Kiss of Life

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Naota: What did you do to me?!
Haruko: What, the CPR?
Naota: That's not what I meant.

Mamimi: Did she put her tongue in?
FLCL, episode 1

Pacha: For the last time, it was not a kiss!

Kuzco: Well, whatever you call it, it was disgusting! And if you'd done what I ordered you to do in the first place, we all could have been spared your little kiss of life.

A character has been rescued from some sort of danger, but they are now unconscious. Their rescuer, giving up on other ways of reviving them, attempts artificial respiration, also known as the Kiss of Life. Predictably, the unconscious character awakens at the exact instant their lips press together. Hilarity Ensues.

Distinct from Dude, She's, Like, In A Coma in that the rescuer isn't actually attempting to really kiss the rescuee. See also Indirect Kiss and Intimate Healing. Sometimes doubled up with some CPR for extra drama.

Sometimes happens with a pair of straight male characters, for the Ho Yay misunderstanding goodness.

In several cases, a character will fake drowning, in an attempt to get an opportunity to kiss a certain someone. Usually, they'll either mess it up and actually come close to drowning, or wind up with the "wrong" person trying to resucitate them. In real life, this would never work. Lifeguards and other people trained in CPR are trained to look for signs of breathing before they ever begin. Further more, most carry a "Breath Barrier" which is designed to prevent the transfer of bodily liquids that could contain pathogens. Finally, if you are so determined to get that kiss that you legitimately stop breathing, well, we have tropes for that too.

See also CPR: Clean, Pretty, Reliable and Magical Defibrillator. Contrast with Kiss of Death.

Examples of Kiss of Life include:

