Good Thing You Can Heal

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Good thing indeed.

"As far as I can tell, Wolverine's secret weakness is that he heals so quickly that he forgets not to be injured in the first place."

"You insensitive pricks! Do you have any idea how much that stings?"

The Healing Factor is an amazing super power, capable of feats from quick healing to re-growing whole limbs or even one's entire body in seconds. Sadly, it's more passive and less visually impressive than Eye Beams or even Super Strength, both of which you can show off regularly with Mundane Utility to clue in new readers or viewers that the characters have powers.

There's only one way to show off Immortality, after all.

So for writers who don't want to go the route of "Luckily, My Powers Will Protect Me" every issue, they have to find new and inventive ways for the hero to show off their regeneration, whether by their own clumsiness, being an accident magnet, or the target of lethal attacks. Accidents usually include: deep cuts, lost limbs, third degree burns, and otherwise flirting with sure death. The problem is that while redundant exposition is avoided, the character in question gets a reputation as clumsy to the point that should they lose their regeneration they'd die or be seriously crippled, prompting onlookers to go "Good Thing You Can Heal".

Another side effect of the trope is that normally non-fatal accidents suddenly become almost certainly fatal ones just so the character has a death to avoid: If someone with regeneration so much as trips, you can expect them to end up a mangled heap of broken bones, many of them sticking out of their skin. And don't ask what happens when they get a paper cut.

This can even become Canon, as regenerating brawlers come to depend on their regeneration to the point they just use painful and suicidal tactics because they can heal from it. Can also be justified as a healing character might be the first one to leap into harms way when needed because they'll live.

It also tends to escalate into a rather gorier version of The Worf Barrage. Since the regenerator can take damage that would otherwise kill any other team member, it becomes their "job" to be the target of a "No One Could Survive That" at the hands of the Monster of the Week or recurring baddy because Immortal Life Is Cheap. It shows that the bad guy is ready and willing to kill, without actually having somebody die. At its worst, it can break Willing Suspension of Disbelief by having the regenerator come back from being completely incinerated (Shapeshifter Baggage is usually involved when that much mass is lost), or a character with clones casually killing them.

It's not even limited to characters who can heal; any character who can come back from a normally crippling injury for any reason is subject to this trope.

It's generally a safe assumption that a character who uses this trope a lot has the Required Secondary Powers of Feel No Pain or at least reduced pain. As even though they can regenerate that doesn't mean they can't feel the wound(s). And as anyone who has recovered from an injury can assert, healing doesn't exactly feel great all the time either.

A subtrope of Could Have Been Messy, with "messy" as in "fatal". They tend to coincide if the one getting mauled is bloodless (robots, golems, etc.) and has a Heart Drive or other means of near-Immortality.

Related tropes include: Pulling Themselves Together, Appendage Assimilation and Losing Your Head. Despite occasional griping, these characters tend to agree Living Forever Is Awesome. When a character deliberately injures themselves to prove their Healing Factor, it's Self-Mutilation Demonstration.

Contrast Immortal Life Is Cheap, where someone who can't die permanently gets killed repeatedly. Also contrast Sliding Scale of Undead Regeneration, which can go from this to no healing at all. The comedic version of this is They Killed Kenny, where a character who isn't established as immortal is repeatedly killed (usually for laughs), and always brought back without any reason.

Examples of Good Thing You Can Heal include:

Anime and Manga

  • In Dragon Ball, Piccolo, and all Namekians, are established as having regenerative capabilities. He first demonstrates this During the 23rd Tenkaichi Budokai. Unless his head is destroyed, he can use these powers to regenerate himself.
    • In the sanitized Saban/Ocean dub of Dragon Ball Z, Tenshinhan says his arm will grow back when Napa cuts it off. He's sent to the next dimension "before it can happen". Tenshinhan is human, and does not have this ability in the manga or the original Japanese.
      • Considering that Tien can grow extra arms, it's not entirely out the the question.
    • For christ's sake Majin Buu can regenerate even if he's broken up into his constituent atoms, and when Goku and Vegeta escape from Earth as he blows it up he flies from planet to planet, blowing it (and himself) up and simply regenerating each time.
      • The dub producers likely took advantage of the aforementioned Namekian capabilities. When FUNimation went back and redubbed the Saiyan/Vegeta saga, they removed this tidbit.
    • Cell the Trope Namer and Trope Codifier of From a Single Cell.
  • Subverted and Lampshaded in Negima, when they used Cassiopeia to jump back seven days to fix everything and they appeared in the sky instead of the ground.

Chisame: You can't heal us if we went down with a splat, right?
Konoka: Th-th-th-th-this one's probably impossible~

