he is seen in a series of photos showing that Spike returned Peewee to the wild to be raised by adult phoenixes.
  • Rick and Morty: Many characters, such as Frank Palicky and Krombopulos Michael are unceremoniously killed off before we've really spent any time with them.
  • The Simpsons: Parodied with the Show Within a Show, The Itchy & Scratchy Show. They introduced Poochie who, in-universe, only appeared in one episode, and then had the second episode very sloppily edited so that he left for his home planet and died on the way there.
  • Total Drama:
    • Ezekiel appears in only four episodes of season one, barely spoke and after sending Women's Lib back about a century by being sexist to women, he was voted off first. In season two, he appears more frequently, but only in the Aftermath episodes, and he talks even less. He comes back for season three, but is voted off first again - he appears in a few later episodes, but is now an animalistic subhuman creature from staying in a cargo hold with poor conditions for too long. This is how he remains for the rest of the series. He was a very Flat Character; his main traits were being too stubborn for his own good, having No Social Skills due to his homeschooled upbringing, and accidentally offending everyone (particularly women) through his cluelessness and naivety.
    • In season 4, Staci shared the same fate as Ezekiel did in season 1, due to how much she annoyed her team with her nonstop spouting of Blatant Lies. She only reappears in the finale afterwards with the rest of the eliminated contestants to watch the finalists duke it out, but otherwise only competes in a single episode. She was a complete Flat Character whose sole trait was being a pathological liar who didn't know when to shut up.
    • In Pahkitew Island, Beardo becomes the equivalent of Ezekiel and Staci as the first contestant eliminated of his generation due to his habit of making Wacky Sound Effects annoying everyone on his team. Unlike Staci and Ezekiel, he never appears in any episodes afterwards, making him the least frequently appearing contestant on the show. But like them, he's not a character with many facets or a lot of depth.
    • In Total Drama Presents: The Ridonculous Race, Leonard and Tammy were the first to get cut from the race due to their Cloud Cuckoolander behaviour costing them the first leg. While Leonard did compete in two episodes of Pahkitew Island, he had no character beyond apparently believing that he was a real wizard who could perform actual magic in that series, and he remains just as flat here. Tammy has even less character, due to being little more than Leonard's female clone and barely ever speaking.
  • Transformers:
    • Tigerhawk, from Beast Wars was introduced in one episode, was alive in the next, died in the one after that. It should be noted though that he died in the Series Finale.
    • Also, the many Last Episode New Characters in The Transformers. Lord Zarak, the new co-Big Bad, would have been especially awesome to have seen more of, the calm, cool-headed Affably Evil partner of the crazed, bellowing Galvatron. Behold the last lines of G1 ever and imagine the awesomeness that season four could've been:
      Galvatron: SILENCE! There's much to do. We will attack other planets, we will suck them dry, we will rebuild a planet a hundred times more powerful than Cybertron! And I will RULE THE GALAXY!!
      Zarak: [oh so calmly] Who shall rule?
      Galvatron: MEE! It is MY DESTINYYYYY!!
      Zarak: [still oh so calmly] We shall see, Galvatron. We shall see...
    • There's also the Autobot Punch, the spy, who becomes the Decepticon Counterpunch. Sixshot has six modes. Mindwipe is a giant bat who can Mind Control anyone, and talks all spookily about the powers of darkness. The rest came and went too fast to really leave a mark, seeing how this three-parter introduced more characters than the entirety of season three.
    • Transformers: Prime gives us Cliffjumper, who died in the pilot episode ten minutes in, came back as a zombie in the 2nd episode and then died again just as fast.
    • Transformers: Animated brings Blurr. While he first appeared in "Velocity", he had no speaking lines and was in his vehicle mode for the entire episode. He was formally introduced to the audience in the last two episodes of Season 2, but then suffered a horrifying on-screen death in the first episode of Season 3. Word of God states that if there was a Season 4, Blurr would have returned.
  • Speedy from The Venture Bros.. Poor little guy, he was this close to getting his wings.
    • Let me tell you a story about a little henchman named Speedy...
  • Morph in the 1992 X-Men animated series. (Revived later in the series as a villain, but you can't blame this trope for people not staying dead. Especially members of the X-Men.)

    Real Life 
  • William Henry Harrison, the ninth president of the United States, was sworn in on March 4, 1841, caught a cold at the inauguration, and died a month later, becoming the shortest-serving American president. As a general who'd spent the previous decades on campaign in what is now the Midwest and then semi-retired in Ohio, and as a member of an new and upstart party (the Whigs), Harrison was not a player in D.C. and so the trope holds particularly for the politicians and capital insiders he would have dealt with as president.

Alternative Title(s): We Hardly Knew You, We Barely Knew Ye, We Barely Knew You