Anime & Manga

  • Miroku tries to do it straight (for once) for Sango in Inuyasha. Unfortunately, the trope runs true, and with his reputation, you can guess what comes next....
  • In an episode of The Slayers, Zelgadis, who really was almost drowned, blushes when Amelia suggests giving him Mouth-to-mouth. Unfortunately for him, the ship's (male) Captain volunteers first. But wait, it gets worse! They immediately cut to a scene of the captain licking his lips, then later twist the knife further when it's revealed that Zel just happens to resemble the captain's late wife.
  • In the first episode of FLCL, Naota is KOed after his Crash Into Hello meeting with Haruko. Haruko quickly decides to give him CPR, and here the "kiss of life" metaphor is played to the hilt as a flabbergasted Mamimi looks on.
  • This trope is played straight in various ways in Yu Yu Hakusho when to return back to life, Yusuke must get someone to kiss him at the correct time. This results in some hilarity when he sends dreams to his rival, Kuwabara, to suggest this, which Kuwabara takes as a nightmare (the actual kiss is censored too). It's also milked for the the Will They or Won't They? tension with his love interest, Keiko as well as the overall drama of the situation.
    • The kiss was censored? Not the version I saw.
      • Which version was that?
  • In the D.N.Angel anime, Satoshi performs mouth-to-mouth on Daisuke after he nearly drowns in the school swimming pool. Their female classmates (and some viewers) are... pretty interested in this, to say the least.
    • This was used a second time in the manga recently—Daisuke nearly drowns again, which means Satoshi has to give him CPR again—only Dark takes over Daisuke's body before Satoshi can, and punches him. He then has a fit over the implications.
  • Parodied in the Excel Saga manga: several members of the Daitenzin nearly drown (it's a long story) and Iwata is ecstatic at the chance to give the Kiss of Life to his beautiful co-worker Misaki. Unfortunately for him, she wakes up before he can get started. However, he later does get the chance to use his resuscitation skills... on the male and decidedly unattractive Sumiyoshi.
    • Impressive that, unlike many other examples, he actually knows proper emergency procedures and CPR techniques (not just bending down and kiss the subject). The reason that Misaki didn't hit him outright is because he did strictly follows the procedures, even pointless ones like try calling for help in the middle of the sewer, making it the right thing to do even with obvious indecent intention. She only hit him later when he started babbling the usual nonsence like "At least you should've blush or something!"
    • Later on, Watanabe gets stuck on a raft with his beautiful, passed-out neighbor Hyatt. He gets into a fight with his Good Angel, Bad Angel because he wants to give her the Kiss of Life for purely selfish reasons.
  • In the Love Hina manga, the girls set up a situation for Shinobu to get a Kiss of Life from Keitaro, but she freaks out and runs away before Keitaro can actually do it.
    • Besides, Keitaro actually follows proper CPR procedure, i.e. tilting her head back and pinching her nose shut, which, while impressing the other girls, kills the "romantic" mood.
  • Blue Seed. Kusanagi is forced to perform mouth-to-mouth on Momiji, who is then left with the question of whether or not it counts as her First Kiss (worse yet, in the next episode she ends up deciding that it does). This eventually leads to a cute scene at the end of the episode, when Kusanagi pretends to be unconscious just to make Momiji try to do this on him. She is far from being pleased by this, having been genuinely worried about him.
  • In Speed Grapher, Kagura Tennozou's kiss can either be a Kiss of Death or a Kiss of Life, depeding on you having or not the Euphoria Virus in your body. In fact, when the male lead Saiga is kissed by her, he does have the Virus and acquires superpowers from it.
  • In Mai-Otome, Erstin saves Nina with one of these after the latter drowns in a swimming pool. The Les Yay-filled imagery is not lost on Nina (or the audience) when she finds out.
  • Tessa of Full Metal Panic: Fumoffu sees using CPR on a half-drowned Sōsuke as the perfect excuse for a kiss. Despite the fact that he is breathing and semi-conscious at the time and thus does not need CPR, a fact her rival for his affections is quick to point out.
    • In another episode, Sousuke inverts the trope when he fails to understand why Mizuki gets so upset over him kissing her (while posing as her boyfriend) - because he doesn't think of it as any different from CPR, which he has performed on other people many times before.
  • Early in Seto no Hanayome, Nagasumi gets one from Masa, a henchman in the mermaid yakuza. From then on, Nagasumi treats it like his First Kiss.
  • In Godannar, when mechanic Morimoto becomes gravely injured, Wrench Wench Hayashi plants him with a kiss after he proposes to her. Not only does the kiss save his life, Hayashi indirectly becomes the series' Chekhov's Gunman, because the effects of the Insania Virus on females can restore life through a kiss, though this is the third time it occurs in the show: the first was a resurrected Milla Ackerman waking Max back up with a smooch, while the second is Milla again with a kiss, this time with a Deader Than Dead Shizuru Fujimura (and no, it's not Les Yay).
  • Nagi and Hayate have drifted to a "deserted island" in the Hayate the Combat Butler OAV. She seems sure that this is (finally) her chance to kiss him. She notices that Hayate is looking at her.
  • In Kaleido Star, Sora makes a serious mistake when trying out the trapese on the set of the Kaleido Stage's latest production, The Little Mermaid. Yuri dashes in and saves her from serious injury at the last second, but still has to give her CPR. Ken is apparently pretty upset about this. The actual mouth to mouth happens off screen, but Sora has an interesting dream sequence about it. It's never brought up again, but from Sora's reaction when she finds out we can infer that this was her first kiss.
  • From Sailor Moon, after Helios had used up all his energy to protect Usagi and Mamoru and presumably has died, in a last attempt to revive him, Chibiusa kisses him, begging him to do so. And he does.
  • Early on in Peach Girl, Kairi spreads a rumor that he and Momo kissed, and when she confronts him about it, he claims it's true because of that one time at the beach where she rescued him from drowning and gave him the Kiss of Life. She points out that the lifeguard did that, not her, shattering his fantasy.
    • Though he seemed pretty happy that she did later on in the episode
  • Momoka tries to set this up in one episode of Keroro Gunsou, fake-drowning so that her crush, Fuyuki, will save her and give her mouth-to-mouth. Unfortunately, she is unaware that Fuyuki can't swim, and her tactics to keep from being rescued by anyone but Fuyuki (plus some interference from Giroro) end up making her almost drown for real. In the end, she does need mouth-to-mouth, which she gets from a Space Octopus (though she is mercifully kept unaware of this).
  • In the first chapter of Pink Innocent, when Renji comes to save Kokona from a burning apartment, she, swooning, asks him to perform CPR on her. His response is simply a deadpan "I see you're fine."
  • This is exactly how Takuto, having washed up on a beach, meets Sugata and Wako (the latter actually carrying out the resuscitation) in the first episode of Star Driver.
  • One hilarious moment in Lupin III: The Columbus Files has a lightly-dressed Goemon attempting to revive Jigen through this after they and Lupin have washed ashore from an overnight storm. Jigen wakes up just before their lips touch and is shocked in horror of the revelation to the point of threatening to kill Goemon. He extremely unhappy when Goemon informs him that was not the first time he had made the attempt. As a bonus, Goemon's dialogue during the scene borders on complete Ho Yay in the English dub.


