Back from the Dead

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Wise From Your Grave!

Bart Simpson: Ralph, I thought you were dead.
Ralph Wiggum: Nope.

A major character, possibly even a popularly nasty Big Bad, has been Killed Off for Real, pronounced dead and buried. However, the established laws of the universe allow for Functional Magic, a Sufficiently Advanced Alien, Applied Phlebotinum, Deus Ex Machina or similar agency to intervene and subvert what naturally follows dying. Namely, staying dead. (In some cases, an explanation isn't even bothered with.)

Maybe the writers were running short of new ideas and decided to rehash some old ones. Maybe the actor has recently acquired some indecent photographs of the producers. Maybe the new writer was devastated his predecessor killed the character. Who knows? He is now Back From The Dead.

The form of afterlife can vary pretty widely. They may "simply" be resurrected or reincarnated (usually as a sentient pet animal), physical or mental alterations optional; or we may now have a ghost, or vampire... zombie, angel, godling, demon... haunted car... okay, that last one will be hard to top (except with a Love-matic Grandpa!). Bringing someone back from the dead by supernatural means is generally treated as being a negative thing because of how unnatural it is.

If a character cannot come back from the dead entirely, they may show up as a Spirit Advisor or The Obi-Wan, letting them be literally dead, but allowing them to interact with the living.

In the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Mortal Coil", Neelix actually dies for real but is (some would argue unfortunately) brought back to life some 18 hours later. This is an example of Contractual Immortality. In order to qualify for being brought Back From The Dead, a character in a TV show would have to be still dead at the end of one episode and resurrected, by whatever means, in a later episode (2-parters don't count).

This is exceedingly common in American Superhero comic books, to the point that whenever a popular character dies, it's a given that they'll be back on within no less than five years. At one time, it was said that "Nobody ever stays dead in comics, except Bucky, Uncle Ben, and Jason Todd." Naturally, since that phrase was coined, Bucky and Jason Todd have since been recalled to life.

See Death Is Cheap for when this becomes a regular feature of a 'verse, Sorting Algorithm of Deadness for the odds a particular death will stick, and the accompanying betting pool for which modern Lazarus is due back next. See also Resurrective Immortality for where this is an everyday part of a character's life.

A general rule of thumb is that if you Never Found the Body, the character is Not Quite Dead in the first place (and therefore not a candidate for this trope). One of the most common examples of this is that if a character falls off of a cliff or other high structure, especially into water, he or she is almost guaranteed to still be alive; see Disney Death. An explosion gives more reasonable odds. Of course, even if Deader Than Dead, even if you see the body and you've atomized it so finely that each individual molecule is a galaxy apart... there's always Time Travel. Removing the entire thing from existence can be done, and equally undone by a similar Deus Ex Machina.

Faking the Dead has its own trope.

The character's resurrection from the dead could result in a situation of Unwanted Revival.

As a Death Trope, Spoilers ahead may be unmarked. Beware.

Examples of Back from the Dead include:


Anime and Manga

  • Rozen Maiden Suigintou pulls a Back from the Dead after getting killed in the last episode of Season One and several are revived in Traumend. And damaged "normal" animated doll brought back by Jun (almost accidentally).
  • Fushigi Yuugi: The Killed Off for Real members of Team Suzaku are brought back as Spirit Advisors in the final episode, possessing volunteers so they can contribute to the fight. The OVAs have their ghosts show up a few more times before finally using Reincarnation to bring them back for good.
  • Gekiganger 3
    • Joe Umitsubame comes back from the dead, piloting the original Gekiganger 3 robot, to help the rest of the team defeat the show's Big Bad. A character watching this episode comments on the fact that people in real life (like the Killed Off for Real Gai Daigouji and Tsukomo Shiratori) don't come back from the dead, another example of the show's contrast of Gekiganger's idealistic worldview and the "reality" of Nadesico. Ironically, in that very same episode, the apparently-dead Admiral turned out to be Not Quite Dead.
    • Parodied in Nadesico's non-canonical-by-virtue-of-ontological-paradox Recap Episode (the explanation appears to be found in Framing Device nowadays):

Ruri: Mr. Yamada, aren't you...?
Gai: Relax! It's a guy thing.

  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure
    • Muhammed Avdol of the third part was shot in the head by Hol Horse (giving Polnareff a lesson about not being a selfish prick, and working together), but came back in a later chapter (where it was revealed that the bullet bounced off his skull). The kicker here is that he's killed off only a few chapters later by Dio's Dragon, Vanilla Ice.
    • Before him, in the second part, Stroheim blows himself up with a grenade in an attempt to kill Santana, who is crawling into his wounded leg. Some twenty chapters later, he returns as a cyborg.
  • Everyone in Sailor Moon is expected to die near or at the end of each arc, usually for the sake of being Team Cannon Fodder, but sometimes for an actual reason.
    • In the anime version Sailor Moon this only happens in the first and final seasons. All other seasons they just didn't die.
  • Tokyo Mew Mew takes a page from Sailor Moon and kills off the whole cast in the Grand Finale, only to bring them back with a single Mew Aqua and True Love's Kiss. (The latter was only for one person; otherwise, it would get really silly.)
  • The Bronze Saints in Saint Seiya seem to suffer from this, considering they "die" (or at least, they're dealt fatal blows) by the end of each saga. The series Hand Waves this by claiming that Athena can bring them back from the brink of death; however, Hades himself can reanimate the dead and turn them into Specters for his army.
    • There's also Ikki, Saint of PHOENIX. As his name implies, he keeps coming back all the time...only stronger.
  • The Book of Darkness, the Wolkenritter, and the corrupted self-defense program from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha are able to perform this repeatedly thanks to the Book's Rejuvenation Program. You can rip off their very life force and obliterate them without a trace using a weapon that distorts the fabric of time and space, but as long as the Rejuvenation Program is active, they will eventually be revived. The only known method to actually stop the Book of Darkness for good is to freeze it. No direct destruction will ever keep it from reappearing.
  • Ayanami Rei of Neon Genesis Evangelion. "I guess...I'm the third one."
  • Inuyasha
    • Kikyou was brought back from the dead early on, while still staying dead. She just had her soul transferred into a clay doll body instead.
    • Rin, Jaken, Kohaku and the Band of Seven. Only Rin and Jaken (and later Kohaku after his shard is removed) are really alive though, the rest are just kept "alive" by Shikon Jewel shards that if removed will make them die again instantly.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Yami Bakura does this twice:
    • In the Duelist Kingdom arc, he is defeated and sent to some sort of "Card Graveyard" dimension, seemingly at the mercy of the Reaper of the Cards. Somehow, he escapes and menaces the heroes again in the last episodes of the arc.
    • In the Battle City arc, he is defeated by Yami Marik and swallowed into darkness (taking regular Bakura with him, unfortunately); at the end of the arc, Ryu manages to return with no immediate sign of his dark side, but the Spirit reappears later as the final (sort of) antagonist of the series.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, practically the entire cast dies in Season Three, only to be randomly resurrected at the end of the arc, because they were just trapped in another dimension. Then there's Kaiser Ryo, who dies of heart failure but comes back later anyway under unexplained circumstances..
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's

Rex Godwin: Dark Signers are the souls of the dead who have awakened to their abilities. In other words, they are no longer of this world.

  • Happens in the Pokémon anime movie, Pokémon the First Movie. Mewtwo and Mew are duking it out and prepare to use their ultimate attacks when Ash steps in between them to stop the fight, only be hit by the attacks at the same time. He collapses and his body turns colorless. Pikachu tries to revive Ash with his electricity several times, but then realizes that Ash is dead. Pikachu begins to cry and then all the Pokemon and the clones begin to cry as well. The power of the Pokemon tears is what brings Ash back to life.
  • Much of the cast of Gantz usually die before their involvement in the story. If they die during a hunt, then someone could spend 100 points to bring them back.
  • In 07Ghost the main character's Heterosexual Life Partner Mikage is killed by the Big Bad to prove a point and is reincarnated as a baby dragon, apparently solely to alleviate the pain of his death. He has done nothing in the plot so far but sit on Teito's shoulder and look cute. And bite a couple of people.
  • Rosette Christopher from Chrono Crusade, using sheer willpower and a little help from Maria Magadalena, and probably guided by the Apostles to return to her body, just in time to give Aion a powerful shot that shatters his prized sword.
    • Mary herself counts, considering Aion killed her but she's later revealed to have been a ghost and watching over Chrono and Rosette the entire time.
  • Yu Yu Hakusho is rife with examples of this trope. Talking about how many times Yuusuke comes back from the dead wouldn't even be that full of spoilers (we're talking first episode here).
  • The aptly named Lifebringer in Mahou Sensei Negima. The exact mechanics are unknown as of yet, but its heavily implied that he's come back somehow.
  • Rosario + Vampire's Aono Tsukune takes this trope to the extreme. As he is a normal human with vampire energy attached to his human cells, he constantly dies from lethal attacks, in the sense that his heart beat stops, and comes back regenerating himself, usually in his most powerful, unstoppable form. In fact, one could say that the easiest way for him to attain his strongest power is simply by dying.
  • In the Death Note manga and anime, any human whose name is written into the Death Note is Killed Off for Real. In the manga pilot, however, there exists a "Death Eraser" that can restore them to life so long as their bodies haven't been cremated yet.
  • In the anime Daisuke Bu Bu Cha Cha, a toddler's pet dog comes back from the dead in the form of a toy car.
  • Gaara, Kakashi, Shizune, and many others in Naruto.
    • The crowning achievement award for this trope should go to the Naruto series, due to Kabuto's bringing back from the dead any Shinobi whose remains he could get his hands on, including such favorites as Haku and Zabuza. Those who wanted to see Jiraiya back to hope for a Jiraiya-Naruto bout have had their hopes crushed however...
    • A bit of explanation is needed here. For Gaara, someone with a special technique that was developed to bring life to a puppet as a black ops project. They found out that it cost the user his/her life, and the project was abandoned. Chiyo still knew the technique, and in the end she sacrificed her life to bring Gaara back. It was hinted at well ahead of time, avoiding an Ass Pull. As for Kakashi and that bunch, it was also hinted at long before it happened, and it was due to Fridge Brilliance, literal Deus Ex Machina (because the one doing the technique considered himself a god and was sitting on/using a machine. That also cost him his life. As for the last one, it's a forbidden technique that brings back the dead as servants to fight for the summoner, and even then they're not really alive.
  • Dragon Ball. Especially the Z series, to the point where Mr. Satan is the only character who hasn't died at least once.
  • In the Magic Knight Rayearth anime, Presea dies early in Season 1, but is revived by the beginning of Season 2, apparently by Princess Emeraude's final prayer. Subverted in that it is revealed that Presea was never revived, and the person posing as her is actually her twin sister. (In the manga, Presea never died, thus Presea was herself the whole time.) This was an Author's Saving Throw on the part of the production team, who thought they could safely kill off Presea, but were wrong.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Rossiu and some scientists bring back Lordgenome, the Big Bad of the first half, because his last words were vague enough to warrant further explanation. However, they bring him back only as an Oracular Head, hooked up to a computer, to prevent him from being a threat (even though he does do a genuine Heel Face Turn later on). And gets his body back, too.
  • Marco Owen in King of Thorn, who comes back to life through sheer willpower in order to protect Kasumi, and ignoring the Charon-like figure who tells him his body is in such a terrible state [1] that he's only going to die again. Thankfully though, Alice gives him a helping hand in that regard.
  • Angel Beats!: Everyone. Repeatedly.
    • This is both played straight and averted because everyone's dead at the start of the series and end of episode returns don't count toward the trope. It's played straight at the end however when Otonashi and Tenshi are seen back to life for real. We never find out what happens to the others.
  • In Fairy Tail the beloved little sister Lisana died two years before the story began. They found her body. They even buried it. Death by Origin Story was the only way you could die in Fairy Tail, at least until she turned out to just be alive elsewhere.
  • Yakushiji Tenzen from Basilisk. He shares his body with his twin brother, who comes forth only when Tenzen is wounded to heal his injuries. Tenzen survives death a total of four times, before Oboro cancels his resurrection technique with her doujutsu allowing the fifth one to be the final.
  • The 2018 revival of Roseanne does this for Dan, who allegedly had died during the "real" final season of the original run, after they revealed that the final season everyone saw was All Just a Dream... Or Was It a Dream? (Ironically, Roseanne herself was Killed Off for Real after Roseanne Barr was fired over a racist comment she posted on Twitter.)

