Try Not to Die

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Illyria: Try not to die. You are not unpleasant to my eyes.

Gunn: Uh, thanks. You... try not to die too.
Angel, "Not Fade Away"

When heroes are about to go Storming the Castle, or facing impossible and deadly odds, "Try Not To Die" is the common prayer. Not, "Knock 'em dead!" or the more emotive "We're counting on you", but this simple, plaintive request... which goes a long way to saying just how bad the odds and low the expectations are of the adventurer and his friend or loved one.

Compare How Dare You Die on Me!

Examples of Try Not to Die include:


  • This was the basis of an ad campaign for cellular phones, where one character would be in the process of dropping dead, while someone else would be standing over him, berating him for dying because the new phone was about to come out and he'd miss it (along the lines of, "What are you stupid, having a heart attack before they release this phone?"), ending with the tag line, "Try Not to Die."

Anime and Manga

  • Death Note: L has one in the "Bang!" scene.
  • In Hellsing, Integra orders Walter to 'come back alive at any cost'. He does, but...well, let's just say he took her literally.
    • She also gives a variant of this just before Alucard vanishes. *sniff*
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: The Chief to the rest of Section 9 after he learns they've been betrayed.
    • Also, Batou to the Major in episode 21. Not an unreasonable thing to say, since this is moments before she attempts to take on a powered exoskeleton with nothing but sidearms.
  • In Kino's Journey, this is Kino's most important rule of being a traveler. Kino tells it to a guy trying to be The Atoner, and to the woman who didn't appreciate the guy thinking he could get off the hook that easy.
  • Shiro Amada's pep talk to his new squad in Mobile Suit Gundam: 08th MS Team can be summed up thusly. Shiro practically considers it part of their standing orders.
    • This is said quite a lot in the Gundam metaseries, usually phrased as an order before a battle.

Graham Aker: *wingman blows up* "I thought I told you not to die!"

  • The Naruto dub takes us full circle. As the Chuunin Exam escalates into the Forest of Death, the instructor gives a final bit of advice:

Anko: Just don't die!

  • In a late episode of Digimon Tamers, Terriermon, in the dubbed version at least, cheerfully says to the others, "Try not to get killed while we're gone!" when the team had to separate during a fight.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist manga: This is the only order Roy Mustang gives to his team just before they begin their rebellion in Central. Later, Hawkeye repeats this order after her throat is slit in an attempt to force Mustang to perform Human Transmutation and she's bleeding to death. The Gold-Toothed Doctor wryly notes that if immortality were that easy, he's wasted his entire life.

Hawkeye: "I won't die... I've... been ordered not to die, you see."

    • Also said twice by Riza Hawkeye to Mustang- once at her father's funeral and the second time when she's reassigned to Fuhrer King Bradley's personal guard.
  • Genkai from Yu Yu Hakusho has one of these before seeing a bunch of warriors, Yusuke and Kuwabara included, off into the Dark Forest as part of her trial. After explaining what the forest is, she tells everyone that they have two hours to get to a tree on the other side of the forest. "Best of luck, I hope you don't die."
  • Kenji in 20th Century Boys, as he and his friends head off to fight the giant robot on New Year's Eve: "If you think your life is in danger, run away as fast as you can. Please don't die!" This is echoed later on by many other characters in appropriate moments.
  • "Don't die." is probably said, on average, once per episode in Ginga Densetsu Weed.
  • In the final season of Legend of Galactic Heroes, Reinhard orders Mittermeyer not to die.
  • In Baccano! Miria tells this to Jacquzi before going to fight the rail tracer. Notable because they are Cloudcuckoolanders, and said this with deadly severity.
  • In Bleach, when Orihime tells this to Ichigo to stop him from hating himself, this becomes the turning point of the fight between Grimmjow and Ichigo.
    • Also the main gist of the prayer/oath that Renji chants when he, Ichigo, Rukia, Ishida and Chad split up during the beginning of the Hueco Mundo arc.
  • Also invoked by Misato in the last line of the first episode of Neon Genesis Evangelion.
  • In Yotsuba&!, when Yotsuba heads next door on her Roaring Rampage of Revenge, Jumbo tells her to "Come back alive." Knowing, as always, the cultural trappings but not their true meanings, she replies, "Even if I die, I'll come back alive."
  • Kiddy Grade - Éclair to her troops in a flashback: "one final order: don't get killed."
  • This is said to Guts a couple of times in Berserk, most notably when Guts gives Casca a path to escape from an ambush by an enemy army and Casca tells Guts that she would return with help, but until then...

Casca: "...DON'T DIE!"

  • In A Certain Magical Index during the invasion of Academy City by Vento of the Front, Misaka shouts this to Touma as he goes to fight Vento while Index goes to find out how to free Kazakiri from her forced "angel" mode and Misaka stays to fight off some Mooks.

Misaka: It's about the penalty game!
Touma: You said what!?
Misaka: It's that when you listen to what someone says! Since it's still valid as of today you know, you'll certainly save your friend and come back!! Got it!?
Touma: I'll surely follow it! So don't you die on me as well!!

