It is very easy to become attached to characters in anime. They feel real. It is almost like they are living and breathing people as opposed to two-dimensional images on a screen. We share in their victories, their failures; their happiness, and their sadness. And, when we lose them, we feel that as well.
Here is my list of the top 5 saddest deaths in anime that shook me to the point of tears.
Kamina was the personification of this quote by Lao Tzu: “ The flame that burns twice as bright, burns half as long”. Loud, charismatic, and somewhat crazy, Kamina was loved by those who followed him and by us, the viewers, who watched his antics on screen. We all thought he was going to live up to the very end (and if you’re me, you thought he was the main frickin’ character). But it wasn’t meant to be.
While trying to capture the mobile fortress of a Divine General, Kamina sustains heavy injuries. He gets stabbed (to the point where he gets cut almost completely in half) and has a beam of energy shot straight through him. But, like the BAMF he is, Kamina powers through it to help his brother win the fight once and for all.
At the end of it all, he leaves his younger brother with these words: “Don’t believe in the Kamina who you believe in. Don’t believe in the Simon that I believe in. Believe in the Simon who believes in himself”. And then, he closes his eyes.
#2: Lieutenant Colonel Maes Hughes
Lieutenant Colonel Maes Hughes is, in my opinion, the most lovable character in the Fullmetal Alchemist franchise. He is quirky and goofy and he never takes his job too seriously until it becomes serious. What really characterizes him though is his unwavering and sometimes annoying love for his wife, Gracia Hughes, and his daughter, Elicia Hughes.
Lieutenant Hughes is a doting father and husband, to the point where he will pull out a picture of his daughter or wife for anyone and everyone to see. But it is that quirky personality trait that ultimately kills him.
After figuring out the plot surrounding him, he is first confronted by Lust, who wounds him. Then, he tries to place a call to Mustang but is confronted by Envy. Envy, being the detestable S.O.B that he is, transforms into Hughes’s wife and shoots him.
Even worse, Elicia’s reaction to her father’s death is so innocent and heart-wrenching that I can’t help but shed a tear every time I watch it.
#3: Portgas D. Ace
I barely have he words for this one…
Portgas D. Ace, older brother to Monkey D. Luffy, and Sabo, and grandchild to Monkey D. Garp was a character that we learned about mainly through flashbacks. However, what we learn about him through those flashbacks (and Luffy’s exposition about him) is that he is an amazing older brother. He’s rough around the edges and can have a bit of a temper if you push his buttons the wrong way, but he is devoted to his brothers and his crew.
The biggest part of Ace’s death though isn’t the death itself. The reactions that this death evoked were absolutely heartbreaking. Garp is being held down lest he murders Ace’s killer. The general shock and sadness and rage of the entire Whitebeard crew. And Luffy….(T_T)…that kid absolutely BROKE. He spends the rest of the episode wailing and, afterwards, just has this torn, shattered look on his face.
I’m sad just thinking about this shit.
Jiraiya the Gallant, Toad Sage of Mount Myoboku, noted author and professional pervert, and one of the three legendary Sannin, was one of my favorite characters in the entire Naruto series. He was fun-loving and humorous, but also deep and inspirational. Everyone, even people who detested some of his antics, loved him. He was a mentor, a father figure, and a friend to so many. Which is what made his death so terrible.
Jiraiya was killed in action while investigating Pein (or Pain), the leader of Amegakure. We find out later that his killer was actually one of his former students. What was striking for me was the brutality with which he was killed. He was beaten to a pulp and then stabbed by six rods at once. In true Jiraiya fashion though, he manages to get a message out to Konoha. After which he gets blasted by one of the Paths and sinks to the bottom of a body of water.
If that isn’t horrible enough, news of his death makes the tough as nails Godaime Hokage, Tsunade, weep. It makes Naruto, a character with the capability to love and accept everyone, blame Tsunade for sending Jiraiya to his death and also consider ending Nagato’s life.
5: Makarov Dreyar
Whether you are a fan of Fairy Tail or not, Makarov, the third master of the guild, is worthy of your respect. He is a man defined solely by his love of the guild he was raised in and looked after. Affectionately referring to all the members of the guild as his children, Makarov was the father figure that so many of the people who came to guild needed.
During the war with the Alvarez Empire, the guild gets overrun by the enemy forces. Hearing Erza scream that they are getting back to their guild no matter what the cost prompts Makarov to assume the stance to use Fairy Law, a spell that destroys everyone that the user deems an enemy, at the cost of his own life. He even goes so far as to tell off Mavis, stating that if his old life can be used to ensure the future of the young lives on the battlefield, then he will gladly do so. The magic ultimately kills him, turning him into a husk of a statue, but not before he bestows parting words to his guild.
“No matter what hardships lie ahead, you will find a path to walk forward together. Trust your friends. Trust yourself. A guild is a family. Never forget that. My journey has been a truly delightful one thanks to all of you!”
FUN FACT: I actually had to watch all of these scenes over again to write this post. I’ve been crying for a whole hour.