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"What exactly do you think you're doing? ... Young man, I am dead. I was killed in what, for me at least, were fairly unpleasant circumstances. It hurt. It was deeply upsetting and painful. However, it happened. I am dead. If you bring me back to life, my death will have no meaning... I lived a good life, and it ended. Would you take that away from me?"
Fiddler's Green, The Sandman

A character is dead, or comatose, and for whatever reason isn't happy about being revived from that state.

It also applies to less lethal circumstances - a character who deliberately vanished by hiding or faking their death is unhappy to have to return.

See also Unwanted Rescue, Came Back Wrong.

Obviously, to be brought back from the dead somebody has to have already been dead, so this is technically a Death Trope. This means there are unmarked spoilers below, so tread at your own risk.

Examples of Unwanted Revival include:

Anime & Manga

  • The commentary on Afro Samurai mentions that rather than be given an Emergency Transformation, Jinno would have preferred to die after the battle at the Bodhi tree. Unfortunately for him, an Emergency Transformation is exactly what he got.
  • In one chapter of Franken Fran, Fran brings a girl back to life at the request of the girl's boyfriend, who had murdered her in a fit of rage. But the only way Fran could see it happening is by basically cutting out part of her brain and putting vital organs in her skull so that her head could survive independently, though with quite a bit of her memory gone. She can't talk and is utterly dependent on her boyfriend... until Fran eventually gives her the bigger body the boyfriend kept asking for whereupon this trope gets subverted. It's revealed that the guy wasn't her boyfriend, but an insane stalking killer that didn't even know the girl's name. The killler finds words scribbled by the girl under the bed and learns too late that she did not forget that part. We then cut to outside the room where we see the girl's head attached to a monstrous body that she's very happy about since she can now get her revenge.
    • In an earlier chapter, something similar had happened; In order to save a girl whose body had been completely mangled, Fran had to perform a complex operation that basically turned her into a giant caterpillar with a human head; She wasn't exactly pleased initially, until it came to light that she would eventually cocoon and emerge more or less as she was before.
      • And then she turned into a giant insect and ate the one guy who honestly loved her and watched out for her because that's how mantises have sex.
    • And there was also the time Fran saved a boy who had committed suicide by turning him into a living theme park mascot. This one turned out for the better, actually... after she transfers his brain into another body, anyway.
      • Hell, with Franken Fran - who believes strongly in the Sanctity of life, but is either uncaring, or too absorbed in the Scientific process to care for the Quality - this is one of the most commonly occurring Tropes in that series.
  • Somewhat subverted in the end of the Houshin Engi manga, where everyone thinks that Taikoubou (now known as Fukki) had died fighting Jyoka. This seems to suit Taikoubou fine, and he decides to spend the remainder of the manga avoiding them and playing hide-and-seek. Yes, he's a tease. The subversion comes in that it's never shown that they find him.
  • Rei Ayanami of Neon Genesis Evangelion
  • Lucy, to a certain degree, whose alternate personality had been living a relatively happy life ignorant of her past and her coming back would mean ending it.
  • In Inuyasha, Kikyo ends up getting revived after 50 years by an Ogress, who uses Kagome's reincarnated soul to revive her. Needless to say, she ends up immediately killing the ogress, angrily asking why she revived her.
  • Monster plays with this trope in multiple ways: Johan experiences an unwanted revival when Tenma accidentally saves him from the damage of his Suicide by Cop, and Nina experiences an unwanted revival when Johan comes back for her after being gone for nearly a decade.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, Kaiser Ryo repeatedly mentions that he is a Death Seeker, and actually manages it in Season Three, only to be inexplicably resurrected in Season Four, to his confusion and somewhat displeasure.
  • Shiki is quite possibly the poster anime for this trope. People who are "lucky" enough to come back rarely want it, and if it feels like it's getting better afterwards, you're very wrong.
  • Naruto provides several different examples of this thanks to the Edo Tensei technique. Examples include the first and second hokages, Zabuza and Haku, Azuma, and many, many others.
  • D.Gray-man has anyone revived by the Millennium Earl being turned into an Akuma, so it's understandable why they would be upset with being brought back.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Ed and Al's mother in the anime. She didn't want to come back to life and decided murdering them for revenge was the only way to make up for this.
    • Of coure, it may not have actually been their mother.
  • Dragonball Z non-serial movie : Sealed Good in a Can hero Tapion gets freed from a magical music box sealing him, thanks to the titular dragon balls, and to say he isn't pleased is an understatement. Turns out he holds Sealed Evil in a Can in himself, in the form of a horrible monster with enough power to wreak havoc on the universe. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero for the good guys who helped the weird little old guy free him.

