21+ Anime where the Main Character Dies (Ranked)

Anime where the MC Dies

Anime… To some they’re memorable for their music, others for their characters, again, some for the graphics, but then there’s those that contain an unexpected amount of tragedy. Tragedy that ends up ruining your day, your week, your month, or your entire life. Yes, they exist, and there are countless anime that contain some kind of terrible tragedy.

What we will look at today are anime that featured one of the main characters dying. Yes, this also means temporary deaths, and times when the death of said character triggers certain events early on, and will follow the entire anime to the very end.

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Table of Content

22. Your Name/Kimi no Na wa

your name
Death (Intensity and Impact) Character Writing Plot Total Points
8/20
8/10
6/10
22/40

Genre: Fantasy, Drama, Romance

I know technically no one dies permanently in Your Name, but do still keep in mind, this anime does feature a lot of people dying, including Mitsuha, one of our main characters. This is also what sets the majority of the movie’s most interesting events into motion.

The importance of Mitsuha’s untimely demise is indeed impossible to deny, as for one, her unfulfilled love for Taki was what drove the entire movie towards its final culmination and finally to the success of the unbelievable, but far from impossible rescue mission.

Still, due to the ultimate happy end, there is no reason to talk about a too impactful death, nor a too thick plot about this, but it is still a well written character arc to go excellently with the theme of the entire story. Hope is never lost, unless you give up.

 

21. Seven Senses of the Re-union

Seven Senses of the Re-union
Death (Intensity and Impact) Character Writing Plot Total Points
9/20
8/10
5/10
22/40

Genre: Action, Fantasy, Sci-Fi

The story and plot revolving around the death of Asahi, the Menma of this anime isn’t nearly as thick and powerful as in a certain other anime in this list. Still it is true, that the way it’s played out and the way she’s brought back is definitely unique.

The Seven Senses of the Re-Union is one interesting concept, as it combines the elements of Sword Art Online, Anohana, and other similarly unique anime. While one might criticize it for its choice of base material, it’s definitely a touching story of friendship, love, and the strength of our bonds even beyond the grave.

Asahi’s unfortunate and untimely passing and its conditions are definitely one of the better ones I’ve seen. But it still falls short on the plot, since she’s basically a carbon copy of another and much more popular character.

 

20. Zombieland Saga

Zombieland Saga
Death (Intensity and Impact) Character Writing Plot Total Points
10/20
7/10
8/10
25/40

Genre: Comedy, Supernatural

I know, this is more on the comedic side since Zombieland Saga’s point is that all of its main characters, except for their manager, are already dead. 

However, it is also important to keep in mind that the fact that Sakura, our lovely focus character, dies at the start of the first episode, sets the events of the entire anime and the plan to save the region Saga was set into motion.

For this reason, her death is an important and well-thought-out plot device in the making of one of the most brilliant musical anime, and arguably the best idol anime ever.

 

19. Orange

Orange
Death (Intensity and Impact) Character Writing Plot Total Points
8/20
9/10
10/10
27/40

Genre: Action, Sci-Fi

In the case of Orange, the off screen death of one of the main characters in an alternative timeline is what sets the entire story into motion. The struggle of a team of loving and dedicated friends is what the whole story is about.

I loved the different and lovely way the whole story works out because of this inspiring and tragic event. As well as how the future friends are trying the impossible and changing the past for at least their younger selves where they create a better future for them is just heartwarming.

 

18. SSSS. Dynazenon

ssss. dynazenon
Death (Intensity and Impact) Character Writing Plot Total Points
12/20
9/10
8/10
29/40

Genre: Comedy, Supernatural

There is no doubt in my mind that barely anyone even knows about this masterpiece of an anime. It is based on the universe created by Eiji Tsuburaya who has a legendary name in the movie business. His name became famous for being one of the founding fathers of Tokusatsu, also known as Suitmation. One of the best known and beloved examples of Tokusatsu is Power Rangers.

However, Dynazenon takes place in the universe of Ultraman, a series of tokusatsu shows created by Tsuburaya himself. This is a spin off of Hyper Agent Gridman, and spin off / Sequel of SSSS.Gridman, and at the same time, far superior to it, which is a great achievement.

