It’s incredible how strong the death of fictional characters can influence us. I like to show you 15 sad anime deaths that have hit me personally very hard. I think everybody has one or two beloved anime characters who passed away. If you are currently watching one of the following animes, you should leave the site as soon as possible – Big spoilers ahead!:
- One Piece
- Naruto Shippuden
- Code Geass
- Hunter x Hunter
- Assassination Classroom
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
- Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
- Death Note
- Akame Ga Kill!
Here are my 15 sad anime deaths:
1. Ace – One Piece
© 2017 – 2020 StyF17
Probably one of the most famous deaths in complete anime and also one of the saddest. I loved the complete Marineford Arc in One Piece, but Ace’s death mentally destroyed me at that time. Ace was (and still is) one of my favourite character in One Piece, and I think it’s a pity that he had to leave us so early.
2. Neji – Naruto
© 2012 – 2020 AR-UA
Neji’s death surprised me. He is one of the characters who has undergone the most significant changes in Naruto. Many fans discussed for weeks in forums about who could possibly die. Names like Kakashi or Sasuke and Naruto kept popping up, but not Neji’s. But why were we all so absolutely sure that Neji would still be alive at the end of Naruto? I was simply convinced that Neji’s life of suffering was over. Of his 17-18 years of life, he was able to enjoy maybe 8, back when his father was still alive and then after the enlightenment by Naruto and Hiashi, the few years between the first and the second series. I just never thought about the possibility that Neji might have to suffer more. That’s why his death surprised me, but also hit me as he was one of my favourite characters in Naruto.
3. Jiraiya – Naruto
© 2015 – 2020 t62pac
Jiraiya’s death was for me personally the saddest one so far. Since he was first introduced, I have liked this character and learned to love him over time. He taught Naruto as well as his father Minato a lot. That such a lovable character as Jiraiya would eventually be killed by one of his students, was something I would never have thought about, and it touched me deeply.
4. Migi – Parasyte
© Madhouse Inc.
This one cannot be seen as a real death, as Migi did not die directly, but I felt it as such. At the end of the anime, Migi retreated into his body for the rest of Shinichi’s life and, therefore, indirectly “died” for me. So I found the end of Parasyte a bit sadder than I would have imagined.
5. Nicolas D. Wolfwood – Trigun
© Madhouse Inc.
The character is actually the typical cheerful but cool side character. Unfortunately, the death wasn’t completely unpredictable as Trigun also deals with catching up with sins and the world view was a contrast to the protagonist: This person kills to survive, and he doesn’t regret it, an idea Vash can’t share, as he always believes in another way, or rather wants to believe. When Wolfwood dies in the gunfire, it felt to me like a less glorious and regretful, but memorable death.
6. Lelouch and Euphemia li Britannia – Code Geass
© Sunrise Inc.
Who saw Lelouch’s death coming? I don’t think anybody who didn’t either let himself spoiled or expected a similar ending as in Death Note. I honestly don’t know which death affected me more. But first of all, there is Lelouch, of course – the end of the series was just sad. Ingeniously staged, but extremely emotional. But even that doesn’t seem to stand up to Euphy’s death. Man, I was finished; this whole episode was killing me.
7. Meruem – Hunter x Hunter
© 2014 – 2020 MaYyA447
For me, Meruem was one of the fascinating anime characters. He was a proud “ant” who despised humans and thought he was superior in everything. But then he met Komugi, which completely changed his view. I just found this setting very interesting, beautiful and towards the end damn sad.
8. Itachi – Naruto
© Pierrot Co., Ltd.
At first, I didn’t really feel sad about the death of Itachi. You just didn’t know the whole story – even though you noticed that Itachi was already worried about his brother (Shisui’s eye (crow) in Naruto, Orochimaru pulled out of him etc.). But when then the whole story became known and was confirmed more and more over time, I was baffled. What he had to endure, how much he must have loved Sasuke – all this hit like a bomb of emotions. The second “death” of Itachi finally did it to me – incredibly heartbreaking. For me personally, maybe even as a whole (death makeup, storytelling etc.) the saddest death I have experienced in anime.
