Top 10 Saddest Anime Deaths

The Top Ten
1 Maes Hughes - Fullmetal Alchemist Maes Hughes is a fictional character from the Fullmetal Alchemist manga series and its adaptations created by Hiromu Arakawa.

This was the only character death that I've ever cried about. Sure, I've come close to crying, but the way the anime and the manga portray his death is heartbreaking. He is the only character that you want to come back to life and is such a supporting character with so much to him that you think he will always be there until his unexpected death.

He's a character that you don't realize how much he means to you until he dies. He is the kind of person we want to find in our lives - a kind, supporting, and lovable character. Above that, his character is one that you would never forget as when killed. After that in Fullmetal Alchemist, the anime adds the icing on the cake as it goes through more scenes that if you hadn't cried when he died, you would most certainly cry about this part after. He is, undoubtedly, the saddest anime character death I've ever seen/watched/read.

The only way you could not like Hughes is if your heart is stone. He practically oozed love for his wife and daughter, and he was ridiculously kind and hospitable to everyone. Beneath that, he was great at his job, being the best of Mustang's allies. His death was not only maddeningly tragic but downright cruel at the hands of the sadistic Envy. He had everything he ever wanted and shared it freely with everyone, so of course, Envy would be the one to kill him, and in such a sickening way.

The deep sense of loss felt by every one of the characters affects you in a way few other anime deaths, or any television or movie deaths, really does. And that damn funeral with little Elicia, I'm tearing up just thinking about it. His death is the thing that brings the main storyline of Fullmetal Alchemist into focus, and its effects reverberate through the rest of the series, especially with Mustang. Hughes' murder is the foundation for just about everything Mustang does from there out, and when he finally tracks down Envy to get justice for his friend, his resulting attack is one of the best action sequences in this or any anime series.

Not just because it's beautifully staged and animated, and finally shows Mustang cutting loose with his flames, but because the deep righteous fury Mustang feels during it reflects what the audience has been feeling ever since Envy pulled that trigger. His death is an example of using character death properly in a narrative. It didn't exist for shock value. It was integral to the plot, affected the characters in real, tangible ways, and they didn't forget about it a few episodes later. Absolutely the most tragic death, and one of the most memorable moments, in anime history.

2 L - Death Note L Lawliet, exclusively known by the mononym L, is a fictional character in the manga series Death Note, created by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata.

It kills me that L died the way he did. He knew he was going to die and he knew that he would be killed by his best (only) friend. Every time I watch Death Note, I find myself just as sad as that first time, and for the rest of the series (whether anime, movie, or manga), I generally find myself with a lingering sadness.

Why? L was justice and, in the moment of his death, justice had failed.

I always hoped that L's opinions, his very code, would affect Light positively (because I do side with Light on a few matters), but to see that he died so uselessly and to see Light consider it a victory and nothing more... My tears can't satisfy the wish that L had been able to do more than just leave successors behind.

From the point of L's death and onwards, Death Note gained a darker note for me. In the end, L won through Near, but to get there, so much sacrifice was made, a lot of chances taken, and all for a game of pride, really.

3 Lelouch Lamperouge - Code Geass Lelouch Lamperouge, whose real name is Lelouch vi Britannia, is the title character and protagonist of the Sunrise anime series Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion.

Talk about an epic death. Not to say that Lelouch was a good guy, but he wasn't exactly a bad guy. Or rather, the fact that he plays the part of the bad guy throughout the whole anime to purposely get people to hate him, only to plan his own death at the end so that the world doesn't know who to hate anymore, is pretty amazing.

I also find it extremely satisfying because, after all he's done, there's no way he could be forgiven, even if he had his reasons. He accepted the weight of his crimes and his punishment. I'm left wondering if he was being selfless or selfish. In the beginning, he only wanted to make his sister happy, and along the way, seemed to get tangled up in power. Then, when he had the world in his hands, he gave it up. Was it because he still selfishly wanted his sister to be happy, or because he just wanted to fix the world? Who knows.

The death of the protagonist of the story is just so very sad! This thing at the end of the whole anime and all is quite unexpected.