  • In an issue of X-Men, Northstar gives CPR to the homophobic Paulie Provenazo, with whom he was paired, to all appearances, because Jean Grey hated them both. Paulie wasn't happy.
  • Played with in Runaways. Gert revives Chase, which apparently causes them to fall in love with each other. Not that Gert will admit this.

Chase: ... think I got... brain damage... 'cause suddenly... you're the hottest chick... I've ever seen... (they kiss)
Gert: I was reventilating him. Anyone who says otherwise gets fed to my %$@#ing dinosaur.

  • Used and lampshaded in Ruse, when Simon revives Emma this way and Emma promptly scolds him for "skipping the chest compressions".
  • In a Star Wars story called "Tides of Terror," blue-skinned Ms. Fanservice Aayla Secura falls into the waters of Kamino and nearly drowns. Thanks to the timely intervention of her amphibious co-worker, Kit Fisto, she survives. Unsurprisingly, this turned out to be the start of a relationship between the two.

Films -- Animation

  • Trope Namer: In The Emperors New Groove, this is exactly what happens when Pacha attempts to revive an unconscious Kuzco (who, for good measure, had previously been transformed into a llama). When Pacha tries to explain the true nature of the situation, Kuzco refers to it as "your little kiss of life" with a heavy sarcastic lilt.
    • Beware the pop-out llama tongue.
    • Lampshaded by a cutaway to Pacha's children later in the film:

Pacha's Daughter: Well in my dream, Dad had to kiss a llama!
Pacha's Son: Yeah, like that would ever happen!

Films -- Live Action

  • A good candidate for Trope Codifier would be The Sandlot. One of the boys, Squints, tries to fake drowning at the community pool to get a shot at kissing an older girl who's working as the lifeguard. Not only does he pull it off, but in the narrator's epilogue, we find out that he eventually marries her.
    • The narrator mentions they were banned from the pool for life, and about that time they pass by the pool and the lifeguard gives Squints a flirty wave. So...I guess she sortof liked it.
  • Played with in the movie Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: after Amy nearly drowns, Russ performs artificial respiration. It's played straight and not sexualized - but not long after Amy has revived, her little brother Nick asks Russ where he learned how to do that. Russ replies, "French class", a reference revisited at the very end of the movie when Nick finally gets the joke.
  • In Hot Rod, after Rod nearly drowns during his training, Denise uses CPR on him, which he is informed of later. He asks his stepbrother Kevin if it looked like they were making out, and Kevin tells him it did, a little. Rod's response: "Awesome."
  • In Robin Hood (2010 film), after Marion has been knocked out by the Big Bad. Starts out as this - but once her arm comes up around his neck, all bets are off and it just turns into a snogging session. In the middle of a battle.
  • Nowhere - Dingbat has a crush on Ducky, and tries to kiss him at one point, only to chip his tooth with her braces. He tries to drown himself in the pool. So she pulls him out and needs only to breathe into his mouth once in order to save him.
  • In the Legend of the Seeker, the Mord-Sith's Kiss of Life becomes a staple strategy for just about everything the protagonists need to do. While it does show up in the original work (Sword of Truth) exactly as portrayed, the adaptation does it significantly more frequently. But then, as the director, would you ever pass up a chance to watch Tabrett Bethel kiss someone?