Comic Books

  • Kane Creole, a second gen Expy clone of Elvis Presley from DC Comics' Thriller, becomes a criminal who robs banks while singing an Elvis-like song. He kills the people that cloned him, claiming that "They robbed my grave."
  • In the semi-canon Transformers Mosaic comics, an interesting possible story details the ultimate fate of UK-Marvel Galvatron after the Time Wars: After drifting in timelessness while near death, finally at peace, he is dumped on Cybertron in the distant past, where a group of trying-to-be-helpful cybertronians repair him, giving him his "Gold Megatron" look that he had once, despite his wish to die peacefully. He was forced to relive his descent into insanity again.
  • Superman villain Hank Henshaw / Cyborg-Superman has long been a Death Seeker, as his origin story was a take on the Fantastic Four Gone Horribly Wrong, and he was forced to see his friends and loved ones die while knowing he truly couldn't. After joining the Sinestro Corps, it looks like he might finally get his wish, and he thanks those who are about to kill him. Then his servants find his disembodied head floating in space, and as they begin the process to reconstruct him, he sheds a single tear...
  • In the Spider-Man books recently, Kraven the Hunter has become such a character, being brought back to life by his ex-wife, in a flawed ritual that has made him more like an undead. He wasn't exactly happy about it.
  • The Punisher MAX story Six Hours to Kill. At the end of the six hours, he's just annoyed, wondering why the hell he isn't dead yet, and when he feels it coming he calls it the most beautiful thing ever. And then the people who killed him bring him back. He says he wakes up and realises he's still in hell.
  • Dirk Anger of Nextwave is not particularly happy that he was brought back from the dead as a zombified corpse. Or that his organization won't even feed him brains.
  • Fiddler's Green from The Sandman is brought back from death by Dream, only to politely decline. Not because his life was in any way unhappy, but rather because without death, it would have no value.


  • In the 60's movie The Brain that Wouldn't Die (featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000), a woman is decapitated in an automobile accident, then her surgeon boyfriend reanimates her head. She is unhappy with this state of affairs and spends the rest of the movie nagging her boyfriend about it.
  • Gabriel in The Prophecy resurrects the very recently deceased to do things like drive him around, or work computers or anything else an angel doesn't know how to do. Unfortunately, he has a tendency to choose people who were happier being dead.


