No One Should Survive That
"Jeez, who is this guy? He survives a grenade, a gunshot wound, and now pills and whiskey at once? He should be dead several times over by now!"—Linkara on Izaak Crowe from Batman: Fortunate Son
Some people are just born lucky. It's no surprise that this should extend to death as well.
Basically, this is when a character falls into a situation that should, by all accounts, be lethal, and survives through sheer luck or coincidence. This can be only a one time thing, or, more often, you have a character who constantly bumbles around, surviving things they shouldn't. Characters like this are often oblivious to the danger they find themselves in, or recognize that they are lucky and count their blessing, but, in the worst cases, they can get pretty arrogant about it, to the point where you wish they would die.
A staple of the bumbling investigator. Compare Normally I Would Be Dead Now, in which a character survives a normally lethal situation by sheer force of will. An inverse of this would be a Death Seeker who, through sheer luck, finds himself unable to die.
Frequently occurs in Youth Is Wasted on the Dumb.
- Kaneda in Akira (the manga version, especially), who constantly survives point-blank automatic weapons fire and being sucked into a black hole with a large chunk of Neo-Tokyo only to be expelled, alive, months later.
- Mobile Suit Gundam 00's Patrick Coulasour has managed to survive energy blasts, suicide cruise-missile robots, and having the top of his mecha blasted off then falling into the Earth's atmosphere... all without a scratch. Lampshaded in Season 2, where Patrick has picked up the nickname "the Immortal Coulasour" for ability to survive situations where anybody else's luck would've run out.
- Kira Yamato in Gundam Seed has a tendency to survive things he shouldn't, as his mecha needs to be destroyed for his Mid-Season Upgrade. In the first series he survives a mobile self destructing while attached to his MS's chest. By no means a death sentence in a Gundam show, but the cockpit was shown to be scorched and damaged by those that find the wreckage, to the point that it is partially exposed. SEED Destiny is even more unlikely, his mecha simply explodes. This is Handwaved by saying that he shut down his suit's nuclear reactor.
- The second time seems to be the fault of his attacker, Shinn Asuka, who apparently can land kill-shots on named characters, but somehow miraculously misses them. When facing Athrun, he managed to clearly stab Athrun's suit through the cockpit, which was by no means spacious or empty (considering Athrun at the time had someone else aboard with him), yet there were no fatalities (or much in the way of injuries).
- Both cases are given explanations in supplemental material: in Gundam SEED Astray, Kira survived the Strike's destruction because Lowe had been watching the battle and pulled him free just barely in time. Kira wasn't in the cockpit when it got scorched. As for Destiny: the Freedom's design is different from the standard (due to the inclusion of a nuclear reactor), and its cockpit is located higher in the chest than normal. Shinn stabbed the Freedom's abdomen, which is where the cockpit is usually located, but not where Freedom's cockpit was.
- Code Geass
- Nunnally Lamperouge. Assassination attempt on your life as a kid? Check. Madman strapping you to a live bomb? Check. Kidnapped by one of your best friends who may or may not kill you? Check. Survived a nuclear explosion that wiped out almost all of Tokyo? Check. Surviving a world war? Check. No wonder she is The Woobie...
- Mao. He survived multiple gunshot wounds and then says "I got better thanks to Britannian medicine."
- Mahou Sensei Negima gives us Jack Rakan. One of his many titles is "That Damn Guy You Can Stab With Swords All You Like and It Won't Do a Thing, Damnit", which really tells you all you need to know about him. He repeatedly emerges unscathed from attacks that would have vaporized anyone else. He at one point survives being erased from existence.
- Bleach oh, boy. Here we go. To the point where people even survive multiple declarations of death and complete loss of spiritual pressure We've got a main character cut clear in half at the waist and while she is out of the fight, with some healing it's implied that she can still make it. A certain evil character got stabbed through the brain and managed to hang on for a little while. Most recently, the Big Bad survived being disintegrated from the inside out and having his Phlebotinum stolen.
- Shuda solidifes himself as the hardest person in Rave Master to kill not when he doesn't die from cutting off his arm so he can fall almost a mile to his near death but when he later has a sword stabbed all the way through him and is not only alive, but active a week later.
