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I Have Cried Many Times With These Top 10 Saddest Anime Deaths

Updated on October 24, 2016

If there is something anime specializes in, it is making the cast lovable, relatable, and absolutely unforgettable. It is very rare to watch an anime and then forget about the main characters and the attributes that made them so unique and amazing. That is why the death of one of the characters can be very heartbreaking to viewers.

We have grown so attached to them that imagining the show without them is simply unbearable as we hold back the stream of tears. Today I will share with you the saddest anime deaths I have experienced until now. The moment, the characters reactions, and the way the show feels without them have all been accounted for in the making of the list.

They are not ranked in any order though since I consider them all to be impactful and filled with despair. This is your spoiler warning since I will be talking about all these events without holding back on information. So this is my opinion of what the top 10 saddest anime deaths are.

Otonashi from Angel Beats
Otonashi from Angel Beats

Otonashi From Angel Beats

After experiencing the loss of his sister, the last member of his family, Otonashi was ready to fall into despair and live out his life in a dead-end job without any real goals for the future. Instead, in memory of his sister and the love he had for her, he began studying and trying to pursue a career in medicine, wanting to be able to help anyone else who was as sick as she was. After a terrible train accident though, he is left to survive inside a cave with a small group of people and an even smaller amount of resources. Wounded and losing consciousness, he helps everyone until he could no longer move. As he lies down waiting for everything to be over, he decides to sign his organ donor card so that in case they find him, he can still be used to help someone else out. As he does this, others feel inspired to do the same, only to hear people drilling into the cave to rescue them. Many survived the crash, but not Otonashi. With a teary ending to our hero, we could not help but curse and cry as the cave was opened as he passes away.

Shirley from Code Geass
Shirley from Code Geass

Shirley From Code Geass

After finding out about the memories the protagonist had made her forget and how he had caused her father's death, Shirley was still ready to support and understand him. Rolo, another Geass holder who could not stand the thought of someone else with Lelouch and knowing so much about him, decided to kill her. The most heartbreaking scene occurs when she is found bleeding on the floor by Lelouch and he wants to command her to live, hoping only on a miracle that she does. She realizes she only has moments left with him and tells him everything she knew and that she simply did not care. She knew that even in another life, she would still fall in love with him over and over and try to be there for him again. It was truly unexpected and soul-crushing.

Ushio from Clannad
Ushio from Clannad

Ushio From Clannad

Before you lose your mind because it is not Nagisa but Ushio on the list, let me explain. Nagisa's death was something that not only destroyed Tomoya but the viewers as well, but in time we could heal and come to understand that she was going to die during childbirth because of her sickness. After coming to terms with the fact that he still wants to raise Ushio, we sense a new beginning and a small source of happiness growing in the series after its dark turn. As soon as Ushio is diagnosed with the same sickness as her mother though, our world collapses on us. The small child understands she is not well but expects to heal all the while Tomoya tries to look forward and make something out of the situation. However, after many days in their apartment, the small daughter only wants to go outside for a trip with her father like they did before. It is at this moment that she begins to lose the remainder of her strength and Tomoya knows this and understands he can do nothing but try to make her happy one last time. Once they go outside and get slower and slower, we are left with Ushio collapsing and her father holding her in his arms as she says her last words, "I love you papa." Crying and feeling overwhelmed with grief, we could not take our eyes off the screen as the moment just got sadder and darker in a series we only expected happy moments from.

Kamina from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagan
Kamina from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagan

Kamina From Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann

After a whole battle in which he kept encouraging Simon as they overtake an enemy fleet, Kamina is injured by an attack but continues going. It is not only until the end of the battle that he decides he can rest as the worst is over. This death came out of nowhere. Even after he had gotten struck, we had expected him to heal and get better since he was one of the main characters and had just promised Yoko happiness. Despite all this, he did die and the whole atmosphere of the series changed. We knew as viewers that the creators were not afraid of killing someone off and letting us see how the rest of the characters dealt with it.

