Worth Living For is when a character realizes he has something worth living for, be it a loved one, a new-found opportunity, or whatever have you. Will usually inspire new-found determination that might verge on making them a One-Man Army. Hope Is Scary may hit first, but be overcome.
This trope can be the end of a Death Seeker's search in the non-lethal fashion, or simply someone deciding that it's time to stop merely plodding through life and actually live.
- Played for Laughs in a TV ad from Phillips 66 — a woman is sitting at her husband's bedside in a hospital, and between her sobs says that she never had a chance to tell him that he'd won free gasoline for life (a promotion run by that company). He immediately sits up, yanks his life support equipment off, announces that he has something to live for, and charges out of the hospital room.
- Happens to Nico Robin in One Piece. Robin was on the verge of giving up on her life, and Luffy was the light at the end of the tunnel. Her time with the crew was the happiest she had ever been — and she cared for them so much that she willingly turned herself in in order to save their lives from the Buster Call. The Straw Hats come to rescue her from being executed, and refuse to abandon her just because she had the entire world as her enemy. Just to prove their point, they declared war on the entire world for her sake. It was only then that Robin realized that she had finally found her place.
- When Luffy nearly passed the Despair Event Horizon over the death of Ace, he remembered that he still had his crew. It was only because of them and the fact that Ace would have wanted him to move on that Luffy bothers continuing to live anymore.
- Ace had tons of angst over his bloodline, to the point that the question he spent his entire life searching the answer for... was whether he or not he deserved to be born. Living only stopped being so painful when Sabo, Luffy, and eventually, the Whitebeard Pirates, came into his life, having finally found the answer to that one question. All of it only serves to make his death more tragic.
- Trafalgar Law had lost his friends and family to the World Government and a disease that would kill him before he even reached adulthood. Thus, he believed that all he had to live for was to destroy everything in sight, as retribution against a world that cruelly took away all he held dear and persecuted him — until Corazon showed him kindness and compassion, and eventually gave up his own life so Law could live. Thus, Law had something else to live for: killing Donquixote Doflamingo, Corazon's murderer. Thirteen years later, after Doflamingo is finally defeated, Law finds closure after speaking with Corazon's father-figure Sengoku, who tells him that Corazon saved him not because of some fabled inherited will, but out of love, and that if Law truly wants to honor that sacrifice, he should live as Corazon would want him to: free.
- In the X1999 anime, Kamui falls catatonic after Kotori's death, but Subaru manages to convince him that his life is still worth living, if only to save Kamui's best-friend-turned-evil (and Kotori's brother) Fuuma. Much later in the series, Kakyo and Subaru's ghostly sister do this for Subaru himself (who falls catatonic after killing Seishirou), just in time for him to save Kamui again.
- In the manga Subaru lost all will to live when Seishirou died (not that he had any to begin with) but when he inherits Seishirou's eye to replace the one he lost and with it his role as the Sakurazukamori he decides to keep on living as a way to keep what's left of Seishirou "alive".
- Devilman: Awfully subverted. The Hero Akira Fudo merged with a demon to fight other demons and protect humankind. However he is finding Humans Are the Real Monsters and they are just as bad as demons. He is feeling his resolve to fight is wavering when he remembers he has something worth to fight for: Miki. He rushes towards her home only to see the place burning down. A mob had chopped Miki and her whole family up in pieces and had set their home on fire. Grief-stricken, he thought he had nothing left to protect... but he would keep fighting if only to stick it to Satan.
- Mazinger Z: In one episode, secondary character Erika asks Kouji why he goes so far to fight Dr. Hell, no matter how much he suffers or how many times he gets hurt. Kouji tells her it hurt a lot when his grandfather got murdered by Dr. Hell, and he wants nobody else to go through that. And if Dr. Hell conquers the world, that is exactly what will happen to millions of people, who will lose their families and will be enslaved. It is because of them that he is fighting, not only for revenge.
- Yaiba: One character asks the main character why he wants to keep fighting. Yaiba answers his dream is becoming the world's best samurai. When that character notes he will be fighting countless battles and asks what if he fails, Yaiba smilingly replies that he will look for another dream.
- In Claymore, when Teresa is sentenced to be executed by her fellow Claymores for breaking the rule against killing humans in order to save the orphaned girl Claire, she refuses to submit because in Claire she has found something worth living for.
