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"It's almost like I knew this man from another life

Like back then maybe I was his husband

And maybe he was my wife..."
India Arie, "The Truth"

You know the drill. "A love so strong it conquered time!" (and took no prisoners!)

Two people love each other so deeply, and are tied by the Red String of Fate so closely, that they will meet and fall in love every time they reincarnate, lifetime after lifetime.

This is common in Shojo stories and Eastern romance, where belief in reincarnation is more prevelant. This is sometimes used in Western stories to give Star-Crossed Lovers a second, more successful go after things go south in the story, an alternative to Together in Death for making a Downer Ending into the good kind of ambiguous ending.

It can get interesting if the genders reverse, or only one of theirs does. Infidelity is usually a complete non-issue; their love is so strong they may not even date at all until they meet their eternal better half... unless their reincarnating romance also tends to fall into the same bad habits. Things can get wonky if one of them is or becomes immortal: they end up having to wait decades or centuries for their loved one to return in a strange form of Mayfly-December Romance. Only very rarely will one or the other honestly fall in love with a third person.

Even more complications arise if one of the two has been brought Back From the Dead via a Resurrected Romance, rather than through reincarnation.

Compare Amnesiac Lover. See also Eternal Love, which describes a different kind of very long-term relationship.

Examples of Reincarnation Romance include:

Anime and Manga

  • Shirley Fenette in Code Geass invokes this image as she dies. There is no indication, however, that there is such thing as reincarnation in the setting, but since there are From a Single Cell-type immortals, it is nonetheless possible. To clarify, this had to do with a series of memory wipes--but the couple always ended up drawn together. 
  • They did this in Highlander the Search For Vengeance. Technically, it was only the girl who reincarnated, since the guy was immortal, but same idea.
  • Deconstructed in Inu Yasha, which includes a soap-opera grade Love Triangle between the title character, his first love, and her reincarnation. Bonus for doubling as Resurrected Romance. It's resolved at the very end: Kikyou dies again but much more peacefully, and some time later Inuyasha and Kagome properly get together.
  • Himeko and Chikane in Kannazuki no Miko. And Kyoshiro to Towa no Sora. And Zettai Shoujo Seiiki Amnesian.
  • The primary romance in Please Save My Earth, between Shion/Rin and Mokuren/Alice. The other leg of the Love Triangle also retains their infatuation in the new life, as well.
    • There's another one where Issei/Enju retains feelings for Jinpachi/Gyokuran even after bieng reincarnated as a guy rather than the girl he once was. And then it turns out that Enuj's own Unrequited Tragic Maiden, Shusuren/Sakura, retained her feelings for Enju...
  • Usagi and Mamoru as well as Haruka and Michiru in Sailor Moon.
    • Given a twist in Sailor Moon Crystal: A plotline that was never really used in the manga had the Inner Senshi and the Four Generals (who back then were Prince Endymion's bodyguards) as doomed lovers; it was strongly implied that original!Venus had feelings for original!Kunzite and he liked her back, but the plot did not dwell on it. Crystal retakes the deal and reveals that this was actually the case: Venus was with Kunzite, Mars with Jadeite, Zoicite with Mercury and Jupiter with Nephrite, but now the girls don't remember and the guys are Brainwashed and Crazy. Venus is the only one who remembers from the beginning, but when she alerts the Senshi at the worst moment possible, things quickly go from Bad to Worse.
  • Played with and possibly deconstructed in Genesis of Aquarion. Silvia is supposedly the reincarnation of Celiane, and she believes that the reincarnation of her lover, Apollonius, isn't the protagonist Apollo but rather her brother, Sirius. Much drama is milked from the trope until it's finally revealed that Sirius and Silvia are both the reincarnated halves of Celiane's soul, and Apollo is indeed her/their lover. Sirius reacts as anyone would.
  • In the sequel Aquarion EVOL, it turns out that Mikono and Amata are the reincarnations of the aforementioned Silvia and Apollo... And then it's seen that BOTH Amata and his rival Kagura (who's ALSO in love with Mikono) are reincarnations of Apollo, just like Silvia and Sirius were reincarnated from Celiane.
  • If you get past the trans-dimensional science / magic amalgamation, this may or may not be what set off the plot of Abenobashi Mahou Shoutengai.
  • In the Hentai OVA Yu-No, The Ojou Miyo has a slightly sadistic, if caring sexual relationship with the Shrinking Violet Canna. When, after much Time Travel and Alternate Universe jumping, Canna is killed, Miyo performs a Heroic Sacrifice and is thrown back in time to long before the series' begin. It turns out, Miyo was already pregnant with Takuya's child at the time, who is born and named... Canna. Soon after the old Miyo dies, Canna meets the young Miyo and the cycle begins again, adding a slight Parental Incest note to it. Yep, you guessed it, it's a Mind Screw but It Makes Sense in Context.
  • Yukito and Misuzu in AIR are reincarnations of Ryuuya and Kanna, although their romantic relationship isn't overtly focused on. Yukito is also the descendant of Ryuuya and Uraha, their family line being dedicated to save the reincarnations of Kanna. It's also implied that after Misuzu's death and Yukito becoming a crow, that they were reincarnated again as the boy and the girl on the beach at the end.
  • Once an angel falls in love with someone in Wish, it's forever. And angels are immortal. It is ultimately revealed that God's edict for angels not to fall in love with humans is an act of kindness for this reason. Nevertheless, the main couple (an angel and a human doctor) do fall for each other, so God has to arrange for the angel to sleep inbetween his/her (they don't have gender) lover's reincarnation cycle, bound to a tree in the boyfriend's household.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh GX: Juudai and Yubel. Juudai swore in his first life to love him... her... ah, them forever, and not only did they hold him to it, but he held himself to it... once he got around to remembering he'd made the promise in the first place. It's iffy if pure romantic love was what he meant when he said he'd love only them, but that's definitely how they took it.
    • Considering he used the word "ai", which is effectively the strongest word the Japanese use for love, yeah, that's what he meant. It's also what Echo used for Amon and no one argues that she loves him.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh: Seto and Kisara were reincarnated as Kaiba and... the Blue-Eyes White Dragon. This complicates things...

