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Trust is one of the most important component of human relationships, yet, interestingly, it is the one of the most fragile. It often takes significant time and effort to build up, but only a split-decision to send all of it tumbling down. That being said, we at Honey’s have decided to bring you a list of anime in which characters have snuck around, kept hidden agendas and stabbed each other in the back. These are some of the most unexpected, the most aggravating and at times, the most heart-wrenching demolitions of trust. These are the top 10 anime about betrayal! So, let’s get to it, before we, dare we say, betray your trust.
Beware, spoilers ahead!
10. Arslan Senki (The Heroic Legend of Arslan)
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: April 2015 - September 2015
In the year 320, the Kingdom of Pars enjoys times of prosperity under the rule of King Andragoras III. At the same time, the Kingdom is at war with the neighbouring empire of Lusitania. Ready for his first true taste of battle, the Parsian Prince, Arslan, sets out onto the battlefield, but unbeknownst to him, his father and the Kingdom is to be betrayed by one of its most trusted officials, and the army wholly defeated. In the midst of the chaos, Arslan is forced to flee the country together with the general, Daryun and a few other companions, in pursuit of allies who will help him take back the capital, Ecbatana.
Betrayal in politics is by no extension of the imagination a new concept. Betrayed by his most trusted advisor, King Andragoras III lost control of his capital city and his army was defeated. In addition to that, his son, Arslan, successor to the throne was forced to flee the country, effectively leaving Pars without its rightful rulers. The Heroic Legend of Arslan is a classic tale of betrayal in a capture-the-flag context. The betrayal of the kingdom by its own officials is the catalyst which sets the story in motion, proving it to be an integral theme in the anime. All’s fair in love and war, no?
9. Nanatsu no Taizai (The Seven Deadly Sins)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: October 2014 – March 2015
In an era similar to the medieval times in Europe, in the aftermath of a great holy war, a group of knights has been accused of plotting to overthrow the Kingdom of Liones. Many years later, Princess Elizabeth sets out on her own on a journey to find these seven knights in order to enlist them to help her fight against the growing evil within the kingdom. These knights are the strongest individuals in the kingdom and despite being labelled a band of outlaws, Elizabeth is certain that they can help. They are the Seven Deadly Sins.
From the get-go in Nanatsu no Taizai, we are presented with the theme of betrayal, the vehicle through which the anime’s story is set off. The Seven Deadly Sins (the knights themselves) being accused of treason was in itself a betrayal, as they were framed. Another significant betrayal in the series is that of the former Great Holy Knight, Hendrickson, the man responsible for the Reactor Class Holy Knights, who obtained their power through the consumption of the blood of a demon and subsequently threatened peace in the kingdom. Perhaps if there were eight deadly sins, Betrayal would be one of them.
8. Black Lagoon
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: April 2006 – June 2006
When a routine business trip goes awry as they are attacked by pirates from the Lagoon Trading Company, who sought the data disk he carried, Japanese Salaryman Okajima Rokuro is abandoned by his superiors and orders are sent out by his department chief, Kageyama, to kill him and destroy the disk. Now faced with a common enemy, Rokuro helps the Lagoon Company pirates defeat the mercenaries sent to take his life. In the aftermath of the battle, having been told that he has already been declared legally dead, Rokuro, now dubbed “Rock”, decides to join the Lagoon Company and the Black Lagoon crew, who had initially kidnapped him.
Again, we are presented with a betrayal which sets the rest of the story in motion, this time, in the workplace. Realising that his superiors left him for dead, Rock decided to abandon that life altogether and set sail with the Lagoon Company. Ironically, Rock set his sights on the cutthroat world of crime and piracy, a world where betrayal is commonplace. What sets Black Lagoon apart; however, is how the betrayal doesn’t fuel the protagonist’s need for vengeance, instead, it introduces him to a world more colourful than the world he left. Betrayal is what allowed him to, dare we say, live his best life.
