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Not Quite Dead / Anime & Manga

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Characters whose chances of survival were underestimated in anime and manga.

  • Aldnoah.Zero loves this trope.
    • In the first episode, Princess Asseylum is assassinated when her convoy is blown up with missiles, as a pretext for the Martian invasion of Earth. However, it later turns out to have been a body double, as the real Asseylum was ill and posing as a tourist during the attack.
    • In Episode 9, Rayet strangles Asseylum in the shower, but Inaho is able to revive her before it's too late.
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    • The first season finale takes it Up to Eleven: Saazbaum shoots Asseylum in the head, Slaine angrily shoots Saazbaum repeatedly in retaliation, and when Inaho tried to check on the princess, Slaine shoots him in the head. Come Season 2, none of the three are dead; Saazbaum has made a full recovery, Inaho now has a bionic eye, and Asseylum is in a medically-induced coma, and kept suspended in a liquid-filled tank.
  • Bleach is full of these, on both sides but especially with the heroes.
    • You'd think someone would die if you do the equivalent of running them through a paper shredder. Byakuya Kuchiki does this to two different characters. Neither dies. Even the one character killed off in the early series is Not Quite Dead.
    • Happens frequently enough with both protagonists and antagonists in the Hueco Mundo arc, one would think that the giant clouds of dust kicked up by the horrible attack du minute had incredible regenerative powers.
  • In Code Geass, Mao is riddled full of bullets, but he came back next episode with a handwave about Britannian medical science and how Lelouch should have commanded the soldiers to shoot to kill. It takes a bullet to the head to stop him once and for all. Near the end of the second season, a similar thing happens to Cornelia, except she doesn't get shot in the head.
    • Guilford, whose mech appeared to be within the blast radius of a weapon that disintegrates everything in its path, yet lived to appear at Cornelia's bedside in the last few episodes.
    • In a more extreme example, Empress Marianne actually was killed, but managed to transfer her mind and soul to another person before her physical body died.
    • Many argue that Lelouch is this at the end of the series. Despite the Word of God that implies otherwise, fan theory points to Lelouch gaining The Code from Charles and living on after he's killed (and The Code was activated) by Zero/Suzaku.
  • D.Gray-Man has the protagonist lose an arm, have his Innocence shattered, and has a hole put into his heart and yet he wakes up the next episode.
  • Etemon in Digimon Adventure is sucked into a space-warping... warp... thing that was apparently destroyed, but managed to bide his time and evolve before coming back as Metal Etemon. Vamdemon (aka Myotismon) is shot through the chest by Angewomon, but survives in order to fulfill a prophecy and has to beaten by War Greymon and Metal Garurumon.
    • Even then does Myotismon survive — he's the Man Behind the Man... the Mon behind the man? in season two, having possessed Oikawa as the kids left for the Digital World right after thinking they'd done him in as Venom Vamdemon, emerging as final Big Bad in Digimon Adventure 02 in his One-Winged Angel form of Belial Vamdemon, aka Malo Myotismon. Unfortunately, he proved to be a Clipped-Wing Angel.
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    • As a general rule, just because Digimon tend to have explosive deaths doesn't mean you shouldn't stick around because they may pull themselves back together. This happens to Neo Saiba in V-Tamer 01 more than once but he still doesn't learn.
    • Zhuqiaomon in Digimon Tamers is defeated by Mega Gargomon, but reappears and nearly kills the tamers, before Azulongmon convinces him to do a Heel–Face Turn.
    • Another, more heroic example from Tamers: Getting shot in the back multiple times and then plummeting several hundred feet into an ocean that deletes/destroys anything it comes in contact with would be enough to kill anyone. Anyone except Beelzemon, that is.
  • This can be said of most of the villains in the Dragon Ball series:
    • Mercenary Tao gets blown up by his own grenade, but survives and becomes a cyborg in time for the next World Martial Arts tournament.