  • Averted many times in the City Watch stories of the Discworld series, when the Watch are trained in the Kiss of Life and Nobby seems the most eager to practice it at every opportunity—he never gets the chance. Generally because as soon as he even mentions the possibility, most people suddenly find themselves feeling a lot better, really, that won't be necessary at all, bye now.
  • Mord-Sith in the Sword of Truth have the "Kiss of Life", where a recently-dead victim with their trachea and lungs intact can be revived. It's never explained how. Made fairly squicky because usually it's used so that the Mord-Sith can kill and revive their torture victims over and over. Yeah. They are not fun people.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire has two types. The Ironmen, who worship the Drowned God and practice a type of baptism in which the subject is drowned, have developed a crude form of CPR called the Kiss of Life to revive each other. The death rites for followers of R'hllor include a kiss on the lips of the deceased, which starts to occasionally bring certain people back to life.
  • From Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, David Sedaris relates a story of when his brother was drowning:

"I headed back in his direction, trying to recall the water safety class I'd taken at the country club...all that came to me was the instructor, an athletic seventeen year old named Chip Pancake. I remembered the spray of freckles on his broad, bronzed shoulders, and my small rush of hope as he searched the assembled students for a resuscitation victim...and the crushing disappointment I'd felt when Chip selected Kimberly Matthews, who would later describe the experience as 'lifechanging.'"

  • Played with in the second Slayers light novel. When Lina wakes up after nearly drowning, Gourry says he performed CPR on her. Lina gets flustered, thinking he gave her mouth-to-mouth. However, it turns out Idiot Hero Gourry doesn't actually know what CPR means, as he then goes on to specify: "I laid you down on your stomach and kicked you in the back".
  • Princess Petulia does this to Roger in A Barrel of Laughs, a Vale of Tears.
  • In Suzanne Collins' Catching Fire, Finnick revives Peeta with CPR. Katniss, who is unfamiliar with the procedure, is momentarily shocked by the sight of what she describes as "Finnick kissing Peeta".

Live Action TV

  • At the end of the first season finale in Torchwood, Gwen kissed Jack after his Heroic Sacrifice and he awakened. He may have just revived under his own power, though as he awoke, the first thing he said was thanking Gwen.
    • Jack does this in an earlier episode, to Ianto, who had just been attacked by Lisa. Lisa is a half-converted cyberwoman, and the method of attack she used on Ianto is lethal. Jack had already died at least once as a result. Thus, we can assume that Jack actually brought Ianto back from the dead.
  • Happens in Doctor Who at least twice - Martha brings the Doctor back to life/consciousness, in Smith and Jones. Also, in the episode Utopia, she tries this on Jack, not knowing that he can't die. The Doctor stops her before Jack can wake up, but the first thing he says? "Was someone kissing me?" Then he looks back and forth between the Doctor and Martha, as if figuring out which one he'd be kissed by.
  • Like the Sword of Truth example above, this was retained in Legend of the Seeker, except in the TV series, the Kiss of Life is explicitly magical, which is good considering the first time it's used is to revive someone who was killed via sword-through-the-gut.
  • Eureka uses this in the episode "Shower to the People," when Tess's lungs are filling with irradiated expanding artificial water that got into her bloodstream, Sheriff Carter uses the Kiss of Life to bring her back, and then to keep her alive for several minutes. He even quips that it's "...not how I imagined our first kiss."
  • The title character in Kyle XY jumps into a pool in an early episode without knowing how to swim and is rescued by his crush, Amanda, who is a lifeguard.
  • In one later episode of Stargate SG-1, someone who really should be more mature freaks out when he might have to give mouth-to-mouth to General Hammond, and is profoundly relieved when he wakes up on his own. (The force of head-to-wall contact prevents me from remembering any more details.)
    • Likely a great part of the discomfort comes from the fact that this is his superior he's being forced to kiss.
  • In Quantum Leap episode "Moments to Live", Sam leaped into a doctor who was in an operating room just as soon as the heartbeat monitor stops. When accused by the patient that he killed her, he tries CPR, which becomes a literal kiss of life. The producer watching the scene announced cut, revealing that Sam actually leaped into an actor.
  • The doctor was trying to trick Divya in Royal Pains into doing this.
  • In the season two episode "Single Stamina" of How I Met Your Mother, this is shown as an example of how Barney and his brother James work in tandem to pick up: James pretends to have passed out, while Barney frantically asks nearby men if they know mouth-to-mouth, and even turns down one man for not being good-looking enough.
  • In Game of Thrones, Talisa recounts how a slave from a fishing ship resuscitated her brother from drowining using CPR, causing her to pursue a life of medicine and turn her back on slavery.