Maes Hughes from Full Metal Alchemist
Maes Hughes from Full Metal Alchemist

Maes Hughes From Full Metal Alchemist

A loving father and husband, I find that this paternal figure's death had more of an impact in the first adaptation of Full Metal Alchemist. After digging too deep into an investigation on homunculi, he is marked to be killed. This job is done by Envy, the shape shifter of the group, who turned into his wife before killing him. The death was unexpected and only got more painful by each passing moment. It was at his funeral that tears could not stop streaming down my face as his daughter did not understand why he was being buried and that he needed to get to work, that the men needed to stop throwing dirt on her dad. Heartbreaking and emotional, this death haunts viewers of the series to this day.

L from Death Note
L from Death Note

L From Death Note

Not only was this death extremely painful but completely out of the blue and unworthy for the character. The antagonistic hero in the story, he strives to defeat Kira and bring him to justice. We did not know how this was to be resolved since we were also rooting for the anti-hero Light who had become the mass murdering Kira. In a turn of events, L is killed by him, the one person who he had considered his friend, as he slowly dawned on the realization that Light and Kira were one and the same while slowly staring into his eyes. It was a brutal and hastened way for such an amazing character to go, even if it was needed for the story.

Asuna from Sword Art Online
Asuna from Sword Art Online

Asuna From Sword Art Online

The game that would not let any of the players go unless they beat it or died in the process, Sword Art Online was not all terrible. It did produce a great couple we love known as Asuna and Kirito. They went through many hardships together but stayed by each other's side, promising that they would finish the game alongside other players and meet in real life. It is not until the final battle with the game creator that things really start going downhill. Kirito realizes he must fight to the death to give his love a chance to live in the real world once more. In a quick turn of events, she rushes in front of him before he is slashed by Heathcliff and her HP drops rapidly. She soon bursts into pieces, leaving Kirito broken and filled with rage as she was the person that kept him sane through all of it.

Gasai Yuno from Mirai Nikki
Gasai Yuno from Mirai Nikki

Gasai Yuno From Mirai Nikki

Although there are many controversies surrounding as to if Yuno is good or bad, the fact that she had to go through what she did and ultimately did all her deeds for love make her death all that more sad. She wanted to be with Yukki forever since she had already lost him once and only knew to get him back by making another realm of existence and starting the game of the future diaries time and time again. She decided to end this loop at Yukki's request but knew that one of them had to win the game. Instead of driving the dagger through her lover though, she took her own life so that he could continue on. This ending was extremely confusing to me at first but it was a way of repenting and getting to rest from all that she had gone through. It was a sad yet needed death that gave way to a better life for her other self and Yukki.

Mrs. Ryoko's death from Tokyo Ghoul
Mrs. Ryoko's death from Tokyo Ghoul

Mrs. Ryoko's Death From Tokyo Ghoul

The whole concept of having to deal with eating human flesh and feeling the grief of hunting and taking away an innocent life is a gruesome one. The story behind this family was too sad to bear once I had come to understand it all. She was only trying to protect her child from the fate that awaited her with the hatred the humans have towards ghouls and her husband had sent them away to defend them both from other dangers that were upon them. It is truly horrifying to see her await her final moments at the hands of Mado, only worrying that she will no longer be able to be there for her daughter. It was even more painful once I understood that she would later be used as a weapon against her child she had tried to protect.

Menma from Anohana
Menma from Anohana

Menma From Anohana

Although we knew she was dead from the beginning of the show, the fact that she could no longer be with her friends only really dawned on us once the last episode had begun. She barely finishes writing her final messages to her friends and waits for them to find them for her last goodbye. The whole series was pretty sad and we knew things were not going to miraculously get better but she somehow made the best out of her situation and left on a good note, allowing her friends to continue on with their lives and not look back at the memories they had of her as bad, repressed thoughts but as happy and cherished ones that made them stronger.