    • Frieza was cut in half by his own Deadly Disc after being beaten to a pulp by a newly-Super Saiyan Goku, but he still had enough left in him for one last spiteful attack. Frieza was caught in the explosion of Namek shortly after... and he survived that too, replaced his lost body with cybernetics and headed over to Earth to get revenge. It's telling that his eventual death at the hands of Future Trunks is very thorough.
    • Cell decides to blow himself up to take out all of his enemies and the Earth in one fell swoop after losing his Perfect form. Goku makes a Heroic Sacrifice to save everyone by teleporting both of them to the Other World, where he dies in the explosion. While everyone's mourning Goku's passing, Cell returns, having regenerated From a Single Cell (or a nucleus, depending on the version); what's worse, he gained a Zenkai boost due to his Saiyan genes and learned Goku's Instant Transmission technique, making him even more dangerous.
    • Cooler gets hurled into the sun, but his head survives and becomes the core of the Big Gete Star... and when his upgraded Metal Cooler body is destroyed by Goku and Vegeta, the Big Gete Star builds an army of him in return.
    • Broly is nearly killed as an infant, but his massive Ki keeps him alive and takes him and his father Paragus away from Planet Vegeta as it explodes. Later on, he's barely defeated by Goku and left on another planet which was destroyed by a massive comet, but he escapes thanks to a Saiyan Attack Ball, and ends up trapped underneath a sheet of ice on Earth. After another fight, he's hurled into the sun by Goku, Gohan and Goten's combined Kamehameha, and unlike Cooler above, he doesn't make it out... but a scheming priest makes a clone of him, who's finally defeated by the ocean.
    • Vegeta puts all of his Ki and life energy into defeating the ancient monster Majin Buu, but the latter's Healing Factor is utterly ridiculous, letting him come back from even subatomic particles.
    • Bardock (While not a villain... ish...) gets two in a row. First, he was blasted by Dodoria and left for dead beneath his squad's bodies. He gets healed in time to charge through Frieza's army for a final confrontation with Frieza himself. He loses that, getting hit by the Supernova that blows up Planet Vegeta... only to get blasted back in time and healed again.
    • Goku himself gets a moment of this during the King Piccolo Saga. During his first battle with King Piccolo, he gets beaten badly, and Piccolo checks his pulse, confirming that his heart has stopped. Shortly after Piccolo leaves, Goku's heart restarts itself.
  • Fairy Tail loves this. We have: Jellal, who got hit through god knows how many stories of a tower and most likely fused with Etherion to send it into the sky, which should have torn his body apart; Lyon, who was shoved off a cliff by a Racer while explosives are attached to him, which blow up while they're latched together and apparently only kill Racer (better explained in the anime where Lyon saves both of their lives by removing the bomb at the last minute and shielding them from the blast with an ice barrier, which the manga goes with since Racer shows up alive); Lisanna who, at least in the anime (the manga never shows it), got sent flying by a single swipe from her monster-possessed brother; and Happy, who carried a demon preparing to suicide-bomb a whole town into the sky and took the resulting massive explosion with only scorch marks and a Funny Afro to show for it.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Poor Ed gets impaled by a giant steel pole after a fight with Kimblee, which he kinda lost. He collapses with no way of freeing himself — but it's a mortal wound anyway. That is, until he realizes he can use his own lifeforce as a philosopher's stone (a throwback to the revelation that philosopher's stones are mode from the souls of humans). He frees the trapped chimeras alchemically, and enlists them to pull the steel beam out of him. He quickly transmutes the wound shut, chopping off a few years of his lifespan in the process.
    • Happens to Kimblee himself a few episodes earlier in the fight with Scar on the train.
    • Bradley pulls this off quite spectacularly. TWICE!
      • His train was blown up on the tracks, sending the burning wreck toppling hundreds of feet into the churning river below. No one could survive that. Unless you have Bradley's Ultimate Eye that is, in which case you can chart a path in the falling rubble, grab onto the cliffside, and return slightly ruffled to singlehandedly storm your nation's capital.