Comic Books

  • Lampshaded in X-Factor, where Siryn gets the news that her father, Banshee, one of the X-Men, is dead. She simply doesn't believe it; the X-Men come Back from the Dead more than anyone else in the Marvel Universe (once the entire current team sacrificed themselves only to be resurrected at the end of the issue), so she's sure he's just pretending to be dead as part of some plan.
  • Lampshaded in Astonishing X-Men. After Kitty finds out that Colossus isn't really dead, she warns him that if he's a clone, robot, ghost, or from an alternate universe, she's okay with that, but if he's a shapeshifter or an illusionist, she'll kill him. Obviously, this happens a lot.
  • In The All-New Atom, when Jason Todd, Donna Troy and Ryan Choi go to a (most likely fake) Heaven, they meet Ted Kord, who comments, "The recidivism here is shocking. Sometimes I think me and Bruce Wayne's parents are the only ones with a permanent parking space." He also comments "And Jason Todd, too? Didn't you just get parole, like, the day before yesterday?"
  • A story arc of Fantastic Four doesn't even bother with the pretense. A few pages before the end of an issue, the Thing is killed; the cliffhanger of the issue is Sue receiving a call from Reed about how he intends to bring him back to life. Naturally, a few issues later, the Thing is back as usual.
  • Mr. Immortal's power is a parody of this; his only major power is that he will always come back to life a few seconds after dying.
  • And who can forget the classic storyline and graphic novel The Death of Superman? After "dying" in battle with the mindless monster Doomsday, four Doppelg?ers appear! Which one could be the real Superman?
    • Is it the mysterious black-and-blue colored Superman with the thick shades? Nope! He's a hyper-advanced clone/golem made from marble, controlled by the Eradicator, and powered by Superman's "corpse".
    • Is the half-Terminator Cyborg Superman the real deal? Nope! He's Hank Henshaw, the DCU equivalent of Reed Richards, using stolen genetic material and Kryptonian alloy stolen from Superman's birthing matrix. I mean rocket ship. Also, he's the only one who's actually evil.
    • Is the Metropolis Marvel Superboy who claims to be a clone the real deal? Nope! He's a... well, he's a clone of the real deal. And half his genetic material came, not from Superman, but from Lex Luthor. Weirdest parents ever.
    • Is the mysterious armored Steel the new Superman? Nope! He's John Henry Irons, the DCU equivalent of Iron Man, and never really claims to be the new Superman, though some reporters think he's the only one deserving of it.
    • So, in the end, Superman was actually resuscitated soon after his "death", spent some time in a coma, and eventually was woken up by androids. So nobody was Superman, Back From The Dead! Don't you love happy endings?
  • The writers of Amazing Spider-Man attempted to be edgy when they devoted a 12-part series that ran across multiple Spider-Man titles and ended with Peter Parker getting his eye ripped out by a vampiric villain before getting killed. Of course, no matter how much the creators of the arc attempted to convince the readers that Peter was truly dead, he ended up coming back with more organic powers, as well as a new suit built for him by Tony Stark.
  • Completely subverted (not to say stomped on) by Elf Quest. After One-Eye of the Wolfriders is killed in battle, Leetah the healer succeeds in reanimating him, but he is effectively brain-dead because his spirit has left his body. His lifemate Clearbrook has his body preserved in suspended animation in the hope of someday reviving him, but eventually decides to free his spirit completely by letting his body finally die.
  • In Journey Into Mystery (Thor after Thor had died at Onslaught's hands), the Norse gods discover they are targeted by Set, the Egyptian God of the Dead. They travel to his country and are attacked by two people Set's mooks had killed. They bring one, Red Norvell, back to the land of the living by the expedient of grabbing him and dragging him back with them.
  • Parodied in Peter David's Incredible Hulk. Rick Jones' fiancee Marlo is dead. He goes to Doctor Strange and points out that everyone in the room has returned from the dead.

Rick: Wong, have you returned from the dead?
Wong: Well, yes.
Rick: And Doc, have you come back from the dead?
Doctor Strange: Yes, but I AM a professional.

Eventually he asks the Leader to bring her back from the dead. And the Leader does.
  • In Incredible Hulk #434, following the death of Nick Fury at the Punisher's hands, several of Fury's old "Howling Commandos" buddies laugh, drink, and jokingly float numerous theories involving android duplicates, alien intervention, and the like until they reach the casket at the graveside. They're still sitting there speechless and shocked even after the rest of the attendees have left.
  • Depending on the Writer, Jean Grey's Phoenix powers fully manifest whenever she "dies". This has lead to her gaining Death Is Cheap as a reputation. However, most of her demises were merely plot devices to activate her powers, so it's debatable whether or not they count. Technically, she's only "died" twice.
  • Half the cast of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen were supposedly killed in the original novels.
  • In Preacher, Jesse's girlfriend, Tulip, is brutally murdered in front of him. God brings her back to life as a sort of a bribe, because He's scared of Genesis, which has taken up residence inside Jesse. God figures if He gives Jesse back his girlfriend, maybe he'll leave Him alone.
  • The comic Star Trek: Countdown, which ties into The Film of the Series Star Trek (2009) but is set many years after Star Trek: Nemesis, has the Enterprise commanded by Captain Data. Apparently, the scene at the end of Nemesis where B4 whistles Irving Berlin wasn't just an indication he'd picked up some of Data's personality traits, it was the first step of a complete Grand Theft Me.
  • Parodied in Too Much Coffee Man, where the eponymous character appears to be killed and resurrected so many in the span of a few minutes that his friends stop caring.
  • In The Warlord the villain Deimos kept coming back, but each time worse than before: first time he had the sword scar across his face; second time, his body was fused with the dog that killed him; third time he was a head on a hand; final time he was a skull in a magical golem body.
  • This is usually subverted in any Judge Dredd stories where previously killed characters return in later stories. In other words, they tend to be anything from a parallel dimension, an imperfect clone, a family descendant of the deceased character who is doing exactly what his/her parent used to do, a robotic replicant, etc. ... but NEVER actually turn out to be the original character back from the dead. Characters who have indeed returned from the dead in coordinance with this trope, however, include the Dark Judges (though, technically, they're already dead to begin with), the Angel Gang (except for Link Angel), and PJ Maybe.
  • Shade the Changing Man has the main character return from death numerous times, though never unscathed.
  • Terra from Teen Titans, with a catch. She never learned that she resurrected and believed a lie that she was an orphan who was changed into a replica of Terra. Thanks to this reason though, her infamous psychopathic personality changed into a true blue hero.
    • Actually, it turned out the real Terra truly was dead. The second Terra was revealed to be a member of an underground race called the Stratans, who decided to send out a liaison to the modern world in a guise people would've been familiar with, using DNA implants to make it look like Tara Markova came back. The Stratans admit this was a poorly thought out move considering what a sociopath Tara turned out to be, but It Got Worse when the Time Trapper got his hands on her and warped her memories.
  • Psylocke was fatally stabbed in an X-Men comic back in 2001. Fans raged against creator Chris Claremont for killing her off. But sure enough, in 2005, she returned to the X-Men, and was warmly welcomed back into their ranks, where she remains to this day.
  • BPRD agent Ben Daimio is introduced desperately cutting his way out of a body bag. We later find out that he and his entire platoon were killed by a jaguar demon in South America. Daimio was the only one who came back, due to the demon possessing part of his soul.
  • Actually a multiple media example, but Boba Fett first reappeared after being eaten by the Sarlaac in Dark Empire II and went on to appear in many, many, many stories after that.
  • Marvel badguy Mysterio has the misfortune of being resurrected by the power of poor editing. Learning he's dieing from side effects of his gadgets, he torments Daredevil before killing himself to deny Murdock closure. Unfortunately a comic released latter that same month featured him as a random Jobber. Rather than just say this comic took place before he killed himself, Marvel came up with increasingly convoluted reasons to explain it, forcing them to undo the death.
  • Thomas "Toro" Raymond, the sidekick of the original robot Human Torch, was killed in 1969 in Prince Namor the Sub-Mariner 14. A "Mr. Raymond" with flame powers appears in the final issues of Power Pack in 1991 with his last appearance telling us we haven't seen the last of him... before he's never seen or referenced again. In Avengers / Invaders 12 Bucky wishes him back to life from the 1969 death. The implication is that over 20 years Marvel simply forgot Raymond was dead (understandable in the pre-internet days, as the character was widely used in works set in the 1940s during those 20 years) then another 20 years latter forgot about this appearance (less understandable with the internet existing) and resurrected him with no mention of "Mr. Raymond".

Fairy Tales

  • In "The Death of Koshchei the Deathless", after Koshchei chops the hero into little pieces, throws them into a barrel, and throws the barrel into the sea, his brothers-in-law retrieve the barrel, use the Water of Death to put him back to together, and the Water of life to bring him back to life.
  • In Grimms' "Faithful John", John is turned to stone for explaining his apparently senseless behavior. The king and queen learn they can restore him by cutting the throats of their twin children and using the blood. After they do so, the revived Faithful John puts the children's head back and restores them to life.
  • In Grimms' "Brother and Sister", the Wicked Stepmother suffocates her (married) stepdaughter in a bathhouse and substitutes her own daughter. The stepdaughter comes back as a ghost and is magically restored.
  • In Grimms' "Fitcher's Bird", the heroine restores her sisters after they have been hacked to pieces.
  • In Grimms' "The Juniper Tree", after the stepson has been killed and cooked by his Wicked Stepmother, eaten by his father, and had his bones buried by his half-sister, he comes back as a bird. After killing his stepmother, he comes back to life as a boy.
  • In "The Three Citrons", after a slave murders the heroine with a hairpin, she returns as a dove; when the slave has her killed and cooked, she returns again in human form.
  • In "The Golden Mermaid", after the envious older brothers beat their younger brother to death, the golden mermaid revives him with the advice of a talking fox.

