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"For the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished; nevermore will they have a share in anything done under the sun."
"There is nothing frightening about an eternal dreamless sleep. Surely it is better than eternal torment in Hell and eternal boredom in Heaven."

This is when you die, and you cease to exist. No afterlife. No feeling, no thought, no perception, no existence. Your existence—everything you were—simply disappears like a popped soap bubble. The cessation of existence is not a lovely Fluffy Cloud Heaven or a boiling molten Hell: you know nothing, you feel nothing, and you are nothing. If you cease to exist and are gone forever, you have no knowledge of anything, not even of your own death. In other words, permanent and total unconsciousness. And even that is a woefully inadequate comparison, since even the unconscious can still dream.

This is fairly inconceivable to those who exist, as not-existing and existing are somewhat mutually exclusive. The idea here is that death doesn't even have that, meaning the two examples above still don't quite give an accurate impression of what it would be like. Then again, it wouldn't be like anything. Either there is no afterlife, or there is, but the poor sap's soul was destroyed.

This may very well be a reason death is such a common Primal Fear, and seems to be a major reason for the creation of many religions; after all, many major religions teach that life exists after death in some form. Then again, some people would find cessation of existence comforting compared to the alternatives.

Not to be confused with The Nothing After Death, where you still exist, if only as a mere shade floating between nothing and nowhere.

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

Examples of Cessation of Existence include:

Anime & Manga

  • In Death Note, Ryuk tells Light that since he's used the Death Note, he can go neither to heaven nor hell, but instead "Mu," or nothingness. At the end of the series, a flashback that shows the entirety of that scene occurs, where Light deduces (correctly) that that just means there's no afterlife for anyone. This is confirmed by Ryuk, the Rules of the Death Note shown between chapters, Word of God, and an Eyecatch in the anime.
    • Although having said that, in the Director's Cut of the anime there's a scene at the end where it is strongly hinted that Light became a Shinigami after his death. (The Director's Cut is also a bit revisionist when it comes to the anime, particularly where Mello is concerned, so take it as the alternate storyline it is.)
  • In Yu Yu Hakusho, this is what happens if someone who is already dead is somehow killed. In addition, certain creatures can eat a person's soul and cause them to cease to exist.
  • Dragon Ball: Generally, this is averted, and there is an afterlife for both heroes and villains. Heroes can keep on training so that they can fight evil in the event that they're resurrected with the Dragon Balls.
    • However, this is implied to be the fate of Android 16, as he's a robot.
    • And possibly Super Buu when Kid Buu is born, since they are implied by the former to be separate entities.
    • This is the most terrifying aspect of Zeno's power. With a mere thought he can make anything simply blink out of existence. Even entire universes. Fortunately, this is undone.
    • In an episode of Super the ghost of Dr. Mashirito starts bugging Beerus confident he can't be harmed because he's, well, already dead. Only to learn that the God of Destruction can destroy anything, even ghosts.
  • In D.Gray-man, it's stated that this is what's believed to happen to the soul of an akuma who is destroyed by any means other than through the use of Innocence.
  • In Shakugan no Shana, this is basically what happens whenever one's Power of Existence is lost (usually after being consumed by a Crimson Lord). If one's Power of Existence dwindles and fades away, they become increasingly lethargic and slow to react, while their presence starts to go by unnoticed by others. Eventually, they just vanish, and everything continues as though they never existed at all.
  • In the Monster Rancher anime, becoming a Lost Disc and Monsters fusing together are portrayed as this.
  • In the first Sailor Moon anime, when a girl named Saori with a clear crush on Mamoru hangs around with him, Chibi-Usa is horrified since she thinks that if Saori does win him over, she'll stop existing. Luckily for Chibi-Usa, Saori realizes that Usagi is Sailor Moon AND that he loves her too much to be swayed away.
    • Played heartbreakingly straight in Stars when Mamoru is turned into an Empty Shell via having a shard of Nehelenia's Magic Mirror stuck in his eye. Since his feelings for Usagi are pretty much gone, poor Chibi-Usa starts weakening over it and she ends up fading away in Usagi's arms. She's back to reality when Mamoru is de-brainwashed, however. One can also deduce that this did happen to her in Crystal Tokyo when Mamoru was murdered by Galaxia few later, but she was again brought back when he was revived after Galaxia's redemption.