The character in question here is Gauma, the de facto leader and mentor of the team of our main characters. He used to be a Kaiju tamer, but died once, lost his taming powers, and now his life depends on the existence of Kaijus.

In the end they defeat and kill the last Kaiju in the world. Gauma, who was already half way dead anyway, and barely received a few more minutes, used it to sacrifice himself and defeat his former friends and now sworn enemies. His sacrifice isn’t nearly as great as that of some other heroes on this list but Gauma was still worthy of the title true hero.

 

17. Comet Lucifer

Death (Intensity and Impact) Character Writing Plot Total Points
12/20
9/10
9/10
30/40

Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy

The passing of Felia is one that the story really leads up to. Having to face an enemy just as strong, or even stronger than herself and Mora, she’s forced to decide between saving the planet she was born as the living embodiment of, or saving the life of the boy she loves.

In the end, she does decide with her heart and sacrifices everything so that her beloved and their friends can live on and keep the world turning. While the memories of her keep shining like a star up in the sky for everyone to remember.

 

16. Gurren Lagann

gurren lagann
Death (Intensity and Impact) Character Writing Plot Total Points
15/20
8/10
8/10
31/40

Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Sci-Fi

Gurren Lagann is undeniably one of the most memorable and most beloved mecha anime. The characters are all memorable for being either insane, or insanely badass. The girls are beautiful, the action is peerless, and there are some incredibly sad and heartbreaking dramas.

Take Kamina for example. He was the role model for a lot of kids at the time, and still is for many modern day successors. A real MAN with all capitals and no one would ever doubt his importance towards the development of young Simon, or Yoko even, as he shared very close bonds with both of them.

What really hammered the drama factor home however, was the loss of Nia, Simon’s sweet love and one and only reason to have fought so hard and for so long. These two really deserve a bow of respect for all they’ve done in the anime, with an unforgettable role.

 

15. The Detective is Already Dead

Death (Intensity and Impact) Character Writing Plot Total Points
13/20
9/10
9/10
31/40

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Mystery, Romance

Although Siesta appeared to be the untouchable and brilliant master detective who would never lose to anyone in the world, she still ended up giving her life and thus we got the reason for the title already from the end of the first episode.

Her relationship with Kimihiko Kimizuka is an odd one and while most people refer to her as an ideal waifu already from the first episode, from the start, she was just a memory coming back every now and then to haunt her former partner.

The fact that she, or  rather her heart still lives on is a bit weird, but still gives her successor, Nagisa Natsunagi an extra reason to be there.

 

14. Romeo x Juliet

Romeo X Juliet
Death (Intensity and Impact) Character Writing Plot Total Points
15/20
8/10
8/10
31/40

Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Romance

The modern sci-fi/fantasy hybrid twist on the classical romantic tragedy by William Shakespeare is a prime example of how great the creative minds of Japanese film makers can work even with a story like this.

The excellently planned out twists and the brilliantly put together finale gives this wonderful oldschool story a nice new shine. Romeo and Juliet’s story is even more powerful, thanks to the added new twists.

 

13. Grimgar of Ashes and Fantasies

Grimgar
Death (Intensity and Impact) Character Writing Plot Total Points
15/20
9/10
7/10
31/40

Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy

Grimgar is one of the best isekai anime ever. It has an incredibly deep and dramatic story which is very realistic and powerful. To top it off, it also has a bone chilling sense of dread to it.

Although the only character dying on screen in real time in the story is actually Manato, who served as the leader of their team until then. All that was needed to kill him was a rogue bolt from a goblin’s crossbow and this hit the others with a horrid realisation that this is not a game.

There are however, other characters who had a strong and important relation with the new team member, Mary, and her wish to finally put them to their final rest. This is an incredibly important and powerful moment for her and the team, as they officially grow up thanks to this and Mary is free of the burden weighing down on her.

 

12. Death Note

Death Note
Death (Intensity and Impact) Character Writing Plot Total Points
15/20
7/10
10/10
32/40

Genre: Mystery, Supernatural, Suspense

There are many deaths in Death Note, but there is no doubt that the death of the two probably most important people of the story is definitely worth putting this high on the list.