Fan Works


Spock: She doesn't know... (after mind-melding with Lt. Valeris)
Scotty: Then we're dead.
Spock: I've been dead before.

  • Parodied in The Truman Show, in which Truman's "father"—who was long ago written out of Truman's "life"—has become such a pest in trying to get himself back onto the show in that he's even managed to get Truman questioning the nature of his reality, thus forcing the producers to write him back into the show. When questioned as to how the heck they intend to explain away the fact that he is now back the dead, the director—obviously winging it—blurts out "Amnesia."
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen offers a double whammy of this, although one is only suggested, presumably as a setup for a sequel that never got made. First, the villain of the movie turns out to be Professor Moriarty, nemesis of Sherlock Holmes, who everybody thought got killed at Reichenbach Falls a few years before the time of the film. Then, at the absolute end of the movie, a witch doctor is performing a ritual at the grave of Allan Quatermain, the League's leader, and the skies darken and the ground trembles. This was the supposed sequel set-up.
  • Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (Again!)
  • In addition to the title undead, The Mummy Trilogy gives us an instance of a character, Evie, being brought Back from the Dead thanks to her son's ability to read ancient Egyptian.
  • Played hilariously straight (though unintentionally) by Space Mutiny. A woman is dragged to the Big Bad by Random Mooks and shot dead. The next scene shows our heroes discovering the body and tailing the bad guys golf-kart. The next scene shows the same woman typing in the background as an extra.
    • That's not "back from the dead", that's "worst continuity ever"
  • The film Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack has the original 1954 Godzilla resurrected by the vengeful spirits of the forgotten soldiers who died in WWII.
  • Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen has it happen thrice in the same movie. First with Megatron, who died at the end of the first movie. Then with Optimus Prime, who is killed after fighting Megatron, Starscream and Grindor and Megatron stabs (and blasts) him from behind. He is resurrected later so he can go kick The Fallen's ass. Then Sam, who temporarily goes to robot heaven, so he can save Optimus.
  • Lampshaded in Soap Dish, in which the assistant producer wants to irritate the main star so badly that she'll quit (so the second banana "actress" will sleep with him), so he decides to bring back an actor the main star didn't like who was Killed Off for Real twenty years earlier. The head writer, played by Whoopi Goldberg, points out that they can't bring him back, he was killed off in a spectacularly grisly fashion: "I went back to the archives and re-read the old scripts to be sure. He was decapitated in a car accident! He has no head! How do I write dialog for an actor without a head?"
  • From Sherlock Holmes, Lord Blackwood, after being hanged and declared dead by Dr. Watson, comes back from the dead and wrecking fear and panic all across England. He had actually faked his death.
  • The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat, the 1974 sequel to the 1972 animated adaptation of Robert Crumb's underground comic, depicts several scenarios in which the title character ends up dying in one way or another, although most of these seem to be hallucinations. Crumb killed off the character in the comic "Fritz the Cat, Superstar", released in response to the film in 1972.
  • In the ending of the J-Horror film Tomie Vs Tomie, Tomie was reborn in a disturbingly gruesome way when the male protagonist consumed his girlfriend's ashes out of deep love and Tomie regenerated within his stomach and climbed out of his belly, killing him.
  • Halloween‍'‍s Michael Myers seems to die at the end of every Halloween movie, only to come back in the sequels. Whether he is shot multiple times, set on fire, thrown down a mineshaft, blown to smithereens, run over by a car, etc. he just keeps coming back.
    • Admittedly, this was intentional on the makers' behalf. Not counting the first film, they always made sure to "kill off" Michael just in case one of the movies bombed and didn't warrant a sequel. They didn't count on the franchise's popularity, which ended up spawning eight movies and two remakes.
  • Ripley in Alien Resurrection (it's in the title, even), through the miracle of cloning.

Distephano: I thought you were dead.
Ripley: Yeah, I get that a lot.

  • Rebel Leader Karakol in City of Craftspeople. And he even isn't a hunchback anymore...
  • Flynn Rider/Eugene Fitzherbert from Tangled

]]. From the time that he says in the opening, "This is the story of how I died," it only leaves the viewer guessing until the climatic part, when he is fatally stabbed In the Back by Mother Gothel's dagger and, rather than let Rapunzel risk her freedom for his life, cuts off her hair with a broken mirror shard in a Heroic Sacrifice before breathing his last in her arms. Thankfully, Rapunzel's magic tear brings him back to life. This is justified, since in the original tale, Rapunzel healed her beloved prince's eyesight with her tear.


  • Neil Gaiman examples:
    • American Gods: Laura is revived by a magical coin placed in her grave, but you wouldn't call her exactly alive.
    • Neverwhere: The Marquis de Carabas was Killed Off for Real but had the foresight to arrange his resurrection in advance, letting him come back with useful information because people talk in front of the dead.
  • In Kay Hooper's Hiding in the Shadows, Faith comes out of her coma with what everyone thinks is Trauma-Induced Amnesia, a few weeks after her friend Dinah disappears. Both of them have Psychic Powers. Turns out that Faith was Dead All Along within her coma, and the reason why she doesn't remember her former life is because dead Dinah took over her empty body, and it just takes her awhile to realize who she is now. This smacks of trying to make the romance between Faith and Dinah's boyfriend Kane less creepy, but...yeah.
  • Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time, because it deals with a Reincarnation mythos, has an interesting variation on this trope: people who die don't stay dead (if they serve the Dark One), but return to life in entirely new bodies. So not only does the reader get to engage in the guessing game of "who did this new character used to be", and in at least one case a fun Gender Bender takes place, this also means that none of the other characters will recognize the resurrected Forsaken. A side example is the case of balefire, which instead of resurrecting a dead character, changes the timeline so that they never died in the first place. This becomes an important plot point later.
  • In Julie Kenner's Kate Connor, Demon Hunter books, Kate's first husband Eric (another demon hunter) has died before the start of the series... but he manages to bring himself back in another guy's body. This is awkward for Kate because she adores/adored Eric, but has remarried and had another kid in the time it took him to come back.
  • In William King's Warhammer 40,000 Space Wolf novel Grey Hunters, the point of the Chaos ritual at the climax was to bring back all the Thousand Sons Chaos Space Marines, including their primarch.
  • George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire has had a few characters engaging in post-demise activity. Interestingly, the ones whose resurrection is most straightforward return in whatever state they were in when they died, to the point that one resurrected character, Catelyn Stark, is referred to by fans as unCat since her resurrection.
  • Vampires on Terry Pratchett's Discworld are very good at this. A drop of blood will bring them back from dust, a fact a vampire photographer whose (flash) photos often kill him takes advantage of by wearing a glass vial of blood that immediately breaks and brings him back (see The Truth). The elder Count de Magpyre is mentioned as coming "back from the dead so many times he had a revolving lid".
  • The Lord of the Rings: Gandalf certainly fits this, along with certain other death tropes. He even falls into an abyssal pit and everything, so nobody actually sees what happened next. And not only does he get sent back to the living world, he's sent back superpowered. Well, more superpowered. Being a lesser god means that maybe he cannot be Killed Off for Real to begin with.
    • It's implied that Gandalf really was dead (as in "pass out of Eä the same way as Men" dead) and that it took the intervention of Eru to send him back.
    • In The Silmarillion, Beren is killed by a werewolf, and Luthien dies of despair... only to ask Mandos himself to bring Beren and herself back to life though a song. Mandos agrees, however this is at the cost of Luthien's immortality, so she and Beren are returned to Middle-Earth as humans.
  • While D&D has its share of resurrections, Manshoon of Forgotten Realms invented new one. His unique Stasis Clone spell ensured his continuous existence despite insufficient caution. That is, as long as he cared to steer clear of few people who has power to strip him of this convenience.
  • At the end of the most recent book in The Pendragon Adventure series, this happens to every single traveler that has died over the course of the series, including a few that had died just a few chapters before.
  • Both Tasslehoff Burrfoot and Raistlin Majere in Dragonlance. being literally crushed under the heel of a Cosmic Horror isn't enough to put the kender down for good, and as for Raistlin, being killed by the goddess Takhisis and eternally tormented, only to first come back temporarily to chat to his nephew, to, after returning to that afterlife, coming back again sans magic to save the world and then to die again, this time promising that he will move on to the afterlife and never come back, and then to come back a third time to lead the gods back to Krynn, and promise, once more, that this time he's not coming back. We can only hope.
  • Voltaire's Candide uses this trope out the wazoo. Almost the entire cast is killed off and brought back to life at least once.
  • David Zindell's Silver Sword. Alphanderry comes back as an amorphous energy being after his Heroic Sacrifice and gradually returns to just like he used to be. On the other hand, Valashu dies and is brought back on the next page good as ever.
  • In Atlanta Nights, one character dies midway through the story only to show up in one of the last chapters. Given the amount of Anachronic Order going on it's not that jarring, but then it becomes obvious that this chapter has to take place after the one where he died. And then he dies again.
  • Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story The Hour of the Dragon opens with a reviving of Xaltotun.

"And the priests who poisoned you mummified your body with their dark arts, keeping all your organs intact!" exclaimed Orastes. "But now you live again! The Heart of Ahriman has restored your life, drawn your spirit back from space and eternity."

  • In Warrior Cats, leaders have nine lives, so they can come back multiple times. However, Cinderpelt and Heavystep come back from the dead as well.
  • At the end of the Dresden Files novel Ghost Story, Dresden is brought back to life by Queen Mab and Demonreach. (Exactly how dead he was is open to debate, as it turns out that Mab and Demonreach had been keeping his body on magical life support while his soul was running around separate from it, but it's close enough for the trope regardless.) A large portion of the story prior to that also revolves around him trying to stop a villain he killed in a previous book from finding a way back to the world of the living.
  • Happens again and again and again to Duncan Idaho in Frank Herbert's Dune sextet. The first time, it's the original body revivified and with its memories (eventually) returned by a healthy dose of Phlebotinum. Most if not all of the subsequent Idahos are clones grown from a cell line. The last thing the remember when their memories are restored to them is the death of the original, from whose body the cell line was taken. Depending on who does the memory restoration, how, and what happens afterwards, their personality development ranges from degeneration into psychosis and treason (most of them die attempting to assassinate their near-immortal and almost invulnerable boss) to (in one case and arguably two) something integrated and more or less healthy.
  • Sherlock Holmes, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, presumably died in "The Adventure of the Final Problem" (1891) and reappeared in "The Adventure of the Empty House"—as "the Great Hiatus" (1894).
  • The Tortall Universe has Alanna having killed Duke Rodger right after she was made a knight but Alanna's arrogant brother Thom, in an effort to prove to the haughty Lady Delia of Eldorne that he is the strongest and most powerful sorcerer in the realm, has raised Lord Roger from the dead.
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has the Resurrection Stone, which allows the holder to communicate with the dead. According to the fairy tale concerning the origin of the Deathly Hallows, using the Resurrection Stone drove its original owner, Cadmus Peverell, to commit suicide after seeing his deceased fiancée but being unable to be truly with her.
  • In John C. Wright's Chronicles of Chaos, the children can be brought back to life by differing means: for Victor, you just have to restore whatever was broken to kill him; for Quentin, you have to stuff his spirit back inside his body. This is a function of Mutually Exclusive Magic.
  • In Devon Monk's Dead Iron, Jeb Lindson has already come back twice at the begining. LeFel invokes the Rule of Three to argue that he should stay dead this time.