9. Koro-Sensei – Assassination Classroom
We all knew it was going to happen, but I never thought it would be this sad. The way the whole scene was portrayed in Assassination Classroom was just an emotional rollercoaster. You just realized that Koro-sensei really loved his class.
10. Kamina – Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
© 2012 – 2020 Ururuty
A creative, interesting anime that really dared to kill one of its characters absolutely unexpectedly. For all who know the anime, even the death of Nia at the end was sad, but the end of Kamina… I bet that hit EVERY viewer between the eyes. When I think about unforeseen deaths, I think of this one. It was also important for the story. The tone of the show, the fight, everything became more important. What was only a cheerful adventure is now an honest fight to the death, and very important: With this death, the other characters grow. Simon now has to stand on his own feet, Yoko is struggling with her feelings, and all the others have to learn to get along without their leader. It was sad, but also a very “clever” death in my eyes.
11. Kite – Hunter x Hunter
© Nippon TV
For a long time, we didn’t know if Kite was really dead or if he would still be saved. But many suspected it because he had lost an arm before the fight even started. But then when the episode came out… it was very emotional, especially looking back where Killua already knew that he left Kite to die at the moment of his escape. Gon thought that they would save Kite anyway, but in the end, it turned out that Killua was right. I found the episode really outstanding, this slow pace, and also Gon’s emotional struggle was very well portrayed. On the one hand, he blames himself because Kite couldn’t fight properly due to the loss of his arm (which was Gon’s fault), but the rage inside him wants to transfer this guilt completely to Pitou, he makes her the object of all his hate. Then, when Pitou sat there after the fight with Kite’s severed head… That was a picture that was really hard to deal with. After all, he was reborn, which makes the whole experience more bearable in retrospect.
12. Maes Hughes – Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
© Bones Inc.
Everything around this death was just sad. He was one of the most likeable characters in the whole series. Always super happy and just so in love with his family – and then he dies. But not just somehow, no, he gets shot by the likeness of his wife. And then his funeral is also rubbed in your face, where you can watch his adorable daughter standing at his grave, asking why they bury her daddy…
13. L – Death Note
© Madhouse Inc.
Even Light’s death was interesting, but the death which surprised me the most was the one of detective L – I seriously didn’t believe it. Even a while after that, I still thought, “No, this person can’t be dead. He will come back somehow”, but actually, that was the end for this character. I was honestly shocked by how unspectacular, and unsatisfyingly this character was killed. It wasn’t 100% planned that L would die, but it was well surprising, and in the end, it was immensely unusual even for the structure of the story. You just kill the hero of the police! Somehow the death also left a gap in the story for me, but whether meaningful, senseless, justified, or frustrating: It was a memorable and sad death.
14. Nina Tucker – Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
© Bones Inc.
This “death” has hit me incredibly hard. When the chimera said “big brother ed”, it was all over for me. I had not yet experienced anything more horrible, which affected me so much in anime. And then, when the scene where Shou asks her if she wants to “play” tomorrow came to my mind, and she was so happy about it, it broke my heart. Even if you didn’t like Scar, you loved him for the one scene where he killed those “three”. At least I did- Even though I would have wished Shou a more unpleasant death.
15. Sheele – Akame Ga Kill
© White Fox Co., Ltd.
If you know the anime, you know that pretty much ALL characters die, but I, for my part, have to admit that the death of the first killer Sheele hit me completely unprepared. I am used to the fact that the heroes can survive and deal with just about anything. But Akame Ga Kill makes it clear after a few episodes that nobody here is safe and lets this character die without warning. That was so surprising to me that I even doubted at first if there isn’t a way to somehow get out of the character’s death, but no: Whoever dies here won’t come back. Oh, and Chelsea’s head on a lance was pretty hard, too…
© White Fox Co., Ltd.