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Who Wants To Live Forever / Anime & Manga

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  • Rumbling Hearts references this trope. In the last episode, when Haruka decides she cannot live with Takayuki after the coma, she explains the book "Mayal's Gift," about an immortal fairy who plays with human friends. After a few years of playing, the kids grow up, and Mayal is still as lively as ever. The kids become too old for Mayal, and leave the forest.
  • This is a possible scenario with Death the Kid from Soul Eater, who is a Shinigami, while the rest of his closest friends are human, therefore he will probably live centuries longer than them. He'll eventually have to watch all of them grow old and die, even his weapons.
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  • In Rumiko Takahashi's Mermaid Saga, eating mermaid flesh almost always makes the eater insane or turns him/her into a monster, but there is a very small chance that the eater will gain immortality instead. The travels of the main character, one of the "lucky" ones, reinforce this property as only a step above insanity or deformity.
  • In Delicious in Dungeon, the Lunatic Magician cursed the inhabitants of the Golden Kingdom with immortality. After dinner, Senshi notes that the food they prepared for Team Touden didn't have that much flavor - which is because they haven't needed to eat for so long that it's dulled their sense of taste. Why do they maintain things like silverware, then?
    Senshi: The answer is because they need them. They need them in order to stay sane.
  • Rulers in the world of The Twelve Kingdoms automatically gain immortality upon gaining the throne. (Rulers can also grant immortality to their servants and officials). Very few people who've been granted immortality ever come to regret it (even those who were very old when they became immortal). About the only one who saw it as something of a curse was Suzu, but that's only because she spent 100 years of her life being abused by a cruel master. Once free of her employer, she pretty much picked up her former life where it had left off, (and despite the large amount of time that had passed, she still considered herself a teenager). In one of the short stories, however, it is mentioned that some rulers cannot cope with what would have been the end of their natural life.
  • Hohenheim in Fullmetal Alchemist. This was why he abandoned his wife and sons; he didn't want the neighbors to notice he wasn't aging. Trisha and their closest neighbor Pinako however, knew all about it, and one of the reasons he left was to find a way to lose his immortality. He didn't want to outlive Trisha, Ed and Al.
    • Though for the way the storyline and by extension this world is, it's somewhat deconstructed. Hohenheim makes it clear that immortality isn't a great thing to go through, but he'd be lying if he said that it never came in handy.
    • In the 2003 anime version, his reason for leaving is slightly different. He didn't want Trisha to see his body deteriorating due to too many soul transfers. Also, his ex-girlfriend (wife?) Dante used the same method and ended up insane - or just really, really cold hearted. She was willing to sacrifice millions of lives just so she could look young and beautiful for a little bit longer, and nearly succeeded.
    • The anime Homunculi just want to be human and thus are willing to swallow Dante's fairly obvious lies because she's the only chance they have. The exception among the Homunculi is Greed, who wants to achieve true immortality (because he's, you know, Greed) and Envy, who is just around to see everyone suffer.
  • C.C. in Code Geass, whose disconnected, sarcastic attitude and disdain for humans are shown to be the result of several centuries of life while being persecuted as a witch; at one point she even remarks "I've been alive so long that I can't even remember who loves me and who hates me."
    • It's revealed in the second season that this is the goal of practically every "Geass Witch," since they were tricked into gaining their powers and immortality by their predecessors; the "practically" comes from the strong implication that C.C.'s real wish is to be loved honestly and truthfully.
  • In Dragon Ball Z:
    • In the first movie, Dead Zone, the villain Garlic Jr. is granted immortality through a wish. He then makes the mistake of messing with Gohan and is blasted into the void he opened to trap everyone else in.
    • In Dragon Ball Super: Broly, Freeza explains to his right-hand minions that he's abandoned his long-standing ambition of using the Dragon Balls to make himself immortal after realizing that it could lead to an unpleasant scenario like being stuck in a crippled body forever.
  • Tenzen from Basilisk is hundreds of years old and has been killed many times, but each time he comes back from the dead due to healing abilities. According to him, dying and being revived is incredibly painful.
  • In Hellsing, Integra's father reveals to her that he believes that vampires hate their immortality, and seek battle and conflict because they wish for an end to their curse. It is implied that Alucard himself wishes to die in battle, seeking a Worthy Opponent and almost finding it in Anderson. This is elaborated upon in moments where Alucard shows value for human life, seeing death as a necessary event to make life sacred. He expresses disgust when a policeman in Rio shoots himself in the head rather than die by Alucard's hands, showing that he believes suicide is the easy way out, as is succumbing to vampirism. This is why he is dismayed by Anderson's decision to make himself into a monster in order to fight Alucard.
