Heart-wrenching scenes that had us gasping, unable to fully comprehend what had just happened or why. A moment of reveal few saw coming, some expected but hoped not to face that gives everyone a painful heart-clench. When a character we have come to love and appreciate decides to turn around from our expectations and go against our hopes, one cannot help but feel as betrayed as the characters on screen. Admitting it can be a pleasant surprise at times, it is certainly not regularly the case.
There are too many types of betrayals to count, albeit the feeling itself is not crystal clear on every occasion. Sometimes it is hard to sport them among the storyline, and other times they are thrown right to your face. We have picked out the top 10 Anime Betrayals from different genres and eras that still leave us at the edge of our seats today!
10. A Classmate’s Betrayal from Arifureta Shokugyou de Sekai Saikyou (Arifureta: From Commonplace to World’s Strongest)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: July 2019 – October 2019
When you are suddenly thrown into a distant world without previous warning nor a chance to make the decision, it is typical to feel anxious about what the future may hold for you. What happens when you are not the only one taken? It might be a silver lining to be around people you know—for the most part. Arifureta proves it can be a deadly assumption.
Unfortunately, for Nagumo Hajime, it was a ticket to hell itself after being summoned to a fantasy world along with his classmates and homeroom teacher while being tasked to fight for the sake of it. The kind-natured, compassionate Hajime decides to do his best to be at the same level as his classmates by dedicating his free time to studying strategies and general knowledge about the exotic world. Shockingly, while trying to save everyone from dismay during a fight against the dungeon monsters that unexpectedly rose, they betray him. While the ongoing distress lapses, a classmate plots his death out of jealousy by attacking Hajime with magic, making him fall to the deepest level of the dungeon and leaving him on the brink of collapse. It was very satisfactory when his renewed version came back with full knowledge of his “killer” while everyone else thought he was long gone.
9. Su-won from Akatsuki no Yona (Yona of the Dawn)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: October 2014 – March 2015
Princess Yona, a sheltered princess of the kingdom of Kouka, believes in the tranquility her father, King Il, has presented Yona throughout her life. But when her first love, childhood friend, and cousin Su-won comes into the picture one night after dawn, her whole world crumbles at the speed of light.
Yona resolved to visit her father and plead for her happiness—she cannot live a life without Su-won when her heart is determined to marry him. Shockingly, what she finds in her father’s chambers is none other than Su-won stabbing King Il with a sword. The agony does not end there, as Su-won proclaims Yona is next. Her childhood friend and assigned bodyguard Son Hak helps the fragile damsel escape, but what lingers in Yona's mind is her inevitable collapse, fanning the flames of a new beginning for her and Son Hak outside of the sheltered royal palace life.
Akatsuki no Yona is a story that springs from betrayal. As Arifureta, we do not have to go past the first couple of episodes to understand the depth of Yona’s anguish. Her grief is palpable throughout the story, but what was born in place of the old Princess of Kouka is a fiery leader strong enough to protect what she holds dear.
8. Grell Sutcliff from Kuroshitsuji (Black Butler)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: October 2008 – March 2009
In Kuroshitsuji, Grell Sutcliff is the butler of the Phantomhive aristocrat Angelina Dalles, a madame akin to a mother figure for our protagonist Ciel Phantomhive. The young Earl Ciel of the Phantomhives is well known as the Queen’s Guard Dog, who, alongside his butler with inhuman abilities Sebastian Michaelis, is responsible for dealing with the many unsettling events around England.
After following the murder cases of Jack the Ripper, Ciel and Sebastian uncover the dark secret behind them: the perpetrators are none other than Angelina, also known as Madame Red, along with her butler Grell, who is a Grim Reaper in disguise. Succeeding the battle between Sebastian and Grell that ensues, Angelina takes on Ciel. She cannot kill Ciel due to her motherly love for the child, which prompts a shocking twist of events: Grell kills Angelina with his Death Scythe after proclaiming her useless. Our protagonist Ciel Phantomhive has lost both of his mothers.