- In the Anime Gecko Ending Claire reaches a similar point when Raki's pleas bring her back from the verge of becoming an Awakened Being, and she decides to keep on living for his sake.
- Instead in the later chapters of the Manga something similar to this happens. When Clare finally confronts Priscilla in the Western Lands of Lautrec a psychological block prevents her from awakening even though she's actively trying to do so in order to be strong enough to defeat her impossibly powerful adversary, it is later revealed that after going through many adventures with her companions she has lost the determination to give her life to avenge Teresa and she would rather live with her Claymore friends. Clare's new reason for living made her weak, but ultimately also strong enough to allow Teresa to awaken within herself and finally defeat Priscilla.
- One of the major aesops in Monster. What would stop someone from being a monster and start being a human?
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Madoka is Homura's reason to keep going and keep fighting even after Madoka has become a cosmic principle.
- At the same time, the anime shows Homura is willing to sacrifice herself for Madoka's sake. And in Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie: Rebellion Homura decides that Madoka isn't just worth living and dying for - she's also worth becoming a monster for.
- While it was his aim to survive in the first place, Guts from Berserk stopped wasting his life away for the purpose of revenge and stopped acting so sociopathic when he realized how the end of his life would ultimately mean the end of Casca, his ill-fated lover, as well. His current mission is trying to find a cure for her insanity.
- Because of this, by Episode 24 of Gosick Victorique finally fears death.
- In Simoun, Rodoreamon is shown in the Distant Finale living in her life in honour of Mamiina and her sacrifice, combining this trope with The Mourning After.
- Climax of Noir has Mireille holding onto Kirika via one arm over a Lava Pit. Kirika is pretty much content to die; especially since as a Tyke Bomb she had killed Mireille's parents; Mireille; crying; begs her to live. Kirika looks up; sees that Mireille is the one person who gives a damn about her; cries as well and lets Mireille pull her up.
- Hayate Yagami in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's had resigned to the fact that she was going to die from an unknown illness at the age of nine since she didn't have any friends or family. It was only after the Wolkenritter entered her life that she found herself actually wanting to survive. She still wasn't afraid of dying per say, but she was afraid of leaving her new family all alone. In a tragic case of irony, the very people that gave her the will to live were (through no fault of their own) causing her to die faster. She eventually gets better, and decides to live for more than just "my family and friends would be sad if I died".
- Even broken down to his true Quirkless form, All Might of My Hero Academia wins the climatic fight of the Kamino Ward Arc due to being reminded of the existence of Midoriya izuku.
- The infamous ending of Neon Genesis Evangelion centers around the main character deciding that his life is worth living. Interesting in that he doesn't find a reason so much as he learns to accept his own limitations.
- Naruto: After losing every member of his original team (including his sensei) in the span of a single year, Kakashi Hatake nearly lost the will to live. The only thing to kept him going was his promise to be his deceased best friend Obito's eyes into the future. Even then, Living Is More Than Surviving came into play — for several years, he immersed himself into the ANBU Black Ops division and the only reason he had anything resembling a social life was because of the persistence of his eventual adulthood best friend, Might Guy. Eventually, even the Third Hokage became concerned and kicked him out of ANBU so he could become a somewhat functioning individual again, which didn't happen until Team 7 came along. And even that was debatable, seeing as Kakashi's idea of "functioning individual" was reading porn in public, being chronically late due to staring at the memorial stone for three hours everyday, and turning himself into an imitation of an adult version of his dead teammate. It wasn't until after Obito died again that Kakashi was finally able to move past everything and live his own life.
- In Y: The Last Man, Yorick Brown, the last man on Earth after a Gendercide, repeatedly throws himself into harm's way due to his overwhelming survivor's guilt, until a suicide intervention sets him straight. This gives him an epiphany, showing him the one thing he thinks is worth living for. At the end of the series we find out that it wasn't his long-time girlfriend as one might expect, but rather his bodyguard, Agent 355.
- The Transformers (IDW):
- A villainous example shows up in The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye. Overlord still hasn't recovered from his Villainous Breakdown in The Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers. The moment he learns that Megatron is alive, he regains his fighting spirit.