These deaths not only changed how other characters lived their lives and futures but made many viewers like myself realize how important relationships are and how anything can change so quickly. Many of us do not have the opportunity to say goodbye or have one last hug so we have to make the best out of every moment we have with the people we care about, cherishing them and letting them know we cherish them. Life is a winding, messy road filled with adventures to learn from and people to love and understand. We cannot let it go by without enjoying it since it is a beautiful gift that has been bestowed upon us.

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      Aaron chettiar 13 days ago

      have you'll forgotten bout koro no sensei from assassination classroom

    • profile image

      Osman 2 weeks ago

      Where Ace death at? Rumbar Pirates death? Corazon? Ohara? The one who made this list be tripping. SMH

    • profile image

      Jo_king 5 weeks ago

      Magical Girl Raising Project.. Has too many sad deaths. I cried at every single one.

    • profile image

      Fangirl 6 weeks ago

      God damnit I just ruined Death Note for myself!

    • profile image

      Koro Sensei 7 weeks ago

      Why is Koro Sensei never part of the saddest deaths lists?? IT WAS SO EMOTIONAL AHHH

    • profile image

      ... 2 months ago

      Hey I would like to say that ace's death left a really deep scar and when I think about it I almost start crying it the most heart braking also another mention the going merry has also brought me to tears as well

    • profile image

      Poopusdumpus 2 months ago

      where is the ae86

    • profile image

      lilz 2 months ago

      not even sad :(

    • profile image

      Lulu 2 months ago

      You're list was top-notch, good job!! It made me nostalgic because as a proud halftime Otaku, I knew everyone on this list except one or two. However, I think you're missing someone on this list. KITE FROM HUNTERXHUNTER!!!!

    • profile image

      Karan 3 months ago

      Kaori Miyazono from your lie in april was the saddest

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      Anonymus 3 months ago

      Where is Koro-Sensei?

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      Joe 4 months ago

      Hughes death was the saddest for me. The worst part what in the manga , the 2003 anime and brotherhood the show didn't let you forget his death either. Till the very end they made every chance they could to remind of that. They never let you forget his death constantly . The saddest part for me was when mustang started crying, that's when I couldn't hold it together for that part.

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      5 months ago

      I was hoping I could find something I have not seen, but these all are sad ;-;

    • profile image

      Samarth 7 months ago

      I thought fajitas death was pretty sad too

      In naryto

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      Joe 7 months ago

      I think Koro Sensei's death was one of the saddest moments. The whole time the students were trying to end his life before the deadline, they grew attached to him in the meantime. He was also the best teacher they've had. In the end, their duty as assassins had to be completed. Rest in peace Koro Sensei.

    • Gibape profile image
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      Milady González 10 months ago

      Hey guys! Lets discuss. I haven't seen your lie in April as of yet so I could not add it on to the list. As for the One Piece and Naruto characters, I'm sure they had a a lot of emotional background and it was crushing to see them go, but I unfortunately gave up on watching those series since they were so long, and at least on Naruto's side, filled with way too much filler. And last but not least, Plastic Memories, huuge buildup, everyone knew it was coming, but it still didn't let us be ready for her departure. The only reason she's not on this list is because the anime came out after it was written.

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      AnimeCritic 10 months ago

      Plastic Memories is the only anime that got me

    • profile image

      boi 10 months ago

      How about your lie in April?

    • profile image

      Dets 11 months ago

      Wat ever happened to ace,whitebeard,jiraya,itachi,zephyr,neji,

      and asuma their deaths were dad

    • profile image

      bingobean 13 months ago

      Well nothing like clannad and clannad after story, damn that was touching and if the ending was not that good i would have still haunted by it ;) any anime suggestions like clannad or sao?

    • Gibape profile image
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      Milady González 14 months ago

      I'll be sure to watch it. Thank you. Happy you liked the list.

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      Tahmeed 14 months ago

      This list is great, I myself have cried to the deaths of Maes Hughes and L.

      That being said, I bawled my eyes out when I finished watching Assassination Classroom. I think you'll enjoy it a lot. It will make you laugh, learn a lot and cry.

