This summer is shaping up to be a tumultuous time of uprising, fear, economic downturn, and disease – certainly historic and important, but not exactly the lighthearted “fun in the sun” atmosphere we look forward to every year. So, in the spirit of this very unique summer that we’re living in, here are 5 anime beach scenes that aren’t your typical swimsuit fanservice fluff. This is going to get dark... but, aren’t you used to that by now?
--Big Spoilers Ahead!--
5. Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion
After the Third Impact and Instrumentality reduce most of the world to a blighted hellscape, Shinji and Asuka lay on a mysterious beach with grave markers and a giant object resembling half of Rei’s head visible in the distance. Shinji strangles the unconscious Asuka and sobs over her body until she finally wakes up and coldly berates him for hurting her. And that’s the last scene of the whole series! Devilman Crybaby did something similar with Ryo’s one-sided speech to Akira amid the ruins of Earth, but Evangelion’s scene has Komm Süsser Tod (the most depressing, yet upbeat song ever written) immediately preceding it, so there’s really no contest here.
Another is well known for its cavalcade of ridiculous death scenes, and one of our favorites happens to take place right on the beach! Episode 8 starts off as a relatively standard beach episode, its lighthearted tone clashing so horribly with the rest of the series that viewers spend the whole time waiting for the other shoe to drop. Then a random side character swims out to rescue a beach ball, loses consciousness from an aneurism, and promptly gets chopped to bits by a boat passing by. As the sea runs red with blood and screams echo across the sand, we breathe a sigh of relief that Another is back to its old tricks again.
3. Houseki no Kuni (Land of the Lustrous)
In episode 8, Phosphophyllite and Antarctictite visit the Shore of Nascency to find replacement materials for Phos’ lost arms, but the heavy gold/platinum alloy on the beach quickly latches onto Phos and surrounds him with a solid cube prison from which he can’t escape. Suddenly, Lunarians appear and the fragile Antarc has to fight them off himself while Phos desperately tries to get the alloy to obey his commands. Just when the situation almost seems under control, a Lunarian arrow shatters Antarc and Phos has to watch helplessly as his friend is taken away from him piece by piece. He awakens his ability to control the alloy and cracks as the weighty material spreads throughout his body, but not even these new powers can save the winter gem. This failure haunts Phos for the rest of his days...
2. Shingeki no Kyojin Season 3 Part 2 (Attack on Titan Season 3 Part 2)
Armin has always wanted to experience the sea firsthand, and the last episode of Attack on Titan’s third season finally sees that dream realized. The Scouts reach the other side of the wall for the very first time and gawk at the expanse of water that they used to think was no more than a fairy tale. Jean, Sasha, and Connie splash around, Armin and Hange inspect shells, Mikasa is shocked by the cold water, and Levi is suspicious that it could be poisonous – but Eren solemnly points to the horizon and says, “If we kill all of our enemies over there, will we finally be free?” As much as they hoped, just reaching this point wasn’t enough to secure freedom. They need to confront their new enemies as well...
1. JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken Part 5: Ougon no Kaze (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind)
Abbacchio is a rock-solid staple of Bucciarati’s gang – he’s a hardened former police officer with undying loyalty to Bruno and a highly useful information gathering Stand. So when he’s suddenly killed by the boss in episode 28 while using Moody Blues to close in on the mysterious man’s identity, it takes the entire gang by surprise. As Abbacchio lies bleeding out on the beach, Narancia cries hysterically and threatens Giorno for not “trying hard enough” to heal him, but the others stay eerily silent because there was nothing they could’ve done to save their teammate. At least Abbacchio and Moody Blues left them one clue at the very end... the boss’ face imprinted in a stone pillar!
Other not so fun beach scenes include the Elric brothers’ training under Izumi from Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood, Tsukasa’s disturbing motivation reveal from Dr. Stone, and the entire island arc from Hetalia: Axis Powers. But what are some of your favorite depressing beach scenes in anime? Let us know in the comments, and thanks so much for reading!