  "No one comes between me and my Blue-Eyes! And anyone foolish enough to try PAYS THE PRICE!"

  • The plot of Oyayubihime Infinity.
  • Spoofed in RIN-NE, as all bets are off as to what you're going to reincarnate into. A centuries dead soldier, unable to go on, haunts the girl whom he believes to be his reincarnated love and it turns out she was actually a turtle in her past life. His love actually reincarnated into a male gym leader. The soldier has no problem crossing over after that revelation.
  • Variation in Stray Little Devil. It's directly stated that the main character is the reincarnation of the devil king that her grandmother met and fell in love with. It's not explicitly said they were lovers and that the main character is in fact her own grandfather; but the angel she falls in love with is the reincarnation of the Devil King's rival; the Angel Queen.
  • Invoked and then avoided in Ikki Tousen Great Guardians. Chuubou is the reincarnation of Koukin's wife, and she actually confronts him about it and says she likes him that way too. However he is already in love with Hakufu, the girl who's the reincanation of The Hero (and his cousin) plus Chuubou's Cool Big Sis, so he gently but clearly tells Chuubou to not let her past life rule her love life. She immediately says "I Want My Beloved to Be Happy" and backs off.
  • In Michiyo Akaishi's Ten Yori Mo Hoshi Yori Mo, the three main characters (Mio, Shinjou and Rei) are the reincarnation of three persons involved in a tragic Love Triangle centuries ago. Their old identities are: Minamoto no Yoritomo aka the first shogun from Kamakura (Shinjou), Yoritomo's brother Minamoto no Yoshitsune (Shou) and Yoshitsune's lover Shizuka Gozen (Mio)
  • CLAMP's Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle. All over the place, seeing as this manga features tons of characters from their former series. Once a couple, they stay together. No matter what alternate world their alternate or reincarnated selves live in.
  • Uragiri wa Boku no Namae wo Shitteiru has Luka and Yuki, complicated by the fact that as a Duras (basically a high-level demon) is immortal and must wait a long time for Yuki to be reincarnated. When Yuki is reborn, it's as a man instead of a woman - which doesn't seem to faze Luka in the slightest, but Yuki is also reborn without any memories of his past life, including Luka.
  • In Ultimo, Rune and Yamato were lovers in feudal times until they were torn apart. In the modern day, Rune has reincarnated as a boy, but still loves Yamato dearly, even though Yamato doesn't realise it until he's almost raped by Rune . Rune's jealousy over Yamato's new girlfriend, Makoto Sayama, turns out to be more than a little dangerous.
  • In Mirage of Blaze, Naoe has spent the past 400 years pining after Kagetora thanks to this trope. It doesn't work out very well for him, and Kagetora/Takaya doesn't really approve. Done in a much nicer way with Ayako/Haruie, who is waiting for her lover from 200 years ago to reincarnate.
  • In NG Life, Sirix died in Pompeii during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius (79 AD). In 2005, he is reborn as Keidai, a Japanese schoolboy. He finds his old love Serena, but she is now a boy!
  • Winter Cicada is a Reincarnation Romance when viewed in conjunction with Haru wo Daiteita, though strangely enough simultaneously a Show Within a Show of the same work. More exactly, in the context of Haru...'s plot... Winter Cicada was a novel and then a prospect film based on the story of Kusaka and Akizuki, two male Star-Crossed Lovers who lived and died in Imperial Japan. The two Haru... male leads, the actors Katou and Iwaki, are all but said to be Akizuki and Kousaka reincarnated.
  • In Angel Sanctuary, a fallen angel and a water spirit had a history together...and were reincarnated as the siblings Setsuna and Sara Mudou. Angst ensues, as they cannot help themselves.
  • Possibly Alma and Kanda of D.Gray-man. Alma is now a male akuma created from Kanda's girlfriend from his previous life.
  • Ultimately averted with France and Joan of Arc in Axis Powers Hetalia. He meets a young girl named Lisa who is all but stated to be his old friend Joan's reincarnation, but he treats her more like an old True Companion who has just come back home after a long time, rather than a prospect girlfriend.
    • This trope is one of the many interpretation of the HRE/Chibitalia and the Germany/Italy situation. Since canon all but confirms that Germany is a reborn HRE and Italy IS a grown-up Chibitalia, it's pretty plausible.
  • The whole plot of Hajimari no Niina. A girl named Chitose Amamiya died and was immediately reincarnated into the protagonist Niina Aoyagi, who "interits" Chitose's feelings for her best friend Atsuro Itami. When Niina is 11 she actually finds Atsurou, now a 26-year-old School Nurse who works in Niina's school and is still deeply mourning for Chitose.
  • Flowers of Evil: the manga starts off with the story of two lovers who are reincarnated as twins. This is what the twin protagonists like to believe has happened to them.
  • In the ending of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean, Jolyne Kujou and Narciso Anasui are finally happily together after the universe ended and restarted. They're completely different people and they don't remember each other, though their characters are still fairly similar.
  • Implied in the ending of Angel Beats, between Otonashi and Kanade. Also a possibility for Hinata and Yui, since Hinata's promise to marry Yui if they met in a new life allows her to pass on in peace..
  • Heavily implied VS Knight Lamune&40Fire with Lamunedo and Drum.
  • This is the premise of Osamu Tezuka's manga Apollo's Song: Shougo Chikaishi, a mentally disturbed young man who absolutely loathes the concepts of love and sex due to his Dark and Troubled Past, is cursed by the Goddess Aphrodite into reincarnating continuously until he manages to understand what love is.
  • In Fantastic Children Grecian scientists try to invoke this to make it impossible for Tina’s Evil Uncle to use her body as a weapon. They are interrupted before the process is completed and only one of the lovers gets send to Earth’s Zone to be reborn. She comes back two times, subconsciously waiting for her lost love. Her third incarnation , Helga, regains her memories and still decides to wait for Soren. In a strange twist, the one who is reborn on the Earth is Seth, her former fiancé, even through this reincarnation was completely unintentional. He doesn’t get a girl. This is hinted that Tina finally is reunited with Soren during her life as Helga.
  • Near the end of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Mitsuri and Obanai lay dying together and give each other Dying Declarations of Love, including a desire to be reincarnated and have a second chance at love. The last chapter, set at least 100 years after the end of the series, shows them as a normal and very Happily Married couple said to have several kiddos.
    • It also becomes true for Yoriichi Tsugikuni, the most legendary member of the Dragon Slayer Corps and the founder of the Breathing Styles, and his wife Uta (who was killed by a Demon while pregnant with twins). The same last chapter has a cameo by their also Happily Married reincarnations andtheir twins.
  • Given a harsh use in Nanatsu no Taizai. Elizabeth and Meliodas are Star-Crossed Lovers hit with a curse that causes her to continously reincarnate, meet him, fall for him, remember their past lives... and then die in front of him, then reincarnate immediately afterwards to re-start everything, while he stays alive due to his demonic Complete Immortality. The Elizabeth from the series is the 107 one to go through all of this. And they only manage to undo the curse at the very end of the story.

