Every character that once starts their journey, acquires a special place in the hearts of the viewers, which creates a superficial and psychological bonding based on relatability, and matched conscience when the ideals of the real and the reel match.
It is absolutely devastating to be immersed in a story only to find out that the most favorite and well-formed and well-bonded characters are killed off by the creators for the sake of furthering the plot. It is a different kind of grief that is hard to recover from. But media and entertainment are platforms of art and creation, and everything happens for the sake of that creative inspiration that fuels the story to move forward.
Here are some of the most tragic deaths of the characters which are hard to move on from, given their bonding and their personalities that are well-liked by the viewers.
1. Tahomaru- Dororo
Since the first episode, the anime had taken on a very tragic backstory with its unique aim of the protagonist - to reclaim his body back from the curses. Through the journey, he tries to find his identity, and bonds with people, but towards the end, when he meets his family which is a primary reason for his sabotage, they struggle to come to an understanding, which ends in one of the tragic deaths in anime history.
The character Tahomaru deserved better, given the ignorance he faced from his mother and his father’s sheer profit-centric upbringing of him. In the end, he only ever wanted the love and support from his family but ended up becoming some of the curses that led Hyakkimaru to kill him and reclaim his organs back.
But at least he dies knowing that his mother loved him just as much, as they both stayed back in the burning castle, letting Hyakkimaru live his life, leaving behind his past.
2. Tomomi- Psycho-pass
The action-packed psychological thriller deals with grave issues that are already triggering enough for some of the viewers. But towards the end, just when Tomomi’s and Ginoza’s relationship was about to get better, Tomomi dies, sacrificing himself to save his son, who until now, never truly understood him and avoided him, given he was labeled as a ‘latent criminal’.
Seeing his sacrifice and the last words that they share, Ginoza has a different awakening as his character sees his father as his and not just a latent criminal.
3. Erwin Smith- AOT
Probably the most tragic loss whose death’s shock affected the viewers as much as it did the characters. The entire trajectory of the plot changed when Erwin sacrificed himself. With his resilience, perseverance, and devotion to his destiny for which he fought and sacrificed many, Erwin was a complex character whose life as well as death had affected the entire plot and story of Shingeki no Kyojin.
Mostly, it showed the psychological and tragic effect on Levi’s character who, from the very beginning had only lost his comrades to the massacre caused by the titans. Erwin’s loss is like losing the one hope that was left for humanity, which is seen in the later episodes, how differently they would pan out if Erwin survived.
4. Twelve and Nine- Zankyou no Terror
This short yet striking anime kills off the only two characters that started it all, which is not agreeable to many viewers. Twelve and Nine started out to be known as terrorists, who proceed to imbibe the real grotesque reality of society but end up dying from the consequential circumstances that catch up to them.
Their lives were reduced merely to avenge the atrocities done to them, and when they finally reached that goal, they were killed by the system itself, with the words, “hey, remember us” engraved into the hearts of the viewers.
5. L- Death Note
No matter how much the perspectives of right and wrong are eluded and tossed in this anime, no one can ever forgive Yagami Light for killing L. L, in his last moments, got the closure that he was right about Light being Kira after all, that he really was the greatest detective, but fell hard in the face of the ugliness of the world.
L was a resilient and uniquely amazing detective who deserved to be celebrated. Even Kira himself was not nearly capable enough to win against L’s caliber, which led him to use Misa’s emotions and Rem’s weakness for Misa which ultimately helped him kill L by proxy. This shows the greatness of the character that L is.
6. Rengoku- Demon Slayer
Many believe that Rengoku’s death was quintessential to the furthering of the plot, but his earnest and ominous presence throughout the second season is deeply engraved in the hearts of the viewers. Rengoku achieved a different place in the heart, his ideals, perseverance, love for the ones he cared about, and his final moments, everything struck a chord in the hearts and the viewers hared equal grief as the characters in the anime did.
7. Sakunosuke Oda- Bungo Stray Dogs
Despite being one of the most depressing animes out there, the death of Sakunosuke Oda hit the hardest, as he sacrificed his life for gatekeeping his dream, and whose death was the gateway for Dazai to change from the darkness of Port Mafia into the light of Armed Detective Agency.
Oda’s earnest glance, respectfulness, and secretive about the most ardent wish of his life redeeming himself for his past sins yet working his way to find his life out of the grimness of Port Mafia, but ultimately fell victim to Ougai’s twisted game between the government and another enemy troop.
Oda’s death meant the end of Dazai’s trustworthy friendship with anyone, which is very sad to sit through without visibly shaking and crying. Through the vast options of tear-jerker anime, the deaths of characters leave a great impression that furthers and stagnates the flow of the plot.