  • In Lyrical Nanoha, the Wolkenritter lost their Rejuvenation program when Reinforce separated them from her. They considered this to be a gift from Reinforce. No longer bound by the prison of immortality, they can now spend their first and last lives with their beloved master, Hayate, and follow her in death, if they wish.
  • The hermit in Tail of the Moon, as he's literally watched everyone he's ever loved die around him.
  • Count Magnus Lee's speech in Vampire Hunter D perfectly sums up this trope:
    "I have lived for 10,000 years. Believe me, you have no idea what that means for me: boredom. Everlasting, hideous boredom. A never ending search for ways to pass the time, and mating with a human woman is one of the few I enjoy."
    • D himself is an example, as he is Dracula's son, a Dhampir, immortal, and has almost all of the advantages that Vampires have, with the weaknesses muted. In the light novels, it's implied that he hunts Vampires both to put them out of their (and everyone else's) misery, and because he, himself, is a Death Seeker. It doesn't help that he positively hates his vampiric heritage, though it has come in handy for him.
  • One of the main themes of Tsukihime is the inevitability of death, despite the fact that every supernatural character has (at least) immortality. The protagonist understands this well, as his eyes can see the fated destruction of everything. In fact, in Melty Blood a character explicitly says, "You can't avoid your destined end."
  • Although it may not appear one of the central themes in Kiddy Grade, it apparently was intended as such. Since all ES members are technically immortal, they have to face all the problems (the least of which are old enemies and their descendants) that pile up during their lives.
  • Played straight and inverted in Baccano!:
    "The harshness of having to live for eternity... of all people, I gave it to you..."
    "What are you saying?! We don't mind it one bit! On the contrary, we're glad we won't die! I feel like going 'Yahoo!'"
  • Played straight in Flame of Recca in form of Kagerou/Kagehoshi. After turning immortal in order to save her son, Recca, felt like hell, wandering in eternity to have her son kill her. On the other hand, the villains of the series, Mori Kouran and Kaima, have limitless lust for humanity's evils, greed and desire (Kouran wants to continue to gain money and possession forever, while Kaima wants to kill forever). They are thus Immortality Seekers.
  • In Osamu Tezuka's Phoenix, most characters that seek to drink the eponymous bird's blood fail to do so or change their mind because of this trope. However, in the second volume we get to see a character go on to live forever, to the point of becoming a godlike figure. He isn't truly happy until he is allowed to become a part of the Phoenix so he could be with his long-deceased lover. In other words, he died happily.
  • Fruits Basket, chapter 131. In the true Zodiac legend, the animals regularly meet with the god until finally the cat is the first to start dying. The god creates some sort of reincarnation elixir and gives it to the cat. When the cat realizes what happened, it immediately condemns this action. This only pisses off everyone else, who miss the cat's point and drink the elixir themselves.
    I don't want eternity. I don't want 'unchanging'. Even though you're afraid, let's accept that things end. Even though it's lonely, let's accept that lives come to an end. Even though it was only for a short while, I was so happy to be by your side. If we both die and are reborn, and we are able to meet once again, next time, rather than only during the moonlit nights, I want to meet you as you smile in the light of the sun. Next time, rather than only by ourselves, I want to meet you as you smile among people.
  • In Alive: The Final Evolution, it is revealed that the Happening-meets-X-Men events of the series was caused by an alien race that escaped the destruction of their planet by turning into living energy. The boredom of travelling through space and their inability to die left them completely insane, eventually concluding that the ultimate form of evolution is death. When they reached Earth, in their desperation to "evolve," they body jumped into several people, and had their hosts gleefully commit suicide just so they could die. Those watching the suicides and are able to resist the command themselves aren't sure if they should be terrified or jealous.
  • In Photon, it turns out the Emperor of the galaxy, having achieved immortality and near-omnipotence, has orchestrated most of the events of the OVA, causing a mutiny to rise up against himself simply because he was bored of being uncontested for thousands of years. This plot eventually leads to his destruction. He doesn't mind (or, possibly, notice, as he's quite mad).
  • Discussed and debated in Negima! Magister Negi Magi once Negi ends up becoming the same type of being as Eva. Either pre-pubescent or early puberty for eternity, near-impossible to have children, will outlive all loved ones, etc.
  • In Negima!'s Stealth Sequel, UQ Holder!, this gets discussed a lot, given most of the cast are immortal.
    • Yukihime/Evangeline isn't too thrilled with the fact that she eventually outlived everyone she cared about.
    • Touta has his first realization that immortality isn't 100% awesome, though it's played for laughs in that the realization that drives him over the edge is that he'll never go bald or put on weight. And also because it's his dream to sing like Louis Armstrong, which is now impossible as his voice will never change.