Since L is Kira’s ultimate nemesis, his death should come with some relief and happiness even, since he finally got him off his tail. But in truth, all that comes after his passing is a sense of dread and regret. It only leads to even more intense and ruthless pursuit.

Light’s death however, is actually the ultimate resolution of the story and is the culmination of it all. He could’ve probably foreseen this all, but then again, it was actually Ryuk, who was supposedly his ally and only helper, that turned against him. Exactly because of this is why it works so well.

 

11. Guilty Crown

Guilty Crown
Death (Intensity and Impact) Character Writing Plot Total Points
15/20
8/10
9/10
32/40

Genre: Action, Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi

The end of it all, Inori’s sacrifice, and her passing is one of the most memorable and painful deaths in anime, according to many. I’m not one to argue with them. The fact that this also results in the other main character becoming blind, and still hanging on to her memories is also just heartbreaking.

Guilty Crown is not my type of anime to be honest, but I do admit if something works. Here, the drama and tragedy factor, especially for two lovers, works almost too well. Respect to the creators.

 

10. Banana Fish

Banana Fish
Death (Intensity and Impact) Character Writing Plot Total Points
15/20
8/10
9/10
32/40

Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama

Although the majority of the fandom of this anime is actually made up of female fans, there is no doubt that the death of Ash Lynx at the end was a shocker to many. The whole story saw the fans were probably hoping for a happy ending, with a wide smile. But in the end, it all ended up in a public library, and he was bleeding out from a gunshot wound.

 

9. Code Geass

Code Geass
Death (Intensity and Impact) Character Writing Plot Total Points
17/20
8/10
7/10
32/40

Genre: Mecha, Military, School, Super Power

Lelouch. Oh Lelouch, you and your machinations. He had it all planned out, the resistance, the war against impossible odds, and even the way he’d resolve the whole conflict and give everyone a scapegoat so his sister can become a ruler people would love in the stead of the tyrant and his son.

The impact of the death is no doubt great and it also left a lasting memory in the fans of the series. A memory great enough to demand more, even the revival of Lelouch, based on a deleted part in the last episode.

 

8. Chrono Crusade

Chrono Crusade
Death (Intensity and Impact) Character Writing Plot Total Points
16/20
8/10
9/10
33/40

Genre: Action, Romance, Supernatural

There’s no putting this any simpler, the ending of the anime is a heartbreaking one all in all. The beautiful retro imagery, the heartfelt emotions expressed, the tears, and the love is just soul crushing and will forever remain with you.

Chrono Crusade is already a pretty deep and powerfully dramatic anime, and this scene is the crowning jewel on it all. Respect to the creators for giving us this much of beauty and sorrow with such a small, and meaningful moment.

 

7. Anohana

anohana
Death (Intensity and Impact) Character Writing Plot Total Points
17/20
9/10
7/10
34/40

Genre: Drama, Slice of Life, Supernatural

Unlike Seven Senses of the Re-Union, this story has much more of a realistic approach to it to be honest. The part with Menma tragically dying and her friends mourning her loss so much that she returns, although just as a ghost in the end, is the basic and best written piece it could become.

However, other than the cute and heart touching scenes with poor Menma, and the gut wrenching scene at the end, the whole story is no more than teenage melodrama. A story with unrequited love, broken friendships and hard thought bonds being stitched back together by struggling together to find the lost happiness.

 

6. To the Forest of the Fireflies

into the forest of fireflies light
Death (Intensity and Impact) Character Writing Plot Total Points
17/20
8/10
9/10
34/40

Genre: Drama, Slice of Life, Supernatural

While I have rated the factors of this anime and Anohana equal, there is a stern difference between them. The big difference is none other than the fact that the whole short movie leads up to a relationship between Jin and Hotaru either breaking or shining at the end.

The fact that all that happens in the end, and ends up breaking poor Hotaru’s heart is just a fatally dumb coincidence, poor Jin just saving a child from tripping and falling face first to the ground. He didn’t even notice that the child was a human, and ended up losing what he fought so hard for all movie long.