Live-Action TV

  • The Tonight Show: During the Johnny Carson era, a Carson Players skit humorously played up the concept in a spoof of the era's E.F. Hutton & Co. commercials. (The commercials for the stock brokerage firm usually had two people having a conversation and one of them would remark that their broker was E.F. Hutton; that caused everyone around them to stop all conversation to listen to him. Following would be the firm's tag line: "When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen."). The skit had two people gathering at a funeral visitation when the conversation turned to finances. Once the young man said "E.F. Hutton," all conversation stopped and began to listen ... even the corpse (Carson), who sat up in his casket(!) to hear what the professional had to say.
    • That could have been Tommy Newsome instead. He once played a dead guy in a coffin for one of the Tea Time Movie skits.
  • Stargate SG-1-
    • Apophis is Killed Off for Real in "Serpent's Song", only to come Back from the Dead in "Jolinar's Memories". He is killed again, but manages to return in the Alternate Universe created in "Moebius".
    • In the episode where Apophis dies the first time, the Stargate team turn his dead body over to his enemy Sokar in order to keep Sokar from attacking Stargate Command. Just as they do so, one character notes that Sokar can resurrect Apophis an unlimited number of times so that he can keep torturing and killing him. In all likelihood, Apophis died dozens of times off-screen.
    • In SG-1, Lieutenant Kowalski is killed in the second episode. Whenever an Alternate Universe is visited, we are treated to a counterpart of his, who proceeds to die again (except for one time).
    • In SG-1, Daniel Jackson has come Back from the Dead (twice through Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence and later becoming mortal again, the other times through Applied Phlebotinum) so much it's now a Running Gag. One time it happened, it was pointed out that he's been missing for weeks, and the Replicator ship he was definitely on exploded in the middle of space. O'Neill's response? "I'm not buying it." And Daniel shows up alive and well (but naked) by the end of the episode. This video provides some good data on how many deaths he's had.

"Doctor Jackson is going to die when he sees this" - "What, again?"

      • Though the one time he was given a funeral he actually wasn't really dead, it was the first season and they hadn't caught on yet.
    • Jackson even manages to turn it into a sort of Badass Boast. Someone asks if he'll ever stop fighting, and he responds, "Not till I'm dead." Then after a beat, adds, "Sometimes not even then."
  • My Mother the Car, in which the main character's mother is reincarnated as an old car.
  • Averted three times, with three of the principal characters, in American Gothic: in the very first episode, Merlyn Temple is murdered by Sheriff Lucas Buck—but we see her as a ghost immediately in the very same episode and she remains around as Caleb's Spirit Advisor for the rest of the series; Caleb himself later dies after an electrocution accident, but is immediately resuscitated by Sheriff Buck's powers; and in the penultimate episode of the series, Buck is seemingly killed and buried (after being stabbed in the third eye, only to see his eyes pop open in the coffin just before the credits roll. (He isn't dug up until the series finale, however.)
  • John Sheridan from Babylon 5. (Complete with the Monty Python and the Holy Grail reference, "I got better.")
  • Buffyverse examples: Buffy was dead for nearly five months at the conclusion of Season 5 but she was brought back my Willow's magic, Angel after Season 2 was brought back from hell, Spike (Heroic Sacrifice in the last episode of Buffy, returned as a ghost on Angel). Many Buffyverse characters were Killed Off for Real, though, sometimes despite efforts to bring them back supernaturally (Joyce Summers and Tara; Whedon actually did once plan to resurrect the latter, though). Angel also did a Lampshade Hanging on this trope in the episode "Shells," in which Angel and Spike talk about how in "their world", dead doesn't always mean dead. The trope is subverted in the same episode, as it's made clear that even though Fred's body is being used by the demon goddess Illyria, Fred can't be brought back by supernatural means as one might expect (the writers did plan on eventually splitting them apart though, had the series not been denied a sixth season).
  • Villains of Farscape made a habit of dying and then coming back for more. One villain, Durka, came back twice until Rygel took his head off and stuck it on a scepter.
    • Especially Scorpius, with a nice callback to Durka.

Crichton: (to Scorpius) Kryptonite, silver bullet, Buffy. What's it gonna take to keep you in the grave?
D'Argo: Perhaps we should just take your head off. Worked for Durka.

  • Prison Break, Sarah is decapitated in the second ("SONA") season, then magically is alive in the fourth season. This was because Sarah Wayne Callies, the actress, quit the show before the second season, then two years later changed her mind.
  • The all-time king of Back from the Dead is Murdoc, MacGyver‍'‍s Arch Nemesis, who died at the end of (almost) every episode in which he appeared, usually by falling off a cliff and exploding while shouting an enraged "MacGyver!"
  • In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, a small percentage of the Trill species carries an extremely long-lived symbiote, which, upon death, is passed to another eligible Trill. This happens to the Dax symbiote in the very first episode of the series, when it is passed from old man Curzon to main to Jadzia and when Jadzia Dax is Killed Off for Real in the sixth season finale, the Dax symbiote comes Back From the Dead as Ezri at the end of the seventh season premiere, thus making them half Back from the Dead, half Suspiciously Similar Substitute, with just a hint of The Nth Doctor thrown in for good measure.
  • Supernatural
    • John Winchester (played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan) pulls this off by dying in the season 2 opener "In My Time of Dying", and then charging out of the gates of hell in the season finale.
    • This happens a lot in the show. Mary Winchester makes an appearance in "Home" and "What is and What Should Never Be." Jess also comes back for the latter episode. To be fair, this is a show about the supernatural.
    • Dean died in the season 3 finale and got dragged into hell when his deal was up despite Sam's best efforts to save him. He was back next season dragged out of hell by an angel.
    • Sam died in "All Hell Breaks Loose", instigating Dean's deal, and later causing his death at the end of the next season. Luckily, he got better. In season 4 episode "In the Beginning", it is revealed that John was killed by Azazel before he and Mary were ever married, and that Mary's deal to bring him back was the cause of both her death and Sam's part in the demon's plan. This means every male member of the Winchester family has died and come back at least once. Some family! Sam and Dean have each come back from the dead about a half dozen times a piece (not counting Deans dying about 100 times in one episode), as Ash so eloquently put it: "You boys die more than anyone I've ever meet."
    • And as of 5x18, Adam is now included in this group, meaning that even illegitimate Winchesters somehow manage to pull this off.
    • As of Season 6, their grandfather Samuel Campbell pulls off the same trick. Guess even Mary's side of the family has the immortal males gene.
  • Frequently done on Soap Operas. Sometimes the audience knows while other characters don't, other times, everyone is clueless. While this is typically limited to certain types of deaths—plane crashes, explosions, drownings, an especially egregious example is that of a woman who clearly died in her husband's arms after being shot, yet was resurrected a few years later. Another example would be Den Watts in Eastenders who was Killed Off for Real (with a gun concealed in a bunch of daffodils) only to be brought back years later as a Ratings stunt.
  • The main character of Pushing Daisies has this power. He can touch someone and bring them back the dead for one minute—any longer, and someone in random proximity dies in their place. Chuck, his childhood sweetheart, was the one he didn't want to send back. He could never touch her again or she'd be gone for good because the dead are meant to remain that way.
  • In series 8 of Red Dwarf the dead crew members are rebuilt by nanobots
  • In The Brittas Empire Gordan Brittas is crushed by a falling water tank and goes to heavan but is returned to life on Earth because St Peter considers him to annoying to stay in heaven but not bad enough to go to hell
  • In an episode of Nip Tuck, Julia's mother dies in a plane crash. When looking through the bodies, Julia finally finds the unidentifiably charred, but still human-shaped, remains of her mother. Suddenly, the body takes a huge gasp. Terrified, and knowing the woman will not have much a chance at survival anyway, Julia smothers her with a pillow. Later, she enters her apartment, where her mother has been sitting safe and sound all along, as she decided not to take the plane today.
  • A number of characters on Lost have been seen walking around the island, or even off of it, despite having very clearly died. The most notable is Christian Shephard, who died before the series began, and whose body also disappeared from his coffin.
    • Directly subverted when The Man In Black steals Locke's body and begins masquerading as him, causing everyone, including viewers, to think that the same thing happened to Locke.
    • Charlie technically dies in an early episode after being hanged by Ethan Rom, but is resuscitated by a determined Jack.
    • Mikhail is killed multiple times.
    • In a final season arc, Sayid is resuscitated by the water of the Temple.
  • Jordan Collier (like those initials?) from The 4400.
  • Bobby in Dallas. Resolved by making an entire season turn out to be a dream How original.
  • In Due South, Benton Fraser's dead father, Bob Fraser, proved so popular that he returned to the show as a spirit guide to his son—albeit an irritatingly unhelpful one. In a later season, Fraser Sr. even sets up an extradimensional office in Fraser's office closet.
  • And then, there's Jamie Sommers. In her debut episode in The Six Million Dollar Man, she suffers a cerebral clot during her debut mission, goes berserk, and dies at the end of the episode. Popularity Power, however, made ABC to do some Executive Meddling to retcon this death so that the characters in the show would work on a way to repair the clot while Jamie is kept in suspended animation. She, however, suffered amnesia as a side effect of fixing the clot, thus she and titular Six Million Dollar Man, Steve Austin were unable to resume their relationship until the 1987 reunion movie, where an explosive accident cured her of her amnesia.
  • Star Trek: Voyager. This trope is homaged in the Flash Gordon-homage holodeck program "The Adventures of Captain Proton!", when Proton runs into henchman Lonzak.