    • One conversation revolves around the characters wondering what they'll do when the Sun burns out and the Earth dies in a few billion years. A few of them have methods that could conceivably kill them before that happens, thus they could choose to die, but others are pretty much guaranteed to still be alive at that point.
  • In The Tower of Druaga, King Gilgamesh's immortality was a curse by Druaga. He had to live through all of Uruk's hard times while a shadow eats away at his soul.
  • In Rebirth - which is really a manhwa series - Rett Butler, the best friend of the main character, was cursed with immortality by the the villain 300 years ago. Why? So he can watch the world be destroyed by said villain.
  • Hiroaki Samura's Blade of the Immortal (think Highlander meets Samurai Champloo), in which the title character - thanks to an infusion of 'kessen chu' or 'sacred blood worms' which instantly repair virtually any injury which he sustains - is, to all intents and purposes, incapable of dying (and quickly comes to the realization that effective immortality sucks). When it's suggested that he simply decapitate himself, he protests that he wants to die a *normal* death and suggests that he slay 1000 evil men in return for the "cure" for his immortality (and partially to redeem himself for killing 100 men when he was an outlaw).
  • Cowboy Bebop has "Sympathy for the Devil" where the bounty leads them to a child who at the time is actually over 80 and apparently can neither age nor sustain permanent damage until Spike shoots him with a MacGuffin that causes him to age rapidly and die in seconds. He was pretty crazy by the time we met him, likely from watching his family die and being experimented upon for decades by scientists hoping to figure out how to replicate the freak accident that made him the way he was.
  • Yuko Ichihara from ×××HOLiC and Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-. A Reality Warper with Power Incontinence accidentally turned her into a zombie-ish thing centuries ago because while she was dying, he wished for her to open her eyes again. The entire plot of both series, encompassing the death and suffering of millions as well as the warping of the entire space-time continuum, actually revolves around her wanting to finally RIP, and someone else disagreeing.
  • Baku in Nightmare Inspector are immortal and... The original Hiruko let Azusa become his vessel because it was the closest he could get to dying. Then Azusa got sick of immortality and looked for a dream frightening enough to swallow him up and destroy him. The current Hiruko averts this.
  • Magic Knight Rayearth: Emeraude. 'Nuff said.
  • In King of Bandit Jing the title character is given the elixir of immortality, and, while his sidekick encourages him to drink it, instead pours it off a cliff into the ocean. This causes a rainbow to appear, which Jing references by saying "Catching these 7 colors, even for an instant, is more beautiful then a thousand years of gray."
  • Played with in Hetalia: Axis Powers fandom, as the characters cannot die until their nation dies (and sometimes not even then, *cough*Prussia*cough*) but they also have to suffer as their nation's do and watch their citizens die.
    • A good example of the above would be Jean de Arc and France's relationship.
    • This was discussed here when a young French soldier meets France (who his grandfather had met when he was younger) and muses to his cute wife how wonderful it must be to live forever. Only for his wife to interrupt him and ask him if it really was a wonderful thing.
      The Soldier's Wife: "Are you sure you want that? It means to go on with your life and spend time with a different tempo than everybody else. Even though we would laugh together, even though we would lead the same life. Had children that would grow up. Even when my hand would grow all wrinkled and I wouldn't respond to your voice. Even when I would die. And after I wouldn't be here any more, you would watch over so many people. Something like that would a normal human being never withstand. No matter how many people you would fall in love with, they would always leave you behind. And like that, you would be always alone. If you would have to bare such fate, it would be so cruel, I couldn't stand it! To live forever isn't such a good thing after all."
      French Soldier: "You're right! Without this plain mortal body, I wouldn't be able to pursue my dream! To grow old together. Until our hands will be full of wrinkles."
  • Played straight in Nabari no Ou with Shijima and Kouichi's jealousy of other people's ability to die and stay dead. Eventually, they manage to convince Miharu to free them of their immortality.
  • Karakuri Circus: In a manga-only arc, a Shirogane's last words are that she regretted making the choice that allowed her to live for over two centuries.
  • Vampire Knight has pure-blood vampires, who could theoretically live forever, as they have eternal youth, don't suffer from disease, and heal nearly instantaneously from wounds, but every pureblood vampire yet seems to either die from their own hand or that of another.
  • Tabris of Neon Genesis Evangelion is immortal and will live forever if he merges with Adam... but that's not his desire. He's driven by the instinct of all Angels, denying him the free will he envies in humanity. He sees death as complete freedom, and so welcomes his defeat.
