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To die without leaving a corpse... that is the way of us Garo.

— A Garo Robe's parting words from The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask

Something dies, as it is prone to do. After it takes its last breath, the body dissolves for no apparent reason. Often dissolves into smoke that wisps away as the body dramatically falls to the ground. Why this occurs is generally never explained and no character bats an eye at it happening. Often used in media to avoid showing the kiddies a corpse.

For video games, this is a subset of Everything Fades, though with Everything Fades, bodies may stick around for up to a few minutes after monsters die.

Not to be confused with No One Gets Left Behind, in which not one single person (or unit) is left behind when a force retreats, which is maybe the thing you're looking for. Also not to be confused with Never Found the Body, in which the subject's death was not seen/confirmed, and is most likely Not Quite Dead.

Animated Armor may be caused by this. On the other hand, you may never know. See also Disappears into Light. Not to be confused with Chunky Salsa Rule, in which a dead person doesn't leave a corpse for very different reasons. For the moral equivalent to this, see Self-Disposing Villain. May be the end result of No Immortal Inertia.

ExamplesEdit

  • In Bleach, spiritual beings dissolve when they are killed.
  • Whenever anyone dies in Houshin Engi, their body disappears and their soul flies away as a beam of light.
  • Plenty of examples in Sailor Moon. Nephrite is probably one of the more well-known examples, although it happens constantly to both villains and heroes. The latter obviously come Back from the Dead in season finales.
    • Averted in the first season finale: When the Sphere of Destruction from Sailor Moon's final attack starts consuming the area around the Dark Kingdom, the bodies of the four Senshi are shown still laying in the same places they fell.
  • The Digimon dissolve as soon as they die.
    • Though occasionally they'll revert to digieggs for plot-related purposes.
  • Happens in Yu-Gi-Oh 5Ds when Dark Signers die — upon their death, they crumble to dust.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, when Chris sacifices Yugi's petrified friends to release their sparks, under Odd's suggestion, he shatters the statues into pieces which crumble into dust and is blown away by the wind. Noah's plan to turn all of Yugi's supporters into stone have failed. Jeremie recreated the real everyone, complete with the invisible force fields around them.
  • In Death Note when shinigami die, they dissolve into sand.
  • The homunculi from Fullmetal Alchemist disintegrate into nothingness upon dying, as well as the Philosopher's Stone at their core that gives them life.
  • Whenever someone dies as a result of the HiME battles in Mai-HiME, the victim's heart stops, then their body's color fades, finally ending with slow dissolution into green sparks. Haruka, because she's a Badass Normal, simply refuses to "just die", preferring to get in a parting shot at Shizuru after calling her out on her "disgusting behavior".
  • The Zoanoids in Guyver (anime & manga) are engineered to dissolve after dying, in order to leave no evidence of their existence.
  • Carrossea's body in Madlax presumably disappears off-screen as it is never shown after the episode when he dies. That is probably because he wasDead All Along.
  • Happens fairly often to youkai slain by Inu Yasha. Case in point: Hiten (the elder Thunder Brother) evaporated after Inu-Yasha delivered a fatal blow withTessaiga. The many cases where youkai are slain by sacred arrows or the Wind Scar, et al, don't count.
  • In Get Backers, Amon's body dissolves into feathers after he gave his heart to Shido to bring him back to life. Shido's body stuck around, possible because his death was more mundane.
  • In Dragon Ball Z, Goku fades away when he dies. Kami has taken it to the other world so that Goku can have his body in the afterlife for training. Otherwise, people usually stay put when they died.
  • Naturally shows up in .hack. When a monster is killed, it slumps to the ground, then vanishes. When a PC is killed, their body goes limp, and turns grey, and vanishes if there's no-one left to revive them. When someone gets data-drained, however, their sprite starts fragmenting, and drifts away piece by piece.
  • In Saint Seiya, the final barrier between the Hades and Elysium is the Wall Of Lamentation, seemingly indestructible. Only by channeling the Cosmo of theTwelve Gold Saints of the Zodiac Houses, and creating sunlight in the depths of Hades, can it be breached. All Gold Saints, living or dead, friends or foes,burn their Cosmo Beyond the Impossible, there is a blinding burst of light... And Shun and Seiya can only weep, for all that is left of the heroic Saints of Athena is their Gold Cloths shining in their wake.