      • Shortly after returning, he's thrown into battle with Greedling, Buccaneer and Fu. Only by a major joint effort of the three, resulting in the death of the latter two, is Bradley even wounded. At this point, Greeling rips out Bradley's Ultimate Eye in a berserker fit of rage, tumbles through the wall, and Bradley is sent plummeting hundreds of stories into the moat far below. He's declared "dead", until the very next chapter when he is seen climbing out of the water, bloodied and ready to kick ass. The dude's not even immortal, in fact he's the only homunculus who isn't.
    • And before all that above, Lust stabs Roy and Havoc through their lungs and leaves them to bleed to death. Roy cauterizes their wounds with Havoc's cigarette lighter and a transmutation circle carved into his own hand and returns to curbstomp Lust, only allowing himself to collapse from the horrific pain he's in once she's sizzled out of existence.
  • In Godannar, this becomes Kouji Tetsuya's gimmick, being the Butt-Monkey of the series. His mech gets trashed on a regular basis, and suffers a lot of nasty wounds, but always manages to crawl out of it by saying something to the effect of "I'm not dead", shortly after the other characters have written him off.
  • Gundam:
    • Season 2 of Mobile Suit Gundam 00 has a version of this in episodes 22-24. Big Bad Ribbons Almark was shot by Regenne Regetta but as it turns out, his soul is actually in the Quantum Supercomputer Veda, and the body is just a puppet, plus he has spares. Later, both Regenne and Tieria Erde have been shot and their bodies are dead, but their consciousness lives on in Veda and actually severs Ribbons link to it, trapping him in his current body. When Setsuna F. Seiei sees the body of his friend, he proclaims his intention to avenge him, but Tieria then uses Veda to tell Setsuna not to kill him off yet.
      • 00 also has resident Butt-Monkey Patrick Corlasaur, who pulls a Mu La Flaga in the final battle after having about three continuous CMoAs... but comes back in the finale and gets the girl to boot.
    • Mu-san aside, Mobile Suit Gundam SEED also has Andrew Waltfeld. He was supposed to have died after Kira Yamato defeats him, but due to his immense popularity with fans, he got revived miraculously. He was, however, significantly maimed (losing an arm, a leg and an eye), requiring him to be fitted for prosthetic limbs. For some reason this includes a shotgun behind his detachable hand.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam AGE, Generation 2 has a scene where a Adele type machine is supposed destroyed by a Vegan Mook, but it turns out not quite dead, and grabs the enemy's leg, allowing Asemu to land a finishing move.
  • Inuyasha:
    • Inuyasha does this on multiple occasions; once, when Kouga broke his arm and punched him into a crater, leaving a sizable hole in his chest; again when he was hit by his own Wind Scar, leaving him unconscious; once during the fight with Juroumaru and Kageroumaru, during which he was stabbed through the chest and subsequently punched through a tree, and a couple of times during the Mount Hakurei arc. As a general rule, if he looks dead, he's only unconscious, and he will peel himself off the ground to kick the bad guy's ass if they so much as lay a finger on either one of his love interests.
    • Sesshomaru also pulls this once, when during his battle with Magatsuhi he is stabbed through the chest and subsequently "absorbed". He gets better.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Dio Brando does this twice during the events of Phantom Blood. First, he's thought to have died when the Joestar Mansion burns down, but he actually survives, though heavily injured. Then, he is seemingly killed when Jonathan fills his body with Ripple, only for him to survive by separating his head from his body before the Ripple can disintegrate it.
    • In Battle Tendency, Joseph seemingly kills Esidisi, only for him to survive as a brain, eventually attaching himself to Suzi Q and taking over her body.
    • In Stardust Crusaders, Muhammad Avdol is seemingly killed when Hol Horse shoots him in the head. This turns out to not be the case, as during the fight against Judgement, Avdol returns, revealed to have been simply grazed by the bullet and spent time offscreen recovering.
    • A zigzagged example in the climax of Diamond Is Unbreakable, Okuyasu Nijimura is critically injured by one of Kira's bombs, and despite Josuke healing him, it seems as if he was to late. Turns out he wasn't, as Okuyasu later wakes up and saves Josuke. However, it's quickly revealed that Okuyasu did die, but managed to willpower himself back to life.