Lonzak: "Surprised? You thought I'd perished in that den of crocodiles! I SURVIVED! CLINGING to the thought that I would ONE DAY Arrrgh!" (Proton zaps him with his raygun)

  • Witchblade the television show had one of these per season: Danny in season one and Kenneth Irons in season two. In both cases the character was clearly dead, but stuck around all season in a less concrete capacity.
  • Done to death (no pun intended) in the 5th season of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. First, Iolaus was dead, then he was a ghost in a cave in Ireland, then an avatar for Dahak the Evil God, then a "Guardian of the Light", then a jester from an alternative universe until he became a merman then alive for real.
  • An episode of The Twilight Zone has two con men who go from town-to-town with one of them claiming he can raise the dead. Which he does by having his partner rise up from a grave in the town cemetery. The con occurs when many of the locals realize that they didn't like many of the now deceased, and would prefer that they stay dead, and pay off the supposed necromancer. As with the typical twist ending of this series, the two men leave town, not knowing that they really did raise the dead, who now announce they have scores to settle, e.g. a huge woman is going to go home and break her widower's arm, a gunslinger is going to kill the man who shot him in the back, etc.
  • In the Tales from the Crypt episode "Dig That Cat...He's Real Gone", the main character has a gland from a cat's brain implanted. He then gains the cat's 9 lives, and his benefactor and him do carnival shows where he dies but the gland brings him back. Eventually, he kills his benefactor. Then he goes to perform his final trick. But, after being buried alive in an airtight coffin, with a candle flickering out, he remembers the cat died once to get the gland---so this is his last life and he isn't coming back. Cue screams of panic as the candle goes out..
  • In the original pilot episode of ER, Julianna Margulies' character Carol Hathaway overdoses on pills and alcohol. Although she's technically still alive at the end of the episode, the other characters dialogue indicate that her chances of survival are slim. This was the original plan, but the actress proved popular with test audiences, who were also intrigued at the hints of a relationship with Doug Ross. Therefore, in the second non-pilot episode, she is back and recovering from her "suicide attempt."
  • The X-Files loves this trope; only very few characters actually stay dead.
    • Most notably is Mulder himself. After being abducted during the season 7 finale, he is returned dead in late season 8. The next episode finds him actually alive inside his coffin, thanks to an alien virus.
    • This same alien virus is what allows Billy Miles to return to life, too. He goes from being a bloated, drowned human to an invincible Super Soldier as a result of the virus.
    • Robert Patrick Modell ("Pusher") was shot at point blank range by Mulder, and it was stated clearly that he would not regain consciousness before dying. He comes back for revenge in season 5.
    • Both Monica Reyes and Scully are pronounced brain dead at different points in the series, only to emerge from their respective comas healthy.
    • The Cigarette Smoking Man, too, died, only to resurface in the series finale.
    • Jeffery Spender was shot at point-blank range in the face, and for all indications, has died. He makes a reappearance in the final season horribly disfigured.
    • Agent Doggett was killed by a shotgun blast at nearly point blank range only to come back after a creature ate him to life.
    • An alternate universe Doggett died in order to restore the original universe Doggett and Reyes to life (who had had her throat cut)
    • Walter Skinner died in Vietnam when his unit was ambushed. He later woke up in a hospital having witnessed his body on the ground as well as his friends.
  • Torchwood pulls this one quite a bit too, though sometimes not quite in the manner the audience is hoping for.
    • The team leader Jack Harkness is killed on a regular basis and often proclaimed dead-at-the-scene but fortunately for him it never sticks.
    • Owen Harper is killed halfway through series two and is resurrected using the Risen Mitten. Unfortunately he comes back as an unbreathing, unconsuming, un-you-know-what-ing effective zombie. He is not pleased. He also temporarily plays portal for the Grim Reaper to invade the Earth and start hunting down the people of Cardiff. Also Owen will spend the rest of the series as a walking corpse.
    • At the conclusion of Torchwood: Miracle Day, Rex gains Jack's healing ability.
  • Several times in Star Trek: The Original Series. Ambiguously in Charlie X, after several people wiped out of existence by the titular Reality Warper are brought back.
    • In "Return To Tomorrow", Spock is killed twice (once in spirit, once in body) to ensure the eradication of a malevolent alien that has possessed him, and then returned to life by Sufficiently Advanced Aliens of the same species.
    • The Changeling kills Scotty, and then 'repairs the unit' after Kirk expresses his displeasure.
    • What Are Little Girls Made Of gives us Doctor Roger Korby, a scientist that used Alien Tech to make an android clone of himself as he was dying. The episode ending is ambiguous on this point, as android!Korby commits suicide when he realizes he is no longer human, and Kirk says later that Roger Korby had already died before they arrived.
    • In By Any Other Name, the aliens can turn people into lifeless cubes of gray chalk, which can be reconstituted—as long as they stay in one piece.
  • Power Rangers Lost Galaxy: Kendrix Morgan (the season's first Pink Ranger), who had left the show via Dying Moment of Awesome when her actress had to leave to undergo leukemia treatments, is brought back to life at the end when returning the Quasar Sabers to the stone restores the people of Mirinoi. This was done to acknowledge the success of the treatments.
  • Gamel and Mezool were the first of the Greeed in Kamen Rider OOO to be killed. However, Uva, outnumbered and outgunned against Kazari, farms a massive amount of Cell Medals and retrieves several of their Core Medals in order to bring them back to life. Comically, Gamel doesn't really seem to notice he died and came back to life, being too focused on finding candy.
  • Becoming an Orphnoch is usually what this trope entails in Kamen Rider Faiz. When someone dies, there is a very slim chance that the person will be revived as an Orphnoch.
  • Doctor Who has made a career on this, exclusive of The Doctor himself, who, conveniently enough, has his own trope.
    • Outside of mere regeneration, there have been numerous times where The Master has seemingly been Killed Off for Real and come back for more. At least twice (Anthony Ainley's Master and John Simm's Master) the body has been assumed to have been burned to ashes, and yet there that particular incarnation was again for more mischief.
    • Peri was stated to have been killed by King Yrcanos during the Trial of a Time Lord arc. Later in the same arc, it's stated that she survived and married Yrcanos.
    • Steven Moffat pulled a coup by essentially having the entire known universe come back from not only exploded, but erased from all history. This included Rory, who was killed in a previous episode, erased from history and replaced with an Auton clone, then brought back as a human properly in a rebooted universe.
  • In Father Ted, Father Jack 'died', and left a substantial estate to Fathers Ted and Dougal. Either out of respect, or tradition, or as a condition of the will, they spent the night in the crypt with Father Jack's body. In the middle of the night, Father Jack comes back to life. It was later determined that Father Jack appeared to die because he had drunk too much Toilet Duck.
  • Happens multiple times to Kim on Eureka. First she comes back from the dead, only for Carter to realize that Henry had time travelled to save her from dying the first place. Second, she comes back from the dead only to be sentient AI that had adopted her form.
  • The Fades does this with Paul. After he's hit by a truck and left effectively braindead, his family make the decision to switch off his life support—after which his body spectacularly resurrects itself, firmly establishing him as The Chosen One.


  • Blaze Ya Dead Homie, according to his lyrics, is a reincarnated gangsta rapper from the 1980s, which is why much of his music sounds like late-1980s gangsta rap.
  • Insane Clown Posse refers to this a number of times, including the song "12" and a brief reference in "Piggie Pie" ("Axe in hand / I rose from the dead")
  • The entire premise of the Schoolyard Heroes song "Cat Killer"

Well I don't know what you think
I think I know how this ends
I saw this in a movie once
While hanging with sofa friends
A pet dies and comes back to life
He gets gross as he kills everything in sight

Oral Tradition, Folklore, Myths and Legends

  • The Bible has several:
    • Jesus, the one that everyone knows even if they're only Theme Park Scholars.
    • Lazarus, resurrected by Jesus.
    • According to the Book of Revelations, this will happen with everyone after The End of the World as We Know It.
    • The prophet Elijah performed one and Elisha did two, one posthumously.
    • In Ezekiel 37:1-3, Ezekiel is shown a vision of an entire army brought back to life with just their scattered bones for a starting point.
  • Dionysus (known to the Romans as Bacchus) from Classical Mythology pulls this one off as a baby in the Cretan version of the myth (which has Dionysus as the son of Zeus and Persephone, not Semele). Hera in a subversion of Infant Immortality sends the Titans to kill Dionysus as a baby, which they do, eating all but his heart. Zeus plants the heart in Semele's womb, where it grows back into the infant Zeus.
  • In Norse Mythology, Balder and his blind brother Hod—who were both killed prior to the events of Ragnarok—will be resurrected After the End.
  • In Classical Mythology, before Sisyphus 'died', he told his wife not to do any burial rites. Then, when in the Underworld, he appealed to the queen of the underworld, Persephone, and asked if he could go back up to earth to haunt his wife for not giving him the proper rites. She agreed and he came back from the dead.
  • The god Osiris in Egyptian Mythology. He was killed and dismembered by Seth and the parts of his corpse were scattered all over the world. Then Osiris's wife Isis gathered the parts of her husband and resurrected him.

Professional Wrestling

  • The Undertaker has been killed and brought back to life lord know how many times in all the years he's been around.


  • Just as Douglas Adams made the ultimate Kill'Em All in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, a radio play pulled a very big Back from the Dead: the series' multiverse.

Tabletop Games

  • As in many Tabletop Games trends, Dungeons & Dragons popularized death as a minor setback by giving players access to the Raise Dead and Resurrection spells. Many other tabletop games follow suit. Fourth Edition takes the cake, giving higher level characters abilities whose descriptions start with "Once per day, when you die..."
  • In Promethean: The Created, it's possible for the titular Prometheans to come back from the dead once if their Azoth is high enough. The Osirans actually have the special ability to come back multiple times (but they have to buy the ability up again with experience points once it's used—other lineages can also buy this ability, but it's more expensive for them. Said ability can also be used to revive others... but it's costly, and gets more costly each time you bring someone back from the dead after the first).
    • Also in the New World of Darkness,there are the Sin-Eaters from "Geist: The Sin Eaters", whose character starts by coming back from death. Even if you destroy their bodies after you kill them, they COME BACK. They just won't stay dead. Every time they come back, they become more and more insane, and somebody else dies a horrible death in their place to keep the balance.
    • A substantial portion of World of Darkness characters are undead, so...
    • And then we have one of Malleus Maleficarum's Benediction from Hunter: The Vigil. Boon of Lazarus allows you to raise someone from the dead. Unlike the Promethean example above, they are restored to fully human status. Unlike the Geist example above, no one will die to balance Death's books. In a setting where most deaths are supposedly final, this is the only true resurrection power. That said, dying is a traumatic experience regardless, and the resurrectee would gain a derangement as a result.
  • This is generally how Abyssals get Exalted: their Deathlord comes to them on their death bed and offers them a second chance at life. Thing is, most of them aren't told what that second chance entails...
  • Magic: The Gathering has this as a specialty of Black aligned abilities, and to a lesser extent White as well. The main difference being that White's resurrection abilities are usually associated with Angels somehow, and only affect your dead creatures, whereas black can resurrect it's opponent's dead creatures as well, and is typically flavoured towards Zombification.