Comic Books


  • Used a lot in Merlin fanfiction; considering that the original source introduced a lot of elements of this, it's not surprising.
  • Schizophrenia has Raven and Beast Boy knowing each other in ALL of their past lives (because they had quite a few). Granted, they weren't romantically involved in any of them, but Raven's subconscience explains that they were slowly growing closer with each passing lifetime.
  • Some Zelink shippers portray Zelda and Link's romance as this.
  • This happens a lot in Zutara fanfics, often the two are meant to be the reincarnations of Oma and Shu. It can be seen clearly in this fic
  • A certain Voltron: Legendary Defender begins with Akira Kogane, the original "Keith", being cursed by the Space Goddess to go through this with his late lover Takashi Shirogane and yet never truly be with him. As such, Akira/Keith goes through near all the Voltron media seeking for ways to break this curse and earn his happy ending with Takashi/Sven/Shiro. Too bad the author made Keith so clingy, jealous and self-centered that more than one reader wanted to throttle him instead.
  • Some Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba fanworkers, disappointed at the sinking of the very popular Giyu/Shinobu ship, have decided to use the epilogue (set around 100 years after everything) as the basis for fanworks that feature this trope. Granted, Giyu's descendant and possible reincarnation is seen as a pre-teen whereas Shinobu's reincarnation is a teenager, so the fans tend to start via giving the first a Precocious Crush on the latter or making them properly meet and fall in love years later. . .