    • In Steel Ball Run, Mountain Tim is seemingly killed during the fight against Oyecomova, but is later revealed to have survived during the fight against Blackmore. His return isn't long however, as he is lethally injured by Blackmore and dies soon after the fight.
    • JoJolion:
      • Rai Mamezuku seemingly implodes because of Poor Tom's Stand, Ozon Baby, but is soon revealed to have survived thanks to his own Stand, Doggy Style.
      • Iwasuke seems to suffer the same fate, but survives by hardening his skin into rock.
  • Mad Bad Bull, a minor antagonist from Kiddy Grade, had a heavy metal crate dropped on him by Éclair and Foxy Fox with Artificial Gravity, but still managed to punch his way out of it.
  • Humorously played with in Mnemosyne when Rin ambushes the Monster of the Week in her office. She quickly guns down Rin without any hesitation, and hurries over and, being a doctor, checks her over to make sure she's dead before straightening up, sighing in relief, and going on with her business. She is thus quite terrified when Rin just gets back up after a minute.
    • Case in point, Rin getting killed happens thrice an episode on average. She just happens to be immortal and thus, resurrects each and every time.
  • Used and then averted in Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit. Balsa manages fake her death by sending her and Chagum careening over a cliff and into a valley filled with poisonous vapors, with their dead horse and straw dummies clearly visible. Because the vapors would kill anyone going down there before they'd reach the corpses, their pursuers are forced to declare them dead. They do come back later to double check once they've equipped themselves to handle the vapors, however.
  • My Hero Academia: Six years prior to the storyline, All Might fought a bloody duel with All For One and killed him. Or so it seems... Much to All Might's horror, All For One did survive, albeit with gruesome injuries. Worse, he established the League of Villains which is now running rampant across Japan.
  • Naruto 's Orochimaru wins the award for most Not Quite Deads within the shortest time period. In the space of a few chapters, he was dismembered by Sasuke, only to come back and eat Sasuke, only to get dismembered again, only to come back as The Virus to some degree inside his Battle Butler, Kabuto. Then he comes back again from within Sasuke during his battle with Itachi, tasting revenge, except he's instantly defeated. Then you see a snake that's obviously some sort of piece of him that can regenerate, but the Amaterasu fire spreading all over incinerates it. Then he is back again in chapter 592.
    • As of chapter 599 this also applies to Obito Uchiha, as he has been revealed as Tobi.
    • Uchiha Madara gets resurrected using four different techniques at various points, namely: Edo Tensei, cancellation of Edo Tensei contract, Rinne Tensei and Izanagi. In two of these cases, he wasn't even dead before being revived, but he got himself ressurected anyway to gain better control over his body.
    • This happens very frequently in Naruto. Often a chapter will end with a character seemingly receiving a fatal blow, only for it to be revealed to be an illusion or for them to survive it somehow.
  • In Negima! Magister Negi Magi, Nagi killed The Lifemaker aka Mr. Creepy Black Cloak Guy off for good 20 years ago, right? Wrong.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: The famous Asuka/Unit-02 versus the MP EVAs sequence in End of Evangelion; Asuka dismembers, rips apart, breaks the bones of or impales all nine MP EVAs in what looks like the biggest case of overkill ever; unfortunately, it's not, and the MP EVAs' bodies reconnect, get right back up with a Slasher Smile and proceed to take their bloody vengeance on Asuka.
  • One Piece has the Skypeian "god" Eneru. During his fight against Wiper, Wiper actually manages to kill Eneru with the dangerous Reject Dial. Too bad for him that Eneru has the powers of the electric Devil Fruit, which automatically works like a Magical Defibrillator, restarting his heart. Cue round 2.
