Hello and welcome to Project Nitsuj. Death, is unfortunately a part of life. Whether we like it or not, we are all going to die one day. Anime is no stranger to death as artist and creators have shown numerous times they’re not afraid to kill off one of their characters in order to get a rise out of us or shake up the story. Some of these deaths put a smile on our face because it’s a character who we either hate or can’t stand and some of these deaths have been known to cause us to breakdown and shed tears over the death of someone we really cared for. These deaths may be tragic but they’re worth looking over and talking about why they were so tragic. I’m Nitsuj and these are the top 11 saddest anime deaths.
#11. Vegeta’s death from DBZ
If you’re a character in the DBZ universe chances are you’ve died at least once in the series and the saddest death of them all had to be Vegeta’s first death at the hands of Freiza. During the Namek arc, Vegeta was quickly becoming everyone’s favorite character. He was a badass who single-handedly took down all of Freiza’s men one after the other including the Ginyu Force, Freiza’s most elite troops. But despite all of this he failed to win the fight that mattered to him the most, his fight with Freiza. This fight meant everything to Vegeta, this was his chance to avenge the Saiyan race that was so brutally murdered at the hands of Freiza and yet despite his best efforts he’s still nowhere close to defeating Freiza who beats him, insults him, humiliates him, and finally kills him in a dishonorable way. While it’s true Goku defeated Freiza making Vegeta’s wish come true to know that Freiza died at the hands of a Saiyan, this meant more to Vegeta than it did Goku. Goku really has no recollection of the Saiyan race while Vegeta did, he was proud of his Saiyan heritage and wore his pride as a Saiyan like a badge of honor. While many people will argue that Vegeta’s second death is the better death, this death shows him at his most vulnerable. Defeated, broken, at death’s door, and having no choice but to ask his rival to succeed where he failed. To see Vegeta come so far only to fail and lose in the one fight that mattered to him the most is quite heartbreaking.
#10. Nanami’s death from Danganronpa 3: Despair Arc
The Despair Arc gave us the backstory into how the world fell into despair and the final piece to that despair was the death of Nanami. Nanami’s death is one of the most brutal deaths ever put into an anime. Trying to save her classmates and teacher, Nanami enters a dungeon filled with deadly traps getting stabbed, cut, beaten and bleeding all over with the only thing driving her is the hope that she’ll see her friends and teacher once again. Just when it seems like she’s going to win, that all this pain was worth it, despair creeps in and deals the finishing blow to her and us the audience are left crushed and speechless at what we just saw. This death is so sad! To see such a sweet girl who bought her class together and just wanted to have fun with everyone die at the hands of some crazy bitch just pulls at the heartstrings and even as she’s dying knowing full well she’s lost, she still tries to help the boy she possibly likes.
#9. Kamina’s death from Gurren Lagann
One of the most shocking deaths to ever take place in an anime. Up until his death, Kamina was seen as the main character of the series. While a lot of the focus was on Simon, we all found ourselves being drawn to Kamina just for his character and personality. He was reckless and hotheaded at times but at the same time he was brave, inspiring, and fearless. All the qualities you would expect to see in a leader were in Kamina so when he dies so early and in the first real battle of the anime it’s very shocking. Many people figured that his death would come in the second to last battle where Simon had matured and become a man who could stand on his own and side by side with Kamina but instead he dies early and we see the pain, anger, and sadness Simon goes through. One could say that this death help Simon mature faster and become the leader he was meant to be while others say this death happened way too early in the series. Either way, this death was shocking and left a lot of people crying. In other words, a job well done anime.
#8. Yuuki’s death from SAO
You can hate on SAO all you want but no one can deny that this death had you crying. Yuuki, according to Kirito, was hands down the best player online. This means that if Yuuki had been trapped in SAO along with Kirito and the others, chances are she would have been the main character and hero of the series instead of Kirito. What makes Yuuki’s death so tragic was that she died by aids a real-life disease that claims thousands and millions of lives. She didn’t die by some unknown illness nor by a made-up illness that most animes do, she died by a real illness and that just hits home with all of us. Yet, despite this illness Yuuki lived each day to the fullest smiling, laughing, and enjoying every second of life and even when she dies she gets one of the best send offs of all time as everyone in the game comes in, gathers around, and prays for her acknowledging that she was the best player in ALO and nobody will forget her. Hopefully, when it’s my time to go I can face it like Yuuki did.
#7. Jiraya’s death from Naruto
A fan favorite among the fans, you think the last thing the author would do is kill off one of his most popular characters. But no, Kishimoto proved he’s not afraid to make fans cry all for the sake of the story and the development of the main character. Jiraya’s death was a big blow to Naruto, this was the closest thing he had to a father-figure in his life. While it’s true he had Kakashi and Iruka, those two were more like big brothers than fathers. Jiraya knew Naruto’s parents and he trained Naruto’s dad so it only makes logical sense that Naruto would come under the tutelage of Jiraya in the future and while their relationship started off rocky the two quickly came to respect each other with Jiraya seeing a lot of himself in Naruto. Even as he’s dying and realizes all the failures in his life he realizes that there’s one thing he can proud of and that’s Naruto, his last student, his best student, and his favorite student.
#6. Koro-Sensei’s death from Assassination Classroom
Going into Assassination Classroom we all knew what the outcome of this series was going to be. We all knew somehow someway Koro-Sensei was going to die, it was expected. What we didn’t expect however was falling in love with this character. Koro-Sensei was that teacher we all dreamt of having. A teacher who was funny, fair, inspiring, encouraging, challenging and most importantly someone who made his students better people in the world. Hell, even when he dies he gives them a book to help them through their lives. This was a person that everyone going into the field of education should strive to be like. Not physically but character wise. As the series went on and we kept seeing all the deeds and actions he did for his students to make them better people, we all kept hoping that by some miracle he would be allowed to live at the end of the series but no he dies. But even in his death he dies going out on his terms and that’s dying by the hands of his students the same students he helped teach and watched mature for over a year. I don’t think he could have asked for a better death.