Video Games

  • From Marathon, the player killed Durandal at his request so he could escape being tortured by Tycho. After Durandal is killed, his data is stored in a secure quarantine that could not be escaped, according to Tycho. However, this is all part of Durandal's Thanatos Gambit. He later carves the phrase "Fatum Iustum Stultorum" (The just fate of fools) in thousand mile long letters in Lh'Owon's moon.
    • The other Marathon AI, Leela, as well as the Pfhor and S'pht races come back from the dead in the games' epilogues.
  • The epitome of Back From The Dead would be Dracula, who has been killed continuously in movies, novels, and shows. In the Castlevania video games, Dracula has been resurrected over 20 times!
  • Speaking of vampires, the Count of Groundsoaking Blood in Boktai and a similar counterpart, ShadeMan.EXE in Mega Man Battle Network 4 just refuse to die. Both have been victims to a Pile Driver (which is supposed to utterly wipe all trace of a vampire's existence) at least twice, once in their own game, once in the other (and the Count even gets a third one in the JP-only Boktai 3), and both were blasted into oblivion via MegaMan.EXE's Megabuster. It's assumed that even that didn't kill ShadeMan.EXE, only the utter obliteration of all Dark Chips.
  • Bowser, while he rarely truly 'dies' in a game, played this trope straight in New Super Mario Bros.. Mario/Luigi drops him into lava, and watches his flesh burn and melt off of him in an uncharacteristically gruesome manner. He appears again later, resurrected as a skeleton by his son, who eventually also completely restores him to a bigger, badder form.
  • In the Quest for Glory series, the final confrontation with Ad Avis in the second game has him plummeting off the railing. Good news is that the fall kills him. Bad news is that he rises from the grave a vampire Hellbent on revenge. And in the final chapter of the series, the hero can ressurect one out of two people from Hades.
  • The Lucasarts Adventure Game The Dig features a ruined alien civilization so advanced that they could even bring the dead back to life using 'life crystals', which becomes a central point of the story, as it turns out there's more to the crystals than just resurrection...
  • When sentient beings die in Final Fantasy X, their souls must be Sent to the Farplane (by a Summoner or a Yevon priest with similar spiritual abilities) lest they become Fiends. However, those with sufficient strength of will can resist either fate, and roam the world as Unsent: "people" that are, for all intents and purposes, dead, but retain a physical shape and can interact with others as though they were alive. Such is the case with Seymour, after being killed at Macalania Temple, Auron, who was killed by Yunalesca ten years prior, the Yevon High Clergy, and Belgemine. Ostensibly, Yunalesca is also an Unsent.
  • The protagonist of Gungrave was murdered by his best friend thirteen years prior to the beginning of the game. He was revived as a product of necrolization—technology that resurrects the dead as immortal and nearly unstoppable super soldiers. Returning from "Beyond the Grave" (which is also now his new name), he was brought back to exact revenge on his former friend and the organization that betrayed him.
  • Final Fantasy IV seems to kill and resurrect its characters more often (and more improbably) than the novel Candide. In particular, one character jumps out of an airship with a nuke strapped to his chest and detonating it in mid-air in order to seal up a giant hole in the ground, replacing it with a mountain range. You'd think he'd be killed by 1) the fall, 2) being crushed by thousands of tons of rock, or 3) being right at the center of a nuclear explosion, but later on your party visits the underground realm of the dwarves, and guess who they find lying in a hospital bed (the explanation being something along the lines of "the dwarves nursed me back to health!")? Tellah's the only party member to actually stay dead, simple as that.
  • Happens with Liane in Jeanne D'Arc. Jeanne must fight an illusion of Liane within Roger's heart. She's joined in this battle by the ghost of the real Liane. After finishing the game once, Jeanne can win Liane's charred pendant at the Colosseum, and ask Liane's ghost to rejoin the party permanently. The ending doesn't change, however, implying that she remains dead afterwards.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics:
    • Jerkass Scrappy Algus/Argath came Back from the Dead in the PSP remake but he did not change his personality, and thus only came back so Ramza can kick his ass again, now straight to hell. Considering how much hated Algus is, him coming Back from the Dead to get his ass kicked again can be considered a non-sexual Fan Service
    • At the end of Chapter 3, Marach takes a bullet for his sister Rapha. The character dies and stays dead for a while afterwards, until the Zodiac Stone/Auracite channels power from... somewhere and resurrects him, proving that the auracite itself isn't evil, it's just the Lucavi using it for evil purposes.
  • In Planescape: Torment, not unlike Mr. Immortal (see Comics, above), this is the main character's whole power. You're actually trying to find out how to stop doing it in a way that is spiritually satisfying. (If you want, you can get a Nonstandard Game Over by pissing off the Lady of Pain or other being of deific might.)
  • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon 2. Technically, it's back from the non-existant, seeing as the main character fixed the timeline, thus wiping him out of existance.
  • Resident Evil 2: In Leon's first scenario, Ada gets shot by Annette and falls off a ledge, in which case it's a Never Found the Body, so she would be Not Quite Dead. In Leon's second scenario, she is clearly Killed Off for Real in front of him, blood loss and all. In both scenarios, however, she apparently comes back in a Deus Ex Machina moment during the penultimate battle with Mr. X, to throw a rocket launcher to the player character. Either way, she comes in Resident Evil 4.
  • Liquid Snake in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty comes back from the dead by possessing Revolver Ocelot. However, by the fourth installment, it's all a ruse. That is, he apparently really did possess Ocelot in 2, but Ocelot removed the possessing limb and then brainwashed himself to appear possessed to fool his enemies from then on.
  • In Grand Theft Auto IV, if you accidentally kill a girlfriend or other character important to the plot, they will later come Back from the Dead and tell you to pick them up from the hospital. However, it is possible with some of the lesser girlfriends to kill them off permanently if done a certain way, as in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
  • The Shining Force Gaiden games do this with the Big Bad from the first returning as a vengeful ghost near the end of the second.
  • Even though Link and Zelda are legacy characters, Ganondorf is the same guy in each of the games. He has died five times in various branches of the timeline, with no clear explanation as to how he comes back each time, although both Zelda II: The Adventure of Link and the Oracle games suggest that his resurrection involves some kind of human sacrifice; alternatively, it could be because of the Triforce of Power. The plot of the Oracle series revolving around the witches Twinrova attempting to kidnap Zelda in order to use her in the ritual. These games have Ganon come back just so you can kill him in the final battle, while Adventure of Link has him show up on the Game Over screen, because the manual explains that he can be resurrected by spreading Link's blood over his ashes.
  • Occurs in the ending of Ninja Gaiden II for the NES. Irene gets killed by stray lighting before the final boss appears. After the fight is over, Ryu regrets not being able to save Irene. The Dragon Sword suddenly turns into a ball of light and enters Irene's body, bringing her back to life.
  • Metroid: Samus's archnemesis Ridley has to be getting up in the ranks of continuously resurrected villains. He explodes in Zero Mission but is rebuilt for Metroid Prime. He fall of a cliff and blows up again, and comes back in Metroid Prime 3 as if nothing ever happened. He vaporizes this time, but Ridley reappears anyway in Super Metroid. Samus blows him up again and the planet his remains are on explodes too. Ridley officially dies here, but then the Galactic Federation are stupid enough to clone everything that has traces on Samus's suit, so he comes back again. He later gets beaten up by Samus, and then killed by a Metroid Queen. His corpse appears again in Fusion and is promptly infected by an X Parasite and dies. For now.
  • Occurs in Ōkami, where it's a major part of the plot, having Amaterasu as the resurrected/reincarnated form of Shiranui.
  • A boss in Fire Emblem: The Dark Dragon and the Sword of Light (and its remakes), Camus who was victim of Honor Before Reason and My Country, Right or Wrong, appears as Sirius, who can be recruited to your side in Mystery of the Emblem (curiously, the player doesn't really need to kill him in the Super Famicom version to complete the level, its possible to just distract him and seize the gate).
  • The main story of Tsukihime begins with protagonist Shiki Tohno being seized by an inexplicable urge to stalk and murder a woman he happened to pass by on the street, via cutting her into seventeen pieces. He is understandably dismayed when Arcueid shows up the next day complaining about how much power it took to revive herself.
  • Over the course of the semi-sequel Kagetsu Tohya, Shiki can end up in a number of what would normally be bad ends, some of which are death such as being eaten by a jaguar that comes out of Arcueid's underwear drawer. Yes, really. However, the next day, he's always okay again because Len is constantly reviving him. Possibly a subversion though as these 'deaths' are not actually the real death of his body, though some scenarios seem as though they would genuinely end with Shiki dead, dream or no.
  • Kotomine Kirei is still around in Fate/stay night, even though he 'died' at the end of Fate/Zero (a prequel).
    • Shirou dies in Heaven's Feel ending, but is revived by Ilya via Third Sorcery in the True End.
  • In the NES version of Double Dragon II: The Revenge, Marian, who was murdered in the opening sequence of the game, is brought back to life as a result of a vague prophecy mentioned by the True Final Boss during his dying breath. Averted in the original arcade version, since the final boss in the NES version was a character created for that version and the game ended with Marian still dead.
  • Used in Super Robot Wars Original Generation Gaiden. Alfimi dies in OG 2, but comes back by merging with Axel Almer, who is mortally wounded and dying. This causes them to both come back as half human, and half Einst. Axel also had a Heel Face Turn during this.
  • In Super Robot Wars Compact, Don Sauzer (who also does this) revives Emperor Muge Zolbados so Emperor Muge Zolbados could use the surface invasion forces, cause terror and force the Earthnoids to move into space. The Einst do this to Emperor Muge Zolbados and Shpiro Keats in Super Robot Wars Compact 2
  • A staple scenario in Tekken. After being thrown to the ravine and thought to be dead, Heihachi Mishima turned out to survive, climbed back up, beat the one who did this to him (his son Kazuya), and threw him to the volcano. But Kazuya still manages to come back to life, because some researches retrieved his remains and gave him a new body. And finally, the fifth game, Heihachi was thought to be killed after he was nuked... (Heihachi Mishima is dead, or so Tekken 5's prologue states) but he still came back! Even the resident ninja Raven lampshaded this.
  • Touhou: Fujiwara no Mokou and Kaguya Houraisan are immortals who simply can't die, age, or get ill forever because they drank the Elixir of Eternal Life. Since it's eternal, it also rendered them irreversible. They will resurrect even if their bodies were completely destroyed. It goes beyond that. Even the concept of death isn't a part of their existence. So they'll come back to life no matter what happens simply because they're incapable of not existing.
  • Krista and Mr. Whittlebone in Twisted Metal: Head-On reappear from the second games as ghosts.
  • In the indie RPG series Vacant Sky, the main character dies in the first half hour of the game. But then she got better. It's implied that dying is in fact the prerequisite to becoming a badass.
  • Joshua of The World Ends With You seemingly comes Back from the Dead (another of his many Faux Symbolism moments), but it's subverted when we discover that he didn't actually die—he simply teleported to the Alternate Universe Bonus Chapter to avoid the deadly attack of Minamimoto.
  • Though death and resurrection are nothing more than game mechanics for players in World of Warcraft, for story characters death is usually more permanent. Nevertheless, there are many exceptions. Typically it's done with major villains, such as Kael'thas, Mal'Ganis, Balnazzar, Teron Gorefiend, Anub'arak, and all of Naxxramas, who are brought back to serve as loot pinatas again. However, in a rare heroic example, Muradin Bronzebeard, who was thought killed in Warcraft III, is revealed to be alive and well in Northrend, though initially amnesiac.
  • Just before the final battle in Breath of Fire II, the Big Bad brutally murders Ryu's party members one by one, taunting him all the while. Ryu resurrects them almost immediately afterwards.
  • In Mass Effect 2, the main character Commander Shepard dies during an ambush from an unknown alien starship at the start of the game. The commander's body is recovered and re-built by the enigmatic pro-human group Cerberus, leading to the game starting two years (and one very confused Commander) later.