- Abused to death in Naruto Shippuden 167. Pain gets Megaton-Punched in the face, slammed head-on with a boulder, pounded INTO THE GROUND with another boulder, blasted with chakra, heavily facepalmed, and thrown like a ragdoll, colliding head-first into a cliff MILES away, with falling chunks of dirt burying him... while still alive and without a scratch. This was all done by the 4-, and then 6-tailed Naruto.
- Pain is actually a dead body controlled by the real Pain: Nagato. That still doesn't give reason for him being unscathed.
- Keitaro from Love Hina is the king of this trope, surviving falls, insane punches, being attacked by swords, and the largest injury he ever got was a broken leg. When a building fell on him. This is Lampshaded in the series when Keitaro is faced with imminent danger the girls of Hinata Sou will yell 'don't worry Keitaro, you're immortal!' to ease his fears.
- The Pandoras of Freezing. While they are Super Soldiers and that there is advanced medical practices in the future, the battles that they go through really make your eyes pop out.
- Team Rocket from the Pokémon anime. They fall into the gorge in the Butterfree episode, and survive every instance of "blasting off", and two falls which they themselves think will kill them (once in Haunter Versus Kadabra, and once in the second movie). The one that takes the cake is in Shell Shock, when James is hit by a boulder and falls into the gorge WITH THE BOULDER ON TOP OF HIM. (The antagonist of Disney's first animated film is killed this way) Yet he turns up unharmed Team Rocket's next scene.
- It's not just the trio. In the first movie, Mewtwo blows up Viridian City Gym, which Giovanni survives, while all the scientists who created him are killed when Mewtwo blows up their lab in a similar explosion. In Pokemon Live, he also survives Mecha Mew2's selfdestruct.
- This would be incomplete without mention of the board game Kill Doctor Lucky. It's sort of the anti-Clue. You are actively trying to murder the titular Dr. Lucky for whatever reason (the game actually encourages you to invent a reason - revenge, money, he looks funny, etc.). The only thing is, he's very aptly named - every murder attempt can be foiled by the other players (though the cards used to foil attempts will eventually run out, so the good doctor will eventually croak). And the amount he survives over the course of the game is absurd - a Monkeys Paw, a cannon, a shot with a revolver, being hung, a submachine gun... all that and more.
- This is the response of a random passerby in Monty Python's Life of Brian after Brian emerges unscathed from a crashing UFO.
"Oh you lucky bastard."
- The Home Alone movies, particularly the second. In Home Alone 2, Marv alone should've died 14 times. The most Egregious instance, however, was when Harry's head was lit on fire and he dunked it into a toilet, not knowing that Kevin had replaced all of the toilet's water with kerosene. The resulting explosion destroyed the entire first floor, and yet Harry escaped with nothing more than a few minor burns and getting his hat ripped open.
- Dr Watson in Sherlock Holmes (2009) should have died in the explosion that Holmes had to run away from to survive.
- Inspector Clouseau is a very frequent benificiary of this.
- In Flubber, Wesson is repeatedly hit on the head with a bowling ball traveling at incredibly fast speed, or else falling from a great height, and all he gets is some bumps and bruises on his head.
- In the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, Shredder is crushed by a trash compactor, yet turns up alive in the next movie. Ironically he is later killed by a dock collapsing on him, which is considerably weaker as noted by the Angry Video Game Nerd.
- In the Discworld series, Rincewind has survived any imaginable death (and a handful of unimaginable ones), including falling off the edge of the world. He is Lady Luck's favorite beneficiary, mainly because he refuses to believe in her. Her and Fate have a bit of a rivalry going on, in fact, with Fate getting Rincewind into trouble and Luck getting him out of it.
- He does believe in the Lady, as shown when he meets her (also, gods on Discworld vandalize the houses of non-believers). He just doesn't believe she is the one who always saves him.
- Rincewind does not actually sustain any life-threatening damage. He is just always saved just in time.
- The cast of Torchwood seem to get this a lot. Lampshaded in that it's accepted by the characters that Torchwood agents are lucky if they live to see their first grey hair. Particuarly there's leader Jack, who is immortal. You can make a case for whether he counts, since he doesn't usually survive, he just refuses to stay dead. His list of deaths to date include (but are in no way limited to): shot by a Dalek, thrown off a 100 foot building, being stuck on the outside of the TARDIS inside of the vortex, electrocuted, shot in the head, blown up via a bomb implanted in his stomach, encased in concrete, stabbed for days on end by Italians, poisoned... the list goes on.