Comic Books

  • This was the primary function of the Ultimate Annihilator, the weapon created by Robotnik Prime in the End Game arc of the Archie Comics Sonic the Hedgehog series. Robotnik planned to use it to not only defeat the Freedom Fighters, but wipe them and their home from existence.
    • It worked so well, in fact, that when Snively sabotaged it and it annihilated Robotnik instead of Knothole the whole Universe was thrown into chaos when he was removed from it.


  • In Luminosity, Edward believes that this is what happens to vampires, post-death, because they lack souls. He and Bella discuss this, though it's worth noting that Edward isn't particularly good at debating in a perfectly rational field.


  • In Dragonheart Dragon Sean Connery says that only certain dragons get to have an afterlife, branded by the stars. The others just... disappear when they die.
  • This was the threat hanging over the heads of the protagonist in Dogma. Azrael was so tortured by the absence of God and the self-imposed suffering of the damned in Hell that he would rather be wiped out of existence than suffer it any longer, consequences to the universe be damned.
    • It implied that this was also the fate of Bartleby and Loki rather than going to heaven (since they were eternally and infallibly banished) or to hell (since they were forgiven) God allowed them both to simply cease to exist when they died.
  • This was the afterlife depicted in The Invention of Lying before the main character invented religion to make people feel better.
  • Wizards Of Waverly Place: After Alex wishes that her parents had never met (and it comes true), she realizes that she and her brothers are all in danger of this, and attempts to use a wishing stone so this doesn't happen. Justin and Max both cease to exist but she does not. Thankfully, they succeed and everything turns back to normal.
  • In Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, it's implied this is what happens to Toons who have been killed using the dip, since the weasels who laugh themselves to death become angels, while the one who falls into the dip does not.
  • Terminator: The Skynet attempts to kill Sarah Connor with this idea in mind. Without John Connor, the resistance presumably won't be created and it won't be in danger of losing the war between humanity and machines.
  • This is the effect of the God Killer in Drive Angry. Technically, though, those shot with it do exist in a very specific form... that being their gibbed remains painting everything close by from the explosive power of the gun. Metaphysically, it plays this trope straight.
  • Meet the Robinsons: After the Bowler Hat Guy and Dor-15 succeed in ruining Lewis's future, Wilbur ends up ceasing to exist, though the rest of his family don't. After realizing that Dor-15 had turned the world into a dystopia, Lewis realizes that he doesn't have to invent Dor-15 and claims that he will never invent her, causing her to suffer a similar fate which is indicated to be a painful experience for her. Strangely enough, despite ceasing to exist, Wilbur seems to remember what had happened to him when is restored back into existence.