  • This is the basic plot of Dead Again, complete with sex-reversal. Roman and Margaret reincarnating and finding each other again, only the fact that a murder separated their last lives causes the reincarnation to go a little off until they discover the truth. Plus, there's a jewelry MacGuffin that facilitates them becoming a Reincarnating Romance.
  • In the film Made In Heaven, there is a Reincarnation/Incarnation Romance. After the male lead Mike (Timothy Hutton) dies in an Heroic Sacrifice, he goes to Heaven and meets his One True Love: Annie (Kelly McGillis), a newborn female soul yet to be conceived on Earth. They fall in love and get married, but Annie is sent to incarnate for her first time on Earth; Mike chooses to reincarnate to find her despite the warnings of God's messenger of sorts Emmett, and since he cannot be convinced otherwise, he's given 30 years to do so - but, as Elmo and Ally, he and Annie won't remember their time in Heaven. They find each other just as the deal is about to expire.
  • In Francis Ford Coppola's film adaptation of Dracula, a Reincarnation Romance subplot was added, between the title character and Mina Harker nee Murray. Who's the reincarnation of Vlad's wife Elisabeta, who killed herself while he was away at war under the belief that he had died.
  • They did this same thing in What Dreams May Come. He loves her so much, he's able to pull her out of Hell, something thought to be impossible, and they live together in heaven until they decide to reincarnate, and find each other again as children.
    • In an alternate ending for the movie (included on the DVD/BluRay release), their reincarnation is forced upon them as a kind of "atonement" for her condemnation to Hell. They both know going into it, however, that they're destined to meet and fall in love again — they even know the age they'll be when they die this next time around.
  • In Fright Night the vampire Jerry Dandrige believes that Amy Peterson is the reincarnation of a woman he loved long ago (mainly because Amy exactly resembles her, as shown by the woman's portrait). The movie doesn't make it clear whether he's correct or not, but the fact that he dies at the end indicates he was wrong.
  • African Prince Manuwalde, better known as Blacula, lives long enough to see his deceased wife Tuva reincarnated in the contemporary world as Tina.
  • In Embrace of the Vampire, the title character finds a woman who has the soul of a woman he loved centuries earlier and tries to turn her into a vampire. He also fails.
  • Happens one-sidedly in Soultaker, a Mystery Science Theater 3000'-victim movie from the 90s. The villain, one of the titular Soultakers, believes that the female lead (played by the screenwriter) is the reincarnation of his lover from the Old West - and whose betrayal is the reason he's a Soultaker in the first place. Rather than claiming her soul like he's supposed to, he tries to win her over, which doesn't work out too well.
  • In the Steven Chow movie A Chinese Odyssey, part of the hell sequence includes an aside where a man has been Star-Crossed Lovers with the same woman and dying because of the romance over several lifetimes.
  • Subverted in Chances Are. The husband Louie, dies, but concots a way to be reborn instantly. Unfortunately, the hasty reincarnation means that his reincarnation, Alex, will still have all memories of Louie's life. 23 years after Louie's death, the memories come crashing down on Alex just as he begins a romance with Louie's daughter Miranda. He naturally cuts it off in favor of the mother/widow Corrine, much to the chagrin of Louie's best friend Phillip, who has loved Corrine this whole time and has helped her raise Miranda. Hilarity Ensues. However, Louie realizes that he's had his time with Corrine, and her clinging to his memory is stopping her from having a relationship with Phillip. Alex is accidentally knocked unconscious and Louie uses that time to have his memories removed from Alex. When Alex wakes up, the last thing he remembers is kissing Miranda (which was literally right before Louie's memories emerged). He and Miranda get back together and Corrine and Phillip get together. Strangely, Corrine and Phillip know that Alex is Louie reincarnated, but are still cool with Alex and Miranda (who doesn't know) being together.
  • Hinted at in We Are the Night. When Louise talks about her own sire, she states that she was looking for someone with the same glint in her eyes, hinting at the wish to find a reincarnation of her former companion.
  • A Terra Cotta Warrior has an immortal falling for the reincarnation of his old flame.