Lelouch died for a purpose, and he wanted this. He planned the "Zero Requiem" and asked his own best friend to kill him. And after his death, his own little sister, Nunnally, was crying at him dying, and the rest of the people were actually cheering...

To the people who are saying Lelouch didn't die, well, you are wrong. There is already an official statement saying that Lelouch vi Britannia, Lelouch Lamperouge did die. And the cart driver at the ending wasn't Lelouch.

Saddest anime death for me.

And not to mention the ending song! It has a happy tone but it reminds you of something sad - "Continued Story" by Hitomi

4 Jiraiya - Naruto Jiraiya is a fictional character in the Naruto anime and manga series created by Masashi Kishimoto. Introduced in the series' first part, he was a student of Third Hokage Hiruzen Sarutobi and one of the three "Legendary Sannin" along with Orochimaru and Lady Tsunade, his former teammates.

Naruto is probably one of the best animes I have ever been blessed with seeing, and growing up with. This emotional roller coaster of a show will have you happy and cheering for heroes, laughing at the ridiculous situations and gimmicks, and crying over the heartbreaking truths the show reveals. With all of that being said, Jiraiya's death is one of THE SADDEST ever. I have not cried harder watching his death than in any other anime, with the exception of Anohana.

He fought 6 guys at a time, lost his arm, got his throat destroyed, got stabbed in his only arm and in the back, managed to write a codified language, and then drowned. He says his death was full of mistakes, but he realizes he got a perfect student, and, finally, when his book finishes, he starts his last book, "The Legend of Naruto Uzumaki."

Jiraiya was brave and went on a mission that almost seemed suicidal. He suffered at the hands of his own student, the one whom he cherished so much. His death was such an impact on Naruto. He realized as he died, he already had the perfect student, the one who will live out the legend of Jiraiya's last book, Uzumaki Naruto. He will live in Naruto forever.

5 Korosensei - Assassination Classroom

I have pretty much watched all the top list, but I must say that I have never been such a baby as much as when I saw Korosensei die. I couldn't make out what was right at that time: the students who adored him so much killing him for real this time, or them not going through such a tragic state even though they were trained to do so in the first place. I hated the sad world of anime for killing one of the most inspiring characters of all time. And hearing him say that goodbye was something I could never forget. Heck, even before death, he was teaching Nagisa how to live. This I say about him: there never was a character more passionate in his profession than Korosensei.

I'm surprised his death isn't in the top ten. Even now, I'm still mourning his death. We all knew it was coming. It's heavily hinted at in the opening, and it was Class 3-E's objective this whole time. And even so, I cried so hard. We were like a student in that classroom, the 28th student. We went through a year with Koro-sensei, learned with him, learned his weaknesses together, and we assassinated him together. On episode 24 (S2) in the opening, it even says, "Congratulations on your graduation!" He knew it was coming, but he didn't act all sad about it. He died with a smile, and it really shows how much he loves his class. Forever in our hearts, Koro-sensei.

6 Kaori Miyazono - Your Lie in April

From the happy-go-lucky cutie, who is an amazing violinist, to someone whose health grows worse and worse, after inspiring the main male character, she falls ill just like his mother. Kaori is easily the saddest death in anime because, for one, you have no idea about her condition from the start. The first sign is when she collapses on stage, but the worst is when she is walking through the hospital corridor and her legs give in and stop working. It was during episode 14 I knew what was going to happen. I knew from that moment she was going to die.

When I started watching this anime, the moment Kaori was introduced, I fell in love. No kidding. Over the course of the first ten episodes, I began being mesmerized by Kaori's sweet yet tough nature. I kept wondering why a person who doesn't even exist had me captivated. I still don't know the answer.

When she first collapsed on stage, I literally froze, but later was relieved on finding out she was fine. But after the first ten episodes, I started picking up hints just like Arima did, and had a feeling this wasn't going to end well. I made my way to the last episode and I truly believed that the surgery would work and that the anime would have a Disney-style happily ever after ending. But halfway through the final episode, the moment Arima whispered 'Sayonara', realization hit me like a truck, and tears poured out. I kept watching through tears, Kaori's letter only added to them. The tears didn't end even after the episode did. I don't care if this sounds dumb but I'll never forget this anime and I'll never forget her.