  • Robert Cormier's In The Middle of the Night, where the villain went Ax Crazy after discovering this.
  • H.P. Lovecraft's Ex Oblivione, where the protagonist discovered that oblivion was the natural state of things, and that 'existence', as we know it, is merely a brief nightmare...
    • In The Quest of Iranon the main character is told of such oblivion in terms of similar optimism by the people in one of the towns he visits. When Iranon himself dies at the end the issue of what becomes of him is not spoken of, and the variance and flexibility of Lovecraft's contradictory cosmology and mythos leaves the question open.
  • In Lois McMaster Bujold's The Curse of Chalion, in which ghosts who are sundered from the gods drift blindly until they fade away completely. It's called the true death or the death of the soul. Most people go on to the afterlife, though.
  • In the Incarnations of Immortality series, people generally go to an afterlife, but which afterlife depends to some extent on what they believe; one incidental character is a militant atheist who believes that Cessation of Existence is what happens to everybody when they die, and although he's wrong about the "everybody", it is indeed what happens to him.
    • This actually makes for a very weird case, although being a book that didn't originally have a sequel planned sort of allows it. In the fourth book, it's stated that where souls go depends on what they believed and the Incarnations we follow belong to the one theology. It's even outright stated that the War in that book only became War because he doesn't really believe in his own religion strongly, so he's mutable. But this also means that Death showing up for the soul at all was useless except for showing what happens to souls that don't believe in anything.
    • Even if the atheist's soul couldn't be collected, it may still have been necessary for Zane to separate it from the man's body. Presumably if he hadn't done so, the man might've ended up as a ghost or something.
  • In the Night Watch books, the afterlife is only for Others; Muggles just cease to exist.
    • Since the afterlife is the dead existing as ghosts, unable to affect the real world, and always feeling that everything around them is not real, they actually wish for the cessation.
  • In the Deverry series, this is the ultimate punishment for the principal antagonist of the first four books. Everyone else gets to reincarnate.
  • In a story by Stanislaw Lem, a Ridiculously Human Robot called Automateusz ends up stranded on a Deserted Island, along with his artifical friend (called Wuch), a small, intelligent ball. After calculating that the odds of getting saved are next to nothing, Wuch advises Automateusz to commit suicide to avoid an inevitable and much more painful death, and brings up several arguments for the case that Cessation of Existence is actually the greatest thing that could happen to a person.
  • In Poul Anderson's story "The Martyr", a race of advanced aliens has been systematically steering humans away from research into psychic phenomena to spare them from the knowledge that the aliens have an afterlife but humans don't.
  • Percy Jackson: While gods cannot be killed, they can still fade. It's indicated that they don't go to the Underworld (unlike mortals when they die, including demigods) and that they simply vanish into non-existence.
  • In His Dark Materials, Iorek insists that there is no afterlife for his people ("We live and then we die and that is all,"), but it's not clear whether this is true or simply his society's belief.
  • In Vonda N. Mc Intyre's The Exile Waiting a character learns that this is what happens after death, through being telepathically linked to someone at the time of their death.
  • The Ellimist, from Animorphs, describes the death of Rachel, as seen from his near-omniscient perspective, as "a small strand of space-time going dark and coiling into nothingness", implying this trope.
  • Guess what? This is what happens when you are kissed by a dementor in the Harry Potter series. And the Ministry actually used this as a form of punishment...
  • In the Warrior Cats series, the characters do have an afterlife - StarClan if they're good, the Dark Forest if they're bad. Either way, when the StarClan or Dark Forest cat is completely forgotten by living cats, they gradually fade away into nothing. However, if they receive an injury that in life would be fatal, they just disappear instantly.
  • In The Skinjacker Trilogy, cessation of existence normally does not occur - you're either living, in Everlost, or you've gone into the light - but a scar wraith can extinguish an Everlost soul by merely touching them. This is the fate of Squirrel in Everfound.

