They Still Had So Much To Life For!
Sometimes a character’s death in an anime ends up becoming one its most defining moments, a focal point that fans can’t help but well up over. That is, if it’s done properly. Other times the departure of a beloved character just serves to anger a whole lot of viewers over how needless it was!
#5: Neji Hyūga
“Naruto: Shippuden” (2007-17)
Naruto’s Chūnin Exams fight against Neiji is one of the show’s defining moments. While the marginalized protagonist refused to be constrained by social status or fate, Neiji was a prodigy who believed destiny could not be altered, although the ninja’s ideology weakens thanks to Naruto’s infectious attitude. Largely ignored throughout the majority of “Shippuden,” Neiji was the most significant casualty of the Fourth Shinobi World War, and Kishimoto confirmed this death was done to help strengthen Hinata and Naruto’s relationship. One could say it was Neiji’s destiny to be used as a stepping stone by other characters.
There is no honor in war, but that does not mean Kiritsugu’s cowardly strategy shouldn’t be scrutinized. Summoned as Kayneth’s Servant for the Holy Grail War, Lancer is a noble knight who would never even contemplate using underhanded tactics to win a battle. Spread across multiple episodes, Saber and Lancer engage in various duels throughout “Fate/Zero,” but fans were deprived of a decisive match. While the warriors prepared for their final fight, Kiritsugu captures Kayneth’s fiance and forces Lancer to commit suicide in exchange for the woman’s life. Lancer goes out cursing everyone involved and the Servant’s anger is completely justified.
#3: Kid, Zorthy, Iraak, Makken, Jorgun, and Balinbow
“Gurren Lagann” (2007)
Gainax’s anime never shied away from axing off characters, but was there really any need to kill six characters in the same episode? Gearing up for the final conflict against the Anti-Spirals, Team Dai-Gurren knew casualties had to be expected. In order to stress the finality of the situation, “Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann’s” minor characters began dropping like flies, which would have been fine if the deaths were spread out. Due to these six falling during the opening space battle against the Anti-Spirals, the last three episodes had to make do with a fairly thin cast.
#2: Lafter Frankland
“Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans” (2015-17)
Death is always a mecha battle away in Sunrise’s anime. While most are hard to sit through but effective, Lafter’s passing felt manipulative and trivial. A fantastic pilot with an optimistic nature and an endearing personality, Lafter shows signs of maturity throughout the series, and this character development seemed set to continue. Then, out of nowhere, Lafter is randomly shot while out shopping, wasting any hope tied to the character. To add insult to injury, the villain behind the cheap hit barely lasts another episode, making Lafter’s death practically pointless.
“Akame ga Kill!” (2015-16)
Despite what might be implied by the title, Akame is not the main protagonist for 99% of this show. After catching up to the manga, “Akame Ga Kill!” decided to do its own thing for the last handful of episodes, and things quickly spiraled out of control. Just one of many characters to die in quick succession, Tatsumi – the anime’s real protagonist – defeats the enemy’s strongest Teigu but dies moments later trying to protect some civilians. With an episode to go and various villains left to slay, Tatsumi’s premature death seemed like it was done purely for shock-value. Do yourself a favor and read the manga.
Be sure to check out the video below to see our picks for the Top 10 Times Anime Went Too Far.