- Megatron in Season 2. After the events of Dark Cybertron he surrenders and pleads guilty of all charges at the start of his trial. Starscream delivers a scathing testimony that he believes will be the last nail in his former boss's coffin, but it actually stirs Megatron, who resolves to live on, if only out of spite.
- His relationship with Rewind is the one reason Chromedome lived long enough to make it onto the ship in the first place: they literally met at an assisted suicide clinic, and while Rewind had other motivations for being there, Chromedome did not.
- In Watchmen, Doctor Manhattan spends most of the story in a state of detachment since his skewed perception of time makes him think that everything is set in stone no matter what he or anyone else does. The combination of a tachyon swarm disrupting his ability to see anything but the present and the revelation that Laurie is the Comedian's daughter trigger an epiphany. Doctor Manhattan ponders the multitude of coincidences that resulted in Laurie's existence, realizes that everyone alive is just as miraculous, and finally feels the urge to do, well, anything again.
- In the Astro City story arc "The Dark Age," Charles Williams pulls himself from the brink of death after his brother Royal tells him that he's found the person who killed their parents.
- As several characters in Touhou are explicitly or not-so-explicitly immortal, some Fan Fic writers explore the reason they keep pushing forward despite the obvious existential angst. This trope is commonly brought into the story for Mokou and Eirin, with Keine and Kaguya as their respective reason to live. Note that Keine isn't immortal despite having a very long lifespan; it takes Mokou serious courage to forge a bond with her.
- Advice and Trust:
- When he starts dating Asuka, Shinji realizes she is his reason to keep living and fighting, even if he hates fighting.
- Before bonding with Shinji and Asuka, Rei wished to die and rest in peace. After befriending them she decided that she'll fight for them until the end.
- Evangelion 303: Asuka became this for Shinji. Before meeting her, he didn't care about his own life. She taught him to value his life and showed him that many people depended on him to live. Gradually Shinji understood he lived for her now.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide:
- Before getting in their Evas for last time, Asuka tells Shinji that this time she has something worth fighting for.
Asuka: Whatever happens, I want you to know why I'm really fighting. It's not that I'm angry, or that they tried to kill me, or even that I want to show off in my Eva like I always used to. This time I have something worth fighting for. Something I want to protect. And someone.
- At the end of the story, Rei -who used to be a Death Seeker- decides that her bonds with her fellow pilots are something worth living and fighting for.
How didn't matter; only that she had to. Rei knew that. She was not afraid to moveóbecause others needed her to and because she had so many things she did not want to lose. And those things were worth fighting a hopeless battle, and even dying for.
- Before getting in their Evas for last time, Asuka tells Shinji that this time she has something worth fighting for.
- Once More with Feeling: As Rei leaps into a volcano to save Asuka, she realizes she has now something worth living and dying for thanks Shinji: her friends.
All of her life, Commander Ikari had given her a purpose to live for.
And now, as she plunged towards the Lava to save her friend ... for the first time in her life since she had discovered mortality, Rei Ayanami had found to her surprise that she had something worth dying for.
- Mortality: The thought of Watson stops Holmes from being in an awful position.
- A villainous example in Sonic X: Dark Chaos. Tsali tells Trinity that he probably would've lost his mind and/or killed himself years before, but his genocidal hatred for the Seedrians (and his servitude to Lord Maledict) gave him a purpose.
- In Pokemon fanfic Olivine Romance, a cascade of events drives Jasmine to the brink of despair- to the point she decides to throw herself off Crescent Bay Bridge. She arrives to find Ethan preparing to jump off himself. The fateful meeting spares them both. Jasmine subsequently waves off her own suicidal thoughts in order to take care of the troubled Ethan.
- In Igor, Scampers is an immortal rabbit with no will to live, and makes several humorous suicide attempts throughout the movie. Eventually he finds friends, which gives him the will to start living. However, this causes problems when he's on a Conveyor Belt o' Doom towards a raging inferno and is concerned that this might actually kill him. It's more fortunate for Igor and Brian that he wanted to live; otherwise, he might have just elected to go through with it.
- Serenity: Played for Laughs. Our heroes are making their climactic Last Stand against a horde of Reavers, and nobody really expects to survive. Kaylee's reason to fight and live? Simon finally admitted that he is interested in her.
