Pulling Themselves Together

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Mr. Potato Head: Where's my nose?
Mrs. Potato Head: Here it is.
Mr. Potato Head: Here's your arm.
Mrs. Potato Head: Gimme that.

Mr. Potato Head: Honey? My moustache?

An enemy is beaten, blown to pieces, or else frozen/petrified then shattered. But wait! The pieces are combining! It's reassembling itself! Time to leg it...

This Subtrope of Nigh Invulnerability may be greeted with shock, horror and cries of "Why Won't You Die?!" Not to be confused with From a Single Cell, where a monster/character regrows itself from a single part instead of reassembling itself from the already existing parts that were blown off. Can be seen as a specific form of Healing Factor, that manages to avoid the Shapeshifter Baggage otherwise involved.

See also Helping Hands, Losing Your Head, Who Needs Their Whole Body?, Appendage Assimilation and Good Thing You Can Heal. For Dem Bones, this is a way for them to "heal" from damage.

For the intentional combat/utility version see Detachment Combat.

Not to be confused with the other kind of pulling yourself together.

Examples of Pulling Themselves Together include:


Advertising[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Happens to a minivan in a Liberty Mutual auto insurance ad, after a collision causes the (unoccupied) car to fly apart into dozens of components.


Anime & Manga[edit | hide]

  • In Naruto:
    • Sasori does this after being punched to pieces by Sakura, because his body is just a shell that he can reassemble and his heart is the only important part.
    • Hidan and Kakuzu are capable of this as well. As in, Hidan can survive being torn into pieces and Kakuzu can put him back together, but is otherwise pretty screwed.
    • Orochimaru can do this because apparently his whole body is made of snakes.
    • Any physical damage suffered by those brought back to life with Impure World Resurrection is reversed by the pieces coming together like an object made of ash crumbling in reverse. Hence the term "Confetti Zombies"
  • In Baccano!, after immortal characters are injured, their blood, flesh, internal organs and bones will start flowing back to their body, ultimately leaving them with no physical damage at all. This works even if the person is on a speeding train and the parts are left smeared on the tracks (eventually). Yikes.
  • The specialty of Majin Buu in Dragonball Z, who even manages to reform himself from a cloud of smoke after his remains were vaporized.
  • Claymore
    • Clare, and presumably others of her kind that cannot regenerate limbs outright, have a limited ability to do this if the wound is fresh, the limb is intact, and she has a bit of time to concentrate on making them knit together solidly.
    • A better, more recent example is the nigh indestructible Abyssal Eaters.
  • Hellsing: Alucard. He's started battles by being shot to pieces, just to freak people out more when his blood runs back into his body.
  • One Piece
    • Buggy the Clown ate a devil fruit that allows him to separate any part of him and levitate it, but also to reasemble himself after doing it or be cut.
    • The Logia users can do this too, turning their body into their element and moving it back into them. Aokiji (and Crocodile and Kizaru to a lesser extent) seems to be the best examples of this, as most other logia users just let attacks pass through them without effect rather than actively "pulling themselves together".
    • After the Timeskip, it is revealed that Brook can put his bones back together if they are knocked apart.
  • Mecha-Mooks Decoe and Bocoe claimed to have done this in Episode 48 of 4Kids's Sonic X. The original Japanese version says Chuck Thorndyke repaired them.
  • Chevaliers from Blood Plus have been shown to be able to reattach severed limbs and use them normally within a short timespan.
  • Nosferatu Zodd from Berserk can reattach his own severed limbs on the rare occasions someone is able to deal that much damage to him.
  • Akasha Bloodriver from Rosario + Vampire has this ability, as apparently do all Shinso vampires. Even better, if her body parts are completely destroyed, she's implied to be able to regenerate on a From a Single Cell level.
  • Comes to bite Shibugarasu in the ass in Inuyasha. After having stolen an artifact that makes demons impossible strong and allows them to reassemble their bodies when being killed, it loses a foot while trying to flee from Kagome and Inuyasha. Even though Kagome is not a good archer and the demon is already way out of reach, she ties the foot to a magic arrow and shots in the general direction. With the foot trying to reattach itself to the body, the shot is an instant hit.
  • Arcueid Brunestud was able to assemble pieces of her body back together after being killed and torn apart by Shiki in Tsukihime. This process happened off-screen, though.
  • Members of the Flybone Tribe from Kyo Kara Maoh! can do this -- at least as long as they're still put together enough to move anyway. Otherwise, they require assistance. Being a Naive Newcomer, Yuuri didn't know this at first, and Poor Communication Kills might've struck had Conrad not stopped him before he could accidentally doom the flybone that saved him. It got smashed protecting him, and he was trying to give it a proper burial when Conrad appeared on the scene. Played for Laughs when the misunderstanding was cleared up.

