It goes without saying, but… SPOILERS AHOY!!! If you don’t want your anime spoiled then read no further!
Then let’s start.
No complaining from here on out!
10. Itachi –Naruto
Itachi went from being the number one Naruto villain to everyone’s favourite big brother in the space of one manga chapter. For a long time, Itachi was known as the dude who killed almost all of his clan in order to “test his powers”. Then the twist came – he did it to prevent a coup d’état by his clan that would have no doubt caused the deaths of countless innocents and possibly started a world war. Turns out he wasn’t so bad a guy after all. Too bad we only learn of his noble side as he was dying of a terminal illness…
9. Lelouch – Code Geass
Another evil-but-really-noble character, Lelouch arranges for his friend to assassinate him in front of an audience. The hope is to cause the entire world’s hatred to be focussed on Lelouch, allowing everyone to focus on stuff other than killing and starting wars and beating up your relatives.
To this day people debate whether Lelouch did indeed die or not. Whatever the case, his death (or fake death) has certainly left an impact on fans everywhere.
8. Ace D. Portgas – One Piece
Ace is Luffy’s adopted brother, a noble pirate and the son of the Pirate King Gol D. Rogers. This bloodline is what gets him in trouble, when he’s captured and sentenced to death. A polite young man who dearly treasured his family (even his adopted family) and friends, he sacrifices himself to save Luffy. For a manga as carefree as One Piece, Ace’s death came as a big shock to many.
7. Kamina – Gurren Lagann
Who the hell do you think I am?!
A dead guy, that’s who.
One who died in the most epic way, of course. Someone like Kamina wouldn’t go down without looking cool and making a motivational speech first.
6. Yuuki – Sword Art Online 2
The “Mother’s Rosario” episode is what a lot of fans regard as one of the best Sword Art episodes. Yuuki was a powerful swordsman who had evened defeated Kirito, and had earned the nickname of “Absolute Sword”. In real life, Yuuki was infected with AIDS and had been hospitalised. Playing ALfheim Online as part of the hospital’s rehabilitation plan for terminally ill patients, she made friends with Asuna, Kirito and many others. When her condition deteriorated, Yuuki chose to spend her last moments in ALfheim, surrounded by thousands of players.
5. Grave of the Fireflies
Chronicling the effects of the Second World War on two children, many could say this is Isao Takehata’s magnum opus. As we watch older brother Seita and the little sister Setsuko struggle to survive, it’s hard not to feel emotionally invested. Just as the war ends, Setsuko succumbs to malnutrition, and Seita too dies only a few weeks later. Though we knew from the start that Seita was dead – and that this movie wouldn’t be a particularly happy one – it’s still a painful moment that has seen many strong adult men burst into tears.
4. Maes Hughes – Fullmetal Alchemist
I’ve seen people say that the worst thing about there being the Fullmetal Alchemist manga and two anime adaptations is that we get to see Hughes die three times.
Alternating between a badass knife-throwing soldier and an embarrassingly over-doting father, Maes captured the hearts of many viewers. He never hesitates to show off photos of his wife and child, which unfortunately leads to his undoing. He is shot by Envy, a homunculus who can take on the shape of other people… Envy had taken on the form of Hughes’ wife.
3. L – Death Note
L dies! This spoiler is up there with the legendary “Dumbledore dies”.
L is a brilliant detective who, conversely, is not at all brilliant at eating healthily, standing up straight or being social at all. One of the few people brilliant enough to face up to Kira, it isn’t long before he nearly has Light Yagami (Kira) cornered. In what could be seen as a total fluke, L is killed by a Shinigami. His death marked the second act of the Death Note series and also crushed a lot of fans hearts.
By the way, Light dies too. Just in case you didn’t know.
2. Mami – Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Well, theoretically basically everyone in Madoka Magica is dead, depending on the time line. And sure, in the end, Mami comes back to life (whilst Sayaka stays dead). But Mami’s death was a death that no-one saw coming. What seemed to be a typical Magical Girl anime became a depressing, no holds barred adventure into the land of “heart? Pfft! You don’t need your heart!”. Thanks, Urobochi.
1. Spike – Cowboy Bebop
My first exposure to Spike’s death was standing in a video shop, listening as some elder girls looked at a copy of Cowboy Bebop. (A side note: I had never seen Cowboy Bebop and only knew of it in passing.)
The conversation went something like this:
“When Spike died, I couldn’t stop crying!”
“Me too! I was so upset.”
“I can’t believe he died.”
That conversation probably happened around 10 years ago, and I’m sure their wounds are still raw to this day.
Did your favourite (or perhaps least favourite, seeing as none of us like seeing characters die) death get mentioned here? Let your spoilers swim free in the comments section!
Until next month, here’s looking at you, space cowboys…