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Top 10 Saddest Cartoon Deaths

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Mark Sammut
These characters might be animated, but our tears were real. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Saddest Cartoon Deaths on TV. For this list, we’re looking at devastating cartoon losses that broke our collective hearts. While some of these characters were resurrected, the focus is specifically on the death scenes. It should go without saying, but spoilers will be unavoidable.
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These characters might be animated, but our tears were real. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Saddest Cartoon Deaths on TV.

For this list, we’re looking at devastating cartoon losses that broke our collective hearts. While some of these characters were resurrected, the focus is specifically on the death scenes. It should go without saying, but spoilers will be unavoidable.

#10: Sarah Lynn
“BoJack Horseman” (2014-)

Starring a washed-up former sitcom star who happens to be an anthropomorphic horse, Netflix's cartoon alternates between hilarious satire and heart-breaking gut punches. A child star turned pop diva, Sarah Lynn has struggled with celebrityhood and substance abuse, but managed to finally sober up . . . until BoJack asks her to party. Winding up at the planetarium with BoJack, Sarah Lynn returns to her childhood dream of being an architect. As they watch the stars and the narrator speaks about life’s brevity, BoJack tells her it’s going to be alright . . . And is met with silence, since Sarah Lynn has quietly passed away from a drug overdose.

#9: Rebecca the Elephant
“The Wild Thornberrys” (1998-2004)

Decades prior to the present day, Elizabeth's father saved Rebecca the elephant from a group of poachers, motivating the ten-year-old girl to track her down years later for a heart-to-heart. Over the years, Rebecca has matured into an admirable leader and bred many calves who grew into fine elephants themselves, but the animal's journey has reached its end. Despite Eliza's pleas to stand back up, the majestic beast lays down for the last time, with just enough strength left to offer words of comfort, and remember times gone by.

#8: Ace
“Justice League: Unlimited” (2004-06)

A powerful psychic, Ace had a childhood defined by tragedy and isolation. Trained as a weapon by the government, and then recruited by the Joker, Ace became alienated and bitter, and her powers unstable and ever more dangerous. Now able to alter reality, she faced imminent death in the episode “Epilogue” due to a brain aneurysm. Her death scene marks arguably Batman’s most human moment in DC’s Animated Universe. Rather than putting her down, as he’s promised, the Dark Knight agrees to sit with the frightened child until the metahuman’s flame burns out. Hey, at least she wasn’t turned into a stone statue like trouble teen Terra Markov.

#7: Rick & Morty
“Rick and Morty” (2013-)

Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland's crazy sci-fi animated sitcom refuses to do anything by the book, and this mantra extends to life's greatest mystery. Forced to relocate to an alternative reality after unwittingly releasing a virus that leaves the world’s population disfigured and obsessed with Morty, the central duo trade places with their recently deceased counterparts of a different universe. Arriving mere seconds after the pair's gruesome deaths, Rick and a visibly shaken Morty bury the corpses before slipping into this universe undetected. Alongside the unabashedly grim visuals, this scene perfectly encapsulates the cartoon's nihilistic themes.

#6: Pops
“Regular Show” (2009-17)

Blending the mundane with the epic, the “Regular Show” launched its cast through an unbelievable amount of character development over the cartoon’s eight year run. With the fate of the universe on the line, the finale pivots around a showdown between Pops and the kind-hearted character's evil twin brother, culminating in a glorious mecha fight and a bittersweet resolution. Recognizing certain disputes cannot be solved with a knock to the face, Pops uses the power of hugs to reconnect with Anti-Pops, and the siblings sail off into the Sun. Pops claims this is a happy ending, but our tears weren’t tears of joy.

#5: Ashi
“Samurai Jack” (2001-17)

Kicking off with the Master of Darkness molding Earth into a hellscape, "Samurai Jack" is a relentlessly gloomy cartoon. The original series has more than its fair share of heartbreaking moments; still, nothing could prepare anyone for Adult Swim's one season revival. As the daughter of Aku, Ashi was born specifically to turn Jack into mince-meat, but the two fall in love and bring about the villain's downfall. But since they’ve travelled back in time to before Ashi was born, Aku’s death wipes Ashi from existence - just as the couple is about to wed.

#4: Kenny
“South Park” (1997-)

Dying in nearly every episode of the first few seasons, this particular boy is intimately familiar with the grim reaper. After turning his demise into a running gag, "South Park" took a different approach with the season 5 episode "Kenny Dies." Portraying the character’s permanent, or at least semi-permanent death, the episode had the terminally ill Kenny pasisng away in a hospital room. Rather than treating the moment as a punchline; Stan, Kyle, and - to some extent - Cartman, mourn their friend’s untimely departure. Eventually, "South Park" would bring Kenny back, but the kid stopped dying quite as frequently.

#3: Brian
“Family Guy” (1999-)

"Family Guy" relies heavily on shock humor, but there was nothing funny about "Life of Brian." The victim of a hit-and-run, the Griffin family dog suffers horrible-life-threatening injuries. Pulling absolutely no punches, "Family Guy" depicts the fatal collision in vivid detail. The vet can’t save him, and surprisingly enough, there’s nothing tongue-in-cheek about the painful farewell scene, with Brian telling the family he loves them as they break down into tears. At the funeral, we get a few quick jokes, but also a moment of rare sincerity from the grieving Peter.

#2: Maude Flanders
“The Simpsons” (1989-)

Some characters bow out gracefully. Maude Flanders was not one of them. While attending the opening of a new racetrack, Maude falls off the bleachers after being hit with a wayward shirt. To add insult to injury, assistance fails to arrive in time due to Homer parking in the ambulance zone. Admittedly, death by shirt is not the most dignified way to go out; nevertheless, Maude's crushing demise destroys Ned and the boys. Minor characters had and continue to be axed off by "The Simpsons," but Maude marked the first time a regular member was permanently cut.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Kanan Jarrus
“Star Wars: Rebels” (2014-18)

Big Henry
“Gravity Falls” (2012-16)

Splinter
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” (2012-17)

#1: Seymour the Dog
“Futurama” (1999-2013)

Consider yourself to be a dog lover? Then, we recommend having a box of tissues handy fort his next one. Prior to falling into a Cryogenic tube and sleeping through the next millennium, Fry found and adopted a stray mutt named Seymour Asses. Bonding over a mutual love for pizza, the dog grew quite fond of Fry and would obey any command without exception. Learning that Seymour lived to the ripe old age of 15, Fry assumes the dog must have found a new owner. In reality, the loyal dog spent the next 12 years waiting outside Panucci's Pizza for Fry to return.
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