  • In the episode Abra and the Psychic Showdown of the Pokémon anime, Pikachu scores a major hit against Sabrina's Kadabra. Ash's Oh Crap face when Kadabra uses Recover is quite entertaining.
  • In the Pokémon Special manga, Koga's Arbok has the unique ability to regenerate any severed portion of its body as long as its head is intact. Unsurprisingly, attacks that would inflict only minor injuries on other Pokémon (being bitten by another Arbok, being tail-whipped) literally slice this Arbok in half.
    • This was a Retcon added much later to try to tone down the level of the violence in the manga to be more in-line with the games and anime. Before the Retcon, we were lead to believe that one of the heroes totally sliced that Arbok in two and left it for dead.
  • In Trigun, both Vash and his brother Knives have a very impressive regeneration capability. However, Vash appears to have less so, as his body looks like it was sewn back together very, VERY poorly. In the manga, it's shown that Plants in general have the capability to regenerate; however, it has a limit. Plants can only regenerate so much before it kills them. The way one can tell is by watching the color of their hair, as regeneration will cause their hair to slowly turn from its normal color to black. Once every strand is black, the Plant dies. Problem is, Vash is almost completely raven-haired by this point.
    • Proven: at the end of the manga, both Vash and Knives' hair have gone completely black, indicating they're both a VERY short way from death. Knives' went as such due to reconstructing his body from almost nothing; he later uses his power to create an apple tree, and it's heavily implied that this finally killed him.
    • The reason for Vash's lesser regenerative ability is that Knives replenished his own power by absorbing other Plants and taking their own power into himself. Vash, the Friend to All Living Things, would never have done this.
  • Koyomi Araragi, the main character of Bakemonogatari has this power along with Super Senses as remenants of his previous vampirism . Both come in very handy when your after school job is essentially an Occult Detective with a crippling case of Chronic Hero Syndrome.
  • In Gankutsuou, it's really a good thing the Count is Gankutsuou's host. Thanks to that, he can survive being shot, being stabbed several times, having Gankutsuou's eyes pierce through his skull, and even being deliberately stabbed by Fernand's Humongous Mecha in an awesomely impressive scene. That doesn't prevent him from hurting like crazy though, as attested by his agonizing screams and his frequently passing out.
  • In Blade of the Immortal, the main character, Manji, can regenerate from any injury. He is an excellent swordsman and notes himself that he used to be better but, due to his immortality, has gotten sloppy. In one fight, he's glad to have an arm lopped off by an opponent, because the loss of the weight made him just a tad faster, just enough so that he can now best keep up with his foe.
    • Now though? His skills are back up AND he's still immortal.
  • Mermaid Saga. Yuta and Mana appear to find themselves in situations inexplicably designed to make them bleed as much as possible. Sure, there's some bloodshed to be had when dealing with immortal crazies, and they can't die unless they're killed in very specifica manners... but did Masato really need to bind Mana's arms and legs with barbed wire?
  • Mai-chan's Daily Life, a guro h-doujin, deals with special humans that, short of complete and total disintegration into ash, can regenerate from pretty much any injury, no matter how fatal. The occupations for most of these people: hired sex slaves for the cruel and sadistic. Not surprisingly, they wouldn't survive even a fraction of the stuff they engage in if they didn't have their healing factor.
  • Rin in Mnemosyne seems very prone to being captured and tortured quite gruesomely and having things happen like her arm being shot off by a sniper rifle, being blown up with a massive charge of explosives, and even getting sucked through a running jet engine. Being immortal, she manages to walk them off, though not without quite a lot of pain in the process of regrowing/reattaching lost parts.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Ed's metal limbs get chopped off pretty often, but his real limbs barely get hurt. Similarly, the only place Al has never been hurt is the blood seal at the base of his neck, which is also the only part that Ed cannot repair.
    • That's mostly because Ed often uses his automail arm to protect his fleshy parts because he knows they can be repaired, and Al takes special care to avoid taking damage to his bloodseal because any damage to it would kill him.
    • In his first meeting with Al in the manga, Greed invokes this deliberately, having a henchman literally smash his face off with a big hammer to demonstrate the Homunculi's healing factor. In general, all the homunculi have a tendency to get sliced, diced, and shot to pieces throughout the series.
  • In Baccano!, Czeslaw Meyer seems to be the only main character to repeatedly suffer being shot, having limbs ripped off, and other rather gruesome events as the show tries hard to Break the Cutie.
    • Really? I'd say this trope applies to most immortals. In the first episode alone Firo would have been killed and had several fingers sliced off on separate occasions. Somewhat justified, as the main cast were mobsters and criminals who are already rather prone to being shot at. And after they become immortals, they still get shot plenty.
    • The trope is also invoked in one episode, when Szilard drinks the Elixir of Life given to him and the others by a demon Maiza had just summoned. After drinking it, he suspects he's been cheated and demands the demon to prove that the elixir was real. He obliges by immediately slicing off the top of his head.
  • The Guyver can regrow from the tiniest piece of material left on the control metal. And that's not theoretical: this actually happens to Sho in one of his very first adventures, and results in him being a clone of himself. He has to fight a monster that generated from his severed arm. The only thing that can destroy a Guyver is the destruction of the control metal which is what happened to Guyver II.
    • This also happens in The Movie; The Guyver is killed halfway through, but the villains keep the control metal in order to study and duplicate it. Of course, they completely ignore the growing organic mass stuck to the thing until it's accidentally swallowed by a monster during a fight with some of The Guyver's allies, at which point he completes his regeneration at the speed of plot and cuts his way out of the creature's stomach.
    • Another cast member, Aptom, can not only grow back completely, including memories, from the smallest smattering of his body, but he can even clone himself this way. However, he does require biomass to do so, which he gets from absorbing opponents - gaining their abilities and appearance in the process. Shades of The Thing here.
  • Shows up a lot in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Part 4, since The Hero Josuke's Stand Crazy Diamond can heal damn near anything. The twist is that Josuke can't heal himself with this ability.
    • It's explicitly stated that being or becoming a Stand user makes you tougher and lets you heal faster, thus allowing most of the cast (protagonists and antagonists alike) to suffer grievous bloody wounds, severed body parts, shattered bones and ruptured organs, and sometimes losing parts of their head, without a single "ow". In part 6 they go without a dedicated healer for a long time (Jolyne makes do by stitching up injuries with her thread) and the wounds are no less horrid.
    • And in part 3 Joseph's artificial hand gets destroyed an awful lot of times.
    • Dio's vampiric abilities lets him survive just about anything except sunlight and hamon. In part 1, he gets his head split vertically which only prompts him to push them together again, and later fights on effectively after his head's been severed completely.
      • Similarily, "The Men in the Pillar" are walking body horrors and can do all sorts of squicky stuff without permanent damage.
  • Exemplified in the humor manga Hannah Of The Z, where the titular character's power is absurdly powerful regeneration—but her body is also comically weak in every other way, to the point where simply attempting to poke through the cap of a milk bottle or pick up a heavy object can cause her bones to break.
  • Yakumo in 3x3 Eyes has been turned into a "wu", an immortal guardian of the last known Sanjiyan (Triclops) who regenerates even if he has been turned into paste. He cannot die until either the Sanjiyan, Pai, is killed, or she manages to find a way to release him from said condition. At the start of the series, he regularly gets beaten, chopped up, and blown up (it started when he was hit by a bus). At one point, he deliberately grabs a lighter and jumps into a fountain full of gasoline in order to kill a monster. Some of his deaths are simple random bad luck, like the aforementioned car accident; one wonders if he had that kind of bad luck before he was immortal.
  • While everyone received injuries in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, the really serious ones, such as impalement and losing huge chunks of flesh, went to the Wolkenritter and the Combat Cyborgs, who can be repaired and/or have Healing Factors. Good thing too. As one Flash Back showed, even with Healing Hands, a normal human who gets critically wounded would require almost a year to recover, and that's if they're lucky.
  • Alucard's first fight in Hellsing has him purposely letting the enemy blow him into tiny little pieces so that they run out of ammo; immediately after, he heals and opens a can of whoop-ass. He has also survived having his head cut off. Integra actually mocks Anderson for thinking that decapitation can kill him. Seras has recovered between scenes from being shot in the chest with a 13mm round and being stabbed by several large bayonets at once. Father Alexander Anderson is a regenerator, specifically engineered to fight vampires and has survived both Alucard and several assassination attempts. Pretty much everyone else in the series, though, averts this trope.
  • Kenji Murasame in his appearance in Giant Robo is so known for this it earned him the nickname 'Murasame the Immortal' and is instrumental to the finale.
  • This trope defines Claymore. Offensive-type Claymores can lose an arm or leg, and simply hold the severed limb to their stump and have it heal. They can even regrow lost limbs, though the limb becomes regular, human strength. Defensive-types are nigh immortal, capable of regrowing lost limbs in minutes and routinely surviving distractions like being nearly cut in half. Odds are if you like a character who's a Defensive-type, you're going to see her get fucked up routinely.
    • More specifically, high-level Defensive-types are able to regenerate quickly. The lower-ranked ones may take over a day to regenerate a lost limb, and even longer to recover from near-bisection. Only one character has been shown to regenerate her lost limb(s) in mere minutes, and that's due to special circumstances. Normally, it takes an extreme outpouring of power and effort to regenerate limbs or heal from extensive damage, along with recovery time afterwards. For Offensive-types, even reattaching limbs takes long minutes of uninterrupted concentration. Which can be problematic when enemies refuse to show Mook Chivalry during fights and consider a lost limb a good opportunity to finish their opponent off.
  • Bleach: The more powerful a character is, the better their ability to heal is. As a result, captains, vice-captains, vizards and other powerful characters can survive wounds that would kill weaker characters. Even when they need extra help in healing, they heal fast.
    • A mock-arrancar displays an instant regeneration ability. Uryuu can't fight it but his father defeats it in two shots.
    • Ichigo's ability develops throughout the story as he becomes more and more powerful. It's related to the increasing strength of his hollow powers.
    • Ulquiorra tells Ichigo that he sacrificed power for extra regenerative abilities and as a result has the best regeneration capability of any espada. It does not make him unkillable, however.
  • In Ghost in the Shell, cyborgs can recover from (or rather, be repaired from) pretty much any injury that doesn't affect the brain. The Major, in particular, has a tendency to get limbs (and in one case, her head) blown off, but other characters are not exempt from this.
    • Twice, if you're counting both the TV series and the first movie.
  • Naruto's Healing Factor thanks to the demon fox has lead him to having some of the most extreme injuries in the series, including having an electrified hand shoved through his chest TWICE and all of his skin burnt off. Tsunade also qualifies, being stabbed and slashed repeatedly by Orochimaru during their fight and shrugging it off with her Genesis Rebirth technique.
    • However, Naruto and Tsunade sort of avert it later on, as the attacks get more powerful due to Sorting Algorithm of Evil but unlike others on this list their healing powers haven't. Said injuries happened quite a while ago and they have yet to be matched.
      • It has, however, been noted that their ability to rapidly heal has a drawback. Healing a major injury can actually takes years off their lifespan.
        • However... both Naruto and Tsunade are descendants of the Uzumaki Clan, which has naturally strong life force, possibly healing factors too!
      • Naruto's Healing Factor is pretty terrible, additionally; apparently the Demon Fox's chakra after the fourth tail is burning AND healing his skin constantly, and it's this constant cell generation and destruction which quite literally burns his lifespan shorter.
    • What about Orochimaru HIMSELF? His regenerative powers have let him survive getting set on fire while bombarded with shuriken, having his face ripped open, getting his neck broken, having one arm torn off, his whole body getting ripped into two pieces, getting pounded into the ground head first by a giant Breath Weapon, and having sword repeatedly cut the pieces of him apart; it's always been sealing techniques that had any permanent effect. It doesn't even seem like he's even TRYING to avoid half this stuff.
    • Jugo and Suigetsu also seem prone to rather insane injuries to demonstrate their Nigh Invulnerability, like getting hit with a blast that destroyed a mountain or getting impaled through the chest, smashed into a wall, and crushed under rubble all in a row.
    • Kisame averts this though: he is able to heal himself by fusing with Samehada but he avoids getting injured enough to use it until a very long time after he is introduced.
  • Dear has Kisara who is immortal. In one practice match, he impales one of his hand onto the opponent's blade in order to disarm and win.
  • In Basilisk, Tenzen is the big bad of the Iga clan and his unique special ability is immortality including full regeneration. Because of this, he is killed by at least five different ninjas of the rival Kouga clan (and several times elsewhere), making him appear the least competent of the ten ninjas. And Oboro later unlocks the key to kill him... by using her Piercing Eyes right when he's reviving himself. Enjoy your messy and painful death, buddy.
  • Creed from Black Cat is defeated a number of times, fatally if not for his immortality.
  • Gunnm/BattleAngelAlita. Not a direct application of this trope, since neither Gally nor her gigantic cyborg foes regenerate per se. However, since the in-universe rule of thumb is that as long as the brain is intact, it can be grafted into any kind of body overnight, it amounts to the same thing. Coincidentally, every fight she's in features lots and lots of dismemberments, slashfests and Ludicrous Gibs - on both sides. Good thing she can bolt those legs back on.
  • In D.Gray-man, Allen Walker has a healing factor that only applies to his left eye and left arm. Guess what happens? And Kanda Yu would have been dead a while ago if he didn't have regenerative capabilities.
  • Happens to all sorts of characters in One Piece. Buggy the Clown is the only person who has been literally cut to shreds by Zoro and Mihawk (despite both being capable of doing so to anybody) - naturally, he can survive that injury quite easily. Similarly, Kizaru stands around while Scratchmen Apoo slices off his forearm and legs, only to regenerate in a beam of light shortly afterward.
  • The Crusniks of Trinity Blood, to an almost absurd level. When main character Abel Nightroad gets into a fight, especially in his Crusnik form, he's almost guaranteed to get mangled in some way. If someone pulls a gun, he usually takes at least one bullet. In one instance, he survives having the left half of his torso, including an arm, a wing, and (presumably) his heart obliterated by a tank. He regrows them in a matter of moments by having the nanomachines in his blood actually eat the charred hunks of flesh before returning to his body, much to his enemy's horror. Father Tres, being an android, has a similar propensity to take damage (a flame-wielding vampire once hit him point-blank in the face), though not to the same extent.
    • In an even more extreme example, Big Bad Cain Nightroad survives being thrown out of a space station, burning to ash upon entering the atmosphere, and subsequently hitting the ground. Granted, regenerating from that took him about 900 years, but the fact that he survived it at all (not to mention the fact that he can live for 900 years) is a little over-the-top.
  • Moka's mother in Rosario+Vampire, Akasha. She survives being cut in half at one point, and it's implied by the method used to seal Alucard that her regeneration might be at From a Single Cell levels. Since he's nearly died from Taking the Bullet multiple times, Tsukune might count as well, albeit only by injection of Moka's blood. However, he's implied to be more compatible with the process than most humans.
  • Free of Soul Eater is of the clumsy/accident magnet variety. Amongst other things, he accidentally freezes himself. Part of it is his own fault, though. He knows he's completely immortal, so he doesn't really even bother with trying to protect himself.
    • Kim's magic turns out to be based on healing, so as you might expect she gets impaled rather abruptly just before showing this.
  • Freezing The girls get absolutely brutalized but after a trip to the infirmary there as good as new well, some of them.
  • Yukiko Hirohara from 11 eyes.
  • In Cyborg 009, we only find out that Princess Ixquic is a Robot Girl when she pulls a Diving Save for Joe aka 009 and she suffers a huge injury in her arm, which heals itself almost immediately and reveals the robotic limbs hidden behind her synthetic skin.
  • Inuyasha: Inuyasha is so good at healing or withstanding even terrible injuries that the manga tends to lampshade just how bad his wounds are when he struggles to recover from injuries as a way of indicating just how dangerous the fight he's been in was (such as when he's injured by his brother). This is particularly notable when he's in trapped in human form or when his injuries are so bad it takes his Super-Powered Evil Side to heal them.
  • Quon of Towa no Quon recieves injuries that would be fatal to just about anyone else almost Once an Episode.