Comic Books

Fan Works


M: "James?"
Bond: "Yes, ma'am?"
M: "Come back alive".

    • And this is after she told him she had no compunctions about sending him to his death, as long as it was worth something.
  • The Incredibles:

Mr. Incredible: Shut it down, do it quickly, don't destroy it...
Mirage: And don't die.

Milo: "Anyone have any ideas?"
Vinny: "Yeah, don't get shot."

  • The Last Of The Mohicans:

"Stay alive, no matter what occurs!"

"Don't get dead."

Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: If your killer instincts are not clean and strong you will hesitate at the moment of truth. You will not kill. You will become dead Marines. And then you will be in a world of shit because Marines are not allowed to die without permission!

  • Passchendaele. "There's only one rule. Don't die."
  • In the movie Rookie of the Year, a kid basically gets a major-league pitching arm by accident. He signs with the Chicago Cubs, and soon after that is forced to take a turn at bat (since the Cubs play in the league without a Designated Hitter). The batting coach is called in to talk strategy with him.

[Walks up. Looks at kid, starts to advise him, stops. Thinks again.] "Don't die."

  • A twisted version, from the the movie Thirteen Days:

"The president has instructed me to pass along an order to you: You are not to get shot down."
"Uh, we'll do our best, sir."
"I don't think you understand me correctly. You are not to get shot down under any circumstances. Whatever happens up there, you were not shot at. Mechanical failures are fine, crashing into mountains, fine. But you and your men are not to be shot at, fired at, launched upon.... If you are fired upon, the President will be forced to attack the sites that fired on you. He doesn't want to have to do that. It's very important that he doesn't, or things could get very badly out of control."

  • Team America: World Police parodies this (like everything else) were Gary is promised sex if he promises not to die. He emphatically states "I PROMISE I WILL NEVER DIE." and they immediately go through a pretty explicit sex scene (don't worry they're marionettes.)
  • Forrest Gump: "Two standing orders in this platoon: one, take good care of your feet; two, try not to do anything stupid, like getting yourself killed."
  • In American Dreamz, a fresh recruit in Iraq asks the more experienced soldier riding next to him in a jeep for any tips. The tip he receives is "Don't get shot". The troop commits this to memory, and a bullet promptly comes through the side of the jeep and wounds him.
  • A variant in Gladiator:

Senator Gracchus: "And you stay alive - or I'll be dead."


"One obey orders, two give it to the enemy good and hard, three don't die! I intend to assist you in the execution of all three!"

    • In Feet of Clay, Vimes orders Corporal Littlebottom to not let go of the slippery pole she's clinging to and fall in the giant vat of molten candle wax down below.
    • In another Watch novel, Lady Sybil says to Vimes "Try not to get hurt", and he replies with something like "I always do, dear. The criminals don't always co-operate, though."
  • In The Wheel of Time, the Aiel's standard way to say good night is "Sleep well and wake." (As in, live long enough to wake up tomorrow.)
  • In David Gemmell's Legend, as the unstoppable horde reaches the thin line of defenders, the reluctant hero asks Badass Grandpa Druss: "Any last words of advice?"

Druss: "Live."
He does.

  • The Mobile Infantry: their motto is (in summary) "Get back alive (and don't leave those suits behind, they are worth much more than you are)".
  • Wraith Squadron in the X Wing Series has one of these. Wedge Antilles finishes his briefing with this instruction, and Kell Tainer responds by pretending to type it into his datapad.

Kell: "No get killed. I'll try to remember."

  • The last line of Radiant Shadows is Devlin telling Seth "Try not to die, brother."
  • Haymitch's repeated line of "advice" for how to survive The Hunger Games: "Stay alive."

Live Action TV

  • The exchange quoted above, during the series finale of Angel.
  • Buffy to Faith:

"First rule of being a slayer? Don't die!"

    • Also, Willow

"It's part of our whole mission statement. Don't get killed!"

"As of now, your blood is the only cure for that virus. Try not to get yourself killed."

B'Elanna: Today would be a very bad day to die.

Yu : Do not embarrass me by allowing yourself to be killed.

  • Doctor Who: In "A Good Man Goes to War", Amy says this to Rory.

Amy: No offense, yeah, but you let them all die first.
Rory: You're so Scottish.


  • A line in the lyrics of the X Japan song Born To Be Free is "Try to hide, try not to die."

Video Games

"Don't go dying on me!"

    • Also:

"Try to stay in one piece, huh, Fox?"

"Try to stay alive, huh Fox?"

  • Kratos says this to Lloyd in Tales of Symphonia on the night before you enter the Tower Of Salvation -- a somewhat ironic usage given he is The Mole and has no qualms with handing the party their asses the next day, even if he balks at actually finishing them off. One or two times after that as well, although this time, he wishes for Lloyd not to die to himself. He is Lloyd's father after all

"Don't die, Lloyd" and "Don't die, Lloyd...before I do..."

Lucian: Come on. You're a vampire. Do you really think you can retain control over the power of the sun?
Stoker: I intend to prove that with this very experiment. I beg you... try not to die too quickly, mmm?

