Top 10 Anime Main Character Deaths
Top 10 Anime Main Character Deaths

Top 10 Anime Main Character Deaths

VOICE OVER: Ashley Bowman WRITTEN BY: Jonathan Alexander
These guys forgot their plot armor. Join Ashley as we look over the times where anime protagonists jumped off the mortal coil, as seen in series such as "Dragon Ball", "JoJo's Bizarre Adventure", "Mobile Suit Gundam", and more!

Script written by Jonathan Alexander

Top 10 Anime Main Character Deaths

Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Anime Main Character Deaths.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the anime protagonists that didn’t make it out of their own series alive. Naturally, expect plenty of spoilers ahead.

Let us know in the comments which of these funerals caught you most by surprise!

#10: Goku

“Dragon Ball” Franchise (1986-)

This hyperactive Saiyan may be known for routinely saving the world, but he’s also vacationed to HFIL on more than one occasion. He died twice in “Z” alone, one of which was in the first five episodes of the series. While he’s had even less luck in other timelines, at least he can boast that both his deaths in the main canon were self-sacrifices. Neither Cell nor Raditz truly succeeded, especially since some certain wish-granting balls mean Goku’s death has yet to truly stick. While he may be more intimately familiar with the afterlife than most, rest assured Goku has as much of a knack for dramatic entrances as he does tearful goodbyes.

#9: Jonathan Joestar

“JoJo's Bizarre Adventure” (2012-)

If one thing’s for certain, it’s that this titular family has a flair for the dramatic, even in death. Once a mere not-so-friendly rivalry, an ancient mask and some vampire shenanigans led to Dio and Jonathan’s conflict ending with a literal bang. The explosive ending is appropriately flashy, somber, and fun in the way only “Jojo’s” can be. Even though the series and Dio have continued long past his death, Jonathan can rest in peace knowing that by saving his wife and child, he beat Dio where it counts.

#8: Tatsumi

“Akame Ga Kill” (2014)

It’s incredibly telling that in his final moments, the main concern of this would-be assassin is that he can’t keep a promise to a friend. Given how The Night Raid had already suffered massive losses, seeing Tatsumi join them was just salt in the wound. At the very least, he went out in the only way that feels true to character: by defending the Capital and the people he loves…from a giant feudal mecha. While he never got to see the future he fought so valiantly for, it’s safe to say that Akame’s victory would’ve made him proud.

#7: Ichirou Inuyashiki

“Inuyashiki” (2017)

One tragedy wasn’t enough for this emotional finale. After his mortal enemy Hiro self-detonates to stop an asteroid from destroying the planet, Ichirou is left with the terrifying realization that it wasn’t enough. After a devastating last phone call with Naoyuki, the elderly cyborg understands that there’s no real choice between himself and everything he loves. The scene doesn’t indulge itself by showing his demise, but it doesn’t need to for the ending to work. Instead it delivers a bittersweet montage backed by gorgeous music to emphasize the beauty that he sacrificed himself to preserve.

#6: Mikazuki Augus

“Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans” (2015)

Even if it ends with bitter defeat, it’s hard not to be a little impressed at the Devil of Tekkadan’s inspiring final stand. Outnumbered, outgunned, and out of luck, it becomes dispiritingly clear that Mika has no real chance of beating Gjallarhorn. But that doesn’t stop him from trying. Not even a handful of axes to the face can stop him from exceeding Barbatos’ limiters one last time for an epic, breathlessly exhilarating final flurry. And yet, his eventual demise to blood loss is mercifully quiet, giving a tranquil finish to someone who had seen more than their fair share of war.

#5: Akira Fudo

“Devilman Crybaby” (2018)

It’s hard to maintain a healthy relationship dynamic when one of them is a Devilman, and the other is the reincarnation of Satan. But their bromantic quarrel is a bit higher-stakes than most, considering the whole fate of the world hangs in the balance. Ryo can’t destroy humanity without killing the one soul he’s ever adored, and Akira can’t save it without killing his oldest friend. The latter’s mournful death isn’t a victory for either of them, and even though Ryo won, in the end all he can do is cry. At least until God nukes the planet to start the cycle all over again.

#4: Kamina

“Gurren Lagann” (2007-08)

For all intents and purposes, the former leader of team Dai-Guren should have been the hero of this story. After so much build up, Kamina meets an abrupt end a third of the way through the series in a moment that officially passes the torch to the next generation. But, of course, Kamina wasn’t going to leave without a killer goodbye. It’s an unforgettable sendoff that says goodbye to Dai-Guren’s original captain, while tempting Simon to take up the mantle of he who drills through the heavens.

#3: Light Yagami

“Death Note” (2006-07)

At the end of his reign of terror, the so-called God of the New World went out with a whimper, not a bang. When the savant murderer is finally cornered, Light’s icy exterior melts until he’s no longer Kira at all, but just a spoiled brat throwing a tantrum. There’s something almost pitiable about the way he hysterically runs from his fate with no hope, plan, or dignity left. With his pride and body both damaged beyond repair, it comes as a mercy when Ryuk finally scribbles his name in the Death Note. A God no more, there’s at least poetic justice that Kira died to the same fabled Note he used to kill.

#2: Spike Spiegel

“Cowboy Bebop” (1998-99)

This guy even makes dying look cool. After Julia’s death, there’s really only one path left for Spike, and that’s to kill Vicious, or die trying. The final confrontation is a drawn-out, climactic beatdown bolstered by two characters with nothing left to lose. The epic, weighty duel ends with both mortally wounded, but Spike walks away the undisputed winner, if only for a few moments. However, he doesn’t seem too choked up about that, still finding the strength to let loose one last “bang”. Sauve until the end.

#1: Lelouch vi. Britannia

“Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion” (2006-07)

With the entire world under his control, the only enemy left for this tyrannical Geass user to defeat was himself. Lelouch played the part of a dictatorial leader to perfection, and those theatrics paid off with a grand yet tragic twist that reframes his whole story. As fitting as it is for Suzaku to deal the finishing blow, neither probably expected him to do it under Zero’s mask. But that was all a part of Lelouch’s grand plan to unite the world against one villain, and in doing so, usher in real peace. In sacrificing not just his life, but his legacy as well, Lelouch destroyed the corrupt world and laid the foundation for something better.