- Also Owen, who eventually does die. And comes back as a sentient but not technically alive, unhealing, never sleeping, never eating, incredibly grumpy corpse.
- Then there's Ianto. Survived the Dalek and Cybermen massacre of Canary Wharf (may well have been the only employee of Torchwood One to come out alive and with their sanity intact), nearly killed by a pterodactyl, shot at, electrocuted by half-converted cyber-girlfriend, attacked by cannibals, Weevils... etc. Eventually dies from a simple gas attack.
- On Saving Grace, Grace and Neely fall off a building and survive. Given the nature of the show, it's heavily implied that God did it.
- Two minutes into the first episode of Harry's Law, a suicidal man jumps off of a six-story building and lands on Harriet. Both survive with minor injuries. Two minutes later, she distractedly crosses a street and gets hit by a car. She lands on a mattress being loaded into a moving van, and doesn't even break any bones. In both cases, it's completely unexpected, even interrupting her internal monologue. It's portrayed as serendipity, because both the suicidal man and the car driver end up joining her law firm by the end of the episode.
- The final episode of Starsky and Hutch has Starsky being shot in the chest at least three times by hitmen with automatic weapons; he's taken to the hospital, where he's revealed to be weak but have miraculously survived (he does code out at one point in the recovery process, but revives when Hutch comes running in.
- Milton Jones. He falls from a plane above the former Yugoslavia but survives by landing on a snowman... he's pushed into a printing press by Chris Evans but rescued by Esther Rantzen... he's stranded in the Arctic but saved when Agnitha from Abba turns up and gives him a snowmobile...
- Mass Effect 2 opens with Shepard's death, where he/she is flung into bulkheads, suffocated by space, and then plummets to the surface of a nearby planet AFTER DYING. Everyone who meets him/her afterward notes that they all thought Shepard was dead. Subverted, though, in that Shepard actually DID die, but was brought back to life over the course of two years in a unique and extremely expensive process. Double-subverted in that there shouldn't be anything left to even salvage. If the corpse was just left in orbit, then there'd be a plausible explanation. But it was stated that the body fell from orbit. If the re-entry burn-up didn't utterly incinerate the body, the surface impact would have atomized it.
- Mass Effect 3 has the additional revelation that Shepard, along with being incinerated, battered and... well, dead, was additionally braindead as well. This leads to Shepard wondering if he/she's even still him/her, and not some AI that just thinks she is.
- Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven, in a series of missions where you must kill the Big Bad's little brother and right hand man, Sergio. Sergio goes on to survive four heavily planned assassination attempts through mostly dumb luck, and eventually Tommy just chases him down to his hideout and confronts him directly.
- Phoenix Wright, the original protagonist of the Ace Attorney series. Aside from the near brushes with murder from Mafia hitmen, assassins, Amoral Attorneys, etc., he also survived a hundred foot fall from a burning bridge into a fast-moving freezing river in the middle of winter with a bare fever and head cold. He was still hospitalized, but even that is pretty lucky.
- Dr. Eggman from Sonic the Hedgehog always manages to survive catastrophic ship failures, including one in a pit of lava. Convection, Schmonvection indeed.
- Syphon Filter: Logan has survived falling 50 feet through a glass ceiling, swan diving off a cliff, and jumping from an exploding bridge onto a moving train, etc., things you couldn't conceivably survive in real life.
- Goddamn Liquid Snake. Helicopter crashes, stinger missiles, three story freefalls, multiple bullets. Then in the second game we find out that not even killing him stops him.
- Nathan Drake, full stop. The trick is he knows it, his enemies know it, and quite frankly, the entire cast is in disbelief at the sheer quantity and reliability of his luck.
- Lan/Netto in Mega Man Battle Network 2 receives hundreds of thousands of rads of radiation. Even with a protective suit, that should cause Central Nervous Syndrome to set in in a matter of minutes. CNS is rapidly (as in hours-days) degenerative and always fatal, making this also an example of You Fail Nuclear Physics Forever.
- Halo Reach: Noble Six plummets to Reach from space after Jorge's Heroic Sacrifice and somehow survives with little more than a limp, whereas in Halo 3, the fall from the Forerunner ship over Earth was thought to kill Master Chief when he was found.