  • Kind of the central premise of Katherine Kerr's Deverry series. Only the point is to *break* the cycle. 'cuz the lovers tend to mess up a lot along the way.
    • Interestingly, of the original Love Triangle, the man who originally won the girl is the one who is not reincarnated but becomes immortal but not unaging, and so is too old for the girl each time she reincarnates (and repeatedly falls in love with his rival). Once the cycle is finally broken, both he and she die of old age and are now reincarnated and Happily Married. It's the other guy who's now unnaturally long-lived...
  • Done and mixed with Rape Is Love on Laura Esquivel's Law of Love.
  • Peter David played with Arthur and Guinivere being this sort of love in Knight Life. When Arthur turns up in present-day New York, he finds a woman named Gwen Devere Queen. You can pretty much guess what happens from there, including her rat of a boyfriend Lance (soon to be a literal rat).
  • Birgitte Trahelion and Gaidal Cain in The Wheel of Time. Lanfear and Rand are an interesting aversion, as well. Rand is the reincarnation of the long-dead Lews Therin Telamon, who once had a relationship with Lanfear. She sincerely believes in their Reincarnation Romance despite the fact that she, in fact, is immortal and thus never actually reincarnated. He sincerely believes that he wishes that this crazy bitch would go away and stop calling him by someone else's name.
    • Though, if as seems possible Elayne is a reincarnation of Ilyena, this trope applies to them and technically Lews Therin had similar feelings towards Mirien when he was alive as Rand does to Lanfear, so this trope might apply to them too.
  • In Avalon High, there are elements of this. The characters are reincarnations of those from Arthurian legend, so the romances in Arthur legend apply to their reincarnations.
  • Creepy version from the Sammy Keyes series: Sammy's mom, an actress, gets a fake ID so she can claim to be younger. Unfortunately, her new birthdate is the day her boss's wife died, and he not only thinks she's a reincarnation of his wife, he's ready to kill them both to facilitate a Reincarnation Romance.
  • This is part of the backstory for two main characters of the classic Chinese novel Dream of the Red Chamber.
  • The novel Time and Time Again features this, with the added bonus that (a) the guy remembers all of his past lives while the girl does not, and (b) he murdered her in a past life. And can't get over it.
  • The Night Land by William Hope Hodgson: the romance that drives the plot, sending the narrator on a quest across the Mordor-like far future wasteland, is one of these, over a time span long enough for the earth to stop rotating and the sun and every star in the universe to die
  • There is a teen fiction novel by Suzanne Weyn aptly named Reincarnation. The two main characters are reincarnated (along with their two friends/enemies) over and over until they finally get it right in the modern world.
  • Tom Holt's You Don't Have To Be Evil To Work Here, But It Helps features a spin on this in which every reincarnation ends up with Star-Crossed Lovers.
  • Spider Robinson used this in a short story about what happens when you combine reincarnation with cryogenics (with some Wife Husbandry mixed in).
  • ~On Fire's Wings~ had an interesting example that also crossed incest territory.
  • This applies to almost everyone in Memory by Linda Nagata. Each person is bound to one and only one person, who they must track down again and again after each death and reincarnation. When members of such relationships meet up, the physical attraction is so strong that they're forced to love each other--which isn't a good thing if one's a Complete Monster. For complicated reasons, the main character has two partners, one of them an imperfect match. Her brother, who had no past lives and will apparently never reincarnate, probably doesn't have any partner, and the same goes for anyone whose partner is Deader Than Dead.
  • In the Heralds of Valdemar, Stefan turns out to be the reincarnation of Tylendel. He died tragically when both he and his lover Vanyel Ashkevron were in their teens, then successfully courts the semi-legendary Herald-Mage Vanyel when the latter is around forty. They are finally united permanently, as ghosts.
    • Notably, in the series, lifebonds are sometimes known to last beyond death, and the Gods' penchant for reincarnating people all over the place means that this sort of situation pops up every now and then.
  • Traci Harding has done this to death. Every. Single. Book.
  • In Digital Devil Story, the protagonists are the reincarnations of Izanagi and Izanami.
  • The Night World has this halfway. Vampires who are soulmates with a human tend to find that their soulmate is an "Old Soul", a person who reincarnates. In the case of Thierry and his soulmate, this is confirmed, and in the case of Ash and Mary-Lynette, we just get the implication, as he notes that both Mary-Lynette and another old soul have the same look of age in their eyes, and then walks off happily. In theory, there is probably at least one pair of two old souls, but the readers aren't shown any.
  • In Alyson Noel's Immortals series, Ever falls in love with Damen everytime she reincarnates. Justified in that Damen, being immortal, actually seeks out each of her new incarnations.
  • Subverted in The Mists of Avalon: Viviane and Uther would have been that kind of lovers, but they did not meet until it was way too late, and didn't like each other much. They were however lovers in a previous incarnation.
  • Discworld subverts this in a similar manner, where the local Romeo and Juliet Expies would have been Star-Crossed Lovers but they were born centuries apart.
    • So the gods changed them into a washboard and a grasshopper (iirc).
    • They were also born on different continents. It's a testament to the power of their love (which never happened) that people still, speak of it.
  • Played straight in Christopher Pike's The Midnight Club.
  • The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller combines this with a Conspiracy Thriller plot (which is smashing) and with a mystery involving the main character being murdered in her last life (which tips its hand a little bit too much).
  • In The Vampire Diaries, Stefan and Elena are tied together by a silver cord, indicating that they are soulmates who have shared many lifetimes and past lives together.
  • Secret Circle's Cassie & Adam are tied by a red string.
  • Done beautifully in the book Reincarnation by Suzanne Weyn. Mainly because she writes every single one of the couples' lives as though they were short stories. And Of course there are gender and racial flips, they don't even die at the same time. One of the characters met the other as an old man as the had died, as a man, in WW 2. It is really amazing.
  • In L. Jagi Lamplighter's Prospero's Daughter, Maria, Eramus's first wife tried to invoke this with her immortal husband. Unfortunately, he was so caught up in The Mourning After that he was always cruel to her until she no longer wanted to deal with him.
  • The Allan Quatermain novels Ancient Allan and Allan And The Ice Gods reveal that Allan and Luna, Lady Ragnall were previously Count Shabaka and Princess Amada in Ancient Egypt, and Wi and Laleela in One Million BC. Interestingly, Quatermain and Lady Ragnall don't have a relationship in the present day; in fact Allan finds his vision of Shabaka and Amada so awkward that he avoids meeting her again.