Comic Books

  • "The Unstoppable Higgs" from "Girl Genius" is able to recover from a broken leg and arm plus a concussion in just a few days, at the end of which he is able to succeed remarkably in a Jaeger bar fight. That can be explained away given that their world has odd yet strangely advanced medical devices that are able to heal very quickly, but this is justified when he is later thrown into walls by a clank with no apparent setbacks, not to mention his encounters with Zola, when he gets punched by a highly drugged and dangerous woman, plus shot and run through with a sword.
    • The Jaegers themselves regularly endure enormous amounts of punishment, the one time one was shown to be in any real danger of death was from a venom that liquified flesh, and he simply tore off the stung arm.
    • Some of Higgs' dialogue suggests that he's centuries old, and in one instance he slipped into a Jaeger accent
  • Wolverine from the X-Men combines his regeneration with Made of Iron to be pretty damn careless. In one instance, his entire body, save his adamantium skeleton, was incinerated by a Wave Motion Gun, and he regenerated from a handful of brain cells left in his cranial cavity.
    • Said skeleton is actually an example. Should he ever lose his healing factor, the metal in his skeleton will kill him.
    • On one occasion in Ultimate X-Men, he had another mutant blast him with fire in order to break him out of his restraints, which burned off much of his skin and hair (but not his Magic Pants). This was-of course-done since he could (and would) regenerate from the damage.
      • Oh they're really going all-out in the Ultimate universe. When Ultimate Wolverine was possessed by Proteus he got hit by a truck. The aftermath is never explicitly shown but implied to be so gruesome that the X-Men have to wait a few minutes for Wolverine to regenerate his mouth and vocal cords before they can talk to him again. When his mind got swapped with Peter Parker's Peter accidentally cuts off one of Wolvie's fingers so the writers can show it growing back. When Wolvie gets ambushed by some mercenaries with an unexplained grudge against him the leader spends a long time shooting him in the forehead just to torture him. He also gets shot a lot. So much so that he often doesn't even notice until after the battle when he realizes he still has bullets lodged under his skin. Apparently the guards at the Weapon X program used to entertain themselves by shooting Wolverine over and over so they could watch him regenerate.
      • Not to mention when Wolverine went after the Hulk in the Ultimate universe. Hulk at the time was at peace (literally sitting on a throne, surrounded by riches, fine food and drink, and half-naked servant girls.) He was a little upset at Wolverine for disturbing him... And ended their fight by tearing him in half at the waist and throwing his legs on top of the mountain. This is resolved in flashback: the introduction would be Wolverine dragging his torso up the mountain to find his lower half, not before he bleeds to death, but before his body heals in such a way that he can't put himself back together would have to cut himself apart to put again to put himself back together.
    • This is also how Marvel lampshades Logan's near-constant cigar smoking: the Healing Factor 'makes it okay'. In depth explanation: Wolverine cannot get cancer. If one of his cells turns cancerous, the surrounding cells will immediately team up and beat the cancer out of it. He's THAT violent.
    • In one comic he drives several Nazi death camp commandants crazy by just letting them execute him over and over again and turning up again later as if nothing's happened. At one point he just stands in a gas chamber and refuses to die.
    • This trope is also later subverted by Ultimate Wolverine. He loses his healing factor and becomes Cable. As Cable he has to rely more on planning and wits now that he can die from massive damage.
    • The Wolverine Anime shows seems to have this in spades. While he does occasionally dodge, he spends quite a bit of time losing huge chunks of skin and flesh. At one point, he's knocked to the floor and loses a chunk of forehead big enough to show his skull.
  • The comparatively minor character Shatterstar from the spinoff X-Force has correspondingly less extreme healing abilities... but he needs them, because his signature attack is stabbing himself through the gut to impale somebody standing behind him.
  • Robotman in the All-Star Squadron comics was a non-healer example; he'd constantly get his arms and legs sliced off, since he has a robot body and they can be fixed. The Doom Patrol Legacy Character version underwent similar travails.
    • Similarly, Red Tornado of the Justice League tends to be the official team sacrificial lamb since he can be rebuilt rather easily.
  • Minor Marvel character Wolfsbane has a 'healing factor', which means she has been knocked unconscious (with a rifle butt!) and recovered with a short headache ('the lord didn't make me pretty, but he gave me a thick skull'); it was implied that she survived being slashed with a Katana by the Silver Samurai, and her friend Dani Moonstar's defence of her while down gained the Samurai's respect, so he left them alive.
  • This trope also applies to invulnerability. In the theatrically released version of the film Superman II, Clark Kent manages to convince Lois Lane that's he's not Superman, then immediately trips, stumbles and puts his hand into a gas fireplace, revealing his invulnerability and with it his secret identity. We're asked to believe that a man with superhuman speed and agility, who's guarded his true identity for his entire lifetime, suddenly has an attack of clumsiness that just happens to show off his powers.
    • Well, the original version of the scene had Lois shoot some blanks at him, making him think she already knew for sure. So it all comes down to, would you rather have a sudden cluminess attack, or be asked to believe that Clark couldn't tell that no bullets were actually bouncing off him?
    • Equally, if someone was to trip and recover with superhuman speed (and one assumes that since trying to stay upright is a reflex rather than a reaction, Superman would pull his usual "oh damn I instinctively caught that speeding bullet"-type accidental reveal), that'd give the game away just as much, with the proviso that it'd be an awful lot more difficult to clearly portray in a movie.
  • In Preacher (Comic Book) 'V-word' Cassidy can regenerate back from anything given enough time; blood merely speeds up the process. At one point, he's captured by the villains after pretending to be Jesse, and after they realize he's practically invulnerable, trap him in a pit and shoot him over and over with a rifle. By the time Jesse rescues him, he's got one leg, one arm, and no genitals, at least for a while. When describing past events he mentions overdosing on heroin and being buried, eventually waking up in his coffin, forced to vomit up the embalming fluid and feed off insects until his organs regenerating enough to dig out of his own grave, the whole process taking over a month.
    • He also recovered from being shot by the Saint of Killers, which is possibly even more remarkable considering that the Saint's guns, forged from the Angel of Death's sword, are supposed to be able to kill anyone, even immortals.
  • Deadpool, the Merc with a Mouth. His regeneration ability is actually in part derived from Wolverine's own. A high tolerance of pain and insanity allow him to frankly not care about any damage he receives and keep fighting regardless. Only problem is, his brain is constantly in flux as a result, which is why he's... unstable.
    • Deadpool is... thrilled to meet up with Alex Hayden (Agent X), who can also regenerate. Deadpool shows his affection by spelling out messages with Alex's entrails, and also stealing his pancreas just because he can.
    • Deadpool has jumped face first into concrete from a 10 story building to try to "fix" looking like Tom Cruise.
      • That's Thom Cruz.
    • Deadpool has also jumped into a malfunctioning nuclear reactor to stop it from Going Critical. That time he didn't know if he would come back, so it was actually a bit touching.
    • Lest we forget, in Cable & Deadpool, Cable's preferred method of getting Deadpool to leave him alone, at least at first, is to telekinetically blow up his brain, resulting in a nasty looking headwound and Deadpool being down for about an hour.
  • Pretty much the entire reason for being for Mr. Immortal, who can come back from any fatal injury... and has no other powers.
  • In Wormy the first creatures to get hurt (except for some wronged dwarves) are a pair of Trolls.
  • Lampshaded by Cyborg in Titans #5, after his latest self-repair: "There. I am walking, with my new feet on the floor. Let's see if I can go the weekend without getting them blown off."
  • Bill Willingham's supernatural superheroes The Elementals got mangled fairly regularly. Being that they were dead already, it was only a temporary inconvenience.
  • Jack in Jack of Fables. It is explained that this is partially the result of some karmic payback the universe owes him for making himself nearly invincible. The universe hates to see invincibility exist without a purpose, so it punishes him at every opportunity.
    • All of the Fable-folk have this ability which is directly proportional to the popularity of the Fable in question. Snow White recovered from a sniper bullet through the brain in a matter of months. Goldilocks healed up nicely from an axe to the head, a fall off a cliff, getting hit by a truck then falling off ANOTHER cliff into a river where she proceeded to drown repeatedly and get eaten by the local aquatic fauna after she was found by Mr Revise in Jack of Fables. Jack, since he's THE Jack of Tales (even though he's the antecedent to Wicked John) can heal from most things almost instantaneously. Most other fables can be killed but if they're just injured you can expect a fairly speedy recovery. Fables that die are given a burial in the Witching Well.
      • Not sure if this counts, but even when a Fable does die, as long as the concept of that Fable lives on, a Replacement Goldfish will appear. This is why Revise keeps captured Fables locked up in a prison camp until their stories fade out of public consciousness instead of trying to kill them off directly.
  • The DCU's Lobo, who was originally created as a parody of Wolverine and character types like him. He is able to regenerate from even one remaining drop of blood. In one issue of his book, he resorts to blowing himself up just to take out all the enemies surrounding him.
  • Find a Doom Patrol story where Robotman doesn't lose at least one limb. Go ahead, I'll wait.
    • In an early solo story, Robotman tracks an escaped killer through a booby trapped island, and rips off all his limbs to use them as various tools. He tears off his own leg and warps it into a giant key to open a door that he could have obviously just broken down, since he was strong enough to TEAR OFF HIS OWN LEG AND WARP IT INTO A GIANT KEY.
  • Played hilariously straight in the Last Hero Standing story set in the Marvel Comics possible-future M2 universe. The Hulk, under Loki's influence, goes on a killing rampage against the Avengers Next and various other future heroes. Despite his massive strength, insane rage, and lack of holding back, he does no permanent damage to anyone. What he does do is pound Wolverine into the dirt (who, of course, can regenerate), tear off Spidey's prosthetic leg and Thing's robot arm, shatter the Big Brain (a robot) into pieces, and break the arms and head off Vision (an android). So every injury is repairable. He hits a bunch of regular heroes too, but they just get knocked flying.
  • The Savage Dragon can regrow lost limbs, continue talking after getting holes blasted through his chest, and has fought without skin on at least two occaisions all due to his healing powers.
  • The Marvel character Darkhawk can heal by transforming into his human form and then changing back again. He discovered this after having his heart/amulet ripped out by a villain named Tombstone.
  • X-23 and Daken are beginning to give Wolverine a run for his money.
    • X-23, at least, is a better healer than Wolverine because she isn't constantly fighting massive adamantium poisoning.
  • Everyone in the X-Men suddenly started getting injured more in battles shortly after they were joined by Elixir, a mutant whose power is to heal himself and others. It's almost like they were deliberately being more careless just so the new guy could feel more useful.
  • In the pages of New Avengers", the Sentry ripped Carnage in half and threw him into the sun. Of course Carnage came back about five years later. How? It turns out that because the Carnage symbiote is part of Cletus Kasady's bloodstream, it was able to put Cletus in a coma and keep it alive, nearly dying to do so. Considering the random stuff Carnage, Venom and other symbiotes have done, this is completely believable compared to some other resurrections.

