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These characters just won't stay dead.

When killed, they will always return to life, looking none the worse for wear. This is not due to a regenerative capability - they can be injured like anyone else. If an explanation is given at all, it will be magical or spiritual in nature, instead.

While this might seem like a good power to have, being unable to die and yet having to experience death over and over can easily qualify as a Fate Worse Than Death. Not to mention all the other drawbacks of being immortal. As an obvious consequence, Immortality Hurts.

Frequently overlaps with The Ageless. Can be a perk of being undead, particularly of vampires and liches. If they always come back in a certain spot, it's Respawn Point. May overlap with other Immortality tropes, such as Immortality Inducer. If their mind is being transferred to a new body, it's Body Backup Drive, instead. If they respawn or are reborn as an infant, it's Born-Again Immortality.

See Joker Immunity for when a character isn't allowed to die because of Plot Armor.

Examples of Resurrective Immortality include:


Anime & Manga

  • This seems to be Mara's case in Ah! My Goddess. Whenever the goddesses take her out an unspecified time later she bursts out of a coffin in her lair and shouts "I am resurrected!"
  • In one of very few comedic uses of this trope, the main characters of Angel Beats! often suffer horribly ignominious (and often hilarious) deaths, only to return to life a few minutes later whole, hale, and cracking wise.
  • Hakamada from Aphorism. Got thrown off the roof to die by his friends such that he could recover from his not quite fatal injuries.
  • Tenzen Yakushiji from Basilisk. As long as his inner parasite twin is fine he can abuse of this power as much as he wants. When Oboro manages to use her Anti-Magic on him, however...
  • The blood warriors from Princess Resurrection, most noticeably the protagonist Hiro. When a person die, one of the royal siblings can bring them back to life with their blood. This makes the blood warriors semiimmortal. When killed they will come back to life and when just hurt, their wounds will heal quick. However, there is a price to pay: the blood warriors have to drink royal blood every few days or they will die for real. So they have to follow and fight for one of the royal siblings to survive. And of course, they have to die, before they can become semiimmortal to begin with.
  • In Fate Stay Night, Berserker has this ability. He can come back to life up to eleven times, and he becomes immune to whatever killed him.
  • Kenji Murasame from Giant Robo has this type of immortality. He's also got a bit of Made of Iron going on, since non-fatal wounds barely slow him down, but he'll always come back from anything that would definitely kill anyone else, including complete bodily disintegration. He's quick about it, too. Getting shot in the head doesn't even put him down for more than half a minute or so.


Comic Books

  • Mr. Immortal's only superpower is the ability to resurrect in perfect health immediately after dying, regardless of the method of death. It is implied that he is homo s. supreme, having evolved beyond death, and will survive to see the end of the universe. Not really an attractive prospect. He can take advantage of it by killing himself to heal any persistent injuries, so it's not entirely a bad thing.
  • The DCU's Immortal Man and Resurrection Man both have this power, coming back to life each time they're killed.


Fan Fiction

  • Ho-oh from Cornova's Poke Wars series has so far been able to come back in peak condition from being pulverized, thrown into a mountain, and having all of his limbs and head torn off, all thanks to the removal of his dampener at the start of the series. Uxie notes at one point that Ho-oh is able to come back that way because he's a legendary pokemon - if a normal pokemon ended up with this ability, they'd fall under Born-Again Immortality.


Film - Live Action

  • The Tall Man of Phantasm who simply can't be stopped. Destroy him completely and another identical one will step out of the portal and finish where he left off.
  • Zachary Binx from the Disney film Hocus Pocus was cursed to live forever as a cat. In one scene, he is run over by a car and is clearly dead. Then as the other characters are screaming in horror, he re-inflates, stands up, and says, "I hate it when that happens."


Literature

  • The Eternal Emperor of the Sten series. He can die, and indeed has been assassinated more than once, but he always returns a few years later to reclaim his throne.
  • On the Discworld, vampires can be killed in a number of different ways, but they are always reduced to ashes and will always regenerate when they eventually come into contact with blood. Careful slayers can keep them locked up for hundreds or thousands of years, but sooner or later they'll be back. Thus far, there is no known way to permanently dispatch them.
    • Except from cats...