#5. Otonashi’s death from Angel Beats
Otonashi’s death is not only one of the saddest anime deaths but also one of the most inspirational deaths of all time. After the death of his little sister, Otonashi decided it was time to get his life together so he started hitting the books, getting good grades, and soon found himself on the fast track to medical school only to have tragedy strike him. While traveling on a train an accident occurs where the train gets trapped in a tunnel with no way out. Many are dead and the remaining are all injured and scared but it’s Otonashi who brings everyone together and gives them hope. But despite his efforts, days if not weeks go by without rescue and as everyone slowly starts to die Otonashi takes out his ID card and makes himself a donor saying that if he’s going to die he’s going to make sure his body can be used to save someone else and this act inspires everyone in the tunnel to make themselves donors. This scene is so amazing and well-done. Finally, help comes and it seems like everyone is going to make it out alive except for Otonashi who unfortunately dies seconds before the rescue party arrives. This whole experience fills you with so many emotions that it’s hard to put into words how you feel you just have to experience it firsthand and see what I mean.
#4. Bols’s death from Akame ga Kill
Akame ga Kill is like the anime version of Game of Thrones. Everybody including the main characters has a death flag hanging over their heads and at any time they could die and the series would go on as if it was nothing. Hands down the saddest death in this series isn’t the death of a main character but rather the death of a villain. Bols was a soldier of the Empire but unlike all the other villains in this series he was fully aware that his actions were wrong and evil and knew that someday he would have to pay for them. But despite knowing this he still added a bit of happiness in his life in the form of his loving wife and child which makes his death even more tragic because he’s leaving them behind. He’ll never get a chance to embrace his wife again or see his daughter grow into a beautiful woman. I know he was a villain but he felt remorse for his actions and if there was one villain who deserved to walk out of all of this alive it’s Bols.
#3. Nagisa’s death from Clannad
You all know about this death. If we’re talking about sad deaths in anime you’ve got to mention this death. Nagisa was born with a frail body yet despite this tried to live every day to the fullest and wound up marrying her high school sweetheart and got pregnant. Because of a snowstorm she can’t make it to the hospital so she has to give birth to her child in her own home where it’s just too much strain on her frail body that she dies giving birth to her baby girl and Tomoya is now a single father who just lost the one person who gave his life meaning. Nagisa’s death is sad because you want her and Tomoya to be happy and catch a break in life and just when it seems like everything is going their way and they’re going to have a life full of happiness reality just pulls it away like some kind of twisted joke. Clannad, one of the only animes in existence that can make the toughest of grown men break down and cry.
#2. Hughes’s death from FMA: Brotherhood
Another death you’ve got to mention when talking about sad deaths in anime. Hughes was one of those guys who just came and stole the show. Every time he was on screen you knew it was gonna be a good scene. Hughes’s death happens when he figures out what the Homunculus are planning way before everyone else (we’re talking 20+ episodes here) and trying to inform Mustang only to get stopped by Envy who kills him all while looking like his wife. How messed up is that? Yes, Hughes knows that’s not really his wife but still to kill him while looking and sounding like his wife that’s got to hurt him mentally. Surprisingly, it’s not the actual murder of Hughes that’s the saddest part of his death, it’s the funeral. As he’s being lowered into the group his precious daughter is crying out don’t put him down there under the impression that he’s still alive and everyone just stays quiet while crying silently covering their faces because they don’t know what to say or rather how can they tell this innocent child that her dad is dead and never coming back. FMA had a lot of tragic scenes but Hughes’s death will be the most tragic because we lost a great character and the aftermath of his death was so brilliantly tragic and emotional all in one.
And the number one saddest anime death is. . .
#1. Isla’s death from Plastic Memories
This whole anime is tragic and it all builds up to the death of Isla. In this futuristic world, we see that humans live side by side with androids who thanks to technology have human emotions however these androids have a lifespan of roughly 9 ½ years and need to be picked up and shutdown otherwise they’ll go on a violent rampage. As you can guess during those 9 years the owners of the androids develop a bond with their androids and refuse to give them up when their lifespan is almost up. For Tsukasa this is no exception despite the fact that he’s part of the division responsible for ceasing and capturing these androids. We see that his partner is an android named Isla who is also nearing the end of her lifespan but keeps it a secret in order to spare Tsukasa’s feelings. But of course he finds out about it and figures out that he’s in love with Isla. So the two become a couple with Isla also developing feelings for Tsukasa and they spend the last of Isla’s lifespan going on dates and making fun memories with each other until the time has finally come and it’s time for Isla to be shutdown. Like I said before this whole series is just one big tragic story where you see everyone lose something they love, have to accept it and the people who feel it the worst are the people who are left living. Tsukasa has it the worst of all because he lost the person he loved and wanted to spend his life with. It’s the equivalent of dating a terminally ill patient and not having long to spend with them but making each second count until the last breath. Everyone who has watched this anime has cried (myself included) because of how well-done and tragic it is. Plastic Memories is an anime that teaches us to value every second we have with the people in our lives because you never know when they might be gone or even when you might be gone.
Well those are my saddest anime deaths. Sorry to be such a downer this week but Memorial Day is around the corner and it’s important to take time to remember the people we lost in our lives and spend time with the people that are still in our lives. You never know when you or them might leave. We’ll be going back to the bright and funny stuff next week, I promise. Until then, thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time on Project Nitsuj.
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