Live Action TV

  • Saul and Ellen in Battlestar Galactica. Twist: they're passionately in love but also bad influences on each other! Their equivalent of foreplay is borderline spousal abuse. She induces him to alcoholism and his presence tends to bring her manipulative and ambitious sides out. The interesting twist comes from him meeting and falling in love with another woman because he thought Ellen was dead. You can guess how things went when it turned out she's a Cylon and resurrected.
    • Subverted with Tyrol and Tory. Despite being engaged and madly in love the first time around, he shows no interest in her during the series. In fact, when he finds out that she killed Cally, he kills her on the spot.
  • Partially subverted in Dark Shadows. Barnabas, the immortal vampire from 1795, falls in love with various reincarnations of his star-crossed love Josette. His attempts at romancing all of them except Kitty fail, and Barnabas is ultimately unsuccessful at reuniting with Josette.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine played with this trope occasionally with Dax and the other Trills, humanoid aliens with slug-like symbionts. When one host body grows old and dies, the slug can be implanted in a new host, bringing along the accumulated memories and personalities of the old hosts, to merge with that of the new host. A couple of times, slugs who fell in love with one generation of hosts will meet up generations later and fall in love again, occasionally with gender switches. Led to Star Trek's first (awkward and narm-tastic) girl-girl kiss.
    • Possibly subverted by the fact that relationships between future hosts of the same symbiont pair is forbidden by Trill law, and breaking that law means that the symbionts will not be transferred to new hosts when their current ones die, greatly discouraging Reincarnation Romance and ensuring that it will only occur once per couple if it happens at all, which is odd when you consider the recurring theme that there aren't enough Trill symbionts to go around to begin with.
      • Arguably a Trill-symbiont law that the humanoid half of the society accepts as the symbionts' right to decide for themselves. Surely the slugs have the right to determine their own species' rules?
      • OTOH, that rule was a major law in one episode, and never mentioned before (or since?). It had been broken more than once before it showed up, including in the first Trill episode (The Host, TNG).
  • Colombian soap La Otra Mitad Del Sol, which also involves the protagonists getting matching jewelry who were from their previous encarnations/lives, in this case a sun-shaped parted medallion from whom each lover has one half.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess uses this trope as part of its Les Yay.
  • The X-Files episode "The Field Where I Died" has a scene where Mulder, under hypnosis, recounts that he, his sister, Scully, and Cancer Man have been reincarnated into each other's lives over several lifetimes.
    • This all falls apart when Mulder talks about being a Jewish woman and Cancer Man being a concentration camp guard in WW 2. Being in his fifties/sixties in the '90s means Cancer Man would have already been alive during the war, as either a child or a teenager.
      • William B. Davis was born in 1938. Shave of eight years from his age and it kind of fits.
      • There's also no stated rule that reincarnation is strictly linear in this case - it's possible he was reincarnated into a body that was born several years before the last one dies. Timey-wimey, y'know?
  • While we don't see one on-screen, the Minbari of Babylon 5 believe that groups of souls can be bound together to relive great relationships or repair bad ones. Have fun with that one hideous breakup.
  • Lois and Clark, in the episode "Soul Mates", turn out to have previously been Lady Loisette and Sir Charles/the Fox in The Middle Ages; and Lulu and a mild-mannered telegraph operator/the Lone Rider in The Wild West.
  • In an episode of Blood Ties, Vicki is hired by a teenaged boy who's looking for his reincarnated lover. They always die together in every life, and they have a deal to meet up at a certain tree in the next; the tree has been replaced by a shopping mall, and he can't find his lover. Turns out the car accident that killed her past self put his past self in a coma for several years before he actually died, so she was reborn years before he was; since he never showed, she's married another man and is pregnant with his child.
  • The reincarnated Knight in The Wanderer discovers that his true love, the Lady Clare, has also returned. Unfortunately so has his bitch-sorceress of a wife.
  • Charmed had Piper and Leo falling in love in a past life. Leo didn't tell Piper since it would be awkward. Especially since, in the past life, they were broken up and she was dating a past life of her current boyfriend. In that episode it was a problem since Phoebe's past life was turned evil by an immortal warlock whom was feared to follow her in all future lives, as it was believed to be true love, and turn her evil. So they cursed her to die young.


  • Si-Joon Lee and Mu-Yeon Park from the Manhwa Pig Bride are the reincarnations of their ancestors, Si-Baek Li and his wife Lady Park.


  • The Dream Theater album Metropolis Part 2: Scenes from a Memory tells the story of Nicholas, who goes to a hypnotherapist to learn about his past life. In a previous life, Nicholas was Victoria, who was killed by her lover Julian in a murder-suicide. Then we find out that the hypnotherapist is the reincarnation of Victoria's other lover, Julian's brother Edward, who is the real killer of both Julian and Victoria. And the hypnotherapist kills Nicholas to continue the cycle. Maybe he's still angry that Victoria left him?
  • Michael Jackson 's song This Is It seems to be indicating this.
  • The Barenaked Ladies song "It's All Been Done", which even speculates on the future lives of the singer and his love.
    • Unless that's Word of God, the song could also be interpreted as Time Travelers or Immortals who kept bumping into each other across the ages, sitting at the end of time declaring that, literally, it's all been done.
      • While this is very possible, Page (credited for both songs) explicitly references past lives in a song on the same album, "When You Dream," which may tip the balance toward the reincarnation interpretation. Of course, more interpretations are better than fewer, even ones where it's about lovers meeting on The Price Is Right.
  • The song "The Crossing" by the band The Action Design is about this, and seems to indicate that their current incarnations may not be able to be together for long in this lifetime. But there's always the next one, if worse comes to worst.
  • "In Another Life" by Vienna Teng.
  • "The Truth" by India Arie touches on this a little, as part of the song's True Love theme.
  • "Next Lifetime" by Erykah Badu is about meeting a love-worthy man after she's committed to someone else, with the chorus suggesting that perhaps their timing will be better next time. The music video, however, plays the reincarnation theme more strongly, where she and her love interest are shown together in multiple time periods, including Ancient Africa, the Civil Rights Movement, and the distant future.
  • Implied in the video for Taylor Swift's "Love Story," with the two lovers meeting in Regency England, and then seemingly recognizing each other in the present.


