Character deaths are unavoidable in anime, especially battle-focused shonen titles. While death can be common in people like Murderer of demons or Naruto they don’t happen so often that they define history. And then there are the shonen animes that do just that.
Given the carnage and ugly deaths that befall the named characters, it may be surprising to find that they technically still count as shonen and not seinen. From the greatest hits to the oldest classics, death is just around the corner in these deceptively adventurous tales.
Warning: Spoilers below.
10 Death Note – Kira executes her pursuers and thousands more
Using the power of the notebook of the same name, Light Yagami assumes the identity of Kira, the God of Justice of the modern era. Like Kira, he kills over 100,000 suspected criminals before the end of the anime, and this body count does not include named characters who stand in his way. Before that, Kira kills investigators on his trail and other laptop users.
Among the dead are Light’s father and his rival L, who was about to reveal his identity before being finally defeated. Death Note does not spare Light, as he dies in the final showdown with the Task Force. Of the more than 20 main characters, only six make it out alive, although the companion book How to read 13 reveals that Misa took her own life a year later.
9 Gai-Rei: Zero – Everyone on the poster dies
Gai-Rei: zero acts as a prequel to the shonen manga Gai-rei and an origin story for Yomi, a minor villain of the latter. This prequel overshadowed and outperformed its source material not just for its surprising characterization, but for killing off its main cast in just the first two episodes. In a darkly hilarious way, these characters were used prominently in anime promotions (left).
The killings do not stop after the massacre of the Paranormal Disaster Countermeasures Headquarters squad, as Gai-Rei: zero Body count increases with each passing episode. No one is safe, whether they can see the supernatural monsters or not. Yomi herself doesn’t even make it out alive, dying in the tragically fatal fight with Kagura in the finale.
8 Fist Of The North Star – Anyone But Kenshiro Is Already Dead
Death is nothing new in the post-apocalyptic Fist of the North Star, But the raiders and violent warriors who roam the wastelands don’t make it easy. When said villains aren’t terrorizing the survivors, Kenshiro punches them until they explode when he avenges the slain innocents, making his long body count even more.
Anyone other than Kenshiro or someone as prominent as Mamiya, Lin, or Bat is almost dead. Fist of the Northern Stars features a diverse roster of good and bad characters per arc, only to kill most of them at the end of the event. It’s actually rare to have a story ending where Kenshiro isn’t the only survivor of an all-out fight.
7 Attack On Titan – Titans eat almost every named character
Attack on Titan He made a name for himself when, during his introductory arc, he introduced a ton of characters before killing them unceremoniously. In less than five episodes, the anime fueled a good portion of the 104th Training corps of the Titans, who devoured them in a terrifying manner.
Things don’t get any better in the future, as entire squads and irreplaceable supporting characters like Hannes, Erwin, Sasha, Ymir, and even Eren himself fell to enemy Titans or soldiers. This is even worse in the manga where, without revealing too much for anime fans, what is left of the once huge cast is reduced to even fewer survivors.
6 Mobile Suit Victory Gundam – The bleakest Gundam anime ever
Almost all of Yoshiyuki Tomino Gundam series finale with a large death toll, with Gundam Victory on top. This particular Gundam The title is infamous for being created during Tomino’s battle with depression, and it shows. In the end, almost all of the named characters (including the children) were killed in action or worse, and the few survivors were too traumatized to go back to their prewar style.
At the time, Gundam Victory it was the bloodiest and meanest Gundam in the air. Unlike its predecessors, Gundam Victory dead characters seemingly random. The Zanscare Empire, which was more sadistic than corrupt like Zeon or the Federation, did not help. Gundam Victory it was so depressing that it abruptly ended the Universal Century on a stern note.
5 Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans – The Tekkadan & Gjallarhorn are decimated
The only modern Gundam Overcoming Tomino’s brutal legacy was Iron-blooded orphans. Of the Tekkadan, the mercenary kids referred to in the title, only four make it to the end, and none of them are the anime’s two main characters. The team leader, Orga Itsuka, dies before the end, while the protagonist Mikazuki Augus does not live to see the end of the last war.
The same fate befell the Gjallarhorn, with the enemy pilot Gaelio Bauduin being one of its only survivors. This makes it one of the few Gundam rivals to survive the protagonist. Director Tatsuyuki Nagai reportedly planned to kill the entire Tekkadan, but the staff expressed their disagreement. The last five episodes were rewritten to leave some survivors, if not the entire unit.
4 Future Diary: Everyone dies at least once per timeline
Since Future Diary It’s a battle for divinity, not surprisingly most of the 13 Battle Royale contestants died before Yuki is declared the winner. But since Future Diary takes place in a multiverse, it has been confirmed that all named characters, contestants or not, died multiple times on parallel worlds, doubling the body count at the very least.
However, this absurd death rate is somewhat mitigated by the anime’s own multiverse. Even if almost everyone except Yuki and Minene died in the Second World (aka the main setting of the anime), they are enjoying perfectly peaceful lives in the Third World. The OVA Future Diary: Redial unites the two worlds to finally reunite Yuki with a now mentally stable Yuno.
3 Neon Genesis Evangelion – Only Shinji and Asuka escape third impact
Ignoring momentarily its subtext, Neon Genesis Evangelion is about the failed attempt to stop the Third Impact: the reunification of humanity through the Angels. Technically, no one dies here, as their souls were freed from their mortal coils. However, the existence of humanity as an endless sea of LCL is the death of individuality and human experience.
Only Shinji and Asuka are resurrected from the Primordial Soup, like all the other named characters who came to The end of Evangelion The last act remains one with the LCL. Heartbreaking as this is Neon Genesis Evangelion pales in comparison to the following entries which unsurprisingly inspired Hideaki Anno to create his most famous anime.
two Devilman – Looping Biblical Armageddon
Before Devilman final battle, many characters were already victims of the rampaging monsters. When Akira Fudo’s demons and Satan’s demons collide, what remains of the supporting characters perished, along with all of humanity. The battle ends with only Satan alive, as Akira was unable to stop the genocide of both man and humanity.
The thing is, this is not the first time Evil man The cast died horribly, and this is not due to the multiple revivals of the anime. It is revealed that as punishment for his rebellion, God trapped Satan in the Evil man history that is in an eternal loop. No matter what he does, Satan is doomed to be the sole survivor of Armageddon and is doomed to relive the tragedy over and over again.
1 Space Runaway Ideon – Yoshiyuki Tomino kills life, universe and everything
Of course, only Tomino could beat his own death count in the anime. For good reason, Ideon of space escape It is considered the best example of how to kill an entire cast, because it is not limited to killing all the named characters. Instead, the anime erases everything in its universe, ending existence itself.
On the planet Solo, human colonists discover the giant mecha Ideon and the perpetual energy source Ide. Soon after, they and the alien Buff clan wage a war over the Ide … which enrages the Ideon himself. Disgusted by the never-ending carnage for petty fuel, Ideon explodes himself, along with all the named characters who survived to the final film and the known universe.
NEXT: 10 Depressing Anime Wicks That Aren’t Neon Genesis Evangelion
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