  • In Normality, after Dai is shot and left to be captured by the Norms, Kent tells him these exact words.
  • One of the most prominent tagline in Ace Combat Zero is:

"There's only one ultimate rule in war: Survive"

  • Used by Silvia to Travis verbatim in No More Heroes. Bear in mind, her usual parting statement (before her Catch Phrase) before boss battles is predicting an increasingly high probability that he'll get killed.
  • Star Control II has "Try to avoid getting gruesomely killed, Captain!" as one of the things Base Commander Hayes says to you as you depart. He seems perfectly cheerful when he says it, too...
    • Also, the traditional Spathi prayer: "Oh God! Please don't let me die today! Tomorrow would be so much better!"
  • Aribeth says something like this to you near the end of the original campaign of Neverwinter Nights if you choose the correct conversation paths earlier.
  • In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion expansion Shivering Isles, Sheogorath says this to the player before sending them off to "understand" the place.
    • Also, in regular Oblivion during the the Dark Brotherhood storyline, if you talk Antoinetta Marie before one of your missions, she says "Hope you don't get killed! I mean..."
  • Variation in Last Scenario:

Matilda: You'd better come back alive. Otherwise I'll have no one to blame for this mess.

  • In the City Elf origin of Dragon Age, the PC will ask Duncan (a human) to leave the Alienage. Duncan refuses, pointing out there is little that the PC can do about it, as he is both armed and armoured. If the PC challenges him to a fight anyway, the main character's cousin (who has been listening in on this exchange) will say "Try not to die! I'll run for help!"
  • In Gundam Extreme Vs, Heero and Zechs say this to one another in Endless Waltz's opening movie. "Don't die!" "You either!"
  • In Jumper Two Editor, the default tip for help-boxes is "Don't die".
  • Crops up at least twice in the Golden Sun games, said usually by hapless secondary characters or currently-unavailable main characters. For example, Jenna calls out, "Isaac, Garet! Don't die!" at a suitably dramatic point not long before the pair hears the call. Given how blatant the lines are, this is potentially lampshade-hanging.
  • Immediately before the defense of Khoonda in Knights of the Old Republic II, the player is asked to give a Rousing Speech to the defenders. Part of the light-side option is "Don't get shot."
  • One of the hints shown in the loading screens of Duke Nukem Forever states: "Take Less Damage To Avoid Getting Killed".
  • Used in Armored Core 4's infamously hard "Marche Au Supplice" mission. It's an optional mission that is not required to clear the chapter, but it is undoubtedly the hardest, with you taking on 4 NEXTs at once. While your Operator assures you of your ability to do that, the fact that she uses this trope is indicative on how hard it is.

Web Comics

  • Ti'el from The Wotch: "No dying. You still owe me lunch." (Ti'el's partner, Glock, responded with "If I die, I'll buy you two.)
  • In Schlock Mercenary, Schlock sums up a briefing thusly:

Schlock: Look sharp, weapons ready, don't get dead.

Officer Hipbone: Just don't go getting yourself killed, okay?
Officer Getskilled: I'll try my best not to!

Web Original

Western Animation

Vixen: "So, anyone got a plan?"
Shayera: "Yeah. Try to stay alive."
Huntress: "Anybody have a good plan?"

  • Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles would invert the battle cry "Do you wanna live forever?!" before beginning a mission:

"Live forever, apes!"

  • In the finale of the second season of The Venture Brothers, Brock Sampson says this verbatim to Hank Venture.
  • In The Incredibles, just as Mr. Incredible is about to be dropped onto Noumanisan Island, Mirage tells him, "And don't die."

Real Life

  • This may also be a common saying in Nigeria. Dunno if it's true though, which is why TV tropes must organize a fact finding mission post haste!
    • Such a voyage would no doubt carry the name of the trope...
  • George Carlin comments in a standup routine; "I don't wanna die. I wanna live. That's the secret to life, you know - not dying!"
  • George S. Patton famously quipped, "I don't want you to die for your country. I want you to make the other poor bastard die for his country!"
    • There is a story of lecture from Marine training during WWII. "Every Japanese soldier you face has been told it is his duty to die for the Emperor. Your duty, is to assist him in accomplishing his duty in any way possible."
    • You could say this is a deconstruction- before the invasion of Normandy in 1944, Major Howard (6th Airborne, first unit to arrive in France and engage the Germans) was visited by Montgomery, the overall British commander. Monty told him that 'whatever happens, bring the boys back home alive' (paraphrased) Howard later recalled that while he understood the brass didn't want a repeat of the Great War, he believed their duty was not to survive, but to accomplish the mission, and that's what Monty should have given the pep talk about.
  • True story: during a hallucinogen-fueled outing in college with a group of friends, when this troper went to play on the near-by rope swing which went out over a scary dropoff, his then-girlfriend told him, "Don't fall to your death!" (This has become a running joke in this troper's family with his children. "I'm going to play on the monkey bars." "Okay; don't fall to your death!")