Top 20 Saddest Anime Deaths



Top 20 Saddest Anime Deaths

VOICE OVER: Ashley Bowman WRITTEN BY: Alex Crilly-Mckean
Prepare to relive the feels and tears x 20! Join Ashley as he counts down the death scenes in anime that made every fan weep, as seen in such hit series as "Vinland Saga", "My Hero Academia", "Your Lie in April", "Naruto", "Gurren Lagann", "Gintama", "Death Note," "Fullmetal Alchemist", "Sword Art Online", "JoJo's Bizarre Adventure", and more!
Top 20 Saddest Deaths in Anime

They’re anime’s most dearly departed. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we are counting down our picks for the Top 20 Saddest Deaths in Anime.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the most heart-wrenching death scenes across the whole medium, with each departure creating a new void within our otaku hearts.

#20: Chiaki Nanami

“Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope’s Peak High School” (2016)

For all you gaming purists out there, just do yourself a favour, curl up into a ball, and pretend that what happened to best girl in this anime is non-canon. For the rest of you…you might as well do the same, anything to prevent the imminent despair of knowing that despite her conviction and confidence in her friends, Chiaki was still brutally killed at the murderous hand of Junko, who saw fit to throw her into a gauntlet of death, concluding with her getting impaled every which way. We need a new game plus, stat!

#19: Okita Mitsuba

“Gintama” (2006-18)

It takes a lot for the likes of the Shinsengumi to break down in tears, after all the majority of them are bumbling buffoons who only know how to slice up a fool when the time calls for it. Except in the case of Sougo’s sister, who proved herself to be a radiant figure who not only brough out the best in her mischievous little brother, but also earned Hijitaka’s affection. Throw in her love for all things spicy, and she was well on her way to becoming a top tier waifu…at least until she was crippled by illness, leaving her boys in black to wallow in grief.

#18: Yukishiro Tomoe

“Rurouni Kenshin: Trust & Betrayal” (1999)

Turns out the origins of the Manslayer’s infamous scar is intrinsically tied to the life and death of a certain lady, one who won his heart while also plotting to end him. After slaying her husband during an assassination mission, Kenshin found himself falling for the woman he had unknowingly turned into a widow. Things were made all the more awkward with Tomoe became just as infatuated with her former hubby’s killer. As you can imagine it all goes a bit pear shaped as the truths and murder plots are revealed, leading to Tomoe losing her life in the arms of the man she both adored and despised.

#17: Leomon

“Digimon Tamers” (2001-02)

Who says shows aimed at younger audience can’t deliver on the emotional punches? Not only did Tamers excel when it came to mature scenes and nightmare fuel, but also didn’t hold back when it came to traumatising death scenes! Case and point, when the wrathful Beelzemon decided to slay Jeri’s digital partner right in front of her via a front stab with his bare hand. Not only is it horrifying on every level, but this moment would serve as the catalyst that would lead to all future terrors involving the D-Reaper. Jeez, Leomon does not get a break once in the whole franchise.

#16: Bernard Wiseman

“Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket” (1989)

Throughout the 100 Year War, the Principality of Zeon was always presented as the elitist space assholes who didn’t care how many died for their cause. Then along came this little mini-series that explored the tried and true theme of how at the end of the day there are good people on both sides, with the war itself before the true villain at the end of the day. Nowhere was this more evident than with Bernie; a Zeon soldier with good soul determined to complete his mission and destroy a Gundam prototype. Not only does he fail and lose his life in the process, but he’s killed at the unknowing hands of the Federation soldier who he had fallen for…

#15: Shirley Fenette

“Code Geass” (2006-08)

With the Britannian Empire on one side and Zero’s rebellion on the other, it’s easy to forget just how many innocents were caught in the middle of the conflict, including the woman who could arguably be called Lelouch’s first true love. Naïve yet charming, Shirley was infatuated with her enigmatic prince from day one, only for the ongoing war to rob her of everything, including her father and eventually her own life. Watching Lelouch hopelessly use the Geass to try and resurrect her is quite possibly his lowest point, and all of it was made possible by that shit-lord Rolo!