  • Shiva's first wife Sati committed suicide by burning herself alive (because her father did not approve of her marriage to Shiva) with hopes she would be able to remarry Shiva in her next life (she does).
    • Well she commits suicide because her father Daksha disrespected her husband and deliberately did not invite him to an important yagna though he invited all the other Gods. She thought that he had just forgotten to give an invitation, only to learn upon getting there that he had cut her off completely because he hated her husband. Angry at her own father's disrespect of her husband and vowing to be reincarnated with a father who understood her love of Shiva (see Honor Before Reason), she commits suicide by burning herself on the sacrificial fire. Her husband avenges her death though he does forgive Daksha and refused to marry anyone until Sati's reincarnation, Parvati sought him for marriage. So this story does have a happy ending.
    • Another example is the death of Kama, the god of Love, because he interfered with Shiva's meditation. His wife pleads with Shiva who promises her that he would be reincarnated. He is reincarnated as Avatar Krishna's son. Ironically, Kama had interrupted his meditaton to get the catatonically depressed Shiva to notice and fall in love with Parvati, whom he was ignoring.
  • From our own Twincest page: An old Japanese myth says that if two star-crossed lovers commit dual suicide, they get reincarnated as twins.
  • There is, apparently, a Wiccan spell that makes it so that you and your lover will be together forever (Marriage is considered temporary, since it's only till death). Thus, when you two get reincarnated, you will be together, again and again (well, if it works, anyway). The problem is, it's very hard to reverse, and a person's personality changes when they get reincarnated. This is not recommended, especially if you're only dating, since it pretty much screws you over in your next life. Of course, that doesn't mean people wouldn't be stupid enough to try it.

Tabletop Games

  • It's not uncommon for innerwalkers in Feng Shui to fall in love with past and future incarnations of love interests, or vice versa.
  • Happens with Solars and Lunars in Exalted. All Celestial Exalted reincarnate after death (well, it's a bit more complicated than that, but that's the gist of it), and every Solar is bonded to a specific Lunar and vice versa. Such pairs are referred to as mates. Despite the name, it doesn't have to be a romantic relationship; any strong emotional bond can apply, ranging from close friendship to intense hatred. If they're even remotely compatible with one another, though, chances are good that it'll be this. Of course, this isn't exclusive to Solars and Lunars; all Celestial Exalted have memories from past lives, and it's entirely possible to run into a reincarnated lover.
    • There are also a number of subversions. For instance, each Lunar may be bonded with a Solar Exaltation and serve as that incarnation's boon companion... but half those shards have been corrupted by the Neverborn or the Yozi, meaning their mate is now bent towards hideous atrocities. However, this has been reconstructed, in that Abyssals (the ones corrupted by the Neverborn) can fight for and protect their Lunar mate without suffering Resonance, and it's been suggested a number of Infernals (the ones corrupted by the Yozis) will drop their masters' plans like a hot potato once they run into their Lunar mates.
      • Also, the most outstanding example in canon for a Solar/Lunar pair reunited by time is Swan and Lilith. Thing is, Lilith lived through the intervening time period, and remembers everything that Desus, Swan's past incarnation, did to her...
    • Alchemical Exalted likewise get a background that allows them to remember the past lives their heroic soul lived before it was put into a Champion of the State. It often allows them to reunite with old friends and lovers, and helps to resist the encroachment of Clarity.


  • The Musical Aida, based on Verdi's Opera, added an epilogue in which this happens to turn the original Downer Ending into a Bittersweet Ending. Made even better by the fact that the ending is part of the framing device of the show and the audience has pretty much forgotten about the beginning in the wake of what they expect to be the Downer Ending.