7 Portgas D. Ace - One Piece Portgas D. Ace, born as Gol D. Ace and nicknamed "Fire Fist" Ace, is a fictional character in the One Piece franchise created by Eiichiro Oda.

Ace was one of, if not the most, lovable supporting protagonists in One Piece (which is saying a lot, considering how many there are) and also one of the coolest. He was some of the only family Luffy had, or at least knew he had. He was Luffy's big brother, and how he died reflected this. He did what any good brother should and took a smoldering hot fist through the chest for his little brother. As a person who had been the subject of a manhunt at birth, you'd expect him to be a heartless monster who's committed horrible crimes, but he's incredibly noble. He was born the son of the most notorious criminal, but that's not his fault, yet he ends up paying for it all the same. Also, the reactions to his death (Luffy's specifically) are absolutely heartbreaking. Watch the video on YouTube, and you'll know what I mean.

I cried so much when Ace died, even though he was only a minor character. He is, no doubt, one of the best characters in One Piece. His death left a deep impression on people. His death is tragic but admirable in a way. He did get saved, but he chose to die in order to protect his little brother. The relationship between Ace and Luffy is so touching and sweet. I love how Ace is always worrying over Luffy and even got killed just to save him.

Luffy, Dadan, Garp, Whitebeard, and the Whitebeard Pirates' reaction when Ace died was truly heartbreaking. But the saddest one is Luffy's. I get sad whenever I think about how Luffy was feeling when Ace died. It's too unbearable! I don't think I can ever get over his death.

8 Itachi Uchiha - Naruto Itachi Uchiha is a fictional character in the Naruto manga and anime series created by Masashi Kishimoto.

To understand why his death was so tragic, first, you must look at his life. He was forced to do the unthinkable and endure things that most would not have been able to bear. He wanted to die as the hated, the despised, the villain... to make another the hero. He was willing to sacrifice so much, to live and die... all for another. But still, there wasn't a single trace of bitterness, anger, or hatred toward the world that forced him to do so. Instead, he sacrificed himself to protect it. His selflessness is almost beyond compare, and because of it, he will always be remembered. The world lost a true hero the day of his death. Rest in Peace, Itachi Uchiha.

Itachi's death was something else. Sasuke had you fooled into thinking this guy was a douchebag who killed his entire family just to test his strength. Sasuke spent the rest of his life isolating himself, filling himself with hatred, just so he could kill the man who killed his family. When Itachi finally died, after the intense battle, and Sasuke finds out the truth, you don't know what to do with your life. Everything you thought about this character was a complete lie. In fact, the entire time, Itachi had been trying to protect the village and his brother.

Itachi lived a lonely life, having to keep so much bottled up inside him. He knew what his clan was trying to do at such a young age, but trying to act the model ninja and big brother would have been agonizing. Having to return home every day to a clan, full of your closest family, plotting to overrun the village you try to protect so much, would've been so hard. Then, after he had committed a crime which probably haunted him for the rest of his life, all whilst living with a life-threatening illness, he had to live the life of a villain, a horrible boy who killed his family. Joining the Akatsuki to keep connections to the village, making sure that his brother and the village would be safe all whilst his little brother hated him with all his heart, would've been a nightmare.

Then, when he finally starts his battle with Sasuke, knowing he is going to die, he can't even see what his cherished little brother looked like due to his eyesight becoming weak. Imagine having to fight your younger brother after you hadn't seen him in years, all whilst pretending to be someone you're not.

For these reasons, Itachi Uchiha's death must be the saddest once you take into consideration all the above. Itachi was truly strong, having to live a life full of lies, to protect his brother and the village, all whilst they hated him. Living your life wondering if your little brother or your disease will kill you... more

9 Nina Tucker - Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Nina Tucker is a fictional character from the Fullmetal Alchemist manga series and its adaptations created by Hiromu Arakawa.

Although the Elric brothers didn't really spend much time with Nina, the writers of this series brilliantly developed an emotional connection between her and the viewers. This connection strengthened every time the little girl appeared on the screen, only to have it shatter into a million pieces in the most gruesome and horrible way. The "Big Brother" line hit hard.