Fan Works

Sphinx: Right. Do not worry, though, as I am not permitted to kill you. That said, healers can work all sorts of miracles these days.

  • George in With Strings Attached can shapeshift from “himself hurt” to “himself not hurt.” He recovers from a broken ankle, various cuts and scrapes, and finally multiple fractures after he falls through a roof. He has to be conscious to do this, so if he were killed he wouldn't get better. (Then they'd have to tote him off to the resurrectionist.)
  • In Calvin and Hobbes: The Series, Jack has an auto-repair system that functions like this.
  • In Neon Genesis Madoka Magica, Sayaka's Healing Factor is the only thing that kept her alive after Sachiel burned most of her skin off (including her arms). Sachiel himself has a somewhat subverted example of this. Sayaka keeps lopping his limbs off, until she realizes that puncturing his lungs has about the same effect it would have on a human being, and that he has a hard time regenerating more than one body part/organ at a time.
  • While it's never been shown in the anime canon, this is a common piece of Axis Powers Hetalia Fanon, supported by the fact that in the manga, Russia survives his heart falling out on a regular basis, and China has a scar directly over his spine from when Japan stabbed him. It's so prevalent that "consensual guro" is quite popular among certain sections of the fanbase, with characters treating killing each other like a form of S&M.


  • Wolverine in all the X-Men movies. The movie version went with "painful and suicidal because he can", including an instance where he punctured his own lungs to get out of restraints (and another, less fatal, of putting out his cigar on his palm, complete with wince).
    • Wolverine encountered this trope in the third film when, for the first time in the trilogy, he sliced someone's limbs off. Naturally, the mook is revealed to just so happen to be a regenerator and easily regrows his arms over and over again. After some consideration, Logan proves to be able to defeat the goon with a good kick to the groin. "Grow those back."
    • Also in the third film, near the end, he's the one that stays behind to face Dark Phoenix for this very reason.
  • Sabertooth and Deadpool in X-Men Origins.
    • Averted in the the Origin's movie. Wolverine only takes serious damage during intense battles. Even when he's a lumberjack with spinning buzzsaws, cliffs, axes, and giant cords of wood all over the place he doesn't so much as get a knock on the head.
  • Used multiple times in The Faculty. However its subverted in the case of Jon Stewart's character, who after being turned back human isn't able to regenerate and is subjected to an eyepatch and four missing fingers at the movie's closing.
  • The T-1000 from Terminator 2 showed off the movie's control of newfangled CGI technology, getting blown around and smashed apart, yet always flowing back together (Though he eventually got enough damage to make his disguise power less than effective).
    • Same thing happens to the T-X as she gets holes shot into her constantly.
    • In fact, all the terminators except T-1000 have a variation of this trope, as they all have metal skeletons. They contantly get riddled with bullet holes, and by the end of each movie they are all rendered to metallic skeletons.
  • Jeebs in Men in Black can easily regrow his head after it gets shot off. So Agent K frequently blows it off to get information, and sometimes for fun.
    • Though K does threaten to shoot him "where it won't grow back" if he catches him dealing in alien guns again.
    • Taken to Butt Monkey heights in the second movie, when the amnesiac K shoots his head off again.

"How did you know that his head would grow back?"
"... It grows back?"

Dorian: "If that had been permanent, I'd have been very upset!"

  • Used rather often in Highlander, much like the TV series. Except that there was no temporary death in the films, they just got shot and kept on going.