Live Action TV

  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, this doesn't appear to be the standard death experience (well, as far as we know; our only reliable witness of the afterlife died under very unusual circumstances), but it's what happens to Fred. When Illyria takes over her body, it completely devours her soul, quite explicitly ruling out any possibility that Fred could come Back From the Dead.
    • Considering that Fred was meant to return in Season Six by her and Illyria splitting in two (had the show not been cancelled), this may not have actually have been what happened, and the person who claimed this may be wrong. In the 'After the Fall' comics, it seemed as though Fred HAD returned, occasionally taking over the body inhabited by Illyria - however, it was later revealed that Illyria was faking it, as she apparently wanted Fred to be back.
  • This, along with Ret-Gone, is the fate of anyone who falls into a Time Crack in Doctor Who, during Eleven's first season.
  • Star Trek:
    • In Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Return to Tomorrow", Sargon says "Thalassa and I must now also depart into oblivion" before he dies.
    • When Q spent some (involuntary) time as a human in Star Trek: The Next Generation, he seemed particularly concerned about dying, convinced that he would simply wink out of existence. This and the above example suggest that either there is no afterlife in the Star Trek universe, or that the afterlife is so mysterious even the sufficiently advanced Q don't know about it.
    • Star Trek: Voyager:
      • One episode had Neelix discover, much to his horror, that there was nothing after death. However, he was clinically dead but successfully resuscitated with medical intervention; the question is whether or not that counts as "dead enough" that he should have seen the afterlife.
      • However a notable subversion happens in "Barge of the Dead", where B'Elanna is nearly killed in a shuttle accident (similar to how Neelix temporarily dies) and in her near death experience, she learns that her mother is on the road to Klingon Hell, so she re-creates the conditions of the accident to go back to the "barge of the dead" and tries to get her mother into Klingon Heaven. She succeeds.
    • In Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home Spock makes it clear that something happened to him after he died, but it was something that only those with a "common frame of reference" could possibly discuss with each other. Both the wording and the implications make it unmistakable that we're not talking about Cessation of Existence.
  • A subplot in the first series of Torchwood, as the unwillingly-immortal Captain Jack Harkness questions people temporarily revived from the dead if they experienced any kind of afterlife. So far, the answer has been "No."
    • Moreover, they only learn they died from these temporary revivals, followed by the realization that they're seconds away from dying again. All this while Torchwood staff is asking them what or who killed them.
  • For most of its run, Supernatural suggested that this was the case for the angels and demons but it was ultimately subverted in Season 13 where it was revealed that they all travel to the Empty and sleep forever. For all the strangeness of Supernatural, it seems that outright destroying a soul is impossible.
  • House is utterly convinced that there is nothing after death. At one point, he is told that there is no way he can know for sure that that's true. He then induces clinical death on himself and does not have a near-death experience. That's all the proof he needs that he was right all along.
  • In The Good Place when a soul is fulfilled, humans may step through a door that scatters their essence. It's expressly noted however that it's unclear if souls cease to be or simply move onto another stage of existence, but whatever the case, there's no coming back from this.
  • As part of her mocking the Skeksis' fear of death, Mother Aughra in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance questions what becomes of the Skeksis and the Mystics (both Literal Split Personalities of the alien UrSkeks) when they die. The natives of Thra, while they don't seem to retain their individuality post-mortem, return to the planet when they die. And while the UrSkeks, also born from a crystal like Thra's, should return to their homeworld when they die, these eighteen are so far from home that no one knows what happens to the UrSkeks when they die. Maybe nothing is all that waits for them at the dream's end.



 Imagine there's no Heaven

It's easy if you try

No hell below us

Above us only sky

    • Apparently, this image is supposed to be comforting: no judgment, no discrimination, no after-death torment. To someone who's been raised with a belief in Heaven, however, it's nothing less than Nightmare Fuel.
    • A particular cover, done by A Perfect Circle, makes this part sound slightly more ominous than Lennon probably intended.
  • According to songwriter David Byrne, this trope is what he intended "Road to Nowhere" to be about. "Well we know where we're goin' but we don't know where we've been...We're on a road to nowhere; come on inside. Takin' that ride to nowhere; we'll take that ride. Maybe you wonder where you are: I don't care! Here is where time is on our side...."
  • The Gothic Archies' song "The Dead Only Quickly" is about this trope.
  • The Bright Eyes song "At the Bottom of Everything" implies this, if briefly.

 And in the ear of every anarchist

Who sleeps but doesn't dream,

We must sing, we must sing,

We must sing

    • Expanded in another song by them, "Down in a Rabbit Hole," which is explicitly about death.

 If your thoughts should turn to death

better stomp them out

like a cigarette




 Dumbledore starts in. 'Don't you want some cocoa or soup, Harry? Come away from the light of Heaven's easy life. We need such a valiant, beautiful warrior as yourself here to live and to hack the serpents of evil in two, hell, into twos, into threes and fours! Your life will be the very envy of Heaven and its slobbery inhabitants. No, Harry. You were meant to stride with us, the living! To course with us and our blood. You are meant to end when your share of that blood turns brown upon the rocks of glory! You and I shall drink to-night, Harry. We shall drink to life's confines, to life's pearly end, which is the nothingness of death, not the perpetual pansiness of Heaven!'