  • Sade's song 'Kiss of Life' is based on this trope.

Web Comics

  • In Magellan, Badass Normal Kaycee Jones is teamed with Half-Human Hybrid Fatima, who is half squid and an Innocent Fanservice Girl because she doesn't have experience with human quirks. They have to dive to the bottom of a pool with no time for Kaycee to don scuba gear, so Fatima gives her air by kissing her and exhaling. The guys on other teams definitely notice.
  • In Homestuck, Sollux gets killed by the Vast Glub when he stays behind to get Feferi into the Medium first. She repays him by bringing him back to life this way. However, instead of reviving his actual body, it wakes up his dream self. Or rather, dream selves.
    • As it turns out, all princes and princesses of Prospit and Derse (or, in other words, all Sburb/Sgrub players) have this ability. Tavros attempts it on Vriska, but her Dream-Self stops it just before it happens, having other plans. Karkat and Terezi also attempt it on Kanaya and Tavros, respectively. The latter doesn't work, but turns out Kanaya is a special case.
      • And more recently attempted on Rose and Dave, with more success.

Web Original

  • Gaia Online gets in on the act when Sasha, beachcombing on a date with Ian, finds Gino Gambino unconscious on the beach. Ian shows up at the wrong moment. Drama ensues.

Russell Ace: (proudly) And that's how CPR works!
Becky: You don't do mouth-to-mouth for a concussion!

Western Animation

  • Code Lyoko: In episode "Marabounta", Ulrich almost drowns at the pool after belly-flopping in the water. It is unclear whether he's hoping for Yumi to give him mouth-to-mouth afterward (he does blink, but seems still out of it). Unfortunately, it's Jim Moralès who does save him.
    • Repeat incident in "The Lake", where Jim almost gives mouth-to-mouth to Suzanne Hertz... but she wakes up before his lips can make contact, threatening him with his life if he gets closer.
  • Stripperella gives the kiss to a supermodel who bloats up to enormous size and falls in a swimming pool (it makes sense in context... somewhat) leading one onlooker to state that if the supermodel looked like she did five minutes ago, that scene would look really hot.
  • Johnny Bravo provides an example where Johnny attempts to save a drowning person at the beach to impress girls. His rescue attempt fails miserably and he ends up needing to be rescued. Seeing no other option, Johnny's annoying, nerdy "friend," Carl, administers the kiss of life. Johnny regains consciousness, freaks out and rushes to the ocean to wash out his mouth with salt water, knocking the person he initially tried to save out of his way and back into the ocean. Also Carl gets the girls.
  • Attempted in episode 15 of Wakfu, with Sadlygrove on an unconscious Evangelyne. But Eva wakes up a split-second before the kiss, and instead gives Grovy a faceful of jellyfish.
    • Later in season 2 he does this for real, played more for drama.
  • Ren and Stimpy - fireman Ren goes into a dead faint trying to rescue a female Fat Slob. She gives him mouth-to-mouth, inflating him like a balloon with each breath - he comes to, gets a good look at her, shrieks and faints again.
  • Done on Hey Arnold! for an in-universe television show where Arnold and Helga win a sand castle contest and get to be on the show. Arnold is playing a boy who's drowning and gets rescued by the life guards, however, Helga pushes them aside and goes straight for the kill... I mean, kiss of life. However she turns it into a kiss rather than just mouth-to-mouth ressucitation.