  • In American Gods, Shadow gets brought back to life after his Heroic Sacrifice (by a woman named Eostre) and complains that he would have preferred staying dead. Somewhat justified by the fact that he got to choose his own afterlife.
    • Similarly, there's Shadow's wife, Laura. By dropping a magical coin in her coffin, Shadow brought Laura back from the dead... as a zombie. She's cold all the time, never eats or sleeps, feels no remorse about horribly killing people, and just wants Shadow to make it all right. Though at first she wants to be alive again, in the end she opts to return to being dead when given the choice.
  • Robert Sheckley had a short story about a guy fighting in a war where both sides learned to resurrect their soldiers. He has been killed 9 times already and the 10th time should be legally his last, finally allowing him to rest. He is killed, resurrected, and told that since the enemy has raised the resurrection limit to 15 times, he'll now be resurrected 4 more times. So he goes out and makes damn sure to get himself shot in the head, believing they can't repair brain damage. It turns out, they can... and he got a medal for his "heroism". A very depressing read.
  • Weis & Hickman's The Death Gate Cycle has a character with a resurrection rune enscribed on his skin. He's condemned to never, ever die. (He's also condemned by the same magic to never ever kill, negating much of the Badass Normalry he exhibited previously.) Thankfully he's set straight at the end of the series.
  • Also from Weis & Hickman is the Dragonlance series where Raistlin reluctantly returns from the dead a few times to help save the world before leaving it again.
  • A variation occurs with Discworld's Granny Weatherwax. Whenever she's "borrowing" (piggybacking her mind on that of an animal) she appears to be dead or in a coma, and being 'woken up' from this is extremely disorienting and annoying, so she has taken to hanging a sign around her neck that says "I ATEN'T DEAD"
  • Some Biblical scholars think that Jesus had to raise his voice to Lazarus in order to get him to come out of his tomb because Lazarus wouldn't have listened and come back from the dead otherwise, he was having too much fun living in peace in the afterlife. Though this is certainly debatable as the last mention of Lazarus in the Bible is of him having a celebratory dinner with his family and friends over his revival from the dead, he must have been the life of the party and the one everyone talked about.

Live Action TV

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer, singing: "There was no pain, no fear, no doubt, till they pulled me out of Heaven. So that's my refrain. I live in Hell 'cause I've been expelled from Heaven. I think I was in Heaven. So give me something to sing about. Please give me something."
  • Sliders did this in a first season ep where Rembrandt's double was the equivalent of Elvis, and a lot of fuss was kicked up over our Remy suddenly showing up. The local version of Rembrandt came around to set the record straight and was actually willing to let him take over until he realized how much cash was in the mix, stealing Remy's thunder at his return show, much to Remy's disappointment.
  • Supernatural is all over this (and Death Is Cheap). Dean and Sam keep yelling at each other about it, though it has more to do with each of them endangering themselves for the other than the place they were in being so good (Dean was in Hell, and Sam was stuck with the devil, which was arguably worse). It got so bad that Sam asks specifically not to be brought back from the hole with Lucifer, and Dean reluctantly agrees. In season 6, while not specifying it, Samuel and his family at least didn't ask to be brought back, let alone to work for the new self-appointed "devil".
  • In Torchwood, Owen Harper isn't very happy when Jack uses the resurrection gauntlet to bring him back. Understandable, being a walking corpse isn't much of a life.

Tabletop Games


 "As I died, I rejoiced. I would see my family again. But then I woke up back on the battlefield. Back in Kamigawa. Back in hell."

  • Averted in Dungeons and Dragons. If a spirit doesn't want to return to the living world, no resurrection spell will work, no matter how powerful. The soul being revived even learns the name, Character Alignment, and patron deity (if any) of the person raising him, and the nature of the spell or effect being used, allowing a well informed decision.
    • Of course, there's nothing to prevent someone from manipulating the resurrector, mundanely or magically. The protocol will tell the spirit the above information, and nothing else.