  • Mark Twain allegedly said, "I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it."


  • While the majority of Christians believe that you go to either Heaven, Hell or Purgatory (Protestants tend to believe in only Heaven and Hell), certain denominations such as the Seventh-Day Adventists and Jehovah's Witnesses use the scripture quoted above as proof that there is no Hell or afterlife. They believe that when you die, you cease to exist until you are resurrected in The Second Coming of Christ (assuming you were one of the saved when you died) while those who were lost when they died come back to life in the Second Resurrection where they face probation for their sins; if they fail, they die again, but without hope of further resurrection. They argue that the idea of the permanent and immortal soul is Platonic, not Biblical, in origin.
    • In traditional Judaism, this is the fate of the resha'im, the thoroughly and unrepentantly wicked, particularly those who sin specifically to rebel against God, rather than out of weakness. However, this constitutes a relatively small portion of humanity; most souls spend varying lengths of time in Gehinnom (a realm similar to, and the inspiration for, Purgatory), after which they proceed to Gan Eden (Paradise), joining the tzaddikim (righteous) who are fast-tracked there upon their death.
    • The word for this doctrine in Real Life lingo is annihilationism, the idea that the condemned are not damned to hell but instead simply will not have an afterlife at all.
      • Depending on which group you ask, at least. There are those who believe the "annihilation" results from being condemned to hell.
  • Also in the Egyptian Mythology you are judged after your dead by a council of deities and if you fail they throw your Ib (that is one of the components of the spirit for the Egyptians and represent the existence and immortality of the being) to Ammit, a soul-eater chimera ceasing the existence of the judged.
  • Naturalistic atheists and pantheists usually ascribe to this. Most don't have a problem with this either, especially if they previously belonged to a religion that believed in some kind of unpleasant afterlife.
    • Then again, some do. That sort tends to make up the majority of the various Transhumanist movements.
  • This is the viewpoint of the Classical Epicureans, who did not fear death, as they would not be around to experience their own, and knew that others would not suffer in an afterlife.
    • Same goes for the Stoics.
  • There was an influential Jewish sect around the time of Jesus, the Saducees, who did not believe in an afterlife for mortals, and rejected the idea of a resurrection. The New Testament depicts several disputes between them and the growing Christian movement.ou simply cease to exist and the only way you can see the light of day again is to turn back the hands of time.
    • On the other hand, no character in the Nasuverse is truly immortal; that concept may not even exist, though there are many that pine after it. Those who have achieved something close to it are only hiding or not yet aware of their continued weakness. Wallachia only has to be restored to his original form. Those in the
      • The Talmud does not handle the Sadducees exactly with silk gloves. The Pharisees and Sadducees were on each others' throats, and the Pharisees eventually won. The Talmud was written by the descendants of Pharisees.