  • Most of the characters in Roger Zelazny's Book of Amber belong to a family of immortals who can regenerate from any injury that doesn't kill them. When the villainous brother takes his sister hostage and threatens to maim her if he doesn't get his way, for some reason he's surprised when one of the good brothers points out that "She can regenerate just as well as the rest of us" and calls his bluff. (To be fair, most of the family had only recently learned the full extent of their regenerative powers, so he may simply not have thought through all the implications yet.)
    • A more dramatic example, one of the brothers claims at one point (though it's possible he was lying to save face) to have been relying on the possibility of another being able to regenerate from having his eyes burned out.
  • Fred Saberhagen's Swords series has a magic sword named Woundhealer which cannot be used to kill living creatures because it heals whatever it's stabbed into. Woundhealer's abilities are so potent that one use on an amputee's arm causes the arm to grow back over a period of time. Slicing it through a broken limb will instantly restore the limb. It's also possible to impale one's self on the blade and benefit from constant healing.
    • In an extreme example, a character escaped pursuit by impaling himself and jumping off a cliff. He survived, and suffered no lasting physical injury, but it DID hurt and he had some psychological trauma after that.
  • The Wild Cards series has Billy Ray aka Carnifex. In this case there's a little twist: his regenerative ability is somewhat inaccurate, so his face looks rather deformed from all the times it has needed to recover from massive damage.
  • In homage to the frequency with which private detectives (like Philip Marlowe) get beaten up by corrupt cops or gangsters, P.N. Elrod's vampire detective Jack Flemming sustains brutal torture and beating in just about every novel.
  • In Animorphs, morphing resets the body from injuries - so an injured animal just has to morph back. The books deal with this in alarmingly visceral ways. Most noticeable is Tobias, who has no morphing ability for the first few books and remains almost totally unharmed - but once he gets his morphing ability back, he's suddenly prone to horrific injury in his hawk form.
    • Just one highlight: Being swallowed by a Kronosaurus. He gets out with a broken wing that somehow stays whenever he morphs.
    • Tobias rarely entered combat as a hawk, preferring to do espionage for the rest of the characters. After he got his morphing back, he could join his friends in combat. Then he got hurt along with them. Probably more because he wasn't experienced in combat.
  • In one of the Thieves' World novels regenerating character was subdued and sold as a slave to local vivisector. This was supposed to 'solve' two problems at once: both his regular wanton murder of poor little mobsters and vivisector cutting up slaves again and again counted as 'a bit too much' even by local standards. Well, one problem -- but hey, it's still better than nothing.
  • Happens in some of the City Watch novels in Discworld thanks to the werewolf and golem who join the force.

"We can rebuild him. We have the pottery."

    • Also Reg Shoe, the zombie. He can't really heal per se, but his limbs get chopped off disproportionately often.
    • Discworld vampires also have this ability, as demonstrated by Otto von Chriek; getting decapitated is merely an inconvenience while everyone else tries to find where his head rolled under. Reattaching it only takes a few seconds, though it's slightly embarrassing ("Like zer passing of ze vater.").
      • Otto's condition goes well beyond this. As a vampire with a vulnerability to sunlight, he's chosen a profession in photography. Using flashbulbs. If he's the slightest bit careless in taking a picture, he goes up in smoke, but it's not a problem since he keeps a vial of blood in his pocket which breaks and revives him instantly.
  • The hero of Chuck Wending's novel Double Dead can heal anything as long as he has enough blood in his system (he is a vampire, after all). This is taken Up to Eleven when he actually burns to death in the sun, is carved up by cannibals, and only regenerates once his decapitated head bites off the cannibal leader's tongue. It's not quite From a Single Cell, but it's close.
  • In Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle's Inferno and its sequel Escape From Hell, the damned souls in Hell can and do heal from injuries up to and including being exploded into a cloud of vapor. Of course, they're really Blessed with Suck(after all, they are in Hell), since healing is often a slow painful process during which one is fully conscious but incapacitated, and one can never die.
    • This is evidently the case in Dante's version, too. One soul is burned to ash and then reforms.
  • While this never really happens as extreme as others in Percy Jackson, in the final book, Dionysus is seen as splitting his consciousness to speak to Percy...while he was thrown into a ditch and was recovering. He even says that it's quite painful. Also related to mythology because of Kronos...
  • Wizards and witches in the Harry Potter books are frequently shown to be more resilient than normal human, surviving accidents that would kill a muggle, or only sustaining minor injuries. Wizards and witches also have much longer lifespans than their muggle counterparts. Add to that magical medicine, with potions such as a Skelegrow, which regrows bones.
  • Handled consistently in Needle by Hal Clement. An symbiotic intelligent virus can heal many minor injuries and consistently defeat disease. Cue the protagonist getting careless about handling sharp objects, and nearly dying from an infection when the symbiote leaves.
  • Mages in The Demonata series can use magic to reattach their limbs and repair severe damage in battle, often fixing their arms and legs back on as they continue to fight. Unfortunately, it still hurts just as much as it would to a normal human.
  • The werewolves in Twilight heal very quickly, and normally this is a good thing (like when Jacob slices his hand open at Bella's house, but the cut is already healed before Bella can get a towel to stop the bleeding). However, this is subverted when Jacob has the right side of his body broken during the battle against the newborns- in wolf form, he heals too quickly and Carlisle has to re-break his bones to fix them.
  • Largely averted in Casca the Eternal Mercenary where Casca feels the full and complete pain both of the wound and of the rapid healing, so he takes great pains to avoid getting injured wherever he can. Generally, he only suffers a fatal injury once per book, and only receives that in situations of overwhelming odds.
  • Wayne in The Alloy of Law has the ability to store health in order to heal quickly later, so of course he gets hurt a lot more then his partner Wax, including once catching the brunt of an explosion and getting his entire back badly burned, being shot multiple times, being poisoned, etc. Also Miles has a Healing Factor and probably gets shot almost as many times as everybody else in the book combined, including the mooks.
  • Gilbert in Of Snail Slime, thanks to the fact that he's a tumor and thus capable of healing from any injury. How this works is never explained.
  • In Gene Stratton Porter's Freckles, Angel laughs off the notion of going to a doctor for a cut, until Freckles urges that it could scar on her.

Live-Action TV

  • Claire Bennett from Heroes. The only reason she is not the Trope Namer is because it isn't a direct quote, but several characters have mentioned that she would be a lot less pretty if she didn't have her regeneration. She's chopped off her own toe just to see if it would grow back. In less deliberate instances, she's also gotten her neck snapped and had a sharp branch put through her skull, accidentally grabbed hot cookware, and wedged her hand in a running garbage disposal (all in the first four episodes!)
    • There was a bit where her mom dropped her wedding ring into a pot of boiling water and Claire reached in to get it back, whereupon Mom chides her for being "flashy", noting that "we do have a strainer".
    • Especially glaring is the fact that she gets these injuries much more easily than anyone else just so we can watch her heal. You know how her neck got snapped? A football player accidentally ran into her. This somehow knocked her head around 180° degrees, and she had to twist it back. It was like something out of Looney Tunes.
      • Fans have wondered if she has the secondary "ability" to have incredibly bad luck or to have ridiculously violent things happen to her.
    • Then when Sylar gets her abilities, he basically stops trying to avoid getting hurt. Snap his neck? He knocks it right back on. Go ahead, shoot him, he'll get right back up. And when Elle blasts him full of all the electricity she can muster, all that gets destroyed are his clothes. This got especially glaring since up until he had her power he was a very good fighter and deflected bullets with ease so he never got hit in the first place. Jamming a shard of glass into the back of skull would've never happened to pre-regeneration Sylar. Now he treats his body like a meat shield.
    • The same qualifies to a lesser extent anyone else with rapid cellular regeneration. Adam, for example, walked on up to an enemy mook, got stabbed, then just smiled and disposed of said mook. Later, he jumps off a building to take Kaito Nakamura with him, then walks away.
    • Claire mentions in one episode that she has good skin. Her regenerative abilities prevent her from ever getting drunk, perhaps they also prevent acne and any other kind of skin blemish or condition.
    • Parodied and deconstructed in How to Debate an Exploding Candidate.

Nathan Petrelli: Claire has an amazing power. No matter what injury she suffers or what disease she's exposed to, her body automatically heals almost instantly. What's more, she seems to attract these injuries. Whenever she's around, things happen that could kill or maim somebody, and they always happen to her.
Mohinder Suresh: I've noticed that too; it's a truly bizarre phenomenon. Good thing she can heal.
Nathan: What I propose to do is extend Claire's coverage to the whole nation. Anything bad that would normally happen to you will happen to her instead. She'll just heal from it, and everything will be fine.