Garrus: The Collectors killed you once and all it did was piss you off.

  • A main plot point in Jade Empire, the main character is killed by their master-turned-evil-mastermind Li, and has to fight through the afterlife to come Back from the Dead.
  • Albedo from Xenosaga has been left for dead, killed, and been in situations where he should have been killed numerous times in the series, but gets revived somehow every time. This has to do with the fact that he is immortal, but it's amazing how many times it's been tried anyway.
  • Paul Denton may die in Deus Ex and he's always back in Invisible War, it's handwaved by having him cryogenically frozen.
  • BioShock (series) 2 starts with the main character dying and the continues ten year later with him coming back to life, only to die again at the end.
  • At the beginning of Mega Man Zero, Zero is resurrected one century after his death in Mega Man X 5 (that is, if you insist so), and the saga begins!
  • In Little Big Adventure 2, Dr. Funfrock, who Twinsen supposedly killed at the end of the first game, pulls a Hijacked by Ganon. Justified, since he spent most of the first game perfecting cloning technology.
  • Kanon features Kawasumi Mai]], who dies but comes back to life in the ending, in the same scene she dies, no less. This also applies to her mother, although it's in the past, and possible that Misaka Shiori gets this too, though she may never have died in the first place.
  • Done for the players themselves in Left 4 Dead 2. You can sometimes find a Magical Defibrillator, which has the power to bring back dead players on the spot, despite how they died (whether it would be being crushed by a Tank, having a Tank plow a car over the player, falling 10 stories down to the ground, ripped to pieces by a Witch, etc.)
  • All of the Ascended (read: player characters) in Rift. In the case of the Guardians, it's because the gods needed you alive again; in the case of the Defiant, it's thanks to years of Magitek research.
  • A running gag in the Monkey Island series, where villain LeChuck is dead even before the series begins (he is a ghost in the first game). Even though hero Guybrush kills him at the end of every single game, he always comes back at the beginning of each new game to be the villain again. Further parodied in that he comes back wrong in a slightly different way every time, leading to names like The Demon Zombie Ghost Pirate LeChuck.
  • Tezkhra in The Reconstruction, who first appears to be a God of Evil, but turns out to be a perfectly nice guy who was killed by an evil creature that stole his name. One endgame sidequest allows you to recover his soul by defeating a Bonus Boss, then have a Necromancer restore his body.
  • Raikoh, the hero of Otogi: Myth of Demons, is revived no less then FOUR times over the course of the game and it's Sequel. The only other people that come back from the dead only do it once. Raikoh just has more importent things to do then staying dead.
  • From Asura's Wrath I give you Asura. Some 12,000 years prior to the beginning of the game's main story, he is betrayed by his comrads, framed for the death of his wife and the Emperor of Shinkoku, had his daughter kidnapped, and finally killed by being thrown from outer space to fall to earth after being Electrocuted! Now, how does he come back to life? To put it simply, he was just that plain, outright, ANGRY.
    • Another factor was that a young girl that looked very similar to his own daughter prayed in front of his now stone remains. He faced is positioned right in front of her and because of her capture, he literally revives himself on his anger, albeit now much MUCH weaker than what he previously was.
  • The Darksign of the Undead in Dark Souls causes this constantly, each time sapping away a bit of your humanity.
  • Alduin in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has the power to revive any Dragons that were "slain" in the past as long as he has access to their immortal Aedric souls. Even Dragons that have been buried for centuries and reduced to skeletons can be revived to full strength in moments by Alduin. The Dragonborn is the only one who can permanently "kill" Dragons because he/she can absorb the Dragons' souls upon their "death". Granted, because Dragons are immortal Aedric spirits that exist beyond time, they can't truly die—they don't even have a word for mortality in their language. The whole concept of death is confusing to Dragons.
  • In Dominions, Pretender gods can be called back, immortals only die permanently outside of your dominion and spells can be used to revive commanders who made it into the Hall of Fame.
  • In Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, the Fae respawn to relive their lives in an endless cyc;e whenever they "die" thanks to their strong connection to the Weave of Fate. This makes fighting the Tuatha Deohn a Zero Sum Game, since any Tuatha "slain" in battle respawns in their home kingdom. To even the odds, the gnomes attempted to create the Well of Souls, a device capable of bringing mortals back from the dead. The player character is the only successful resurrection. As a side effect, he/she is also Immune to Fate. This also means that the player character is the only one who can permanently kill a Fae since he/she can sever their connection to the Weave.
  • In Prototype Alex is shot dead just as he releases The Virus and then comes back to life without any memories. It later turns out that Alex is dead, and you are actually The Virus in Alex's form.
  • Elven paladin Aribeth de Tylmarande from Neverwinter Nights, with the help from the player character, manages to pull off a "technical resurrection" (even though beings from Outer Planes are still considered "spirits" in the Material Planes) in Hordes of the Underdark add-on while also subverting a case of Came Back Wrong and actually redeeming herself from the villain status in the process.

Web Comics

  • Roy in The Order of the Stick, but not before it's Played for Laughs as his disintegrating corpse is dragged around for months because the team has been split in half, with the people who could perform Raise Dead in the half not in possession of the corpse.
  • This strip of The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, we see Dr. McNinja arguing with Death over whether he is really dead.
  • Irregular Webcomic: In addition to Chess with Death usually working out in favor of the not-quite-deceased, Death's politics have resulted in several characters' deaths being short-lived.
  • The Cyborg ninja in The Last Days of Foxhound was both killed and resurrected by Mantis.
  • Terror Island: After being dead for over a hundred strips, Aorist is suddenly resurrected by Bartleby.
  • Narbonic: Helen, being a Mad Scientist, has no problem resurrecting Dave after her mom kills him. It does have stages, though:
  • Roast Beef, Ray, Todd and Téodor from Achewood have all gone through this at least once through the comic's run, and Molly managed to come back to Earth from heaven after hundreds of years. It remains to be seen if Little Nephew can attempt the same feat.
  • In 1/0, Manny is killed, and results in the creation of Max, Marcus, and Andy, shortly after Teddy Weddy falls on him. Later, as Junior tries to leave, Tailsteak recreates Manny in the form of a ghost known as Ghanny, and from then on, all characters who die (with an exception of Max, who ends up Deader Than Dead) become a ghost.
  • Starscream does this on a regular basis in the Insecticomics (see the Transformers entry below). Thrust has also done this twice, once after being crushed to death by Unicron in Transformers Armada, a resurrection that was never really explained despite the fact that he's mentioned it more than once and once after being killed by the Fallen, then dragged back to her body by Starscream's ghost.
  • Oasis from Sluggy Freelance has come Back from the Dead no less than five times, and her "sister" Kusari at least once. How Oasis does this is unknown (even to her), and since they usually Never Found the Body, her simply being Not Quite Dead remains possible. As of more recent arcs, not only has the body been found, it has been found while Oasis is up and kicking in a new one.
  • Initially subverted in Concerned: The Half Life and Death of Gordon Frohman, in which the title character dies at the end. An unofficial sequel resurrects the beloved title character via ignoring Gameplay and Story Segregation.
  • In Union of Heroes there is a girl named Lynn, who is also called "The Eternal Victim". She is cursed to die instead of other people returning from Death afterwards.
  • And then there is Ran Cossack, who is pretty much a parody of this trope. He is made of really cheap Soviet parts, and could be killed by any kind of impact. However, his creator (Kalinka Cossack from Mega Man 4), realizing it would cost more to repair him than to build him again, built a machine that perpetually creates backup bodies for him; each time he is killed, a new Ran with a copy of his memories would appear. This leading to lots of "Ran-Bombs".
  • Slightly Damned features a rare example where phisically getting out of Hell is used for this purpose.
  • In Casey and Andy, both Casey and Andy die. Repeatedly. Sometimes at the hands of the other. And they're really dead: they ended up in Hell multiple times. They always come back. Even Andy's girlfriend (who is Satan) doesn't know quite how.
  • Happened at least twice in Ansem Retort
    • Matt, a demon Marluxia killed in Season One, came back in Season Two to referee the murder-off between Axel and Cloud.
    • Arguably, Darth Maul also invokes this trope, as he's made a comment about Obi-Wan getting in a "Hollywood cheap shot".
    • Riku implied in the season six finale that he has done this as well, and promises to explain later.
  • In Horndog, Freddy is shot by a sniper, briefly dies, but returns to life. He is Killed Off for Real, returns as a zombie, and is killed by his roommate, Bob. If that wasn't enough, he is reincarnated as a teenage boy, but is killed by a chupacabra.
  • Bob and George. No one stays dead in Bob and George. Which can be annoying. Quite annoying
  • MS Paint Adventures has a few instances of this. In Problem Sleuth, the imaginary world gives the characters extra lives to use. If those run out though, they can also earn their life back by either defeating Death at a number of different games...or just walk out of the afterlife's front door. A similar mechanic is used in Homestuck where the character's Dream Selves act as "extra lives" if they die and another player gives them a resurrection kiss as is the case with Sollux, Dave, and Rose.
    • Aradia in Homestuck is brought back in a different way from normal though. Equius builds a robot body for her ghost to use, giving her a physical form to interact with the other characters.
    • The kernelsprites also count, since they're all prototyped with the remains of dead person that was important to the character. This gives the sprite the personality and all the memories of that dead person.
    • And now Kanaya is back from the dead too, altough she's not exactly alive either.
    • In Sburb/Sgrub, characters can ascend to a special rank known as the God Tiers and gain even more power...but the trick is, they have to die in a certain place first. There are two slightly different variations: one that relies the dreamself as an extra life, and another that, for an as-yet-unexplained reason, doesn't.
    • Further, once a character is a God Tier, they can only be killed if the death is Heroic (they die accomplishing something heroic) or Just (they are corrupt and are killed by a hero). So far two God Tiers have died: John, who came back because his death was neither, and Vriska, who's death was Just, likely due to all those people she killed, near redemption notwithstanding.
  • In Kagerou, Mindi, an Old One, can bring people back from the dead. It's even played for laughs once, when a nearly dead person is killed just so she can bring them back to life free of injuries.
  • In The Player's Guide To S.I.S.U., Sisukas, a bandit leader, returns after being killed in the first battle. Thus far, the means of his return haven't been specified, but there's apparently a specific god whose clerics could do it.
  • In Sinfest, a boy Baby Blue had a crush on can raise a frog, Baby Blue fails to raise a dove, and Satan does Came Back Wrong.