Tabletop Games

  • Subverted in Chaos, with the big reveal that the peaceful state of non-existence some oblivion-worshippers think they want to get to in order to escape suffering is actually an eternal hell where they are caught in a quantum state of vacuum fluctuation, an unstable nothingness where they live a nightmare of forever feeling that they don't exist but not being able to do anything about it.
  • If you kill a demon or devil on its home plane in Dungeons and Dragons, they're gone for good. (See Order of the Stick, below.)
  • In Magic: The Gathering, any creature who is exiled is considered to be removed from existence, especially any token that is taken out of play. Some instant win abilities, such as Door to Nothingness, are implied to do this to the players (nigh-unstoppable, immortal mages in their own right) as well.
    • However, mechanically speaking, some cards simply use exile as a "holding cell" of sorts, such as Oblivion Ring (exiles a permanent when it comes into play, returns that permanent to play if it's destroyed) and cards with the Imprint ability (some look at aspects, such as color or abilities, of the imprinted cards; others, such as Clone Shell, allow one to retrieve the imprinted card itself).
    • The fact that most cards that were "removed from play" most of time might not be truly removed is what prompted the terminology change to Exile. Many of the cards use the Exile zone as more or less a placeholder for when simply shoving it in the graveyard would be too powerful. For the brief time they are exiled however, most cards are assumed to have ceased to exist, at least in the current "reality". Some exceptions do exist though. Swords to Plowshares hint that the creature in question is given a farm job and has given up fighting.
  • Ironically enough, this appears in the game Wraith: The Oblivion. As in most Role Playing Games, the threat of death is ever present, even though in Wraith, you're already dead when the game starts. The unstated goal of Wraith is to move on from the Shadowlands, and there are two ways to do this (well, two basic ways... anyhow, moving on). The first is the ultimate enlightenment, Transcendence. This is where the ghost accepts its death and moves on. To what, who knows? Transcended ghosts aren't around to tell. That's why it's called moving on. The second way to move on is the titular Oblivion. Ignoring for the moment the fact that Oblivion is also a force of nature and essentially the big bad of the whole metaplot, for the sake of this explanation it is a phenomenon: a very rare form of death after death. When the ghost is damaged enough it goes into a manic/psychotic episode called a Harrowing, and if this happens bad/often enough, the soul obliviates and ceases to exist. And the horror of it all? Transcendence and Oblivion look exactly the same to the onlooker.
  • This is the fate of anything that falls into the void of Oblivion that lies beneath the Underworld in Exalted. There are also certain powers that confine the victim (or, eventually and in exchange for great benefits, the user) to Oblivion. The Neverborn ultimately want to fall into Oblivion, because they regard it as preferable to their torturous and impotent unlives.
  • In the New World of Darkness, it's somewhat implied that this is what the true Afterlife is—there's no obvious difference between when a ghost "moves on" and when it's destroyed—but no-one's actually certain. The Underworld (where ghosts go if their anchors are destroyed but they still aren't ready to let go of existence) is somewhere between Hell and The Nothing After Death, instead. Directly destroying a ghost definitely causes this, though.



 Rosencrantz: Do you think death could be a boat?
Guildenstern: No. Death ... is not. You take my meaning? Death is the ultimate negative, a state of not-being. You can't not-be on a boat.

Rosencrantz: I've frequently not been on boats.