Video Games

  • In Phoenix Wright: Justice for all, when Edgeworth "came back from the dead" and showed his face again to Franziska, she said that he soiled the Von Karma's name and dragged it through the mud. Gee, and you'd think Franzy couldn't get any colder...
    • Phoenix was also offended by his return, saying "It was better for everyone if you never came back from the dead, Edgeworth!" Ouch.
    • OF course "came back from the dead", here, means returned after faking a suicide note and running away because he didn't know what it meant to be a "real prosecutor" and wanted to do some soul searching. It sort of changes the context.
  • In Metal Gear Solid 4, Solid Snake wasn't exactly pleased to see Big Boss alive again. But he did feel kind of sorry for him.
  • A major point in Tales of Symphonia's Big Bad's plot is the resurrection of his sister- a double take of this trope: Not only do all the forces of good not want her back (Even her fiance, Yuan), but for the brief moment when she does come back, she merely hands her brother the What the Hell, Hero? treatment he deserves, and then is relieved to go back to being dead.
  • Karurawaturei, princess of the Giryagina clan in Utawarerumono went missing ten~ years or so ago or more when her country underwent a civil war, leading to the near extermination of her clan. Her brother assumed she was dead, and she was fine with that. However, she's forced to return because she still cares about her people, revealing that she's still alive and well. After the war is over and her brother put in charge, she vanishes again so she can return to living a simpler life.
  • Planescape: Torment - By roughly halfway through the game, at least, this is the Nameless One's opinion of having been seperated from his mortality. Even discovering that his first incarnation committed deeds of such hideousness that an eternity doing good would not have spared him from the Blood War, he never contemplates not taking his mortality back and ending his inability to die. Granted, though, he pays a considerable price for his resurrection; he invariably draws tormented souls to himself, and, more darkly, whenever he is resurrected, someone elsewhere in the multiverse dies and becomes an undead shadow as their life is sucked away to fuel his resurrection.
  • Ziggy in the Xenosaga series most definitely did not want to be revived, going as far as replacing parts of his body piece by piece until he would become completely machine, and having his memories erased. Fortunately for MOMO, he didn't go through with it completely.
  • Occurs near the end of The Dig. You have to activate The Eye, but Maggie fears it will exact a price from them, and if she dies, she doesn't want to be resurrected with a life crystal since it wouldn't be her. If you betray her trust and revive her anyway, she'll panic and then jump off the top of the tower, killing herself. And at the end, when the aliens use Spacetime Six to bring back your friends properly, she slaps you.
  • A notable (and tragic) example in Breath of Fire 4 with Fou-lu, who was meant to be the King in the Mountain. The Fou Empire wants him dead, due to being seen as 'inconvenient' and the acting Emperor Soniel prefers to keep the throne, spread propaganda that he's the 'Dragon of Doom' who'll destroy the empire. Only his shiisa-like dog wants him back, Bunyan/Babaderu being the only person commenting positively on his rule and was treated nicely by love interest, Mami. Then the empire use Mami as a Fantastic Nuke warhead, fueled under the assumption that Love Hurts, causing Fou-lu to snap and decides that Humans Are Bastards.
  • In Heroes of Might and Magic V, Nicholai is brought back to the land of the living. He is very pissed off at Isabel for bringing him back because 1) he was at peace in heaven with his parents and 2) he was brought as a bloodthirsty vampire and damned forever.
  • Deus Ex Human Revolution: "I never asked for this."
  • Elika is furious after the Prince revives her at the end of Prince of Persia 4. She did sacrifice her life in order to try and save the world from a dark god, after all.


  • In Homestuck, Jade decides to second-tier prototype her kernelsprite with her dead dreamself. Said character's reaction is to freak the hell out. An explanation for why the revival was unwanted is attempted, but through all the blubbering all we really understand is that being separated from one's dead friends in the afterlife is pretty traumatic.
    • Also, the fact that due to weird time shit, Jadesprite was dead for at least a decade, quite possibly a lot longer.

Western Animation

  • Justice League: Solomon Grundy, upon learning his own origin and the fact that he has no soul, wants nothing more than to get his soul back. It was implied that his happened after he died fighting Ichthultu. So when he gets reanimated by Chaos Magic in "Wake the Dead", he's really ticked off, and he basically just rampages until he gets killed again.
    • Alternately, this is a straight-out 'Came Back Wrong' thing, as he came back without any personality.
  • In Transformers Animated with Prowl's master Yoketron on the verge of death, Prowl desperately places his fading spark inside one of the remaining protoforms, bringing him back to life. Yoketron is horrified at Prowl's actions, telling him that "one must never sacrifice a piece of the future in order to save a piece of the past" before extinguishing his spark.
  • Parodied on Futurama when Bender's head ends up getting left behind in 1947; the crew digs him up in the year 3000 for this exchange:

 Fry: What was it like being buried for hundreds of years?

Bender: I was starting to enjoy it, until you guys came along.


Real Life

  • There's a reason why some people have a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) order on record. In some cases, they've successfully sued hospitals which ignored said order.