7. A Kingdom’s Betrayal from Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari (The Rising of the Shield Hero)
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: January 2019 – June 2019
Naofumi Iwatani has become a part of the “Four Cardinal Heroes” summoned to the kingdom of Melromarc from modern-day Japan to fight against the Waves of Catastrophe that have ravaged the lands for centuries. Upon his arrival, he faces discrimination right off the bat for being considered a useless shield. While the other sword, spear, and bow heroes are revered and followed by many, Naofumi finds himself without a single companion to fight with—until Malty Melromarc, the second princess, decides to join his team.
Unlike the saving grace we are presented with, it did not take long for Naofumi to be betrayed by Malty. After being falsely accused of taking advantage of her and losing all of his belongings, Naofumi understands the plot between Malty and the King. As it is considered a grave crime within the kingdom, he is cursed and driven off the land. He must rise from the depths of despair by himself to take revenge on those who have dirtied his name. The silver lining in Tate no Yuusha is that it does not take long for Naofumi to get back at those who so harshly rejected his existence.
6. Reiner Braun and Bertholdt Hoover from Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan)
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: April 2013 – September 2013
In Shingeki no Kyojin, creatures known as Titans are humanity’s most vile threat. The story begins when two particular Titans, the Colossus and Armored Titans, breach through one of the walls protecting human beings while keeping them away, resulting in countless casualties counting Eren Yeager’s mother. The catastrophe sparks a flame within Eren, prompting him to join others in the fight against Titans as part of the Survey Corps, those who lay down their lives for the sake of peace.
As part of the same military squad within the Survey Corps, he befriends Reiner and Bertholdt. Eren believes both despise Titans as much as he does, but unfortunately, that only blinded Eren from the dark secret kept by them: they are none other than the Colossus and Armored Titans that killed his very mother. We do not possess enough words to describe the fit of rage Eren experiences, as well as the sense of betrayal that never disappeared.
5. Kyubey from Puella Magi Madoka Magica (Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: January 2011 – April 2011
Who would expect such a sinister end goal from an adorable, innocent-looking creature like Kyubey? For a fact, the magical girls from Puella Magi Madoka Magica did not. Kyubey, the Messenger of Magic, promises to grant the gullible girls their most desired wish in exchange for signing a contract with them and becoming magical girls who fight against evil witches, who are after the dreams and hopes of the world itself.
What is hidden from them is that the evil witches they are desperately fighting are old magical girls who turned into witches after years of fighting, keeping the vile cycle alive all due to Kyubey’s plot. Moreover, the contract signed has ensured Kyubey possession of the souls belonging to the magical girls, so they are never to escape Kyubey's clutches.
4. A Lover’s Betrayal from Shakugan no Shana III (Final) (Shakugan no Shana Season 3)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: October 2011 – March 2012
How would you feel when the love of your life suddenly disappears one Christmas Eve right before finally professing your love to them, only to reencounter them time later as the leader of the organization who has plotted your death at every given time? As if there is anything as tragic, right?
In Shakugan no Shana, the never-ending conflict between the Flame Hazes and Crimson Denizens has taken over the real world. They turned the kind-hearted main character, Yuji Sakai, into an anti-hero, a cold and ruthless fellow who slowly loses his human empathy and is not afraid of killing for the sake of his end goal. For this very reason, after his sudden disappearance, Yuji comes back as the leader of Bal Masque, the evil organization that tried taking his and Shana's life previously. He believes this is the only way to destroy everything, so Yuji and Shana, once companions that shared the same fate, are now placed in the roles of enemies. Although Yuji is a fake villain who only wishes to be with Shana, his methods are brutal and sacrifice much of what they gained in the process.