Video Games

  • In Assassin's Creed, the Templar Sibrand believes that there is nothing waiting for him after death, and this fact terrifies him so deeply that when he learns that the Assassins are coming for him, he begins executing random priests out of sheer blind paranoia because they wear vaguely similar robes to those of the Assassins.
    • His beliefs may very well be justified, since all religions on Earth, including Christianity, are constructed from fragmented memory of human contact with Precursors.
    • Judging by the codex he left behind in the sequel, Altair appears to believe in this as well. At the very least he suspects it.
    • Of course, since his memories keep existing through his descendants, he is technically immortal, as long as his bloodline endures.
  • According to Ray in Ghost Trick, this is what happens to ghosts at sunrise. He's lying to make sure Sissel is properly motivated.
  • This is what happens to Magypsies in Mother 3 after the needle they exist to guard is pulled out of the ground. They seem to completely accept this fate.
  • In The World Ends With You, if you are "erased" (aka killed post death), your soul disappears. Players have to escape this fate for a week, and then MAY have the option of returning to life. If not, they play again, become a Reaper (who try to "erase" souls and keep themselves from being "erased"), and a few become angels. Basically, if you play the game you're probably going to cease to exist.
    • However, the secret reports reveal that erasure doesn't actually destroy someones soul entirely, but it reduces it to whatever souls are made of. It's nearly the same thing. One character is actually erased early in the game, but eventually comes back, because the energy their soul became was reconstituted into it's previous form.
  • Persona 2 had something similar to Shakugan no Shana, and did it first. Someone who loses their "Ideal Energy", the will and energy to pursue their dreams, becomes drained and lethargic, unwilling and unable to do anything, as Muggles forget about them and can no longer see or hear them. After a while, they simply cease to exist entirely.
    • In the Nasuverse there exist such things as "life after death," "the soul," "ghosts," "spirits," "higher planes that exist independent of time," and things like that. That means death is not the end and for some few characters, death may even be cheap. That is unless you are killed by the Eyes of Death Perception.
    • Throne of Souls cease to exist when the Earth dies prior to Angel Notes, and they spent the rest of their existence trolled by the Counter Force and Grail Wars. For the otherwise almighty Aristoteles, there is Black Barrel and Slash Emperor.
  • Given that Shepard in Mass Effect was dead for 2 years and treated coming back to life as more of waking out of a coma, it's safe to say this applies to the series. In addition, in the first game, Ashley mentions that she believes her deceased father is watching over her. One of Shepard's possibly responses is confusion and to ask how he can be watching if he's dead, at which point Ashley has to clarify that she meant from Heaven. This implies that belief in an afterlife is much less common in the future human society than it is now.
    • Supported by Matriach Benezia's death scene; her final words are "No light... they always said there would be..." This is after reassuring her daughter that they would "meet again with the dawn," by the way. Whether or not this means Ashley's wrong is still open to debate.
    • Not only does Shepard never mention anything after death, nobody in the entire game ever even asks the Commander about it. Either this belief has become much more commonplace than it is now, or people simply don't care about death much.
    • Note however Death Amnesia could be in full effect; the game never addresses the issue. That in and of itself probably to avoid angering the religious right after the shitstorm the first game caused.
    • Near the end of Mass Effect 3 Shepard learns that during her death s/he was literally brain dead and brings up the possibility that s/he only thinks s/he's Commander Shepard. Her party members assure her this isn't the case, but it would explain the Death Amnesia.
  • Ending D of Nie R is all about this. Having accepted to sacrifice himself to bring back Kaine from her Shade corruption, the price is for the main protagonist to be wiped from existence entirely, even from everyone's memory. As a final testament to the permanence of this fate, your entire save file is deleted.
  • Chrono Trigger: What happens to Marle as a side effect of her time traveling hundreds of years ago. Due to her resemblance to her ancestor Queen Leene, the royal guards call off the search that saved her life in the non-altered timeline. It's portrayed as being very painful. Fortunately, it's undone and Marle exists once more.
  • In Remember 11, when either "Satoru" or Kokoro transfer into a time in which the other is dead, as soon as they realize that they should be dead, they simply cease to exist.
  • In Kingdom Hearts this is a major focus. When the Heartless "eat" a person, the convert that person into a heartless them self. Their Heart is eaten as food and the original person is usually lost forever. Sora escapes this at the end of KH 1.
    • This is also the entire concept of Nobodies. They are born when a person with a strong Heart is eaten by the Heartless. Their "Body" starts to walk around as a Nobody. The Nobody does not have a Heart so it cannot have emotions and when it dies it fragments into pieces. This is shown with the deaths of the Organization XIII. This is mentioned in a discussion between Axel and Roxas:

 Axel: Let's meet again, in the next life.

Roxas: Yeah; I'll be waiting.

Axel: Silly, Just because you have a next life…

  • In Super Paper Mario, The Void threatens this to all sentient beings. The Void appears simultaneously in all dimensions, and when it reaches maturity, will annihilate that dimension, leaving a blank nothing behind as if that dimension never existed. It turns out the afterlife exists in Mario and is a different dimension. Sure enough, the Void is present there too.
  • Crysis 2 had Jack Hargreave say he found the prospect of "simple oblivion" to be preferable to an actual afterlife after spending fifty years as a Brain In a Jar.
  • A pretty real risk in Mortal Kombat 11, especially for Cassie Cage - since there are younger versions of her parents Sonya and Johnny running around thanks to Kronika, if either of these younger selves is killed she'll never be born. Additionally, Jacqui's ending has her doing this willingly with the Hourglass as she arranges for a better world for her traumatized father Jax, which has the side-effect of him never meeting her mother Vera; and in the Story Mode itself, when Past!Sonya kills Past!Kano as Present!Kano is about to murder Past Johnny (which, well, would erase Cassie), both Kanos die.