Card Games[edit | hide]


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • In Spidercide Clone Saga, Spidercide gains this ability after fully awakening his shapeshifting powers.
  • In Watchmen, Dr. Manhattan did this after being disintegrated by a lab accident in his origin story. He does it again towards the end.
  • X-Men 2099 villain Junkpile does a variation. Though he doesn't heal himself with his own body parts, he repairs damage to his body by pulling metal objects to him telekinetically and using them for raw materials to replace broken or damaged body parts.
  • Man-Thing goes through this about once an issue.
  • In The Savage Dragon, there was a villain named Abner Cadaver who was a mystic zombie who could sew body parts onto himself. One of his last appearances showed him sewing the body parts of various superhuman in order to do battle with the titular character.
  • Brutally Subverted in the Obsidian Age story arc of Justice League of America. Plastic Man is frozen and shattered into thousands of pieces which lay scattered on the ocean floor far in the past. He is completely aware, yet unable to pull himself together, and survives in this manner for 3000 years before he is collected and reconstituted by the league in the present time.
  • ROM Spaceknight: The mutant human/Dire Wraith hybrid Jimmy Marks can use his considerable Psychic Powers to reconstitute himself after being reduced to molecules.
  • The Silver Surfer is capable of doing this, provided there's something capable of cutting him to pieces.
  • In a Don Martin Captain Klutz story, the Captain gets ripped to comedic shreds by an enemy. Told literally to "pull himself together", he yanks at one of the wings on his hat and his various pieces all slither back together and reconnect.
  • In Cattivik he'll usually do this to himself after being tore apart or destroyed. In a particular episode this happens twice to some mummies. In both cases, the results of their efforts were laughable to say the least.


Fan Works[edit | hide]


Films -- Animation[edit | hide]

Films -- Live-Action[edit | hide]