  • Painkiller Jane. Every episode of the TV series was designed to show off her powers at least once. Sometimes she intentionally used them, sometimes she just had bad luck. The 2007 comic begins with a story where she runs across a terrorist with nerve gas on a train by pure coincidence and would have died if it wasn't for her powers.
    • Even then she was still left in a coma for a week. The very first issue of that series started with her getting blown sky high and landing a half a mile away.
  • When he resurfaced in the third series of Doctor Who, Jack Harkness exploited his ability for the team's benefit.
    • Or the villains exploited it for him...
    • It gets worse, however, when you consider the offscreen should-be-fatal injuries he referred to. One must wonder how he survived before becoming immortal.
      • Let's take the opportunity to mention "Last of the Time Lords" here, where Jack has obviously spent an entire year being killed in whatever gruesome ways the Master could come up with, all for his own personal amusement.
      • He explicitly said in his first appearance that his Cool Ship had healing nanogenes
    • Torchwood: Children of Earth seems to be taking this to new and interesting levels. A government mole implants a bomb in Jack so that he can take out all of Torchwood when it goes off. Gwen and Ianto get away, but Jack still gets blown to bits. Then, when the government agents find his remains and realize this trope is in effect, they dump his remains in quick-setting concrete.
    • During the five days of Children of Earth in series 3, Jack dies six times. To put this into perspective, this was in the space of five episodes. In the first twenty-five episodes (episode 26 is a special case, due to him being trapped in a cycle of death and rebirth for 2000 years), he died seven times, nine including flashbacks.
    • The Doctor can can survive stuff that should be fatal and can quickly recover from much worse injuries than a human can, even without recasting the part. He's regrown a hand, for one thing, and has been tortured enough times to give anyone else wicked PTSD. The spin-offs novels and audios, which don't have to worry about scaring kids or upsetting parents, take this even further.
      • Though it is taken to absurd extremes in The End of Time when he jumps from a spaceship and falls several hundred feet, crashes through a glass dome, and impacts a marble floor at terminal velocity, and receives nothing more than a few scratches to his face.
      • The Eighth Doctor Adventures in particular were nothing short of sadistic. Through the course of "Camera Obscura" the Doctor was crushed by a falling sandbag (which drove his ribs into the floor), stabbed through the heart, slammed several times against a wall and finally torn to ribbons by briar thorns—good thing he'd been rendered effectively immortal.
    • The Alzarians, a humanoid race featured in Doctor Who in the early Eighties, are also able to recover from injury more rapidly than humans, a relic of their highly adaptable Marshmen ancestors. However, the Doctor's Alzarian companion, Adric, indicates that the speed of recovery decreases with age. ("Old people take a bit longer, of course. Sometimes a whole day.")
  • Rex Matheson, and for a brief period of time, the whole Earth. In Torchwood: Miracle Day, Death Takes a Holiday, and while this does not have good effects, it sure helps Rex when he's impaled. He later has a tranfusion with Jack's blood to protect it. Because of it, he survives his Heroic Sacrifice. Then he gets shot. And revives.
    • Torchwood also inverts the trope; After he becomes Only Mostly Dead, Owen can't die, but he can't heal his wounds at all. Cuts don't heal, broken bones don't mend, and a single punch could potentially cripple him.
  • Vyvyan Basterd, from The Young Ones. Pickaxe through the skull? He lives. Mixes his drinks with household poisons? He gets a nasty hangover, but he lives. Decapitated by a train tunnel? Not only does he live, he reattaches his head to his body (after kicking it a good while down the railroad tracks when it insults him). All the lads seem to possess a ridiculous Healing Factor, but his gets the heaviest workout.
  • Teal'c of Stargate SG-1 never has to regenerate any limbs, but his symbiote (and later Tretonin) let him get away with things most people would need body armor and a radiation suit to attempt, and months of physical therapy to recover from.
  • Bob Wire from King is made out of barbed wire and can therefore just spring back into place. As such, he seems to take an obscene amount of punishment every episode.
  • Kai from Lexx is an undead assassin who can reattach lost body parts - so he's constantly getting decapitated, vertically bisected, vaporized, etc.
    • The fact that he never bothers blocking or avoiding danger isn't so much because he knows he can't be permanently hurt (short of running out of protoblood) but rather because he was brainwashed and reprogrammed with literally NO self-preservation instinct beyond "get the mission done and get back home."
  • Nathan from Misfits has been showing this ever since his power was revealed to be immortality. Kind of justified though, since the kid makes such a habit of acting like an unbelievable ass that pretty much everyone who spends more than five seconds in his company could be forgiven for wanting to inflict harm on him (lampshaded by the fact that even his best friends aren't remotely surprised when someone tries to murder him). This, coupled with the fact that he is prone to occasionally jaw-dropping stupidity and recklessness, means that the only real mystery is how the hell he managed to survive prior to getting his power.
  • In Angel, Angel is usually the one who gets shot, stabbed, etc, because as a vampire he's pretty hard to kill. In fairness, though, it's not just him.

Angel: Do you know how hard it is to think straight with a piece of rebar through your torso?
Cordelia: Actually I do - benefits of a Sunnydale education!

    • The phrase also shows up in The Ring, after Angel gets a sufficiently serious beating to leave Wesley and Cordelia basically carrying him home.

Cordelia: Angel, you don't look so...well it's a good thing you heal fast!

    • Angel sustaining an injury that would kill a normal human is pretty much a Once an Episode thing.
    • Buffy, Faith and Kendra (slayers, basically) also heal faster than regular humans, which can lead to awkward questions posed by those not in the loop. For example, in the season 2 episode "Ted", the police wouldn't believe Buffy hit her stepfather in self-defense, because she had no bruise where he had hit her.
  • In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Odo is a shapeshifter and, if injured, simply shifts back to undamaged form. Thus he uses methods for stopping criminals like letting them run through him so they lose momentum, or jumping from heights on them. This bites him in the ass when he is Modelocked into human - during a very short time he sustains multiple injuries and nearly dies! Laas, another changeling, manages to be stabbed in his stomach within days on station.
    • On a similar note, changelings are immune to all regular infections, including STDs, so they have no qualms sharing Body Fluids with each other. This also proves nearly fatal when Section 31 develops a ... something that can infect Changelings.
  • Most of the reapers on Dead Like Me. The fact there's a spring sticking out of your mattress is no reason to get stabbed almost every time you go to bed, George. Sometimes they intentionally abuse their Healing Factor, though, or each other's; Roxy seems to think running Mason over is a perfectly appropriate punishment.
  • Sikozu of Farscape has the ability to reattach lost extremities. Thus, she's had her limbs lopped off on several occasions (and one of her fingers, in the episode Coup By Clam) - the most severe being Twice Shy, in which she has both an arm and a leg ripped off by the true form of Talika.
    • Also, Pilot once had this trope forced upon him by the rest of the crew, because a Mad Scientist had demanded one of his limbs in exchange for assistance.
      • A different episode finds them encountering another Leviathan that's overrun by some very unpleasant people. They too are abusing their Pilot's regeneration, but not just out of sadism. The first words the traumatized being can say "in simple enough fashion" for the Translator Microbes to be able to let the others understand are, "They, are, EATING! ME!!!"
  • Given how often Nick Knight gets shot in the line of duty, his quest To Become Human could easily get him killed unless he changes his habits.
    • It showed up with other characters too. Vachon lost a hand in the plane crash in 'Black Buddha', and LaCroix survived being impaled by a flaming torch in the pilot, though we only find that out in season 2.
  • Any of the angels in Supernatural, particularly in Castiel's case. He's been beaten, impaled, carved up, shot, thrown through walls, hung on a meat hook, and always ends up perfectly fine until he's human. Then he realizes just how much it sucks not to have awesome angelic healing powers. Averted in that demons don't heal, they just push the bodies they inhabit to their limits.
  • Both played straight and occasionally lampshaded with Cameron in The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

John: You're healing fast.
Cameron: Faster than you.

    • This is the day after Cameron has been blown up, run over, pulled a metal spike out of her head, pressed between two trucks and staple-gunned the wounds on her face closed. John, by contrast, has "only" been in a car accident, and already she's looking much less injured than him.
    • Worth pointing out that as Terminators are living tissue over a metal endoskeleton, any injuries they receive are literally just a flesh wound.
  • In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the Vorta have backup clones in case they die. Weyoun's later appearances consist of him getting killed every single time because he can get better. He pretty much becomes Kenny.
  • The Collector: Morgan's Healing Factor is shown A LOT, which also shows the hellfire filling him.
  • Highlander used this to no end. Duncan was always getting hurt in some way during fights and having to heal, and "watch me shoot/stab/whatever myself and die, then revive" was a popular way to show immortality to a mortal. Averted, though, with Xavier St.Cloud's hand. Chopped off body parts do not regrow. Neck wounds also tend to leave scars.