3. A Double Betrayal from 91 Days
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 2016 – October 2016
Angelo Tesla witnesses the merciless slaughter of his family during his birthday by one of the most influential mafia families in the town of Lawless, the Vanettis. One day he receives a letter detailing the names of those involucrated in the betrayal of his father and family’s murder. In an attempt to take revenge and destroy the Vanetti family, he infiltrates as Avilio Bruno, going as far as becoming one of the hands of Nero Vanetti, the next Don in line to take over the family.
Later on, we discover Nero’s uncle had sent the letter to Angelo, plotting with him to destroy the current Vanetti line to become the new leader of the syndicate. Although Angelo follows his orders to a certain extent, he betrays the uncle and kills the leader of another powerful family, destroying the relationship between the Vanettis and the Galassias. In the aftermath, Don Vanetti dies from a heart attack after sensing the inevitable fall of his own family. It is not over, as a massacre between the families ensues, leading to the destruction of the mafia in Lawless. 91 Days is the story of betrayals, far too many to cover the entire list of betrayals by itself.
2. A Brother’s Betrayal from Sarazanmai
- Episodes: 11
- Aired: April 2019 – June 2019
Toi Kuji does not hesitate to kill one of the gang members after his older brother’s life at a very young age, committing the first of many crimes on his list. Chikai Kuji has been a part of crimes ranging from drug dealing, kidnapping, and torturing. Toi did not believe going against his brother's words, his sole remaining family, and helped him thoroughly with every command.
After not meeting each other for a long time, Chikai is suddenly back and asking Toi to leave his current lifestyle to travel with him. Although Toi is reluctant at first due to his friendship with Kazuki and Enta, the main protagonists who also turn into kappas, he decides to accompany him. Far from being a peaceful journey, a gang member is once again after Chikai's life, seeking revenge for the guy Toi killed years prior. Toi, determined there is no way out, takes the life of a second person for the sake of his brother. Amid his despair, Chikai betrays Toi first by pointing a gun at his forehead. As the fake brother relationship finally collapses, Toi shoots and takes his brother's life, putting an end to the abusive relationship between the two.
Sarazanmai presents us the complexity of interpersonal relationships and how deep our bonds of connection can bind us, to the extent of killing off our own family to prevent losing our place in society.
1. Anthy Himemiya from Shoujo Kakumei Utena (Revolutionary Girl Utena)
- Episodes: 39
- Aired: April 1997 – December 1997
Utena Tenjou desires to become a prince after her fateful meeting with a young man who comforts her the day her parents died. He leaves a ring and the promise to meet again behind. Years later, Utena attends Ootori Academy, where a mysterious and dangerous game takes place, inviting whoever carries the ring she possesses to play along. In a twist of events, Utena is dragged into the game battle and wins. If she is to win every single battle from then on, she would be able to free Anthy Himemiya, the prized Rose Bride. After both become good friends, she makes up her mind to fight for Anthy’s sake.
However, Anthy did not share the same honorable objective Utena had. They reveal Anthy’s romantic relationship with her older brother Akio, who declares Anthy a witch. Akio has manipulated Anthy all along and is plotting to have the girls confront each other. Utena fights against Akio in an attempt to free Anthy from her brother’s manipulative clutches, only to be backstabbed mercilessly by Anthy. Anthy’s true personality shines as brightly as the red blood dripping from Utena’s back. Shoujo Kakumei Utena certainly has one of the most memorable betrayal scenes to have ever existed.
As viewers, we feel the betrayals deep into our beings. Although we can be grateful for how it carries the storyline to lengths we did not expect and turns into a pleasant plot-line twist, it still leaves a bittersweet taste in our mouths as we recall the events. Well, maybe not quite as bad as it did to the characters that got betrayed.
At the end of the day, we even come to understand the decisions behind such actions, no matter how ridiculous they might seem. Every character has a goal to pursue, and it is something we should never forget.
What were your thoughts when you found them out yourselves? Did they become bitter memories as they came across? Let us know in the comments below!