Web Original

  • In The Gamers Alliance, a few prominent villains and heroes have returned to life. The most notable ones are Drishnek, Jemuel, Leon and the Silverbranch brothers.
  • The Screamsheet's Fights Section has the entire planet come back from the dead after its been destroyed in a previous battle. Multiple times, no less.
  • The Mad Scientist Wars: Hoo, boy. Let's see, Andrew Tinker pulls this way back in the Redneck war, So It Begins, thanks to a series of backup personality copies and god cloning, pulled this off a lot, and David was not just killed, but erased from his own body by his evil sentient mechanical Arm. He ends up making a case for his own existence, and makes it back. Also, Erik Tinker makes a deal with the devil. Sadly, the man he died killing, one of the most dangerous men ever, may well be back too....
  • Subverted with Sayasuke, aka 'the Saya demon', who was never technically alive before he died. Sill won an award for it, 'tho. Head hurt yet?
  • Doctor What from Alternate History: The Series has supposedly come Back from the Dead many, many times, although we've only seen two or three on-screen. Most of the others involved fatal cunnilingus - which, bizarrely, was Based on a True Story.
  • In the Epic Tales 'verse David Wilson died in the first Shadow Hawk story only to become the Astral Controller.
  • In The Spoony Experiment, The Spoony One was killed by Squall after reviewing Final Fantasy VIII Linkara later cloned him using his protoplasmic remains and essentially brought him back from the dead.
  • In Darwin's Soldiers, the Dragonstorm Big Bad was found dead in the first RP. He later reappears in the sequel, with the explanation that the first one was a body double.
  • Homestar Runner: Homsar was invented just to die in one of the early sbemails. Then for some reason...he comes back. We never know quite how.
  • Anna Demorah dies in the comic that marked the beginning of Felarya. Then the author announced that she had been resurrected "due to some weird distortion in space, time or whatever". She remains one of the main characters.
  • This was actually one of the powers possessed by the heroic Mister Easter in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe. As his name might imply, he would arise from the dead after three days. (His powers were all based on the miracles Jesus was explicitly shown performing in The Bible, including the resurrection.)
  • Tasakeru: Stalker comes back from the dead thanks to a symbiotic fusion with a spider. He later brings N'Ktane back, but the process only gives her a solid body inside the Black Rose Tower.
  • Aughadhail, Queen of the Fae in the Whateley Universe, died along with all her sisters, a long time ago in 'The Sundering', during a war against the Great Old Ones. It may have been millions of years ago. But what was left of her spirit found what was left of her magic, and became part of the teenager whose body had that magic, so she's back.
  • In the Anti-Cliché and Mary-Sue Elimination Society, Adrian comes back thanks to the use of Soul Jars.
  • It's become a running gag in Dark Dream Chronicle that Vadiir can't stay dead.
  • In The Gungan Council, characters are frequently brought back to life since Death Is Cheap. Even Kyp and Bane, who both spent a long time dead, were resurrected through some means.
  • The Flash animation series Madness Combat has three characters who can never truly die: Hank, Jeebus, and Tricky. No matter the cause of their death in the previous cartoon, they resurrect (with appropriate bandages, stitches, or scars) and resume battle in the next one. The creator of the series has declared that the three are doomed to fight each other for all eternity.

Western Animation

  • Darkseid in the DCAU was killed by Brainiac's exploding asteroid Supervillain Lair, but gets brought back when Luthor uses Tala against her will in an attempt to restore Brainiac. According to the DVD commentary, Tala did it on purpose just to spite Luthor. Hell hath no fury, indeed.
  • In Duckman, Duckman's two teddy bear secretaries Fluffy and Uranus are often killed in nearly every episode they appear in (usually by Duckman himself) only to be brought back in the next episode.
  • In the two-part Grand Finale of Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, Phil Ken Sebben claws his way up from the grill of the bus that struck him dead the previous season, and says "Hah ha! Final episode stunt casting!" He then spends the entire episode driving the bus in reverse back to the city, just in time to arrive in the final scene and run Harvey over, killing him off for real. Odd thing is that in the episode where he is hit by the bus, he apparently gets cremated.
  • Sylvester the cat from the classic era of Looney Tunes died 16 times in 7 different cartoons, one episode ("Satan's Waitin'" (1954)) features him slowly losing all nine of his lives.
  • The cast of Drawn Together have died many times with Ling Ling and Toot having the largest death count, only for them to come back either in the next episode or later on in the same episode.
  • The Simpsons:
    • From the "Who Shot Mr. Burns" episodes:

Kent Brockman: At 3 p.m. Friday, local autocrat C. Montgomery Burns was shot following a tense confrontation at town hall. Burns was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead. He was then transferred to a better hospital where doctors upgraded his condition to "alive".

"Father McGrath! I thought you were dead!"
"I was!"

  • In the "Treehouse of Horror VI" story "Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace," Martin Prince falls asleep during class and is strangled to death in his dream by Groundskeeper-Willie-gone-Freddy-Krueger. As his body is being taken away, Martin reanimates into a crazed zombie and is about to attack Ms. Krabappel's class but is sedated and prevented from harming them. Groundskeeper Willie himself fits this trope, given it's a parody of Nightmare On Elm Street. But Willie's death, reanimation and vowing of revenge are not even mentioned until after Martin's death and reanimation at school.
  • South Park
    • In the first five seasons, Kenny dies in nearly every episode and appears again in the next as if nothing had ever happened. In fact, in the two-parter "Cartman's Mom is a Dirty Slut", after dying at the end of Episode 1, he reappears out of thin air next to his friends at the start of Episode 2. (He goes on to die at the end.)
    • There was one season finale where Kenny spends the episode suffering from a rare disease that kills him by the end of the show, and it dealt with how everyone reacted to Kenny being sick and dying. The next season had the kids living without Kenny, exorcising Kenny's spirit from Cartman, and after accepting Kenny's death they had competitions to see who would be his replacement. All this, only to have Kenny show up again one episode like nothing ever happened.
    • Played for Laughs in the Halloween episode where, after Kenny dies, the embalming fluid was mixed with Worcestershire sauce (which ironically had a label warning against this). Cue Kenny coming back as a zombie and turning most of the South Park inhabitants into zombies.
      • And then dying an additional two more times at the end.
    • The movie explains that this phenomenon is not intentional Negative Continuity -- Kenny does indeed come back to life after dying, as some sort of super-power. Or curse, depending on how you look at it.
  • Scooter the light p surfer fish from SpongeBob SquarePants has died three times to date: first when SpongeBob asked him to move from his seat he was killed by his smelly breath, drowned after Bubble Buddy buried him in the sand, and exploded after being kicked off a cliff by Mystery the seahorse.
  • Although Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) Big Bad The Shredder had already become infamous for turning out to be Not Quite Dead, one of these occasions later turned out to actually be a Back from the Dead situation. Given the character, the elaboration was sort of unnecessary, except for the fact that a) said occasion involved being at ground zero of an explosion that atomized a building, and b) it allowed the writers to bring the character back yet again. Also played straight with a couple of other characters, one of which included a nifty sequence in which flesh returns to his skeleton as he is resurrected.
  • Teen Titans: The Story Arc for the fourth season involves Slade, the Big Bad from the first two seasons, coming Back from the Dead to serve as The Dragon to the new Big Bad, Trigon. This example is especially notable because with Comic Books (and therefore their adaptations) the usual resurrection is a Retcon saying that the character was not truly dead. Slade's death was a Never Found the Body, and Robin's hallucinations of Slade in a later episode proved to be poisoning by someone heavily hinted to be Slade, so the stage was set for it to prove to have been a Not Quite Dead or one of his many robot duplicates... and then we find that he was very much dead when he appeared to die, and had been revived by the series' version of Satan as a messenger!
  • In ThunderCats, Jaga (The Obi-Wan of the series) dies of old age while guiding the Thundercats' ship towards Third Earth, but he returns as a Spirit Advisor to team leader Lion-O (and eventually the rest of the team as well). Besides that Mumm-ra is supposedly killed on at least three occasions, but as long as evil exists Mumm-ra lives! The Berzerkers were also killed (by Panthro sinking their ship) in their first appearance. This is confirmed when the ghost of the Captain Hammerhand shows up a few episodes later. Then he comes back with a new look and a new crew in the second season. And there's Grune the Destroyer, who dies then harasses the Thundercats as a ghost.
  • Tom of Tom and Jerry died six times in six cartoons, (one of them turned out to be a dream though).
  • Transformers:
    • In The Transformers: The Movie, among the many Transformers killed off include Optimus Prime and Starscream. In subsequent episodes of the TV series, both come back. Optimus Prime initially appears as a Spirit Advisor when his successor, Rodimus Prime, journeys into the Matrix of Leadership. In "Dark Awakening", Optimus is brought back to life as a zombie, only to sacrifice himself again to save his fellow Autobots. In "The Return of Optimus Prime", he is completely revived and restored, and survives the end of the series (only to be Killed Off for Real in a Heroic Sacrifice in the Japanese series Headmasters, although resurrected in the Expanded Universe story Battlestars: The Return of Convoy). Starscream returns as a ghost in two episodes, "Starscream's Ghost" and "Ghost in the Machine"; in the latter, Starscream receives a new body from Unicron, returning to life, only to get blasted off into space. Starscream's spark makes a return appearance in the Beast Wars episode "Possession".
    • In Beast Wars, Optimus Primal died saving the planet in the first-season cliffhanger, but was revived a few episodes into the second season. The writers left him dead for as long as Hasbro would let them, and his return was at least with guns blazing.
      • Same Series, different character: BlackArachnia. After being murdered by Tarantulas while her new Maximal comrades were trying to remove her malfunctioning Predacon Programming, she was brought back to life thanks to the Transmetal II Driver, which also turned her into a Transmetal II.
    • Also done by Optimus Prime in Armada, and Megatron several times over the course of the Unicron trilogy.
    • Overall, Optimus' combination of Heroic Sacrifice and Back from the Dead in the Sorting Algorithm of Deadness has become a running gag in the fandom, to the point where a Word Filter on the site 7chan replaced 'Jesus Christ' with 'Optimus Prime.'
    • Starscream has this happen a lot too. In addition to the G1 version, he was killed and resurrected on two occasions in the Marvel comic, and in Transformers Animated, he becomes immortal due to a shard of the Allspark - which allows him to suffer Waspinator-class indignities, actually die, but then revive in seconds. The Noble Demon Transformers Armada Starscream also dies and returns in Energon, but he was Not Himself.
  • The Venture Brothers: In the last episode of Season 1 the boys are killed. In the first episode of Season 2 their clones are reactivated and filled with their stored memories. Dr. Venture explains that this is the thirteen time it has happened - and shows all previous deaths.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender it is made fairly clear in "The Crossroads of Destiny" that Azula's lightning attack on Aang in the season two finale succeeded in killing him and he was only brought back by Katara using the spirit water to heal him. He even says as much:

"I went down! I didn't just get hurt, did I? It was worse than that. I was gone. But you brought me back."

Real Life

  • Scientists speculate that the whole Universe may pull this one. If the Universe collapses in the Big Crunch, the concetration of energy may cause another Big Bang; if it dies a heat death, a new Big Bang may occur as a quantum fluctuation in, like, 10^10^56 years.