Live Action TV

  • Nathan from Misfits has this type of immortality. He can be hurt or injured in the normal way, but will heal all injuries once he dies and comes back to life.
  • Captain Jack Harkness of Doctor Who and Torchwood can technically die, but only for a short while (in at least one case, for several days) due to a mixture of this and From a Single Cell. In Torchwood: Miracle Day, Jack became mortal again. He returns to being immortal at the end of Miracle Day, with Rex also gaining this kind of immortality.
    • Interestingly, the thing that makes him mortal again doesn't appear to be related in any way to the way he was made immortal originally. Back when he was human, he was killed by a Dalek, only to be resurrected by Rose (who temporarily became a Time Goddess). The resurrection stuck. Then a vagina in the Earth somehow turns him mortal, while everyone else becomes immortal.
      • Actually, Word of God speculated in the episode commentary that the Blessing may have only removed Jack's Healing Factor, and that were he to die during the Miracle, he would have simply revived as normal.
  • Highlander, both film and TV. Immortals can die just like anyone else, but their bodies then heal and they revive. And it can turn into a cycle if conditions are bad, which can lead to an insane immortal or at least an immortal with a huge desire for revenge.
  • Prince, an Expy of Satan and the Big Bad of the last season of Lexx, could return after being killed, once a certain time period had elapsed. Worse, he could choose where he would reappear, and what his appearance would be, making him a de facto shapeshifter.
  • Dracula does this in the one Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode he appears in. Buffy stakes him and he dusts, but then he reforms - only for Buffy to stake him again.
    • Angel once faced a demon who, no matter how many times he cut it up, would always piece itself back together and come after him again.

 Angel: Come on! I'm holding your head!


Myth, Legend, and Oral Tradition

  • Egyptian Mythology: Born-Again Immortality seems to be the standard for Egyptian gods, who can age and die but are always reborn. However, with some of them it isn't clear if they actually have to pass through childhood when returning.


Tabletop Games

  • The mummies of the Old World of Darkness were immortals who would resurrect every time they were killed. It was possible to destroy them outright, but not particularly easy (like putting them at ground zero of a nuclear explosion).
  • In the various editions of Big Eyes Small Mouth, this is what the Reincarnation attribute does. The various levels determine how long it takes for the character with the attribute to come back after being killed, and how easy or hard this is to stop.
  • The Ultimate Powers Book for the Marvel Super Heroes Roleplaying Game (the FASERIP system) has the Serial Immortality and Self-Revival powers, which allow a character to come back from death. Serial Immortality in particular has several ways this can come about, some of which embody other tropes than Resurrective Immortality, such as creation of a new body, reanimating a dead body, taking over another person's body, and others. This is primarily a way for villains to come back.
  • The Inevitable Comeback creature power from Feng Shui allows a supernatural creature to resurrect after being killed.
  • The Necrons in Warhammer 40000 are an entire RACE of this. Even if reduced to liquid metal, any necron is teleported away and rebuilt to be redeployed.
    • Hive Tyrants of the Tyranids have this built into them. Being the commander of an entire Redshirt Army of Zerg Rush troops means that commanders seldom to survive long, so each hive tyrant can and will reform in a new body with their mind and memories intact (but only until the current campaign is over). The only exception to this is the Swarmlord, who transcends the various hive fleets and always reforms with his memories. His body is also unique, possessing materials not native to the galaxy, implying that the hive mind will go through the trouble of transmuting the materials for his specially crafted Bonesabres just for the Swarmlord.


Video Games

  • Team Fortress 2 has this in the form of Redmond and Blutarch, CEOs for RED and BLU, respectively. In an attempt to try to outlive the other brother, both have a machine built for them to prevent them from dying, with obvious results. It does not grant immortality in the normal sense, but it does resurrect them immidiately after dying, which does grant the user immortality in the sense that they don't stay dead for long. In a related vein, respawning in-game appears to be part of canon and not just a gameplay mechanic, given that some classes, particularly the Sniper, comment on it.

 Sniper: "How many times have you died? I'm actually getting impressed."

Sniper: "Kill ya again soon, mate."

Sniper: "See you in five minutes."