  • The T-1000 from Terminator 2: Judgment Day. At one point, it gets a piece of an arm shot off; said piece just liquefies and flows back into its foot. The major example is when, after being frozen with liquid nitrogen and shattered by a bullet, the hundreds of pieces liquefy and it completely reforms. Bonus points for the fact it wasn't in perfect order after reforming, losing control of its shape on occasions. This is made more clear in the extended version.
  • Saddam Hussein does that in Hot Shots Part Deux, in an obvious homage to T2 and The Fly.
  • In Hellboy II: The Golden Army, the titular army can do this after being smashed to pieces.
  • Walt Disney's Bedknobs and Broomsticks: An animated suit of armor is blown apart by a grenade, quickly re-assembles itself and continues attacking. On YouTube here, starting at 6:45.
  • In Dead & Buried, one of the undead locals loses an arm by getting hit by a car. The figure, whose face is not seen, grabs the detached arm from the car's grill and runs off. Later in the film, a shopkeeper is seen using a small brush to apply paint to the area of his own shoulder where the arm was severed, implying that he's re-attached the lost limb and is touching up the seam to conceal any sign that his unhealing, dead flesh was damaged.
  • Wolf Man pulls himself back together after being blown apart with dynamite in The Monster Squad to show that, yes, only a silver bullet will do the trick.
  • In the movie Just Visiting, a medieval knight and his sidekick are accidentally sent to the present time by a cocky/kooky wizard, who goes in after them. In one scene, the wizard's potion goes awry and explodes, tearing him apart (in a non-gory fashion). Just when it seems there is no hope for the displaced knight, behold! -- pieces of the wizard (whose body parts have turned into metal for some reason) crawl towards each other and the wizard puts himself back together!
  • In Men in Black II, the villainess has captured the damsel and apparently killed her guardians, the worms. J and K find them lying in pieces in their apartment—then they wake up, start grumbling, and drag themselves over to their lower halves to reattach them.
  • In Ghost Rider, Johnny blasts Legion apart with a Hell-powered shotgun. He just pulls himself back together like nothing happened.
  • Hector does this in Saturn 3.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Ted Hughes' The Iron Man (on which the The Iron Giant is loosely based) starts this way. The Iron Man walks out of nowhere and falls over a cliff. One hand scuttles about blindly until it finds an eye, then picks up an arm and reassembles the whole body from there.
  • Discworld
    • In Feet of Clay, the golem Meshugah can do this.
    • A vampire photographer in The Truth carries a glass vial of emergency blood on a string around his neck. If he's reduced to dust by the bright light of his camera's flash, the vial falls and breaks, and contact with the blood causes the pile of dust to re-form into a solid body.
    • At one point in Soul Music, Death does this. And it's awesome.
  • Stephen King's Christine: Both the novel and movie adaptation involves a murderous vintage automobile that can heal itself from ANY damage, via a sort of time reverse power. Even after being crunched under the car crusher, Dennis still has nightmares four years later of Christine finally repairing herself and coming after him for revenge. Just look at the impressive visuals in this clip from the movie on 8:54 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4yTcspRQHXo&feature=related
  • In Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell the Gentleman with the Thistledown Hair keeps trying to put his body back after it's been ground to powder, but the pressure keeps up and he eventually dies.
  • Nihil tend to do this unless severely discouraged from doing so.
  • In Skulduggery Pleasant, the title living skeleton occasionally loses limbs in combat, and simply pops them back into the joint and carries on. In fact, he had to reassemble himself entirely after his original death/resurrection. Apparently, he's even capable of replacing missing parts with other people's bones, as his current skull is not his own. He does need medical attention if any of the bones are broken or cut, though.
  • The Dresden Files
    • The Denarian Tessa's alternate warrior-form body can rebuild itself if badly damaged by transforming into thousands of tiny mantis-like insects that reform together into the original body.
    • In White Night, the blood and ichor from the uberghouls do the same thing.
  • Referenced as a joke in one of the Nightside novels, in which Alex books an act by "Mr. Explodo" to entertain his bar patrons. Mr. Explodo explodes on stage, then invokes this trope.
  • The vampires in Stephenie Meyer's Twilight Saga can do this if they aren't incinerated after dismemberment. This process is only alluded to in the main novels, but is prominently featured in the novella The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner.
  • In Robert E. Howard's The Scarlet Citadel, Tsotha-lanti tells Conan the Barbarian that "if you hack me in pieces, the bits of flesh and bone will reunite and haunt you to your doom! The next moment, Conan cuts off his head. The head remained alive, and the body attempted to recover it. Fortunately, at that moment, a friendly sorcerer took away the head, the body ran after him, and the king was rid of the need to find a solution.


Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • The Replicators from Stargate SG-1, as long as they have enough intact blocks remaining.
  • Heroes: Tracy Strauss does this at the very beginning of Volume 5.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Dracula in the episode "Buffy vs. Dracula". Even after she dusts him, the dust pulls itself back together to reconstitute him. Also subverted as Buffy isn't the least bit startled and just restabs him.

(Buffy stakes Dracula after he's reforming)
Buffy: You think I don't watch your movies? You always come back...
(Dracula's dust starts to reform)
Buffy: I'm standing right here!