Oral Tradition, Folklore, Myth and Legend

  • Prometheus was chained to a rock and an eagle tore out his liver every day until he was rescued. Boy Prometheus, it's a Good Thing You Can Heal now isn't it? Of course, the regeneration was part of his punishment for giving humans fire - so that his liver could be torn out every day for the rest of eternity and not just once.
  • Ares would be injured a bit in greek mythology...thank you Diomedes for stabbing him.
  • Norse mythology has several instances of this. Odin hangs himself (for three days), stabs an eye out, and stabs himself with a spear to get knowledge. Loki gets chained down and has a snake drip poison/acid on him.

Video Games

  • The character Yoshimitsu, who has appeared in every single Tekken game, has healing abilities beginning in Tekken 3. He can heal through meditating, or through draining lifeforce from an enemy. Like Shatterstar, he has an attack where he stabs himself, inflicting damage but is able to hit an enemy for even more damage with it. He is also able to spin while in this state to further damage someone hit with this attack, with his sword still in him. Yoshimitsu can also spin away from his opponent at an incredibly rapid speed, an attack that requires expending his own life to do, and which causes him to lose his balance and faint temporarily if done excessively.
    • Yoshimitsu from the Soul Calibur series has similar techniques including flying into the air, lighting his sword on fire, then stabbing it through his own chest and dropping out of the air onto your opponent for massive damage to both you and your opponent. You can regain your health in identical ways to Tekken.
  • Played straight in Xenosaga. Albedo has a powerful healing factor (he can regrow his own head!), but is driven to madness upon the knowledge that he cannot be killed while his brothers can.
    • Not to mention that unlike most Healing Factors, Albedo can continue to lecture an innocent loli while decapitated.
      • Also, he's not remotely accident-prone. He is, however, completely batshit crazy; his frequent demonstrations of his immortality are largely self-inflicted.
    • You'd be driven mad too if you couldn't die but would still continue to age... Having immortality without eternal youth, one day you'd look 1000 years old, or even a million. Imagine the wrinkles! Perhaps that's what Albedo was truly fearing.
  • The God of War series kills Kratos once per game, but he just comes back Like a Badass Out of Hell.
  • The player can do this in Planescape: Torment. Since the main character can't die, and has a Healing Factor as part of the parcel, they can willingly allow themselves to be mangled in all sorts of ways. You can allow a woman to pay for the privilage of fatally stabbing you, snap your own neck to prove a point not once but twice, allow a hag to claw out your eye to give you power, remove a magical ring from the dead finger it's stuck on by biting your finger off and sticking the dead finger onto the stump, allow a mortician to sew up your wounds, have a crazy dissectionist cut your various body parts open (including pulling out your own intestines and cracking open your skull), gouge out your eye to put a preserved one in its place, and gain spells from a Pyromaniac wizard by allowing him to burn your finger, hand, eyeball and intestines to charred cinders.
    • Hilariously, although you can't die, you can kill people in a number of increasingly ridiculous ways. The most well-known and memorable is when you convince a man that he doesn't exist, and he simply poofs out of existence when he realizes that he believes your logic. And it doesn't count as murder, because...he never existed!
  • Dark Samus. It took the destruction of one and a half planets to finally kill her.
  • Robots and Reploids from the Mega Man franchise can be rebuilt after pretty much any damage, except when they need to die for real. In one game, Proto Man is cut in half twice. Zero has been blown up, reduced to a head and torso, lasered through the chest, split into three parts that get passed around like trading cards...
  • In Fate/stay night, Shirou takes frequent and painful abuse from enemy Servants no matter what you do—but he takes noticeably less of it in routes where his contract with Saber gets broken. This is because Shirou has unknowingly been imbued with Saber's lost Noble Phantasm, Avalon, which will heal him from any damage as long as he's connected to her. Without her, it's just there.
  • Dante in the Devil May Cry series: he gets stabbed and impaled so many times and then shrugs it off that it's just funny...but only in the cut scenes...that don't involve his fights with Vergil in DMC 3 where he actually DOES get hurt...but then gets better by going Devil Time.
  • Many Characters in the Final Fantasy series, particularly Dissidia, know that they can come back to life, & use it to their fullest advantage. Sephiroth, Emperor Mateus of Palamecia, & Garland although, he uses time travel are notable examples.
  • In World of Warcraft, there are sometimes very high places that would take a long time to climb back down from. Of course the solution is obvious, and several classes have abilities to make it a perfectly survivable tactic, including the Priest's Levitate, Rogue's / Druid Cat-Form's reduced falling damage etc. Warlocks and Shamans don't have these... but they do have the ability to occasionally self-ressurect, leading to a lot of Warlocks and Shammys going 'splat'.
    • Then there is Divine Intervention, a Paladin skill that kills the Paladin but makes the target invulnerable when things go badly. The saved ally can then ressurect the Paladin and the others.
    • Demonstrated in this Awkward Zombie comic.
  • First Person Shooters in general. The characters can take a dozen of .50 cal bullets in torso and have their legs blown off and recover in either by stepping on medkit or wheezing for couple of seconds.
  • There's been a ton of video games that make use of Wolverine's ability to regenerate, but the most recent one, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, is the first to show grievous bodily harm actually occurring to him, up to and including parts of his face and torso being completely torn off, only for them to slowly come back. For game balancing issues, he has two health meters; his "internal vitals" meter regenerates more slowly, so you're in trouble if you get that far gone. His shirt rarely survives this punishment, though his pants never suffer quite so much.
  • The Konami title Neverdead turns this into a game mechanic. The protagonist, Bryce, is an immortal who can survive violent dismemberment by picking himself up piece by piece.
  • The Recover technique and other similar moves in the Pokémon games do this to varying degrees.
  • Less prominent than most examples here is Chidori in Persona 3. She's a messed-up girl with a bad habit of cutting herself, but her wounds heal rapidly.
  • Albert Wesker in the Resident Evil series has a virus that allows him to basically survive anything, such as getting hundred tons of metal to fall on him with barely any effect.Rocket Launchers only stun him while there able to take down a Tyrant in one hit.It took two rockets, lava, and a hundred attacks to finally obliterate him.Even after all that, some fans suggest he somehow managed to survive.
  • Both Vorcha and Krogans in the Mass Effect universe can heal: Vorcha heal very quickly as a natural ability, which gives them a somewhat horrifying appearance from the mass of scars they receive, and Krogans are so naturally tough and resilient that their anatomy allows them to continue functioning even when they shouldn't be capable, while their body heals the injuries. Both can have their regeneration shut down (temporarily, but permanently in the games based on how combat works) through inflicting incredible amounts of simultaneous, wide-spread damage (the Warp biotic effect) or burning them.

Wrex: "Ah, the benefits of a redundant nervous system!"

Tabletop Games

  • Mutants and Masterminds includes a "Regrowth" feature that can be bought on Regeneration and Healing that allows one to regenerate lost limbs and other bits of the body. Handy, except that there's no way in the rules for one to lose limbs or bits of the body, so the only time this comes up is when the GM wants to make the Regrowth seem useful.
  • Dungeons & Dragons of course has "Fast Healing" and "Regeneration". The difference: Fast Healing heals any damage, but cannot restore limbs; Regeneration can regrow anything (except the head - usually) but has something that bypasses the regeneration (Usually fire and/or acid).

Web Comics

  • Gregory of Dominic Deegan: Oracle For Hire does this to some extent. He once proposed selling his organs to make money, since he could get them back with healing magic. Which doesn't make a lot of sense considering he could use his magic to heal other people just as well.
  • The Wotch has Tie'l, an alien who can heal. Slower than usual though, an arm-tentacle takes a week to regrow. Much like the quote at the start of this page Tie'l also points out.

Tie'l: She cut my Arm-Tentacle off!!
Glock: So? It'll grow back in, like, a week.
Tie'l: That doesn't make it pleasant!