    • Rei has this view, explicitly stating it throughout the series. Once she does die, but is brought Back from the Dead and is pissed off enough with Gendou for doing so that she betrays him.
  • Played with in the anime Highlander: The Search for Vengeance,
    • Colin wants to avenge the murder of his wife, and he has been hunting Marcus for two millennia. He has nothing to show for his life because he has focused on revenge for so long. This makes him angry, bitter, and depressed.
    • Like Colin, Marcus lives in the past by pining for Rome but unlike Colin he has one eye on the future because he believes he can recreate it. He knows things die, but you move on and helped build civilizations.
  • Invoked in Dance in the Vampire Bund, when Single Mom Stripper Jessica Harlin shelters the fugitive Princess Mina in her apartment and begins to openly wonder if undeath would be a solution to her worries about illness or age keeping her from caring for her young daughter. Mina tells her she would turn her if she were serious; then spells out how she would watch Suzie grow up, then watch her wither and die, before asking if she could truly bear it.
  • The major reason Ojamajo Doremi's Big Bad Majo Tourbillion became so bitter towards humanity is because she had to watch all of her human family grow old and — in the case of her husband — die before her.
  • Discussed in Mnemosyne, where Rin and Mimi, who are immortal, discuss their immortality with another character who they hired. Rin's past aside, the two are really good friends and find odd jobs to do to pass time.
  • Fairy Tail:
    • Zeref was cursed with immortality in the past, and turned him into a Walking Wasteland for extra measure. After spending four centuries witnessing the worst humanity had to offer while being isolated from them by his own cursed power, he's had enough; he's sick of immortality and he's sick of humanity, so he decides to wipe out the latter. Either he succeeds, or his enemies find a way to kill him. Either way, he gets what he wants.
    • Mavis Vermillion originally didn't mind the fact that using a spell to save the life of one of her friends halted her aging. However, learning from Zeref that it also came packaged with the same immortality and Walking Wasteland powers as himself quickly drove her over the edge, to the point she tried to starve herself for half a year and begged Zeref to kill her. And he did a fashion, and at a time when doing so just ended up making him worse. By the present-day of the story, she's content with being An Astral Projection, Not a Ghost that watches over her guild while her real body remains trapped in stasis, unable to hurt anyone.
  • In the A Certain Magical Index movie Miracle of Endymion, Ladylee Tangleroad has been around since The Crusades, and is now so weary of life that she'll do anything to die and doesn't care who gets hurt in the process. She attempts to destroy the world, believing she will finally die in the process. She is stopped by the heroes and falls into despair when Index tells her not even destroying the world will be enough to kill her.
  • Yona of the Dawn:
    • Flashbacks revealed that Zeno was extremely distressed and frightened by their powers of immortality, seeing their friends and loved ones grow old while they remained the same (while the other dragons reincarnate when their human hosts die, Zeno doesn't). It's implied that Zeno's greatest wish is to die.
    • The king was the first to realize this, but unable to tell Zeno, cried as he hugged him for the last time.
  • Justified in Yuki Yuna is a Hero. The Heroes will live forever unless they fall in battle, but every time that they use Mankai a part of their body becomes permanently crippled. They learn this from one of their predecessors, who used Mankai twenty times before becoming too crippled to fight any longer. The anime never spells out everything that afflicted her, but she appears to have lost the use of an eye, all four limbs, and she's permanently confined to a bed. And she'll live forever like that.
  • Uratarou was born as an immortal and believes that living has no meaning, so he tried many different ways, but couldn't kill himself. Even being beheaded or his flesh being dissolved by gastric acid inside the stomach of a giant snake doesn't kill him. It's later revealed that the main reason for it is seeing all of his friends and loved ones die.
  • Seven Mortal Sins: Lucifer enslaves Maria Totsuka by extracting her heart and storing it in a jar. Maria can't die, won't age, and heals her wounds as long as nothing happens to the heart, but she has to obey Lucifer. Maria doesn't like this and desperately wants to be turned back to normal. At first Lucifer cannot understand why she wouldn't appreciate becoming immortal, but after taking a couple of levels in kindness, she starts treating Maria better and even apologizes for forcing the girl to follow her around.
  • It's mentioned in the passing during chapter 43 of Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid that Kobayashi has no interest in living beyond a normal human lifespan. Though in this case, it has nothing to do with the fear of outliving her loved ones, since her Family of Choice consists of dragons with lifespans measured in billions of years.
  • A problem with human immortality in Ciel ~The Last Autumn Story~, as unlike Arc Dragons, humans can't endure the experience of living so long. Even when Marion Everett becomes immortal for the specific purpose of saving the world, the centuries of life wear her down to a shell of her former self.


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