  • Dead Like Me reapers can reattach fingers fairly easily.
  • This happens to the earth elemental in "The Accidental Occidental Conception", the second episode of The Middleman.
  • In an episode of Bewitched Samantha's Father turns Darren into a statue and smashes him. Reluctantly he later puts him back together.
  • Angel
    • "I Fall to Pieces" had a psycho stalker doctor who could disassemble and reassemble himself.
    • "The Trial" had a lizard warrior that would come back together every time he got chopped up. Angel eventually cut him in half, then chained up the pieces on opposite sides of the room, before moving on.
  • In one episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, odo transforms into a glass, which is then dropped and shattered. In classic Terminator manner, the shards transform into liquid and melt together to Odo.
  • Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
    • One of the more memorable Monster of the Week types was Hatchasaurus, a very strong dino-bird thing who could reassemble himself no matter how thoroughly trashed, because the important part was elsewhere.
    • An even more memorable monster was Bones, who is pretty much Hatchasaurus, except that his Soul Jar is his head.
    • Also, Eyeguy, who was made of eyes, but could pull them together so long as his central main-eye was intact.
  • Kamen Rider Double: On the Darker and Edgier side of the Toku coin, the Clay Doll Dopant's ability, asides from shooting large blasts, is to reassemble herself after she's been crushed to a billion pieces. In fact, an arc from Double shows this power in action. It's Darker and Edgier because you don't know it's going to happen the first time, and it looks like a sympathetic character just got completely crushed. You don't learn the truth until next week.
  • The Djieiene spider in the Lost Girl episode "Arachno Faebia" can do this as long as its heart is safe in its Soul Jar.
  • Doctor Who
    • A battered Cyberman from the episode "The Pandorica Opens".
    • Much earlier in the series, gargoyle creature Bok reforms himself after being blown apart by a bazooka in the serial The Daemons.
  • The Young Ones: The episode "Bambi" reveals that Vyvyan is apparently capable of this, despite it not being explicitly shown.

Myths & Religion[edit | hide]

  • From Egytpian Mythology, the sorcerer Nefrekeptah had to face a serpent both immune to magic and who had this ability as the Final Boss guarding the Book of Thoth. When standard freezing spells didn't work, Nefrekeptah went for the direct approach and cut of the serpent's head, and threw it far into the river. However, the head came back almost instantly and blocked his path again. Nefrekeptah again cut off its head, threw it into the river, and this time put sand on the neck before the head could come back. The head couldn't reattach, and though the serpent couldn't die, it just lay there, helpless.


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • Necrons in Warhammer 40,000 are known to do this, sometimes even reforming after being reduced to molten slag.
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • Trolls, and anything with regeneration, can reattach body parts, including heads if they have a spare.
    • Lebendtod from Ravenloft don't regenerate, but these undead can remove and re-attach their heads or limbs at will. An anecdote in their 3E monster description tells how a necromancer sent several boxes of loose body parts to a rival's home; once inside, the parts re-assembled themselves and the lebendtod attacked.
    • Some skeletal undead have been depicted with the ability to reassemble themselves, in various D&D editions and Dragon articles. One type of skeleton, once several are knocked to pieces, even combine their bits into a bigger, more dangerous monster.


Toys[edit | hide]