  • Anything that dies in Psyren dissolves into sand in a few minutes, due to the changes in the environment after the meteor hit Earth.
  • In Umineko no Naku Koro ni, the Stakes of Purgatory do this when they die.
  • Kira users in Nabari No Ou fade into dust when they die. Their clothes don't dissolve, leaving an interesting scene.
  • Late into the Magic World arc in Mahou Sensei Negima!, a special attack is introduced that causes anyone it hits to vanish in seconds. This only affects (most) residents of the magic world because said residents are actually part of an elaborate illusion, with the attack simply hacking them back out of existence.
  • When Panty and Stocking kill a ghost, it explodes. Becomes a plot point when they are tried for the murder of a friendly Ghost, as the fact that there was a body meant that they didn't do it.
  • In Samurai Deeper Kyo, this becomes a case of Chekov's corpse. When members of the Mibu clan die or are killed, their bodies vanish into nothingness. Near the end it is revealed that this happens because the members of the Mibu clan are in fact puppets created by the long dead True Mibu, and vanish into nothing because they were originally created from nothing.
  • This happens to Nia Teppelin from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann in the final episode.
  • In the Naruto anime at least one of Orochimaru's test subjects dissolved into nothing.
  • The Rankin/Bass version of The Hobbit featured giant spiders that gave a scratchy yelp and spun away into oblivion when slain. To a high-school classroom, this is hilarious. When Thorin dies his body remains and a veil is spread over it in a dignified manner, disappointing anyone expecting a spider-like demise.
  • In Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent becomes a dragon, gets impaled by a sword, and falls down a cliff. When the sword's shown again, it has only a cloak under it.
  • In This Island Earth, the Mutant dissolves after being killed. This is given a Hand Wave as its body being obliterated by the change in pressure as the ship approaches Earth.
  • Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars.
    • And Yoda in Return of the Jedi.
    • And almost every Jedi who dies in the the Expanded Universe. Sith and other users of The Dark Side, on the other hand, explode instead of fading away when they die.
      • An exception for the Sith is Darth Nihilus, whose body very visibly crumbles quietly away under his robes once the Exile turns his back.
  • In The Dark Crystal, both the Skeksis and the Mystics leave no body behind when they die. The Skeksis crumble to dust, but the Mystics simply fade away.
  • In Blade, vampires collapse into ash when killed.
  • In Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, defeated Evil Exes turn into a shower of coins, as they do in the comic. This is particularly amusing considering it not only takes place in Canada, but when Scott slays bystanders their coins take the shape of their bodies on the floor.
    • In fact, the comic comments on this when Gideon Graves and those in the audience get hit in the head with the showering coins.
  • In Elektra defeated villians disappear in a puff of green smoke, something unique in Marvel Universe films.
    • They're ninja - it's presumably deliberate so that the Hand's secrets are kept secure.
  • Captain America: The First Avenger has anyone caught within the shots of various Tesseract-powered weaponry disintegrating completely in a blue mist.
  • This is how Voldemort dies in the film version of Deathly Hallows. When Neville cuts off Nagini's head, this means that every horcrux is destroyed. Voldemort's body dissolves into something similar to pieces of skin, like dandruff, which blow into the wind.
  • The standard fate for most Indiana Jones villains.
  • The Invaders
  • Lampshaded on Stargate SG-1 in the Show Within a Show Wormhole X-treme!. The lead actor is having trouble in a romance scene because the background is littered with the bodies of dead Mooks his character killed in the previous scene (which is kind of distracting, ya know). The staff remove the bodies and hope no one will notice the change in scene continuity (one writer proposes that they write it so that the alien weapons disintegrate bodies, but his idea is quickly shot down).
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Joss Whedon explicitly stated that his vampires turn to dust when they die to emphasize that Buffy isn't killing people every week, and to avoid 20 minutes of cleanup at the end of each episode.
    • Averted in the third season episode "The Wish". Buffy kills a demon but it doesn't fade away and the Scoobies realise they'll have to bury it. Vampires, as Buffy notes, are so much easier. Stake, dust, no cleaning up.