Video Games

  • Fei and Elly in Xenogears qualify, but they are also doomed to die a horrible violent death shortly after meeting each other. The why for this is royally messed up too. They put an end to that problem by the end of the game, and one of the people that helps them do it is their daughter from a previous life.
  • The keystone of the plot and theme of Tales of Innocence. Although since there's a pretty extensive Relationship Values system, maybe Asras and Inanna are crossed by more than just one bad star... (Although Inanna murdering Asras and causing the fall of Heaven probably didn't help much.)
  • Absolutely applies in Neverwinter Nights 2 Mask of the Betrayer. The PC is carrying around the spirit of Akachi, who tried to bring down the god of death to save his beloved Nefris, who survived to the present and split off an aspect of her personality to form Safiya (curiously Safiya got all of the parts of Nefris that Akachi loved best), whose romance is implied to be the canonical plot ending for a male spirit eater.
  • Implied in Adonis' ending of the Boys Love Game Silver Chaos.
  • Strongly implied at the end of Utawarerumono. Unfortunately, he goes back to sleep about four seconds later. And it's not entirely clear if and when he'll be back.
  • Castlevania fans have more or less assumed that, just as Soma Cruz in the Chronicles of Sorrow titles is the reincarnation of Dracula, his "not girlfriend" Mina Hakuba is similarly the reincarnation of either of Dracula's two previous wives, Elisabetha Cronqvist and Lisa. The fact that in Dawn of Sorrow Soma CAN become Dracula in A Bad End that is triggered by him being tricked by Celia into thinking that Mina has been executed (just like Dracula himself snapped when either Elisabeta or Lisa died) doesn't exactly help.
  • Locke D'Averam and Princess Andria from Revenant are revealed to have been lovers in their previous lives late in the game, though this crosses over into Resurrected Romance, since only she is a proper reincarnation, while he is, well, a revenant.
  • In the first two DS Harvest Moon games everyone is an Identical Grandson of the characters of AWL]. In terms of the valley people, they fall in love with previous love interests. However the town people don't have feelings for their grandparents lovers apparently.
  • The Kingdom Hearts series is implied to have this with the Riku/Sora/Kairi friendship/romance.
  • Lufia and The Fortress of Doom and Lufia the Legend Returns runs on a similar premise: a Redheaded Hero called a descendant of the legendary hero Maxim, meets a blue haired girl who is a reincarnation of Erim the Sinistral of Death and they fall in love. This may overlaps with Generation Xerox with similar plot twists and endings for the games that happen in different hundreds of years. Also, Erim is hinted to have things for Maxim from the start. and in the DS remake of the prequel, her master is implied to have supported their romance loops.
  • Zigzagged interestingly in Fire Emblem Awakening and Fire Emblem Fates. In the first, the Lady of Black Magic Tharja pines over Robin aka the Avatar no matter the gender, though she can only marry a Male one due to game mechanics. In the second, the Dark Magical Girl Rhajat (herself an Expy of Tharja) can marry Corrin aka Fates' Avatar whether they're a boy or a girl, unless they marry others or the Female Avatar is her mother.. Both games 'conflate' in a way through the implication that Rhajat is either the reincarnation or the past self of Tharja, though it's not very clear which is which. (There are hints towards both situations)
    • To a smaller degree, there's Asugi and Caeldori, who are implied to be either the past lives or the reincarnations of Gaius and Cordelia. Asugi can befriend or marry either Rhajat, Caeldori or the Female Corrin (who can also be his mother), while Caeldori can marry Asugi or a Male Corrin and/or befriend Rhajat and the Female Corrin (or be her daughter).
  • Sakura Wars: So Long My Love. A flashback reveals that 500 years ago, a previous incarnation of the main character Shinjirou battled the Demon Lord Oda Nobunaga along with several comrades, and one mysterious foreign nun. They fall in love, but she has to perform a Heroic Sacrifice in order to seal the Demon Lord. Before she dies, she assures him that their souls will find their way together again someday. Whichever of the main girls is chosen at the end of the game turns out to be a reincarnation of said nun.

Visual Novels

  • Subverted by Kinzo in Umineko no Naku Koro ni; his delusion that his and Beatrice's love is forever causes him to carry on that "love" to his his illegitimate daughter, the late Beatrice Ushiromiya.
  • Magically done, one sided and not played for romance in Tsukihime. Whenever Roa reincarnates, he lures Arcueid to him; he thinks he hates her, but actually loves her. Arcueid actually falls in love with a third party, the protagonist Shiki Tohno... and this deal stops the whole reincarnation thing and making this Reincarnation Stalker with a Crush.


  • YU+ME: dream ends with Fiona and Lia deciding to leave Nod. The problem is that both of them are dead in the real world, so Don finds a loop hole that technically "kills" them in Nod, but sends their souls back to Earth, where they can reincarnate and find each other.
    • The second to last page shows that though they haven't met up in the real world, in their new lives, yet, they can still see each other in Nod until they do.
  • Alex and Alison from My Life in Blue qualify as a platonic reincarnating love.
  • This is a facet of Arthur, King of Time and Space. The characters exist simultaneously in multiple time periods, but most of the romances are the same in all of them, including a few cases where one or both partners is gender-swapped. (For example, Tristram and Isolde are always a couple whether Tristram is male or female.)
  • Referenced by the ghost of Victorian Helen in Narbonic ("kindred souls reborn many times over in similar guise. It's terribly H. Rider Haggard"), although she fails to explain how present-day Helen can be her reincarnation when she still exists as a ghost.
  • Keychain of Creation: Marena is firmly opposed to this, and refuses any serious relationship with Misho for fear that he love her for who she was, not who she is.

Western Animation

  • Justice League Unlimited runs with the Hawks being reincarnated as Shayera Hol and Carter Hall... with the added twist that so is Hawkgirl's other Love Interest John aka Green Lantern, and it's suggested he is who Shayera is meant to end up with especially after Unlimited stated that they have a Kid From the Future, Rex aka Warhawk. (Though she does also fall in love with a male Hawk before that, plus GL dates their teammate Mari/Vixen and does not break up with her after The Reveal.)
  • One piece of Fanon that a small portion of the fans accept is that the Avatar has a lover that also gets Reincarnated each lifetime as well. The most commonly offered example being Ummi, Water Avatar Kuruk's bride that Koh The Face-Stealer claimed. Fans speculated that Aang's counterpart could either be Katara, or Toph. Or both. According to the sequel The Legend of Korra, it was definitely Katara.
  • The American Dad! episode "A Star Is Reborn" ends with the implication that Stan and Francine are subject to this trope. Francine even claims to remember how they were killed in their past lives by Stan's previous self.
  • In Garfield: His 9 Lives, throughout most of Garfield's nine lives, he was accompanied by some incarnation of Odie. When he dupes God into granting him a second set of nine lives, it's with the intent that he and Odie go onwards through them all together.