  • Zaktan is able to do this in Bionicle. Which makes his recent "death" somewhat questionable... Really, almost any character is capable of doing this if their pieces are still intact and they know the secret of how to rebuild themselves. One of the most memorable instances is in the teaser for the planned game that never made it out, showing Onua spill out of his canister in pieces and assemble himself. Had the game been finished we would have gotten to see such a sequence for each of the original six Toa.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Mach Rider, of NES fame.
  • The protagonist of the freeware game And Yet It Moves.
  • The zombie robots from the game Metal Arms: Glitch in the System. Using the tether to bodyjack an enemy robot causes Glitch to have to do this afterwards. One Boss Fight also requires you to do this to yourself to escape an impossible situation.
  • It seems a lot of skeletal enemies do this trick when defeated:
    • The Dry Bones in Super Mario Bros.
    • The Stalfos in The Legend of Zelda
    • The skeleton in Prince of Persia.
    • The red skeletons and red armors from Castlevania.
    • The Recapitator enemies in Wario Land Shake It. Lucky, considering they throw their head as a boomerang to attack.
    • Ultima VIII skeletons are incredibly fast and powerful, and if you somehow manage to put one down... you've not got long before it's back on its feet at full strength. Options are to throw it in a lake first, or just use a necromantic spell to put it down for good. IX's much weaker skeletons will also pull themselves together shortly after defeat, though you can prevent this by picking up one of the parts, such as the skull (preventing it from rejoining the group). For added fun, collect a full skeleton then drop the bones in a populated city.
  • With high enough Marksman skill, the Skeletons in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion will shatter, only to come back together as if nothing had happened; in this case it's a (possibly unintentional) side effect of the game using the same animation for paralysis and death.
  • Some World of Warcraft bosses do this, most notably the Bonus Boss Viscidus from Ahn'Qiraj and the water elemental boss from Violet Hold. In both cases, they are Nigh Invulnerable while in their normal form—the objective is to shatter them and then kill the pieces.
  • Trailers for Portal 2 have shown GLaDOS's mainframe and the entire Enrichment Center itself repairing and reassembling themselves, presumably years or decades after they were destroyed and overgrown with plantlife.
  • For a player example, some of the hazards and enemies in Loco Roco can split Locoroco up into several pieces. However, a bit of "Noi! Cheburatta roi!" and they're back together in no time.
  • The upcoming game, Never Dead http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jt9z2lOoe4Y&feature=related, is about an immortal man stuck during a demonic invasion. The game supposedly allows for the complete dismemberment of the hero, only for them to literally put themselves back together.
  • The Hunter, a recurring boss from Dead Space is capable of both of this and regenerating its limbs. It's not as perfect as some of the other examples, though, but the only ways to stop it are freezing it solid and burning to a crisp with a rocket engine.
  • In Space Quest 6, the endodroid can pull the same stunt as the T-1000. Just don't let it happen around Roger.
  • Ms. Fortune from Skullgirls.


Web Comics[edit | hide]


Web Original[edit | hide]


Western Animation[edit | hide]

(Slick and Spin crash a motorcycle)
Slick: That was beautiful, Spin -- I just went to pieces!
Spin: Really? Did the camera get it?
Slick: I forgot to take the lens-cap off.
Spin: Get me my leg so I can run away!

  • Gadget and the Gadgetinis: Penny built Digit and Fidget with "Rebuilding Systems".
  • Beast Wars / Transformers Animated. One word: Waspinator.
  • Futurama: Bender can do this as well. In "I Second That Emotion", he dismantles himself so that he could flush himself down the toilet bit by bit, and is next seen in the sewer with his arms and legs all mixed up, regretting the fact that he threw out his own assembly instructions. In the pilot, Bender is seen putting both his arms back in their sockets one after another... somehow. That is, first, he uses his left arm to reattach his right arm, then his right arm grabs his left arm and also puts it back in. Fry, who is standing right next to him, is dumbfounded.
  • The characters of SpongeBob SquarePants have been known to fall apart and reattach themselves on a regular basis. In one instance we see that Plankton has his left and right legs marked, suggesting that he has lost them before.
  • Bonkers features a character named Fall-Apart Rabbit, whose schtick is to literally fall to pieces and then reattach himself again, usually with the parts on all the wrong places.
  • Robin finally manages to freeze and shatter Madame Rouge in Teen Titans. He barely has enough time to disable the trap before Rouge reforms and captures him.
  • In Justice League Unlimited, J'onn gets torn in half by the Annihilator, but turns intangible and reforms himself.
  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius: When Jimmy Neutron commands his robotic dog Goddard to play dead, rather than falling over, the dog explodes—then the pieces fly back together, unharmed.
  • Ugly Americans has an episode where Mark's nightmares started coming true (as one of three trials). In one scene where he runs through a door, only to wind up in outer space, falling back to earth. When he landed on the ground, he instantly liquified into a puddle of blood. (skydiving from space without a parachute hurts, kids) Mark's coworker Leonard was not impressed as Mark was late for an important event, so cue Mark's skeleton pulling itself out of the puddle, with the rest of the body reforming as he stood up.
  • On Jimmy Two Shoes, Lucius VI is constantly losing body parts. It might have something to do with how old he is.