#14: Caesar Zeppeli

“JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure” (2012-13)

Turns out there are only so many beautiful, beastly blonde Italians allowed in a JoJo series at one time, and while Giorno would go on to shine, the same can’t be said for Caesar, who tragically lost his life during a brutal brawl with the Pillar Man Wamuu, and while he was able to leave the last of his Hamon behind for Joseph, it wasn’t enough to prevent his unceremonious crushing at that hand of a cross-shaped rock. It’s a very JoJo way to go out, but it was still saddening to see Joseph lose his bromance in such a horrendous manner. Arrivederci.

#13: Sakunosuke Oda

“Bungo Stray Dogs” (2016-19)

Hard to believe that the mischievous yet ultimately kind-hearted Dazai was once a ruthless enforcer for the Port Mafia, but as we learned in the flashback arc, he was bad to the bone, left tethered to whatever shred humanity he had left thanks to his dear friend Odasaku – a paragon of virtue despite his own gunslinging profession. Alas, following the murder of the orphans in his care, Odasaku embarked on a self-destructive path of revenge, concluding with his own demise, but not before pleading with his friend to be a good man and leave the clutches of the Port Mafia. Needless to say, his words had a profound effect.

#12: Neji Hyuga

“Naruto: Shippuden” (2007-17)

Going from prideful prodigy to capable comrade, Neji had certainly come far since the days of beating the crap out of his cousin during the Chunin exams. With the war against Madara continuing to escalate, countless shinobi lost their lives due to the Uchiha’s top tier Jutsu, which happened to include a slew of giant splinters, some of which were aimed at Naruto and Hinata. In the ultimate display of devotion to his family, Neji chose to take the hit, losing his life soon after, but ensuring that the Will of Fire lived on.

#11: Korosensei

“Assassination Classroom” (2015-16)

Hard to believe that watching a giant, smiling yellow tentacle monster being stabbed would bring everyone to tears, but boy did it. Following his battle with the new Reaper, Korosensei is left at his most vulnerable, allowing Class E to finally complete their mission and kill him. Of course, it’s a tad difficult for Nagisa to land the final blow on account of how the creature had become not only a great teacher but also an integral figure in their lives, providing support and comfort when the world had shunned them. However, with some final words of encouragement, he’s finally able to go through with it. Que the waterworks.

#10: Ushio Okazaki

“Clannad: After Story” (2008-09)

Portraying the death of a child is never pleasant, though this sequel series decided to take it to the next level when it decided that it was time for this adorable bundle of innocence and joy to follow in the footsteps of her mother and jump off the mortal coil. Just as father and daughter were finally starting to bond in the wake of Nagisa’s death, the youngling soon succumbed to the same disease, passing away in the snow, while all her father can do is cradle her and fall into a fresh pit of despair. You were supposed to be a high school rom-com, anime!

#9: Kamina

“Gurren Lagann” (2007)

With his hatred of shirts, phenomenal speeches, and manliness that surpasses the heavens, Kamina made one of the strongest introductions in all of modern anime, which is whyhis sudden death so early on the series came as such a shock. Sure, this would give way for Simon to rise up as the true protagonist, but having to say goodbye to such a mad lad moments after he had declared his love for Yoko and was set to lead humanity into a new age of rebellion…yeah, we’re still not over it.

#8: Sir Nighteye

“My Hero Academia” (2016-)

The mission to save Eri and defeat Overhaul may have ended in success, but there were still monumental casualties on the hero’s side. Namely All Might’s former sidekick, whose wounds proved so grievous not even he couldn’t escape his doomed future. What makes his passing all the more of a tearjerker is his final words to Mirio, using his Quirk one last time to see into yet another future, content with the knowledge his protégé will go on to become a shining hero despite losing his powers, just as long as he keeps on smiling.