I saw this part twice, in the original one and Brotherhood, but they're both sort of different. In the 2003 version, the chimera was killed in an alleyway, whereas in the new one, it was killed inside the house by Scar. Also, in the 2003 version, Shou Tucker himself turned into a chimera while in the fifth laboratory (sorry for spoilers).

What could be worse than seeing a pretty little girl being turned into an experiment along with her dog by her own father? Nina was like a younger sister to Edward and Al, yet the worst thing about it was that none of them knew about it and none of them were able to prevent it.

10 Kanade (Angel) - Angel Beats Kanade Tachibana is one of the students of the Afterlife school and is said school's Student Council President. She is also referred to as Angel by the Afterlife War Front, which is a nickname coined by Hideki Hinata and later used by the group's leader Yuri Nakamura to refer to Kanade after discovering her unusual abilities. As the school's Student Council President, Kanade is tasked with the responsibility... read more

Although more of a disappearance than a death, still a heartbreaking scene.

I don't normally cry.

The Contenders
11 Nagisa Furukawa - Clannad: After Story

Never before have I been so emotionally attached to a character in any anime. She is such a sweet and kind girl. She doesn't think much of herself, but everyone in the story cared for her a lot. The fact that she died while giving birth to her and Tomoya's daughter is the thing that pushed me over the edge and made me just cry. It was to the point where just seeing her in a flashback or a picture made me start to cry. Her death actually made me depressed for a while. This is coming from someone who shows little to no emotions and rarely cries in general.

Season 2, Episode 16 easily destroyed me. Spoilers - Nagisa is a very weak person in general, often suffering from illness. After she and Tomoya get married and decide to have a child together, Nagisa's body soon collapses after her daughter's home birth and dies with her newborn in her husband's arms. This death killed me, not just because of the 35+ episodes we got from Nagisa, allowing us to connect with her as a character. It was also the immense pain Tomoya felt after seeing the only thing keeping him intact lost in front of him.

Tomoya's monologue after seeing Nagisa pass away was heart-wrenching. He describes how he and Nagisa had promised to be together forever and to stay by each other's side. He has flashbacks of Nagisa, soon wishing to have never met her so he wouldn't have to go through the pain of losing the love of his life. Hearing her own theme song play as Tomoya assures himself she's still there, about family for God's sake, pushed me to tears. I had to sob into my pillow to keep from waking up my parents.

12 Spike Spiegel - Cowboy Bebop

Very few deaths inspire such emotion in you. He was the main protagonist you followed throughout the whole 26-episode series. His death was a striking moment as all the syndicate workers stood there as he limped down the stairs, and it ended with one word, "Bang." When he falls to the floor, you feel it in your stomach. See you, Space Cowboy.

I've never experienced the death of a close person in my life yet. Spike was my first experience with death. Even though he was a cartoon, I felt like I lost something when he died. I felt sad for him and angry at him for his decision at the same time. I'll remember the good times.

Quite a sad death since it made the rest of the crew sad and left a sad impression of the ending. It was a combination of sad information that was given to us and hidden feelings that made this a very sad ending, in my opinion.

13 Ushio Okazaki - Clannad After Story

Probably the most tragic death you will ever encounter in regards of children. When an innocent 5-year-old child who has yet to experience the joys of life dies from an illness, you can't help but feel terrible, especially because of her upbringing.

After 5 years of being turned away from her depressed and neglectful father, they finally reunite. They created memories and bonds with each other. She finally got to know what her mother was like before she died giving birth to her.

What's more heartbreaking is that this was highly unexpected and, if it was predicted, it happened way too fast. I believe it was 4-5 episodes after Nagisa, her mom, died, that Ushio too, died of the same illness.

So sudden, so young, and so many tears.

I don't know why this is so low. In my opinion, Ushio's death hits a lot harder than Nagisa's, and Nagisa's is already a pretty sad death. But Ushio's death is one where your hopes are raised for even just a moment. The thing to remember with these two deaths is the difference in emotional context. For Nagisa, it is a turbulent ride emotionally with her, and you end up with a pretty strong mixture of fondness and sorrow when she dies.

