Nothing Is Sadder Than Character Deaths in Anime
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.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
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7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
Nagisa akabane on September 11, 2020:
gin- forest of the firefly lights
koro sensei- assasination classroom
kaori- you lie in april
kyoko honda- fruits basket
bee on August 17, 2020:
Grimmer from Monster...
OwO UwU on July 09, 2020:
yo WHERE is nighteye?!
Mahziyar on June 13, 2020:
Marie Elizabeth Hollandais Loustau on May 26, 2020:
The saddest anime death and end is and always remain chrono crusade. Death of both the protagonist of the anime. You dont even have to watch the anime to feel destroy. Just watching he end is terribly sad.
Virinchi on May 04, 2020:
ALL OF THESE DEATHS ARE STUPID AND LAUGHABLE COMPARED TO THE DEATH OF THE BEST ANIME CHARACTER IN THE WORLD, JIRAIYA IN NARUTO! LONG LIVE JIRAIYA!
Kelsey on April 10, 2020:
Koro Sensei... :'(((
Fang on March 06, 2020:
Ash Lynx, Shorter Wong and Skip... Banana Fish
Na on March 06, 2020:
This must only be newer anime because how can you leave out kenshin himura from samurai x
Vincent Sanchez on February 20, 2020:
U forgot Itachi Uchiha and Jiraiya from Naruto: Shippuden.
akshith on February 15, 2020:
and you all forget Meruem from HxH 2011
omae wa dead on February 12, 2020:
this is so sad guys can we hit 10 likes
Axesmed on February 02, 2020:
did people actually enjoy sao?
Matthew on January 28, 2020:
What about ace from one piece
Anonymous on January 14, 2020:
Where is Yui! From Sword Art Online! And Yuuki! Also from Sao!!!
Jubbett on January 03, 2020:
Jojo’s has plenty of sad deaths too.
Anime fan for 35 years on January 02, 2020:
What about Kagura from Inuyasha? That was the only time ive ever cried when an anime character died
Kid on December 28, 2019:
bruv none of these made me cry i just laughed
sam on December 28, 2019:
Hi.. on December 11, 2019:
Your lie in April needs to be first
HI on December 06, 2019:
Bruh where Korosensei at.
The best one on your list was Maes HUghes
Peter on November 25, 2019:
all these deaths are so sad that I cried for all of these sad deaths
PART TWO OF MISSING IMPORTANTDEATHS HERE on November 17, 2019:
Twelve and Nine from zankyou no terror, or terror in resonance. It's on netflix
WE ARE MISSING REALLY IMPORTANT DEATHS HERE on November 17, 2019:
This conteins SPOILERS
Hide from tokyo ghoul, korosensei from assasination classroom, yuuki from sword art onlinand EUGEO from sword art online....
Also, Asuna didn't really die hehe, but when i thought kirito-kun and her did, i cried a lot. Same with tokyo ghoul in kaneki's ''death''
Gelo on November 02, 2019:
Sayonara Koro Sensei!!!
oscar on November 02, 2019:
yuki from sword art online
Roadster on November 01, 2019:
why tf is Mrs. Ryoko's death sad?She barely had any screentime anyway
Blossom on October 28, 2019:
Where on Earth is Korosensei? Only his death made me cry.
Marcus on October 11, 2019:
How about sheele from akame ga kill? or chelsea from akame ga kill? and mine from akame ga kill?
@bildawl on October 06, 2019:
Iggy from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders.
It was the first anime scene to ever make me cry, and the only to date. Nothing tops it.
naman on August 19, 2019:
Siddharth Shrivastava on August 17, 2019:
Kaori from YOUR LIE IN APRIL
Therese TN on July 19, 2019:
But Asuna didn't actually die and u know that. The saddest death of SAO was Yuuki's tbh and ik that a lot of ppl agree w/ me
ThérèseTN on July 19, 2019:
But Asuna didn't die and u know it
Koro Senseu on June 17, 2019:
Biggest anime fan on June 15, 2019:
Why isn't obito here
Logan on June 10, 2019:
Zabuza from naruto
otaku boss on June 08, 2019:
magorov from fairy tail
Addicted to anime(10 hrs a day) on June 07, 2019:
Lelouchs death was also, from code grass, he was a true hero
Mischa on May 28, 2019:
Where is Koro Sensei from Assasination Classroom?
Real Anime Watcher on May 27, 2019:
Where the heck is Koro Sensei he had one of the saddest deaths in all of anime in my opinion I literally cried at that scene, or what about Ace from One Peace or Jiraiya from Naruto.
tabby the awesome on May 26, 2019:
Koro Sensei and obito and 4 hokage from Naruto and if Voltron counted as anime allura we need them
john doe on May 20, 2019:
Geku on May 19, 2019:
Koro-sensei's death was sad.
Anonymous on May 17, 2019:
Your lie in April was so sad... however, looking back through the tears, Kaori couldn’t have died happier... she achieved everything she had wanted in a life with a few short weeks, and I’m so happy that she did. Her death was by far the most sad for me, far surpassing how emotional I had been for any anime. It brings a slight frown not to see my favorite violinist up there...
Renè on May 08, 2019:
What about Break from Pandora Hearts?
Jay on May 05, 2019:
What about Kaori from Your Lie in April???????/
Jade on April 20, 2019:
Hide From Tokyo Ghoul?!!
Jemma on April 17, 2019:
Urm, how about Kaori and Koro-Sensei? They're like literally the only deaths I’ve cried about...
Jesus Kun on March 31, 2019:
Asuna's death is sadder than Yuuki's? In my opinion Yuuki's death was far more sad and I think many others would agree.
AnonymousAnimeLover on March 24, 2019:
where is ace's death and whitebeard ???
jeez those were the most emotional for me..
and also jiraya from naruto was also really emotional.
Derek on March 20, 2019:
I think ace's death in one piece should really be at the top of the list. There are a lot of emotional death in anime but ace's was the one that hurt the most to me.