Kaylee: You mean to say... as in sex?Simon: I mean to say.Kaylee: To Hell with this. [cocks her submachine gun] I'm gonna live!
- In the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II trailer:
Voldemort: Why do you live?Harry: Because I have something worth living for.
- Desert Heat: Eddie Lomax finds Rhonda to be his reason to live.
- Gravity: The borderline depressive Dr. Stone realizes that life itself is worth living for, after finding herself desperately fighting for survival and Kowalski sacrificing his life for hers. Not only does she find the will to live again, but she also re-discovers the dignity and resilience to withstand and overcome the hardships life throws at her.
- In Forrest Gump, Lt. Dan always thought it was his destiny to die in the field, just like someone in his family in every major war. When Forrest saves him against his will, he becomes embittered at life and God, until he makes peace with himself after Hurricane Carmen leaves him and Forrest alive.
- In Only Lovers Left Alive, this is Eve's point of view. Unlike her husband, she believes that there are things in life beyond focusing on their immortality.
How can you've lived for so long and still not get it? This self obsession is a waste of living. It could be spend in surviving things, appreciating nature, nurturing kindness and friendship, and dancing.
- The World's End: In the epilogue, trapped-in-his-youth, suicidally depressed Gary finds new purpose in looking after the teenaged "Blank" copies of his old school friends.
Andy: (narrating) Because real happiness, real friends? Those are things worth living for. Worth fighting for.
- Happens in Brisingr after Eragon almost drains himself of life-force casting powerful spells. A bumblebee lands in front of his nose, where he can contemplate it in detail from a couple inches away, and he realizes that a world that can produce something so vibrantly alive as that bee is one he wants to live in.
- In Those That Wake and its sequel, Laura and Mal are this to each other, as are Tommy and Annie.
- Babylon 5:
"I know a lot of guys who came out of the war changed. Some came out better; some came out worse. A lot of them had this problem. The war gave them definition, direction, purpose. Without it they don't know how to fit in anymore, so they keep looking for ways to go out in a blaze of glory. Some people call that being a hero, maybe so. I don't know. I've never been one. Me, I think they're looking for something worth dying for because it's easier than finding something worth living for."
- Stephen Franklin, having been stabbed, and after being berated by a hallucination of himself giving him a potent "The Reason You Suck" Speech which turns into a sort of Rousing Speech, realizes that he wants to live, and is willing to fight to survive, even if it means making all of the same mistakes all over again.
- After Sheridan's death at Z'Ha'Dum, he is challenged by Lorien to find something worth living for, rather than merely finding something worth dying for. For Sheridan, it turns out that the one thing in his life worth living for is Delenn. This helps him persevere towards the end of the fourth season after he is captured and subjected to Cold-Blooded Torture.
- Before Lorien, this had been brought up by Garibaldi in the episode "Infection":
- Cain's arc in TinMan. He was dead-set on killing Zero to avenge his family, then dying. But then his former boss appeals to his honorable streak and forces him to promise that he'll guard DG the lost princess of Oz "at any cost." Cain is still Lawful Good enough to not turn down the Mystic Man's Last Request. Between this and learning his family survived, he's got enough Heroic Willpower to fend off a bullet and hypothermia.
- Doctor Who:
Martha: All those things you've been ready to die for... I thought, for a moment there, you'd finally found something worth living for.
- In the serial "Planet of the Daleks", one Thal is afraid, having found in Jo Grant a reason to live, that he will fail in their Suicide Mission. (He doesn't, they don't die, but Jo turns him down.)
- Discussed at the end of "The Doctor's Daughter". The Doctor spends the episode coming to terms with the presence of Opposite-Sex Clone Jenny, only for her to be shot. She "regenerates" (sort of), but the main cast leave before it kicks in.
Doctor: Oh, there's always something worth living for, Martha.
- Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley and Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers, for each other, on The Inspector Lynley Mysteries. At one particularly low point in Lynley's storyline, he shows up at Barbara's flat in the middle of the night and point-blank asks her how she manages to keep going, living all alone as she is. She gently tells him that you have to find something worth getting up for. There's a reason this is the show's Fan-Preferred Couple...