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      kaori miyazono 15 months ago

      Watch shigatsu wa kimo no uso(your lie in april)

      That anime make me cry so hard

    • profile image

      C J 18 months ago

      What about Yuuki Kyouko from SAO II. She did what she could, but deep down inside she knew she wasn't going to make it, and instead of worrying about it, she worried more about her friends than her own life. She didn't tell them her situation, because she didn't want to worry them. It was so heart breaking when I knew that she was trying so hard on fighting her illness but still couldn't make it.

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      Milady González 21 months ago

      Thank you for your comment kotobukijake! I will always love and accept any suggestions or anything of the sort when it comes to anime. I am happy you like and agree with the list and hope you stay tuned in for more!

    • kotobukijake profile image

      kotobukijake 21 months ago

      Interesting list, and I must agree quite a bit with your choices from the shows I've seen (I have not yet seen Tokyo Ghoul or Sword Art Online, and saw only the first episode of Mirai Nikki). Of course, there are several good choices for Fullmetal Alchemist (Nina Tucker is a close second to Maes, and Greed also comes to mind), Code Geass (Euphy, and others), and Angel Beats!, but I do think you picked the top picks for each of those (also agree fully with Menma, L., Kamino and Ushio, though for me Nagisa is practically tied with her). I would also cite a few others, but I'd hate to spoil any series for you--let's just say Kino's Journey, Someday's Dreamers II: Sora and Elfen Lied, as well as possibly Fushigi Yugi, Death Parade and Hell Girl, could all yield possible contenders for the list. And let's not forget movies: it might be cheating to cite Grave of the Fireflies, but among others Wolf Children has a pretty wrenching death scene. Great list, and yet another argument for me to check out SAO (damn Aniplex and their highway robbery prices!).

    • Gibape profile image
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      Milady González 21 months ago

      Hey J! Let me know if you get around to seeing the other ones, there is potential for crying rivers for each. I hope you like them, I think all these deaths come from amazing and must-watch anime!

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      22 months ago

      I've seen five of them but I only cried for Ryoko

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      Milady González 2 years ago

      It is moments like those that make you realize just how dark and somewhat realistic these anime can be. The characters did not lead a stellar life and we should have seen that betrayal coming since it was the most "human" decision. There are many who would have done the right thing and not sacrificed all their friends but some people would have also been corrupted by power and allowed everything to fall and wither as long as they got what they wanted. Unnerving and sad, yes but it was a dark truth I think we can all learn from.

      Thank you for your comment Da Baman !

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      Da Baman 2 years ago

      The Band of the Hawk, Berserk.

      The half eaten, torn, shredded remains of everybody that you got to know and love for an entire 25 episode laying spews everywhere in a pool of blood that the already devastated main character is drenched by. Made worse by the fact that if you read the manga, you know that everybody who was branded as a sacrifice for the hungry demons is now rotting in Hell because they get both your body and your soul.

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      Milady González 2 years ago

      I could not agree more KeikoArtz. His death had a huge impact on how I saw my own father and treated others. It especially showed me just how much care and affection can really be shown and expressed through anime and its story. It was a really sad moment indeed.

      Thank you for your comment and feedback!

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      KeikoArtz 2 years ago

      Maes Hughes's death still haunts me to this day. Seeing the FMA 2003 version and the Brotherhood version broke my heart in different ways. I can't even listen to the song "Papa o Asobuo" from the original soundtrack where Maes and his daughter sing together without balling my eyes out in a dark corner and remembering that the most genuine bond between father and daughter in the history of anime was shattered by the cold touch of death.

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      Milady González 2 years ago

      Yes thegecko, it was sad. He was a very lovable and entertaining character to watch and learn from, only wish we could have had some more time seeing him,

      Thank you for your comment! We appreciate your feedback.

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      Warren Samu 2 years ago from San Diego, CA

      We knew it was coming, but I was still moved when Spike died in Cowboy Bebop.