When it comes to anime, nothing can prepare fans for their favorite character’s death. From shonen to shojo, the anime industry does not spare any grief when it comes to pulling on heartstrings. Over the decades, hundreds of fan-favorite characters have met their shocking ends, and audiences are still reeling from many of those deaths.
Over in Japan, the anime fandom recently had a chance to vote for the industry’s most shocking deaths - and votes poured in faster than tears. Goo Ranking polled fans about their traumas, and the results have come in.
Before the top five deaths can be addressed, it’s worth noting the full list of passings. Fans will note plenty of familiar names made the list with Maes Hughes, Kite, and Krillin all making the list.
In the tenth spot, fans have Raoh from Fist of the North Star. The burly warrior was the eldest adopted son of Ryuken. As a main character, fans watched as the deadly fighter chose to sacrifice himself after Roah loses a match to his younger brother Kenshiro. When the elder realizes Kenshiro’s soul has become more powerful than his own, Raoh uses his own life-force to clean the world and passes away with no regrets.
Of course, Maes Hughes is also a characters whose passing has often stunned anime fans. The character became a favorite in Fullmetal Alchemist thanks to his unwavering loyalty and goofy behavior. A family man through-and-through, Hughes was murdered by the Homunculi after he got too close to discovering their genocidal plot whilst helping out his best friend Roy Mustang.
If you want to read up on some of the deaths which shocked fans even more so, then you can scroll through the slides below - but be warned! The memories may make you want to grab a tissue or twelve.
Neon Genesis Evangelion fans still have not reconciled themselves with the sudden death of Kaworu Nagisa. The character may not have had heaps of screen time, but his presence in the show was important. Kaworu was the only one of Shinji’s peers who sought him out with purely selfless friendship in mind. So, when fans learned Kaworu was the final Angel and has hijacked Unit-02, it was Shinji who was forced to stop his friend. Piloting Unit-01, fans watched as Shinji battled Kaworu before the latter realized his mission was all for nothing. With his true identity discover, Kaworu lets Shinji kill him as Unit-01 crushes him with its massive mecha hand. The death leaves Shinji bereft, and fans only grieved harder as they watched the protagonist crumble under the death’s weight.
Code Geass has been off-air for some time, but that doesn’t mean the death of the show’s main character hurts any less. When Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2 debuted, fans did not see the death of Lelouch Lamperogue coming. The character began the season as an amnesiac. When he finally resumes his vigilante work as Zero, Lelouch realizes his alter ego can inspire more good in the world than he can as the Emperor of Britannia. As such, Lelouch makes himself into a villain as he uses his power to become the world’s ruler and promises a public execution for the Black Knight heads. However, behind the scenes, Lelouch planned to have his comrade Suzaku disguise himself as Zero. The other would then kill Lelouch at the public execution, making Zero into a hero while Lelouch died a villain. And, when the deed is put into play, fans were left feeling cheated by the stunning turn of events.
When fans witnessed the brutal death of Mami Tomoe, they knew Puella Magi Madoka Magica was not some Sailor Moon knockoff. No, the gruesome death was shocking to the core, and it left fans blindsided thanks to its genre-bending violence. In Madoka Magica, audiences meet Mami after the elder magical girl introduces herself to Madoka and Sayaka. As a mentor, she explains how the magical girl system works before Mami invites them to battle the witch Charlotte. It is there where Mami shows off her magical gifts, but she becomes greedy after she realizes her new friends will ensure she never fights alone again. Drunk off the realization, Mami becomes reckless and ultimately becomes vulnerable to Charlotte. The witch is able to land an attack with decapitates the bubbly magical girl, leaving her corpse to thud to the ground which Charlotte then eats before Mami’s newfound friends.
Portgas D. Ace
When it comes to anime deaths, there are few passings more tragic than that of Portgas D. Ace. The character’s death was necessary as it helped Monkey D. Luffy recoup his training in One Piece, but the emotional toll was hard on fans. As the Fire Fist pirate, Portgas acted as Luffy’s adopted brother before he went off to become a real pirate. Having joined up with the Whitebeard Pirates, Portgas was eventually hunted by the World Government for his lineage. As the only son of the late pirate king Gol D. Roger, Portgas did his best to evade the navy. Still, he was eventually caught and sentenced to death. The Battle of Marineford then broke out when the pirates tried to save Portgas from the navy, and Luffy did manage to free his brother. But, when Luffy was about to be killed by Akainu, Portgas stood in the way and gave his life to save his little brother.