    • For years, it's been accepted by One Piece fans as a basic truth that the entire series is an embodiment of this trope. Unless the death scene happens in a flashback, no matter how obviously dead a character seems to be, they really aren't. This was considered irrevocably confirmed when a minor character made a Heroic Sacrifice which involved not only being at ground zero of an I-can't-believe-it's-not-a-nuke city-buster bomb, but holding it while it goes off. He showed up in bandages and a crutch several chapters later, and is fully recovered one arc after that.
      • The flashback rule was finally subverted when it is revealed that Sabo is alive. That makes him the only "posthumous" character from a flashback to survive to the present in One Piece.
    • It was averted big time in the Paramount War arc. The lead-up showed various nameless mooks dying in, by One Piece standards, a shockingly graphic manner, and the climax included two very major characters dying in the space of three chapters. Whether future arcs will be as bloody is unknown, but one thing is sure: the "nobody dies in One Piece" meme is no more.
  • This happens to Shuda in Rave Master. While character in the manga do have a tendency to survive insane amounts of damage and be up and about as if it hadn't happened only two days later (which made it so weird when one of them actually did have to spend time in a hospital), cutting off your arm and falling at least 2000 feet into a forest is over the top. No explanation is given for how he survived too (not that one ever is).
  • An interesting part of Sasami's backstory in the Tenchi Muyo! OVA universe. For over 700 years, Sasami believed that she had died when she fell and was bonded with Tsunami, now only as some sort of vessel for her. When the secret came out, it was a very big relief for her to learn that they'd still love her no mater what. However, Tsunami appears after Sasami passes out from exhaustion and drops the big bombshell - she never really died, she thinks that because of the trauma of the fall.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann subverts it when Kamina receives an unexpected attack from one of the Beastman Generals and is completely impaled by a giant glaive. After a blood-curdling scream, the villain's triumphant laugh, and a look of horror on his comrades' faces, he somehow manages the strength keep moving and inspire Simon one last time as he leads them in the final attack against his would-be killer. He succeeds in eliminating his foe before finally subduing to eternal rest.
    • Then he shows up in Episode 26 to once again inspire awesomeness and fulfill his own words: "A real man never dies, even when he's killed."
  • Kotetsu in the finale of Tiger & Bunny. He is not impressed by his friends' inability to properly determine when someone is dead.
    Kotetsu: Did you guys even check my pulse?
  • Happens frequently in Tokyo Ghoul, thanks to the Healing Factor Ghouls possess.
    • Nishiki is repeatedly impaled and left to die early on, but appears in a following story arc still wounded but very much alive.
    • Tsukiyama is believed dead at the conclusion of the Gourmet arc, but shows up later on. When asked how he survived, he points out that he took Touka's advice and ate himself in order to survive.
    • Shinohara provides multiple human examples, simply because he's Made of Iron. He appears to be killed more than once, but instead ends up hospitalized. Unfortunately, that last time leaves him in a vegetative state and still comatose in the sequel.
    • In the sequel, Kaneki is revealed to have survived being repeatedly run through, electrocuted, and stabbed through the skull twice.
    • The sequel also reveals that Seidou Takizawa survived seemingly-mortal injuries thanks to being turned into a Half-Human Hybrid.
  • In Tomica Hyper Rescue Drive Head Kidou Kyuukyuu Keisatsu, the Evil AI. Infect it with a powerful virus? It comes back. Shut down the computer it originated from? The evil will leaks out. Seal that up and blow up the city it's been living under? Not even that's good enough. It seems to have finally been taken out for good in the movie.
  • In Transformers: Super-God Masterforce, the first battle between Super Ginrai and Overlord ends with Ginrai apparently dead, while Overlord is unscathed and decides to obliterate the rest of the Autobots. However, at the very end, Ginrai refuses to die.
  • Being stabbed through the heart with a large spike? With an actual doctor checking his pulse to make sure he was dead? Minor things when it comes to the self-proclaimed Ultimate Teacher, Ganbachi Chabane.
  • Thief King Bakura, from the final season of Yu-Gi-Oh! gets locked in a tomb and supposedly falls into a deep dark pit... only to somehow escape and sneak back into the city.


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