  • El Goonish Shive has a villainous example: Damien never needed fighting skill because he could regenerate (as well as having burning skin and supposed Super Strength).
  • This installment of Captain Excelsior offers some thought about the trope.
  • In Sluggy Freelance, whenever Oasis appears to "die," she inevitably turns up alive later (exactly how she does this is unknown, even to her). So, shock of shocks, she ends up dying in just about every storyline she appears in. This is especially notable in the "Dangerous Days" arc, where Oasis is the only one of the good guys who takes lethal damage, and is the only one left behind when the building they were in explodes.
  • Richard of Looking for Group, regularly gets impaled by arrows or loses limbs, then again he is undead.
  • The eponymous protagonist of Gorgeous Princess Creamy Beamy. She seems to be getting used to it, too - in this strip she's merely frowning after getting half her skull bashed in.
    • Which is nothing compared to a later part of the same story arc, when she has to regrow her entire body!
  • Head Trip shows how the case of Claire Bennett from Heroes (see above) could be worse.
  • Goblin Dan of Order of the Stick became a millionaire by selling roast hydra-head burgers as goblinoid fast food, so for him it's a Good Thing Hydras Can Heal.
  • Bob and George: See the Mega Man entry above. The robot cast are regularly taken out by the villains and are just rebuilt by Doctor Light (who the villains never take out before being stopped). The title characters are also human but either their shielding makes attacks ineffective or involuntary time travel happens.
  • All the MAQ numbers from MAQ #041 have regeneration capabilities, but the one that has the most capacity is #13. So far, she's been plastered against a brick wall by a car and been gunned down accidentally as part of a demonstration.
  • Homestuck: More like Good Thing You're Immortal, but going God-Tier and being a God-Tier player means you can go through massive physical trauma and still be okay, as long as certain conditions aren't met. The best example of this would have to be Dave and Rose, who had to travel through a sun that was double the mass of the universe. Not to mention that the thing that allowed them to reach God Tier was being at the source of the explosion which created said sun.
  • Lexx in Alien Dice takes a lot of punishment during duels, losing and regenerating limbs on a couple occasions. Though both times he was out of commission for at least a day and needed nutritional supplements to prevent his nanites from cannibalizing the rest of his body.
  • Some of Vampire Cheerleaders. Especially Suki Taft.
  • Schlock Mercenary. It may be easier to remember what did not happen to the amorph. Just sweep most pieces in one pile, dump some Ovalkwik on top and wait a minute. Bullets are merely annoying to him. Eventually (in the same chapter as he got splattered over plaza) it turned out that Elf started making hardware personally for Schlock just to make sure it won't be easier to knock out than him.

Schlock: It's not a handbrain. Just a tiny bit of comms and a big pile of shielding.
Sorlie: Nice.
Schlock: Commander Foxworthy made it for me.
Sorlie: She sounds kind of prescient.
Schlock: Yeah, but I get blown up kind of a lot.

Web Original

  • In the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, Splatterman was once dropped through a mulcher. He regenerated. Calling his power a "Healing Factor" just doesn't seem to get the message across...
    • Mr. Easter's life is a series of one big catastrophe after another, all of which land him in the morgue. Of course, one of his powers is coming back from the dead after three days.
  • The Shadow of LessThanThree Comics quasi-fame. Puts himself in obvious danger to save time, and to intimidate his enemies. Once leapt through the windshield of an oncoming car, to force the driver to crash, sending the two of them flying thirty-feet, breaking several bones, just to find out who the guy worked for.
  • Tennyo in the Whateley Universe has such a phenomenal regeneration ability that literally nothing seems to stop her. She once had her leg blown off by cyborgs with vulcan cannons, and she regrew the leg by the time it took her to fly over and grab the cyborgs. If you think that's good, Carmilla had her head chopped off and just grew a new one, but she's an Eldritch Abomination.
  • Veldron of Super Stories regenerates when fatally injured. Unfortunately others seem to take this as an invitation to hurt him or put him in danger, assuming he'll just heal and not realising that he has to be just about dead for the power to kick in.
  • Khalid Shamoun of Survival of the Fittest: Evolution has the ability to regenerate himself from things that would normally kill him. It's even invoked by the scientists, when it's revealed that he was the kid from the prologue who got shot for mouthing off, to demonstrate that rebelling would result in death. It becomes a Deconstructed Trope, however, in that it's shown that his ability to regenerate is failing more than usual in recent history.
  • Bartleby Tales directly addresses the Power Perversion Potential in this—as early as the first chapter, a character not only survives swallowing a live grenade, but actually gets off on being blown to pieces and reassembling himself.

Western Animation

  • In The Legion of Super Heroes: while Superboy ignored a distress call thinking it was frivolous, Brainiac 5 got blasted with a surprise shot. In slow motion, with the hand itself going flying off and the still sparking stump shown as Brainiac falls into a Pietà Plagiarism in Lighting Lad's arms. Thankfully, he's a Do-Anything Robot with telescoping extensions, so he could heal right quick. Didn't make the let down any easier to take though.
  • Kim Possible has an interesting example about this trope. The only times Shego has used her sharp claws to slice Kim's clothes is the times Kim was wearing clothes that can regenerate themself. But what's strange is during the second time, Shego sliced through the battle suit and scared Kim's skin enough that it resulted in blood. After the battle suit regenerated itself, Kim's wounds were never seen ever again, thus apparently the battle suit did not only heal itself but also the wounds of it's host. Weird...
  • Swampfire in Ben 10 Alien Force. Those Lasers go right through him... then the holes immediately close. This has become part of Ben's basic fighting style with him.
    • No, it also tickles him so at least he gets some sort of side-effect.
    • Don't forget Goop, the green, goo alien. Because he has no skin or any other form of protection it is reasonable that he gets obliterated and then reforms.
  • In an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants Spongebob had Patrick shave him down so he would be rounded instead of square. Of course, Patrick being an idiot, he shaves Spongebob down to his brain scaring everyone including the Flying Dutchman, at the end Spongebob tells a frightened Patrick "Don't worry it'll grow back". He can also regenerate his limbs if they get ripped or burned off.
    • Notably, he has ripped off his arms 40 times in one episode, recovered from being completely liquified, taken a thousand punches in the face, gotten dragged through a field of giant clams, cheese graters and educational television, and has been ripped in half. Ironically, the latter event occured in an episode that revolved around Spongebob never leaving his house for fear of hurting himself after smashing his hip.
      • In at least one other episode, he ripped himself in half (as part of a victory dance).
      • He has actually eaten his own arms in fear. In a popcorn bag.
  • Transformers wobbles back and forth on this. You have Optimus Prime being dismembered in Transformers Generation 1 and being okay, but a few shots to the torso kill him one movie later. Beast Wars Waspinator explodes so much that Rattrap has a collection of his parts, but Dinobot dies just with minimal injuries. In one episode of Transformers Animated people live with just their heads, in another a stab to the gut nearly kills you dead.
    • These can be justified by Transformers having different anatomy: Dinobot died because he was low on energon but continued to fight anyway. In Animated most of their important parts appear to be inside their heads and body, so a stab to the gut could be fatal while being decapitated would be the equivalent of cutting/disconnecting the cord connecting a computer and the monitor (debilitating, but reversable).
    • After Starscream gains immortality from an AllSpark shards he become a complete magnet for injury. Right after this happens Megatron proceeds to kill him five times in one episode.
  • In Teen Titans, when Slade came back, one of the first things that happened was Robin unleashing a series of vicious kicks to the head that he would probably have not got hit with earlier. From his reaction and the cracking noises when he straightened his head, it seems they broke his neck.
    • However, it's latter shown that while he was brought back to life his flesh wasn't, so it's probably a lot easier to break his bones.
    • Cyborg often loses arms and legs, thanks to his mechanical nature. In the third-season finale, he is almost completely dismembered during a battle with the also-cybernetic Brother Blood. Naturally, he gets better.
  • Hulk Vs Wolverine: Logan cuts off Deadpool's arm. In several pieces. Deadpool, as usual, is completely unfazed by this (although he is upset about losing his favorite gun), and has to get the parts aligned just right for it to re-attach properly.
  • The titular Captain Scarlet gets killed off/badly injured pretty much every episode. In fact, it's almost the basis for the series.
  • Wolverine in the X-Men animated series.
    • And let's not forget one of the Animated X-Men's memories of his past is a secret mission during World War II along Captain America (comics). Their superior tells them they have to storm an enemy base from an helicopter and it must be done really fast. "How fast?" "You aren't going to use a parachute". Cap'n knows he can do it, but he looks worried at Logan (didn't have the adamantium bones yet), who reassures him he'll be ok. They then jump, Cap'n stands like nothing happened, and sees the poor soldier in the ground, with his legs terribly broken. He's going to go for help, but Logan tells him it's ok, then he regenerates, stands and tells Cap'n they have a mission to do.
  • XR stands somewhere between this, They Killed Kenny, and Iron Butt Monkey in Buzz Lightyear of Star Command. Thanks to easily repairable parts, the "X" no longer stands for "eXperimental," but "eXpendable." (It helps that he often deserves it.)
  • Gargoyles: Goliath frequently mentions that their stone sleep during the day allows them to recover from nearly any injury. They get beat half to death just before dawn very frequently, much more often than the human characters are beat half to death at any time of day.
  • It's a common gag in classic cartoons where a character's head is blown off in someway, only to spontaneously regenerate and carry on as if noting happened.

Multiple Media

  • In Bionicle, the Toa Mata could regenerate their decayed flesh and organs after awakening from a millennia-long coma. Presumably other characters can do this too, provided that their organic parts weren't removed by force, and their metal pieces are still intact. Nocturn is a character who could even regrow an arm after Pridak had torn it off, but he wasn't able to grow a new tentacle (this is why he uses a launcher in that hand instead).
  • The Star Wars Expanded Universe made Darth Vader an example of this. Turns out when your arm is cybernetic anyways it can repeatedly be destroyed.