- Of course, Noble Six was wearing specialized atmosphere re-entry equipment, Master Chief was not.
- The cinematics alone should've killed Max Payne.
- In Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, Nicolai lights the gas station on fire and is caught in the explosion, but shows up none the worse for wear later.
- No More Heroes
- Travis Touchdown survives several such episodes in No More Heroes and its sequel, one of the most notable occasions being in a cut-scene before his battle with Holly Summers in the first game. He ends up in a pit of sand, and has three hand-grenades dropped directly onto his chest. This merely means he is bounced out of the hole by consecutive explosions, and he continues the game with no lasting ill effects. Every cutscene before a boss fight has him surviving way more than anyone should. During the final battle with Jeanne, she bloody PUNCHES THROUGH HIS HEART, but he just shrugs it off.
- The same works for some of the bosses. Skelter Helter provides the page quote for Normally I Would Be Dead Now, a couple of bosses from the first game return for the sequel, and then there's the terms on which a few bosses in the sequel are fought.
- In F.E.A.R., the first clue (beyond his super-reflexes) that our protagonist is not normal is when he is launched out of a second story window by an explosion and just stands up slightly dazed. Then, at the end, he survives getting thrown several miles through the air by a nuclear shockwave. How? Erm... no one's really sure.
- At one point in Singularity, Nate Renko travels back to 1955 and shoots Big Bad Demichev in the head, causing him to fall out a window. Yet, when Renko returns to his own time, Demichev is still alive and ruling the world with an iron fist.
- Emil from Nie R was revealed to be alive in ending C, with only his head intact. Its not explained how he was able to get out of that magical blast field alive.
- Several examples from 8-Bit Theater. Most of the main characters fall into this at least once, but the king of this is Fighter, who has survived tons of stabbings, explosions, murder attempts and accidents, but always survives: half of the time due to his own ability to shrug off injury, the other half due to sheer serendipity. A good example of this would be when he is crushed by the Armoire Of Invincibility, but emerges unscathed since the bottom was made of cheap plywood.
- In Red vs. Blue: Relocated, Grif falls 800 feet. His teammates spend the entire time while he's in free fall arguing over whether or not to catch him.
- Starscream of Transformers can be like this in several of his incarnations. Occasionally he doesn't survive...and comes back anyway.
- Beast Wars tried to hand-wave it by saying Starscream's spark was mutated in a way so it can never join the Matrix, but also made it completely indestructible. They also tried to clone his spark, resulting in Rampage, who's spark could apparently be cut by an energon blade without lasting damage (although it does cause him great pain) whereas other sparks in the situation are destroyed.
- Inspector Gadget alternates between being saved by Brain (who often takes the bullet in the process) and sheer luck. And it's hilarious.
- Warner Bros. cartoons (particularly ones featuring Wile E. Coyote) frequently involve characters getting blown up with guns and explosives, ranging from sticks of dynamite to cartoon bombs. Being caught in an explosion is never fatal - at the worst the effect is usually just having blackened and ruffled fur/skin, or in some cases body parts blown/broken off that are easily re-attached.
- Beavis and Butthead, especially in the earlier episodes, often experienced things that should've killed them like the tornado episode for instance.
- The Joker in the Batman series has survived falls and explosions, and seems immortal, hence the term Joker Immunity. Ironically he is Killed Off for Real in the Batman Beyond movie
- In Episode 15 of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Derpy Hooves drops several heavy objects on Twilight Sparkle, among them an anvil and a piano. She survives, although not unscathed.
- Real life example: Rasputin if the stories are to be believed (which they aren't -- his killers made him out to be an all-but-unkillable monster because it made them look like incredible badasses). He was supposedly stabbed, shot, poisoned, and drowned, naming another trope in the process. Cause of death? Hypothermia, from being drowned in an icy river. And he was in the process of clawing his way up from under the ice when he died.
- Has happened a few times in real life.
- Tsutomu Yamaguchi. Dude survived both nukes and outlived the pilots.
- Hitler survived a briefcase bomb detonating just a few feet away from his legs. All that was ruined as a pair of trousers. Averted however since that while the blast appeared to be something that should have been fatal or at least crippling, the MythBusters proved that where and the way Hitler had stood made it much less dangerous than it had seemed.