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A catchall term for the often confused reactions characters may have after losing someone close to them - or perhaps even an enemy.

Symptoms include frustrated speech, attempts to explain the sudden emptiness and feelings that nothing is right, and shock that one day a person can be there and the next they're gone. A person in this state tends to either rant or have trouble stringing two sentences together.

As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.

Examples of Death Is Such an Odd Thing include:

Anime and Manga

  • The Tachikoma in Ghost in the Shell, as robots whose memories are constantly backuped, are completely unable to comprehend death and are highly fascinated by what they consider the greatest philosophical mystery. Even when facing permanent dismantling or risking the destruction of their backup databases, they are unable to feel fear or sadness, and even seem to get a little giddy about the closest thing they can experience to death.


  • Orlando Bloom said in the commentaries for the extended edition of The Lord of the Rings films that what he was trying for, when the camera had its closeup on his face in the One-Woman Wail montage after Gandalf fell, was coming to grips with what death was, as an elf whose only experience with it previously had been seeing enemies die in battle.
  • The Usual Suspects: "It's the strangest thing." Although it's possible that this was MacManus's reaction to finding out the Twist Ending.
  • "The horror... the horror..."


  • Harry Potter's reaction to his godfather Sirius dying is a confused kind of anger that he can't even express properly.
  • A mild version shows up in Howl's Moving Castle (the book, not the movie), where Sophie reacts to Mrs. Pentstemmon's murder by first being shocked that the passing was so sudden, and then realizing that "that's how it was, wasn't it? People are alive right up until they die."
  • The Kill'Em All ending of The Underland Chronicles leaves Gregor in a state of emotional distress about many characters, many of whom were absolute jerkasses toward him. On a smaller scale, the True Companions have a very confused, not-quite-stunned reaction to the death of Tick in the first book.
  • Despite having been Conditioned to Accept Horror, Paul in All Quiet on the Western Front isn't able to fully comprehend how the world can still be working and at the same time Kat can be dead.

Live-Action TV

  • An early episode of Mad Men opens with the characters hearing about a plane crash. A few minutes later, Pete learns that his father was on the plane. What stuns him the most? "Everything's exactly the same."
    • This is all complicated by the fact that he and several others had been making sick jokes. Also, he hated his father.
  • Anya's speech in Buffy: one of the most touching moments from her, where she explains her thought process, coming from immortality to mortality and being unprepared to deal with Buffy's mother, Joyce, being suddenly dead. And how she really doesn't know how to act, and human society makes it taboo to even ask how to act, so....

 But I don't understand! I don't understand how this all happens, how we go through this, I mean I knew her and then she's, there's just a body, I don't understand why she just can't get back in it and not be dead, it's stupid, it's mortal and stupid, Xander's crying and not talking and I was having fruit punch and I thought that Joyce would never have any more fruit punch and she'd never have eggs, or yawn, or brush her hair, not ever and no one will explain...


Video Games

  • Resident Evil 5 has Irving dying (although I think you could have seen that coming) with the line "Dying ain't so bad, but you're still screwed." Touching.
  • In Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars, when George questions a French Jerk road-worker who saw the murder victim before he died, he has nothing but bad things to say about him, but after George tells him the man died he feels bad for everything he said. Lampshaded by George's narration.

 Regret and remorse are strange emotions. They really bring out the hammiest actors in people.

Web Original

  • Strong Bad's reaction to losing the Compy 386 is more of the incoherent style of speech.
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