7. Deadman Wonderland
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 2011 – July 2011
Deadman Wonderland is a prison unlike other prisons. It doubles as a theme park, where prisoners are forced to participate in sadistic death games for the entertainment of the general public. 14-year-old Igarashi Ganta’s class was meant to go on a class excursion to Deadman Wonderland, but hours before departure, every student in his class was murdered by a mysterious red entity with devastating powers. As the only survivor, Ganta was left to shoulder the blame and sentenced to death – a sentence which would be served in Deadman Wonderland, the very subject of his class excursion. Now shouldering the deaths of all his friends, can Ganta survive in the suffocating violence that is Deadman Wonderland and clear his name in the process?
The betrayal in this anime isn’t immediately explained or expressed. It is an underlying tone, despite not being in your face, it is one of the biggest factors which allows the plot to progress. The individual who massacred Ganta’s classmates, known as the Wretched Egg, happens to be Shiro, his childhood friend and guardian angel-like entity when he is in Deadman Wonderland. She suffers from having a split personality which came about as a self-preservation mechanism while she endured torturous experiments at the hands of scientists, one of them being Ganta’s very own mother. Shiro knowingly murdered Ganta’s friends and gave him the Branches of Sin – essentially being the source of all his pain and suffering. Worse than a stab in the back.
6. Zetsuen no Tempest
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: October 2012 – March 2013
Takigawa Yoshino is hiding a major secret from his best friend, Fuwa Mahiro. He is dating Mahiro’s little sister, Aika. When Aika dies under mysterious circumstances, Mahiro disappears, leaving Yoshino to live a fairly normal life without his best friend and girlfriend. Just one month later, Yoshino’s life changes as he is held at gunpoint by a strange girl and surprisingly, Mahiro arrives just in time to save his friend. It turns out that Mahiro managed to enlist the help of Kusaribe Hakaze, a witch of the Kusaribe-clan, to help him find an entity known as the Tree of Exodus in order to prevent Hakaze’s brother from using its power and plunging the world into chaos as well as to find Aika’s killer. The only problem is, Hakaze is trapped on a deserted island, so Yoshino and Mahiro can only save the world and find Aika’s killer through their own strength and wits.
In what could be seen as one of the most unexpected plot twists, it turns out that Aika’s killer is none other than Aika herself. Aika is actually the Magician of Exodus, meaning that in order to ensure that fate be linear, she committed suicide, therefore creating a world where the Tree of Genesis does not decide everything. Her first betrayal was keeping her relationship with Yoshino a secret from her brother. Her second was allowing Yoshino and Mahiro to suffer intense grief due to her death, a death she brought upon herself, albeit selflessly. Everything happens for a reason.
5. Mirai Nikki (Future Diary
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: October 2011 – April 2012
Amano Yukiteru is a loner who spends most of his time recording the events that unfold around him on a day-to-day basis on a diary he keeps on his cell phone, while in “the company” of his imaginary friend, Deus Ex Machina, the God of Time. It turns out that Deus is an actual god and in need of a successor as his time is running out. He then gifts Yukiteru the power of the “Random Diary”, a diary which, like the one on his cell phone, documents events unfolding around him – except that this one reports on events which haven’t happened yet. Yukiteru is then thrown into an 11-way battle with other diary-wielders, the winner of which then becomes the new God of Time.
With his highly obsessive girlfriend, Gasai Yuno, by his side, Yukiteru manages to survive some very precarious situations, but unbeknownst to him, this Yuno, in addition to being an unstable, sadistic stalker, is the winner of the Survival in another timeline. Essentially, Yuno’s plan to betray and later revive Yukiteru is what set the entire story in motion, as it is what caused her to create a new timeline in which the events of the series take place. A fittingly roundabout way to seal a happy ever after with your beloved, we might add.
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: October 2012 – December 2012
Sakamoto Ryouta is a 22-year-old unemployed man who lives with his mother and spends most of his days playing the popular online game, BTOOOM!, where he is Japan’s top player. After a routine trip to the convenience store, Ryouta suddenly finds himself stranded on a deserted island, with his memories in a haze and a strange crystal embedded in his left hand. Given very little time to take in his surroundings, he is very quickly forced to realise that a certain entity has recreated his favourite online game, turning it into a real-life explosive deathmatch where participants use a variety of bombs to kill each other and collect each other’s crystals in order to have a chance to leave the island.