  • Every runewarrior from the game Spellforce. Your avatar (main character) dies? He automatically respawns at the nearest soulstone. Any of your heroes or minions dies? Simply summon them again.
  • Likely (it's also possible that they're regenerating) the case for Ascended in Rift: They've already died once and been brought back; now, death is a temporary, if traumatic, inconvenience for them.
  • The Daevas of Aion are seemingly immortal, being able to reform with a type of ressurection stone if killed. One of the main quests involving the player investigating a malfunctioning stone, which turns anyone under it's influence into zombies rather than reform them.
  • Meat Boy is a One-Hit-Point Wonder, but reforms within one or two seconds, much to the frustration of Dr. Fetus. And not just during gameplay, during cutscenes too!
  • Unreal Tournament and sequels, not just a game mechanic, as game lore suggest repeated death and resurrection can chase a persons mind to collapse.
  • In the Castlevania series, Dracula is resurrected in most of the games, the better for the player to have someone to fight. The exact methods vary.
  • The Nameless One in Planescape: Torment. Dying is even a way to solve some of the puzzles, and learning why he won't die is his goal in the series.
  • Zasalamel masterminded the events of Soul Calibur III for the express purpose of curing himself of this. In the sequel he changed his mind after seeing a vision of the future and deciding he wanted to see that world in person.
  • The fairies in the Touhou series work like this: They have very short live spans, but are reborn in the same shape (An healthy one, that is.) as soon as they die even if they're blown to pieces, essentially making them immortal.
  • This is the kind of immortality that Nessiah from Yggdra Union of the Dept Heaven games (and its spinoffs) has been cursed with. Reincarnating is supposed to be hellishly painful and leaves him weak, but he will inevitably reincarnate no matter what. It overlaps with Immortality Talisman (and to some extent The Ageless, as he no longer ages), and by the time of Yggdra Union he's spent over a thousand years trying to destroy what forces him to stay alive.
  • The Undead in Dark Souls are cursed/blessed with this. They cannot stay dead, but each "death" robs them of humanity until they eventually become Hollowed insane monsters. Humanity (represented by small black flames) can restore an Undead's appearance, but it's still only delaying the inevitable.
  • Peter the phoenix and Lemon the vampire from Shining Force II can automatically resurrect after each battle for free if defeated.
  • LeChuck, perennial Big Bad of Monkey Island, starts out undead and is killed at the end of each game only to come back in the next, with varying explanations. In the second game, he had to be brought back by a witch-doctor, but in other incarnations he returns on his own, thanks to the power of Big Whoop, a portal into hell. Tales of Monkey Island gives a different explanation for his eternal self-recycling: a resurrection spell he keeps hidden at the Crossroads, the pirate afterlife, which he got from the Voodoo Lady.
  • PlanetSide. When a soldier travels through a warp gate, they are matrixed into the planet's core. When they die, their body is deconstructed and then rebuilt at a spawn room. In the backstory, a Terran commander executed a pilot via firing squad for flying through a warp gate without orders - and the pilot kept showing up sitting under trees on continents.
  • E.Y.E.: Divine Cybermancy - The player has a limited amount of self-resurrections. When the player dies, an implant injects a cocktail of drugs which jump-starts the body again, allowing the player to continue to fight after a few seconds of inaction. However, the implant doesn't get rid of extreme damage such as mutilations, and will deplete after a couple uses.
  • In Age of mythology hero units can be killed just like any other. But they only stay dead until another hero unit comes close. Once that happens the dead hero will revive and rejoin the campaign.


Web Original

  • Phelous dies in all kinds of comical ways, but always comes back to life. In a crossover with The Angry Joe Show, he gets killed and resurrected multiple times in a few minutes. In a few episodes, his death scenes parody the Time Lord the Doctor's regenerations from Doctor Who.


Webcomics

  • Homestuck has guaranteed immortality for any Sburb player who reaches God Tier which can only be achieved by a player arranging to be killed on their Quest Bed. They simply cannot be Killed Off for Real unless the death is deemed just or heroic. They'll be dead for a few minutes, and then they'll jump right back up again without any blood on their clothes (lucky for the main characters.) In theory they can come back even if their corpse is annihilated (and it has been more or less proven that they can come back after being incinerated.) They also won't succumb to old age.
  • Oasis from Sluggy Freelance is implied to be one of these. It has yet to be made clear how she keeps showing up again after being shot, impaled, and blown up so many times. It's possible that this is just the result of her Healing Factor, but fans are definitely lead to think otherwise.
  • Type A Phoenixes in DMFA respawn in a random location when they die, and then walk to whichever of their temples is the furthest away, learning stuff as they go. They can also choose to "die" whenever they want, making them impossible to capture.


Western Animation

  • Starscream on Transformers: Animated gains this ability thanks to a shard of the Allspark embedded in his forehead. (And the montage of him repeatedly getting killed by Megatron is hilarious) He dies for good when the shard gets yanked out.
  • South Park:
    • Kenny has this power. This was confirmed in the episode Mysterio Rises as he explains that he dies but wakes up in his bed the next day, and no-one else has any memories of his death, but this had been hinted at several times before, notably after the episode where he was Killed Off for Real and replaced by Butters, and later Tweek. He got better from that and when he came back the other characters asked where he had been. In another Stan is upset that Kyle is seriously ill and will soon die, making Kenny annoyed that he's so upset about that but no-one ever cared about all the times he died, but Stan doesn't hear him. And of course apart from that he dies on a regular basis since the very first season but comes back anyway because Status Quo Is God, without any explanation. He died in the first episode but came back anyway in the next one.
      • That said, in some episodes its implied that characters do remember; they just don't care anymore. Immediately after complaining to Stan, Kenny is killed again- but Stan barely notices. In another, Timmy tries to kill Jimmy by giving him an orange anorack just like Kenny's, causing disasters to follw Jimmy wherever he went. And there have been variations of their catchphrase ("O my God, he / she / they / we killed Kenny! You / We're bastards!") where its obvious they don't really care and are just saying it out of habit.
    • Jesus. In one episode, he escapes from a jail cell (in the Vatican) by having Kyle kill him and resurrecting on the other side of the door. He can only do this on Easter though.
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