Still, it’s a touching and powerful moment in anime history and more than deserving to be here on this list.

 

5. Plastic Memories

Plastic Memories
Death (Intensity and Impact) Character Writing Plot Total Points
17/20
10/10
10/10
37/40

Genre: Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi

Although this is a bit of a cheat, since Giftias didn’t literally die, the fact stands, that when they are shut down, they lose their memories and their persona they used to have during the short lifespan of just 9 years of 4 months they had.

It’s undeniable that in such a short time, Giftias, who are artificial humans, become not just a part of your family, but an important member of said family as well. After all, people usually buy their giftias to replace lost loved ones, or to replace someone they never had and only dreamed about.

Exactly for this reason, when Isla is shut down by none other than Tsukasa, the young man she fell in love with, it’s especially heartbreaking and emotional to watch them share their first and last ever kiss. It all happens before Isla’s light is snuffed by the ever grinding gears of time catching up to her.

 

4. Valvrave the Liberator

Valvrave the Liberator
Death (Intensity and Impact) Character Writing Plot Total Points
17/20
10/10
10/10
37/40

Genre: Mecha, Military, Space

A lot of great characters gave their life for the success of a bunch of high school kids and their revolution. But in the end, the main main character, Haruto Tokishima ends up making the ultimate sacrifice to stop the treacherous Cain and his schemes from coming to fruition.

The scene where Haruto takes his last breaths and how L-Elf finally admits that despite their differences and having been enemies at one point, he respected him as a friend, his best friend. This also meant a great inspiration to all that was to come after this in the further future, and inspired the new question asked by the Valvraves:

“Do you believe in Humanity?”

 

3. Grave of the Fireflies

grave of the fireflies
Death (Intensity and Impact) Character Writing Plot Total Points
18/20
10/10
10/10
38/40

Genre: Drama

Arguably one of the most beautiful, and most tragic anime ever, the Grave of the Fireflies is one anime you’ll never forget, once you’ve seen it. There isn’t much to describe about why it’s so painful to even think of, just don’t forget your siblings and the things you’d do for them.

The fact stands though, the Japanese who have suffered a lot in World War II, and the way they depict this is just devastatingly powerful.

 

2. Clannad

Clannad
Death (Intensity and Impact) Character Writing Plot Total Points
19/20
10/10
10/10
39/40

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance, Slice of Life, Supernatural

No doubt, the most beautiful and most brutally emotional anime ever to have existed. It is capable of stirring up the most powerful human emotions in even a piece of wood with its marvelously beautiful imagery, the soul crushing drama, the enchantingly beautiful and ever legendary music. Clannad is a perfect mix of everything.

What makes the difference between this and the top of the list, which is actually her sister (yes, I’m referring to the mother of all beautiful anime as a she), is the fact that they took it one step too far. We’ve witnessed the tragic loss of our lovely heroine, but then they could’ve just stuck with that.

Instead, they also took her daughter, and her husband as well. Call me crazy, but this was a ruthless and unfair decision, and even though it still ends with a happy ending, they still ripped a lot of fans’ hearts to shreds. Good thing, the movie didn’t go this far.

 

1. Air

Air
Death (Intensity and Impact) Character Writing Plot Total Points
20/20
10/10
10/10
40/40

Genre: Drama, Romance, Slice of Life, Supernatural

The epitome of what a perfectly planned out and perfectly timed tragedy can do to an already unbelievably beautiful anime. Air is already a story about the bonds between mother and daughter, and at the same time, presents us with the best and most heartfelt examples of this theme.

The fact stands that Misuzu and Haruko Kamio, though not biological mother and daughter, are still the best example of how tight the family bonds are and how much losing your child, despite having done everything you could for her can just hurt.

Top that off with Luci Christian’s superior performance as Haruko, and you might even say that the English dub rubs the insult into injury even harder. This anime is a masterpiece, too bad it’s so underappreciated.

 

Comment Down Below

Gurren Lagann

And that concludes our list. Let us know if we missed any, or if you’d put any other anime onto this list, and why, in the comments!

 

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