Lynley: How do you do it? Living alone.Havers: Oh... you get used to it. I've never been married, never had anything you could call a relationship. So you get to a point where you just have to accept what you are, what you have. And then you find something else, and that gives you the reason to get up in the morning. And I have that, don't I.Lynley: We both do.
- Mystery Science Theater 3000: Red Zone Cuba. Doctor Forrester gets beaten into a pulp by a mob enforcer at the beginning of the episode. Later, he appears to die in his hospital bed, only to suddenly wake up and declare that he has too much to live for. He climbs out of his hospital bed, stumbles out of the room... and immediately gets beaten again by the same mob enforcer.
- Sherlock "His Last Vow": When Mary shoots Sherlock, he goes into in his mind palace, and, when he hears John's in danger, cue him stopping himself from being in this position for his friend.
- Land of Confusion by Genesis/Disturbed:
This is the world we live inAnd these are the hands we're givenUse them and let's start tryingTo make it a place worth living in
- This is the main idea of Kotoura-san's Ending Theme Flower of Hope.
That day you taught me the meaning of life,and gave me the strength to live onand I embrace it with all my heart
- In the backstory of WHO Dunnit, Tex survives a flaming car crash because of the love for his daughter, Trixie.
- Solid Snake decides this in a long speech at the end of Metal Gear Solid after learning he has been infected with a disease that he thinks will suddenly stop his heart without warning. The difference is that instead of being a Death Seeker, Snake has focused entirely on survival rather than on enjoying life.
- Then played touchingly straight at the end of Metal Gear Solid 4, where Snake knows his time is drawing near, but is now content to see it out peacefully in retirement. He even quits smoking, saying to Otacon "those things will kill ya."
- Knights of the Old Republic: All Carth was living for was the chance to destroy Saul Karath and die in the process. But by the time Saul is killed by the party, he's come to find more than simple revenge to live for. Protecting the Player Character from themselves and the Dark Side has become his reason to keep going.
- In Mass Effect 2, Thane Krios if female Shepard decides to romance him. Which is difficult, since his Death Seeker status was due to terminal illness...
- Throughout the series, it's been theorized that a lot of the vicious infighting and turmoil among the krogan is due to them not having any hope for the future, thanks to the genophage: without any hope for the next generation, there's no incentive for them to work together or... do anything but fight, drink, and make money, really. In Mass Effect 3, Wrex demands a cure for the genophage in exchange for krogan help with the war effort, hoping that it will re-inspire the krogan species.
- Near the end of Mass Effect 3, Shepard can admit to Javik that his/her friendships with their crew are the only thing keeping them going anymore, possibly with Javik noting Shepard's lover in particular. Given that Shepard has become something of a Death Seeker at that point, those relationships may be the only thing that kept Shepard holding on in the only ending that doesn't involve Shepard's body disintegrating.
- The immortal Zasalamel in the Soul Series initially wanted to use Soul Calibur and Soul Edge to remove his immortality because he was weary of the endless and painful cycle of death and rebirth. During the ritual that would make him mortal again, Zasalamel saw a vision of humanity's future. He was so amazed by it that he interrupted the ritual, having regained the will to live.
- Girls Love Visual Novel Akai Ito: Oh Sakuya... She's what happens when a Time Abyss is subjected to Humans Are Bastards. It took Kei's grandmother to bring her life back on the track, but it took Kei to believe that her life is actually worth living.
- CLANNAD: Oh, Tomoya... One of the BGM is even titled "Worth Living".
- In Tsukihime, Shiki lets himself be killed by vampire Yumizuka Satsuki due to his promise to her earlier in Akiha's route unless you answered earlier in a fashion that makes him realize he has to live for Akiha.
- In Hakuouki, Chizuru provides Hijikata, Okita, and Toudou each a new reason to live during their respective routes, after everything else they've believed in and worked for has been systematically destroyed during the fall of the shogunate and the obsolescence of the samurai class.
- In Little Busters!, this is arguably the whole point of the game: that is, showing Riki and Rin that even if their friends all die, they can still pick themselves up and have a reason to keep on living. It's most obvious in Riki's arc, where he realises after the other Little Busters died that it was his parents' death originally that closed his heart up, but that because of the efforts of his friends and everything he and Rin had done together over the game he could now accept the bad things that had happened and understand that having been born itself was a wonderful enough reason to keep living.