However, with Ushio, her entire characterization occurs during by far the darkest part of the entire series, so you end up looking at the entire part of her arc from an extremely low emotional state. Hence, even though she really only has one proper moment of positivity following the Sunflower Field, it being dashed so quickly by the Snowfield hits incredibly hard.

14 Enma Ai - Hell Girl Two Mirrors

She does not deserve to die after all she has been through, especially the thing about her cousin. Very sad.

Where's our favorite hell girl on this list!?

15 Nicholas D. Wolfwood - Trigun

Wolfwood did everything he could to keep the children from suffering like he had as a child. He even killed for their sake. In the end, he finally realized that there was a way for everyone to live, that Vash was right. He died as a man with many regrets. With the injuries he sustained and the added weight of his sins finally weighing down on his life, he collapsed in a church with his Punisher being the only thing holding him up.

After he reflects on his regrets and sins, his final words are, "I did not want to die this way!" His hand falls to the ground, and he slowly closes his eyes. He was many things: a priest, an assassin, but overall, he was a good man with a big heart. To see him die with the regrets he had makes me sob uncontrollably every single time.

Watching his final confession made me start to cry. Hearing Milly's horrified wailing after she heard the news made me completely bawl. Nicholas D. Wolfwood was a great character with terrific development up until the very end. I love how he was both exactly alike and completely opposite to Vash the Stampede, and how much meeting Milly and Vash changed his life and worldview. In the end, he was a true hero.

16 Future Gohan - Dragon Ball Z Future Gohan is an anime fictional character from the anime series, Dragon Ball Z, created by Akira Toriyama. He is featured in the alternate timeline counterpart of Gohan.

Saddest death ever.

It is so sad.

It made me cry.

17 Yui - Angel Beats Yui (Japanese: ユイ, Yui) is a secondary character in the anime series, Angel Beats!. She is a big fan of Girls Dead Monster and also acts as an assistant for publicity and other matters.


After Masami Iwasawa disappeared, she became the lead vocalist. She sang "Thousand Enemies" as the lead vocalist. The other song, "Shine Days", was not fully sung in the series, but only its chorus.

Her... read more

Not really a death, but I cried so hard during that episode. The relationship between her and Hinata was so funny and very comedic, but the way she passed on was so emotional. Plus, I actually didn't really like her character to begin with, so it was really quite surprising for me.

Yui is already dead. It's that she got obliterated.

18 Van Hohenheim - Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood

Everything about this scene shattered my heart, from the way he just looks ahead as he crumbles into ash. I'd grown so attached to Hohenheim's lovable personality, his iron will to defeat Father. To imagine the pain he must've gone through when he realized everyone in Xerxes was dead, ugh. I absolutely love this man.

He didn't break his promise and died along with his wife, with a big smile. And I was sobbing.

Rain, both the song and the eyes.

19 Misuzu Kamio - Air

This far down on the list?! Misuzu was cursed. She got it from her ancestor, Kanna. The curse was passed on from generation to generation down to her. If she fell in love, she would suffer great pain, then finally die. Yukito broke the curse, and Misuzu was reincarnated to live without any more pain from a curse.

This death was terribly sad. She lived a life of pain and suffering, and in the end, finally reached her goal before dying!

Incredible anime. So underrated!

20 Lord Death - Soul Eater

Crap, his death hit me in the feels hard. It's just so hard to picture Lord Death being dead. He was such an awesome character! He was hilarious, and then dead... and then... with Kid's reaction. But of course, Excalibur just had to ruin it...

Pretty proud of my bae Kid though...

Well, he doesn't die in the anime but he does in the manga. When Kid becomes the new Grim Reaper, he is soon replaced and dies. He goes peacefully after fighting Asura. The last chapter of Soul Eater literally made me cry.

Kid's reaction when he learned that he died made me really unhappy. But then, Excalibur had to blow all the feels out the window...

21 Light - Death Note

Light's death was indeed the saddest death in anime ever. The final minutes of the series were probably the most powerful. Many people say that Death Note had the worst ending ever, but I disagree. In fact, there was no better way to end it. Kira had to lose. We all saw it coming, but I don't think anyone thought it would end the way it did.