BTOOOM! is a fairly dark anime with various themes addressing the negative aspects of humanity, human society, and relationships. Naturally, the subject of trust is brought up and it becomes apparent that characters who end up on the island are sent there by people close to them, such as parents, friends and lovers. These characters are cast aside by the very people with whom they are meant to have deep connections. Betrayal is a central theme as it is the very reason that all the characters end up on the island and much like a noxious cloud, it sticks around to become the very reason why many characters end up becoming really messy fireworks.
3. Akatsuki no Yona (Yona of the Dawn)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: October 2014 – March 2015
Princess Yona of the Kingdom of Kouka has lived a relatively sheltered life away from the harsh realities of the state of the kingdom. Her life is thrown into chaos when her father is murdered and her cousin Su-Won puts her life in danger. Now forced to flee the country, Yona and her bodyguard Son Hak see for themselves the truth about the country she once saw through rose-coloured glasses. Yona must now find a way to save her country, all while escaping attempts on her life ordered by the new king of the Kingdom of Kouka.
Akatsuki no Yona features a betrayal which rocks the world of the protagonist. In this specific case, spurred on by feelings of love and fealty to her kingdom, Yona seeks to return the country to its former glory. She also spends most of the series trying to come to grips with Su-Won’s betrayal, often asking herself why. The betrayal is the main plot device and the reason why the protagonist escapes from her life of shelter, forced to see reality and grow at the same time.
2. 91 Days
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 2016 – October 2016
Avilio Bruno is an enigmatic young man who received a letter from an unknown sender. The letter expresses the writer’s intention to help Avilio get revenge for the brutal murder of his family at the hands of four individuals of the Vanetti Family seven years prior. Knowing that he has support, Avilio returns to his hometown of Lawless in order to infiltrate the Vanetti Family and punish the individuals responsible for the deaths of his mother, father and little brother all those years ago…
The quest for revenge is Avilio’s response to the initial betrayal expressed by his father, Testa Lagusa, courtesy of the Vanetti Family, people with which he had supposedly had a long working relationship. This betrayal left Avilio without a family and fuelled his rage. Cold and calculating as an adult, Avilio does not even flinch at the prospect of betraying others in order to achieve his goals, and even executes simulated betrayals with frightening conviction and finesse. The gangster life chose him.
1. Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch (Lelouch of the Rebellion)
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: October 2006 – July 2007
In the year A.D. 2010, the Holy Empire of Britannia wished to flex its military might and establish itself as a global power. Armed with the devastating power of their mechs, the Knightmare Frames, Britannia quickly claimed sovereignty over most of the world. One day, high school student and exiled prince of the empire, Lelouch Lamperouge vi Britannia was caught in the middle of a skirmish between armed Britannian forces and Japanese rebels. It is during the skirmish that he meets C.C, a woman who gives him the Power of Kings known as Geass, which grants him the power of absolute obedience. With this new power and a settle to score with the empire, Lelouch sets out to exact his revenge, using the Japanese rebellion as a catalyst.
The Empire incurred Lelouch’s wrath when his mother was brutally murdered and his little sister, Nunnally, left blinded and crippled. Lelouch then harboured an intense hatred for the royal family, as his mother’s death was a politically-motivated decision. He saw the attack on his family as the ultimate betrayal and therefore set out to destroy the empire, using means many would label “treason”. Betrayal can then be seen as one of the main themes of the entire series, as well as the main driving force of Lelouch’s character. Betrayal is also apparent in various sub-plots throughout the series, such as Japanese-born Suzaku’s Britannian citizenship influencing his alignment in Britannia-Japan conflicts.
Before we end this article, we would like to give a special mention to Terraformars where a single betrayal lead up to 80 crew members losing their lives and the Chinese labelled traitors to U-NASA.
As much as it may hurt and aggravate us, betrayal is the perfect vehicle to drive the plot and character development of any story. It seems to work especially well in anime, causing viewers to expect the unexpected, creating very interesting plots and at times, driving our emotions through a wall. Betrayal is an aspect which seems one dimensional at first glance, but can feed various story elements at once, making it awesome to write about and even better to experience in the shows we love. Did we betray you by not putting your favourite on the list? If so, express yourself in the comment section below, maybe we won’t disappoint you next time around!