Anime is a medium that has been on the rise in the last few years. And how couldn’t it? With beautiful animation and captivating storytelling, it’s easy to get lost in a trance and binge, multiple anime shows a day. Sometimes a binge could leave you leaving your couch with a few tears though. Time and time again an anime show has built up your relationship with a character only to end it without any sort of warning or hint. They build up a character to become a fan favorite and suddenly they have a sword through their hearts or they’ve sacrificed themselves to let a smaller character take the limelight and get some character development. It’s happened to us more than a few times. And we remember each and every one. These are anime deaths that shocked us and left us reaching for a box of tissues. (Warning: This post contains spoilers for various anime)
Erwin – Attack on Titan
Every anime has that one character that you feel is the foundation for the more sensible part of the characters. The one who plans and is strategic. For Attack on Titan, that character was Erwin. Every scout in the regiment put their hopes on his shoulders. He led them to victory countless times and he kept them motivated even when the world crumbled around them. This is why when he contemplates risking his life or living to see what is behind the door we can’t help but feel for his character. Erwin is human like everyone else. He craves to understand why so many of his men have died and strongly believes that it is behind that door. This is why he launched such a dangerous mission in the first place. But he realizes that to see that dream through he will have to sacrifice himself and most of his scout regiment. That he will add to the number of bodies that have taken their last breath under his orders. It’s an emotional moment as we see him lead his army once more in a charge that cost him his life at the hands of the beast titan.
Ace – One Piece
Family is a common theme in a lot of anime. This is why we see so many sacrifices being made. They want to protect the future and dreams of those they love. They usually bring a tear to our eyes but none of them hit quite as hard as Ace’s death in the Marineford arc of One Piece. Luffy had made his way to Marineford with one goal in mind, rescue Ace. The whitebeard pirates joined and so did many others to fight one of the strongest powers in the world, the Marines. It was an epic battle where many of the strongest people we’ve ever seen in One Piece made themselves known. But when everything seemed to be going right and it looked like Ace and Luffy were going to make a getaway. Akainu attacked Luffy with his magma hands. Luffy unaware was too slow to react, but Ace wasn’t. He saved his brother at the cost of his own life. A moment that left us reaching for every tissue in the box.
Jiraya – Naruto Shippuden
Seeing the relationship between Naruto and Jiraya build-up through so many episodes. To finally see Naruto find a mentor that will show him the way and take him and his own son. Only for that to be ripped away from him by someone who he should have considered a brother? Yeah, we cried. The death of Jiraya filled us with emotions because it was at the hands of a former student and during a time where his presence was needed in the lives of so many. It still chokes us up a little.
L – Death Note
Many would argue that the best part of Death Note was the intellectual battle between L and Light. They were each trying to get one step ahead of the other and respect each other in a sense. Light was trying to hide the fact that he was Akira while L honed in on him and tried to find substantial evidence that would incriminate him. Unfortunately, L found out too late and his name was put in the Death Note before he could say something. A moment that really threw us for a loop since we were sure that he would be there until the end of the series.
Kamina – Gurren Lagan
Kamina is the hero we deserved but unfortunately weren’t able to get. Gurren Lagan is a constant emotional tole on the viewer but when Kamina was killed it really just took us a while to recompose ourselves. It was shocking because just when you think that everything is alright and that the gang was able to win with Kamina’s incredible last strike but when we go to celebrate we see Kamina’s lifeless body smiling. It was one of the more shocking ways that we saw it presented. You feel that warmth from seeing these incredible maneuvers and suddenly the anime does a 180 on you. It’s hurtful. We’re still hurt.
Kaori – Your lie in April
We all felt that this one would turn out how it did right? Maybe. Through Your Lie In April you’re following Kousei and his journey in finding his sound again. You get so caught up in his journey through competitions and with his pieces that you tend to forget Kaori and what she’s going through. It’s not until the later episodes where Kaori is mostly hospitalized that you begin to feel for her and how she can’t be in her favorite spot in the audience supporting her friends. Then you see her appear during Kousei’s last performance during the show. Signifying that she had passed away and was bidding her farewell to Kousei. It was such a beautiful moment that it just turns us into a tear-filled mess. We wanted her to succeed and even though the cards seem to point one way we held onto that hope. It was a really heavy moment but the anime presented it beautifully.