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To be alive, you basically need two things: a living spirit/mind, and a fully functioning body. Note that clothing is not included in there. When people are born as babies, they're naturally Naked on Arrival, and the same often goes for resurrections, unless the force that brings people back to life is feeling extra generous to give them a spare set of clothing on top of that. This can be symbolic of their rebirth into the living world, of course, or serve to show how fragile life is by having them be vulnerable upon being thrust back into the world. Fanservice is also a contributing factor.
Note that there may be spoilers ahead: we're going to have to talk about death if we talk about resurrection.
Anime & Manga
- Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust gave us the Vampire Carmilla, reviving herself out of pure blood, naked in a casket.
- Not immediately apparent, but the hero of Guyver is killed when his control metal is ripped out of his head and his body consumes itself. A new body later forms from the control metal itself, but when the Guyver armor recedes, he's naturally without clothing.
- Yu-Gi-Oh: Yami Yugi's Fetal Position Rebirth during the Doma saga. Of course, it got cut by the North American dub.
- Fullmetal Alchemist. Alphonse Elric at the end of the manga. They were nice enough to throw a blanket over the severely-malnourished body though.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion
- Shinji gets absorbed into his Eva which leaves his plugsuit behind. Later on, as a distraught Misato is cradling the poor kid's plugsuit and blaming herself, the Eva's core spits him back out naked.
- Surprisingly averted in End of Evangelion where both Shinji and Asuka come out of Instrumentality with their respective clothes: Shinji with his trademark white shirt and black pants, Asuka with her plugsuit and lots of bandages. Doesn't make sense since their physical bodies were destroyed (when Instrumentality begins, we see piles of clothing soaking in pools of LCL that's actually the wearer's physical body broken down into primordial soup) and Shinji's clothes should be in Unit-01's entry plug which is currently floating in outer space.
- Played straight at the end of Rebuild 2.0: Rei was wearing her plugsuit when Zeruel ate her Eva but is naked when Shinji rescues her from the Angel's core.
- Fushigi Yuugi After summoning the spirit of Suzaku, Miaka's first wish was to return Yui, who had been absorbed by Seiryuu a few epsiodes ago. As Keisuke and Tetsuya head to her location, they see a light... and inside it, a naked Yui.
- Inuyasha: This happens to Kikyō for her resurrection.
- Dragon Ball: Averted by Shenlong when he revives Krillin after Namek and throws some clothes on him "as a bonus."
- Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl: Averted in the manga, but played straight in the anime when the now-female Hazumu is revived after being crushed by Jan-Puu's spaceship form.
- Soul Eater: Asura, who then makes Improvised Clothes out of his own skin.
- When Rogue fell into the Siege Perilous, she was wearing Ms. Marvel's costume. When she was reborn in Uncanny X-Men #269, she was naked (in the sequence of panels she first appeared as a skeletion, then grew muscles, then skin).
Films -- Live-Action
- Leeloo in The Fifth Element is reconstructed From a Single Cell, and naturally clothing doesn't come with that, though the machine puts bandage-clothing on her shortly afterward.
- Jackie Chan's character in The Medallion is brought back to life by said magic medallion when he was already at the morgue, his clothes removed from the autopsy. Averted a while later in the movie, when he does the same thing to bring back his love interest shortly after she died (still clothed), his partner even protests saying right away: "But when he came back, he was NAKED!"
- Ella in Cowboys and Aliens.
- In Roger Zelazny's Jack of Shadows, if anyone gets killed before exhausting his finite supply of lives, he is resurrected naked in the Dung Pits of Glyve at the east pole (It Makes Sense in Context) of the planet.
- Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings. Word of God clarified that when Gandalf said, "Naked I was sent back," he wasn't speaking figuratively.
- Harry Potter: Voldemort's first words upon stepping out of the cauldron he was resurrected in were, "Robe me."
- Philip Jose Farmer's Riverworld series of books, the entire population of Planet Earth from all times and eras is resurected for a surprise Afterlife on the Riverworld. On the Day of Awakening, everyone is reborn naked. This causes a lot of Angst for those from the Victorian and other prudish eras.
- In a non-post-death example, in the novelisation of Alien the crew of the Nostromo comes out of hypersleep in this state of undress.
- In the Doctor Who episode "The End of Time", when The Master is being restructed by a cult using his ring, he is shown from the top up without a shirt.
- Cylon Resurrection works this way in Battlestar Galactica Reimagined, since the Cylons are basically Artificial Human clones.
- Stargate SG-1
- When Daniel comes back from Ascending to A Higher Plane of Existence, this trope is in full force. When Daniel later gets the chance to discuss this with another ascended being, she mentions being brought back to life was entirely his idea, but when he protests she admits that the naked part wasn't, so apparently that's just how it works.
- He does it twice, and the second time it's played for laughs, with O'Neill lampshading that he always comes back that way.
- This is what happened to the title character of John Doe, after PHOENIX successfully yo-yoed him into Heaven and back again.
- Angel: When Wolfram & Hart resurrected Angel's dam, Darla, she came back nude.
- As did Angel himself in the third season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Technically, he came back from a hell dimension, not actual death, but it was used in the same way.
- Desmond in the Lost season 3 premiere is an arguable example. Arguable because we still have no freaking clue as to what really happened there. He probably didn't die, but he did have a near-death experience that should have resulted in his death, and he woke up without his clothes anyway.
- Claire in Heroes, because her clothes had been removed for autopsy. When the branch lodged in the "no Healing Factor if this gets screwed with" part of her brain was removed, she woke up and gave everyone a good scare. However, she's still covered with a cloth at the time -- sorry, no Fan Service.
- In Mortal Kombat 9, Sindel is revived from a skeleton; we see the muscles and blood vessels forming on her bones, but the camera sticks above the chestline once she has skin.
- In Chrono Cross, Serge is very much naked after the flame switches his body back to normal.
- In Narbonic, when Caliban and Mell are respectively kicked out of the afterlife onto Earth, they're both starkers.
- The Order of the Stick: When Roy, the leader of the Order of the Stick, is brought back to life, he's totally nude and covered only by a blurry section near his crotch. Roy says to Belkar that if he could spend some time being dead, they could tolerate a little full frontal.
- This trope was fully exploited in Crushed: The Doomed Kitty, a now-defunct webcomic by the Supermegatopia brothers. Crushed was a female adventurer, and every time she died (which was often), she'd resurrect at the Temple of Infinite Lives, without all her equipment and clothing. She'd have to go back to her previous body to get it all back, just like in Diablo. This also applied to every other adventurer in the comic, and total party wipes were quite common, resulting in a small horde of naked people popping into existence at the temple.
- Tanica, Rina and, in the backstory, Sarin in The Dragon Doctors. Especially Tanica, who had no clothes on revival despite her transformation appearing as bark growing over her, clothes and all.
- In Tales Of Gnosis College, Professor Corwin's human-reconstitution technology just happens to work this way.
- Dhur of Meat Shield is brought Back From the Dead this way too, in a Terminator shout out. He also has lost all body hair, which seems to distress him more than the nakedness.
- In Dungeons and Denizens, whenever Min gets killed by whatever means, he wakes up naked in Seidistica's office (much to his horror). This has also happened to Gazdar at least once.