The way Light was running away, scared and hopeless, knowing that it was all over for him, and the way he was remembering his old self, realizing what he had become, really makes you feel sorry for the guy. What really struck me the most was when Ryuk finished writing down his name because I don't think Light was expecting to die by the Death Note. This was the only anime death that ever made me shed a few tears. I cried.

I would consider myself what you would probably call a Kira follower. I don't believe in God myself, but I do study the Christian Bible. I find Satan more interesting though. It's always the bad guys that are my favorite characters. Light Yagami is a mortal who just wants to be Godlike. I'm on Yagami's side because he is not trying to fix the world by killing all the bad people. He's just trying to lower it as low as possible. If he's smart enough to accurately predict L's moves, he is smart enough to find a different way to eventually prevent crime once he has lowered it. It's better to build strong, smart children than to fix broken men, but the broken men may affect the children. So, to prevent broken men from emerging from children, you take away the broken men. And I did not feel sorry for L's demise. I only grew happy.

22 Chiaotzu - Dragon Ball Z

The only death in Dragon Ball, DBZ, and DBGT I ever took seriously was Vegeta dying for the first time. He was CRYING! He was killed by a man who enslaved his race to be his killing machines, killed his father, destroyed his planet, and used him as a tool for many years.

Also, this entry isn't specific, seeing as how Chiaotzu died 2 times in DBZ (3 times in total! 4 if you count Future Trunk's timeline). His words of farewell and sacrifice were touching, but didn't Yamcha die in the same episode or one episode before it? Goku also died 12 episodes prior, but he's not on the list either.

So, his death was in vain anyway, seeing as how Tien and Piccolo died right after. At least Nappa died by the hands of Goku... Wait, what's that? Vegeta killed him? So none of his friends killed him? So he died for no reason?

I'm laughing.

Death in DBZ was rarely ever touching. You could always tell that the characters would be brought back somehow. Even when the Dragon Balls were made ineffective, the author found a way to create new Dragon Balls (on Namek) that could revive people with no count limit (kind of makes your job easier, doesn't it, Akira?).

23 Ryuga - Beyblade Metal Fury

I was really heartbroken when Ryuga died because he was my favorite character from Beyblade. Even though he was evil, at the end, he had a good heart and helped Kenta who needed to help his friends. I wonder if Ryuga hadn't died, there would probably be more episodes.

Whoa! I stopped watching Beyblade a while back, and I remember all the characters. I come to this list to find a character from a while back in my childhood has died!

He was a great guy and a great mentor, even for me. He shows that you should be strong enough and independent to live happily. Relying on friends like other main characters won't help always.

24 Going Merry - One Piece

The moment Merry started burning wasn't so sad until the ship started speaking... and then I burst into tears. It brought them into the Grand Line and went through so much. She wasn't supposed to be able to sail anymore, but she miraculously did once more to save the whole crew, then broke in half.

A truly touching moment. Maybe the reason it always makes me cry is that even though it was never alive in the first place, it was loved so much it came to life.
Saddest and most beautiful moment in anime history.

Been watching anime for a long time, movies, series, but the saddest scene I've ever watched is when Merry's spirit said its farewell to its Nakama...

25 Euphemia li Britannia - Code Geass Euphemia li Britannia is a fictional character in the Sunrise anime series Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion.

Even the crazy, hell-bent-on-revenge Lelouch Vi Britannia had to bow down before Euphie's charm and goodwill. Right before he lost control of his power and ruined her, he had decided to accept her proposal for the betterment of all 11's. It was a pivotal turning point for his character, where he started to move past his pain and move forward as a character. He even (half-jokingly) calls her his "most fearsome opponent" while genuinely laughing (and this is Lelouch we are talking about) while about to take her hand in peace. Except he accidentally drives her insane. Being forced to accept this outcome, he then snaps back into his dark path of destruction and uses it as propaganda to further his terrorist crusade to make Daddy suffer.

The tragedy of her death isn't so much that an innocent is slain in the process of doing humanitarian work (no good deed goes unpunished), but how much of a missed opportunity this was for Lelouch's character development.

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