#7: Thors

“Vinland Saga” (2019)

While war and glory had once dominated his life as a Viking commander, ever since becoming a parent, Thors had remade himself into the pinnacle of goodwill and humbleness, wanting nothing more than to protect his family and spare them from the chains of violence. Alas, his own virtues proved to be his undoing, after Askeladd and his crew broke the rules of engagement and took Thorfinn hostage, forcing the true warrior to submit. And yet, despite being pelted with arrows, Thors not only still had the strength to die standing, but also inspire respect in someone as embittered as Askeladd! And just like that, one of the few morally decent men in this series passed on to Valhalla.

#6: Maes Hughes

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” (2009-10)

The only character we’d risk human transmutation to bring back, Maes Hughes’s sudden murder cast a huge shadow on this legendary series, with his incorruptible heart and compassionate nature sorely missed. His utter devotion to his family and endearing friendship with Roy Mustang often providing the sole bright spot as the darkness of the Homonculi continued to consume the land. And then Envy shape-shifted into his wife, caused him to drop his guard, and shot him dead. At the very least he was avenged in the most phenomenal manner possible.

#5: Kaori Miyazono

“Your Lie in April” (2014-15)

Because why just have a beautiful happily ever after romance laced together by the joy of music when you could have a tragedy that not only destroys both the main character and the audience, but also paves the way to an ending sequence that’s utterly breath-taking. As Kousei puts on the performance of his life, he witnesses what appears to be a spectre of Kaori playing alongside him – which means that the worse has happened, she’s died during her operation, and the girl he loved is now lost forever, with only the memory of her music and the lie she told in April to remember her by.

#4: L

“Death Note” (2006-07)

We all know the crux of what made this occult detective thriller such a gem was the battle of wits between the God of the New World and his ingenious oddball nemesis, with every move bringing them closer to either exposure or death. Despite coming within an inch of revealing Light’s secret and winning their little game, L tragically didn’t live to see the fruits of labours com to pass, all thanks to a rather insidious move by Kira when he used Rem’s protective nature for Misa to his advantage, having her kill the detective in a move that almost put the mass murderer at checkmate. He may have revelled in the demise of his rival, but we sure didn’t!

#3: Mitty

“Made in Abyss” (2017)

Think the death of a misshapen blob can’t make you cry? Well, you’d be dead wrong. Starting off as a creepy yet ultimately harmless creature that lives with the infinitely fluffier Nanachi, we soon learn that Mitty used to be a bubbly orphan just looking for a better life…until she was tricked by Bondrewd into taking part in his experiments, got exposed to the Curse of the Abyss, and was agonisingly transformed into her new hideous form. Unable to be killed by any conventional means, it fell to Reg and his incinerator to finally end her suffering. We knew it was for the best, and yet we still can’t stop weeping.

#2: Yuuki

“Sword Art Online II” (2014)

Who would have guessed that as soon as OP Lord Kirito left the building and let Asuna take the reins, it would give way to a truly bittersweet conclusion involving the death of her new bestie? While she was a bit of a beast in the virtual gaming sphere, back in the real world Yuuki was far from okay, not having much time left due to an incurable medical condition. However, instead of passing away in her clinical prison, Asuna and the rest of the players jacked her back into the game one last time so they can all say goodbye together, along with one hell of a view.

#1: Ace

“One Piece” (1999-)

This series has so many death scenes potent enough to break your heart in half that choosing one would normally be impossible, and yet even compared to the likes of Merry, Whitebeard and Corzaon, the end of Ace still stands tall as the most tragic moment in this shounen juggernaut’s history. After coming so far, overcoming so many enemies and even achieving the impossible of rescuing his big brother from his schedule execution, Luffy can only watch in horror as Ace stands in the way of an attack meant for him, giving his life so that his Straw Hat sibling can escape. We’re still not over it.
This list is completely wrong!
I can't believe they didn't include Miki from Devilman: Crybaby
I can't believe they didn't include Jiraiya from Naruto: Shippuden!
I can't believe neji died but how??????????????