  • This is what Gwynn from Sluggy Freelance is threatened with when K'Z'K takes over her body.
  • In The Order of the Stick, this is what happens to "immortal" creatures like imps and elementals if somebody manages to kill them, because they have no soul that can continue on into the afterlife. It's noted at one point that this means "mortal" creatures like humans are actually less afraid of death than "immortal" creatures, because they know they'll continue on in some form and may even get resurrected at some point. Celia mentions that she'd just become one with the Plane of Air.
    • It's also stated to be the fate of anyone destroyed by the Snarl, though there's evidence that this may not be true.
    • As the characters live in an RPG Mechanics Verse (and know it), it's been noted that this isn't always the case, that the rules of what happens to Outsiders (the immortal creatures of the Outer Planes) if they're killed keeps getting changed.
  • Offhandedly mentioned in Misfile. Oddly enough, it's not a universal rule.

 Ramael: When a human dies, it's like getting an eternal vacation. A dead angel is just dead.


Web Original

  • In Fine Structure, there's supposed to be an afterlife, with dead souls ascending to a higher dimension. The presence of the Imprisoning God causes all souls to be obliviated against the edge of 3+1 space.
    • Paul Klick used the Klick Device to open a hole in reality, intending to take a shortcut to be with his dead wife. A little over 900,000 people - the population of central Berlin - went through the hole. Word of God is that the plan failed utterly - no one gets past the Imprisoning God. Ever.
      • Before Klick used his Klick Device though, and after the Imprisoning God has no need to block the universe, this no longer applies. Word of God states he initially intended for Klick's plan to have accidentally ascended the population of Berlin, but changed it to them having died when it was pointed out that they would've been able to escape the Imprisoning God.

Western Animation

  • Due to Never Say "Die", the Decepticons from The Transformers regularly threatened their opponents with "oblivion", implying that they and/or Cybertronians in general did not believe in an afterlife. Note that this was before 'sparks' became a part of the franchise's mythology.
    • This is still basically the fate that awaits most Transformers when they die. Each spark is merely a tiny fragment of the AllSpark, the life force of their creator god Primus. When a Transformer dies their spark returns to the AllSpark and their knowledge and life experiences become part of the collective "wisdom of the ages". Their consciousness gets absorbed into the whole and mingles with those of all the other Transformers who've gone before. So while their life force still continues as part of the AllSpark the individual Transformer simply ceases to exist. Only a very few (mostly Primes) ever retain their individuality after death.
  • The Fairly OddParents! had an episode where Timmy wished he was never born and was slated to be wiped from existence. Of course things go back to normal in the end but, a bit of Fridge Horror ensues when it's mentioned other kids had chosen to go through with this (Although in this case, it's said that they're sent to another dimension).
  • Jake Long narrowly avoids this fate in American Dragon: Jake Long after he accidentally causes his parents to break up by revealing his mother to be a dragon to his father, fortunately undoing what he had changed.
  • Subverted in Family Guy. Theoretically, Stewie causing his parents to break up before he was conceived would have this happen to him. But instead, he ends up being reincarnated. Still, he decides to make his parents get back together again because he realizes that his old life was actually better than his new one.
    • Averted in "Meet The Quagmires". Though in one alternate timeline Peter doesn't marry Lois, Meg, Chris, and Stewie are still conceived, though Lois chooses to marry Quagmire as she has a fondness for his sexual puns (though if later episodes are anything to by, he actually doesn't want to get married so he can keep sleeping with women). They all have Quagmire's chin and say his catchphrase, but other than that, they don't seem to have changed at all.
    • In "Mom's the Word", Brian tells Stewie that he believes that this awaits everyone after death. Despite having seen ghosts.
  • What happens to the Evil Entity in Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, after his sarcophagus has been destroyed by the title character. We get to see exactly what happens to Mystery Cove without his presence. It turns out it's far less terrifying, and neither Professor Pericles nor Fred Jones Sr. (as well as Fred's actual birth parents) ever became evil.
  • In the Series Finale of Batman: The Brave And The Bold it's pointed out via extreme Breaking the Fourth Wall that anytime a show ends everyone and everything in the universe it takes place in ceases to exist.