    • Also averted with the Master, who only partially dissolved, leaving a skeleton. Justified because, as an older vampire, he is significantly more powerful. (And it allowed a plotline for the second season premier.)
  • Likewise in Charmed. Except in episode 15 season 5, "The Day the Magic Died", all magic ceased to exist for a day, and the demon they killed left a dead body and green blood stains. They had to quickly hide it in a closet, until magic returned. Justified in that it's explicitly explained that the demons deliberately set it up so that their body disappears after they die, in order to maintain the masquerade.
    • Lampshaded in episode 8 season 1, "The Truth Is Out There and It Hurts": After a warlock from the future gets killed, he is sucked into a vortex of some kind.
      Prue: I love it when they clean up after themselves.
  • This is very common in Sentai Tokusatsu shows. The Monster of the Week would generally vanish once vanquished with various cheesy effects — or eventually explodes, especially in older shows.
    • A good example is Uchu kara no messeji: Ginga taisen (better known as San Ku Kaïin Europe or Sankuokai in Latin America). Every villain of the week would explode (or sometimes liquefy or burn...) with color or visual related to their nature or powers.
    • Also generally used and abused in Power Rangers, where monsters tend to explode into a fine powder. But averted in Power Rangers SPD, where the villains use mecha rather than growing, and as such leave behind scrap. One early episode featured the main characters assigned to cleanup duty, picking up the massive debris left behind by the giant robot fight.
  • In First Wave, the invading aliens secretly use partially-human bodies as vessels. To prevent them from being analysed by humans and exposed as alien, they dissolve immediately after death, which also means anyone who sees an alien die becomes aware that something strange is going on.
  • There are never bodies left to clean up aboard the Lexx, because said Living Ship "absorbs" them (along with anything else it thinks won't be missed.)
  • In Red Dwarf, the crew are all killed in a radiation leak. After 3 million years there's nothing left of them except small, surprisingly neat, piles of dust. Lister found them very moreish until he discovered what they were.
  • Mostly averted in Supernatural. While there are monsters that turn to dust or don't leave anything to prove they existed (especially ghosts), the Hunters know how to cover their tracks, and thus get rid of a body of a monster/demon they killed. Also they don't stay too much in the same place after the "job" for the missing person to be obvious or connected to them. A FBI Bloodhound (note that this implies some greater professionalism than your typical province sheriff/cop they have to deal with) actually "tracks" the Winchesters for a year or so and all he can put on their record are some grave-disturbing crimes and murders on ordinary people they weren't responsible for.
  • The X-Files: Alien hybrids dissolve into green goo when killed.
  • In one Twilight Zone episode, three astronauts from a crashed space shuttle disappear one by one, and they vanish from everyone's memory as well, except for the remaining astronauts until they disappear.
  • In Justice League, a lot of the beasties from the episode "The Terror Beyond" didn't leave bodies when destroyed, in many cases because they were incredibly squishy. The giant-claw-whale-monster-thing that kills Solomon Grundy dissolves into acid when killed, for some reason.
  • When Doofenshmirtz's Blow-itself-up-inator blowing up (obviously), the blast turns Scary Fairies into ashes and is blown away by the wind.
  • In Code Lyoko, the monsters explode when killed, and whatever debris they left behind quickly vanish. The heroes also disappear when "devirtualized". Of course, this is inside a virtual world.
    • There is one enemy that does this a little differently. Creepers don't just explode, but also partially melt before vanishing completely.
  • When Jaga dies in the first episode of Thunder Cats, his body turns to dust instantly, leaving only his empty clothes.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Princess Yue's body vanishes shortly after she dies to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence.
  • Notably averted in Liberty's Kids. A children's show, it shows people dying on screen, including the The Chick's cousin, and the bodies stick around until they're buried. This was likely because in a semi-realistic historical setting, bodies suddenly going *poof!* would break the Willing Suspension of Disbelief, even in young children.

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