To quote Benjamin Franklin, "… in this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." Fortunately, there aren't too many anime about taxes; Death, on the other hand? A lot of anime is ripe with death and the killing off of many of its characters.
Many anime feature the "end of the world" trope to some effect. Due to their prevalence and nature, we won't be taking them into account. Instead, we'll look at anime that feature lots of on-screen deaths and an indiscriminate killing off of its characters. Here our Top 10 anime with the most deaths:
10. Death Note
- Episodes: 27
- Aired: October 2006 – June 2007
One day, high school genius, Light Yagami comes across a black notebook with the ability to kill virtually anyone. With his newfound power of a Death Note, Light decides to create his ideal world: one free and devoid of any criminals. After deciding on his plan to cleanse the world, Death Note treats the viewer to a montage of death, as Light test out the power of the book.
Eventually, Light's actions draw the interest of the police and a criminal investigation for "Kira" ensues. During the extremely tense game of cat and mouse, Light adds more and more to his body count, as he attempts to throw genius investigator L off of his case, and remove anyone who gets in his way of Justice. As a second Death Note and copycat Kira enters the fray, naturally the number of deaths in Death Note continues to rise, resulting in one of the most memorable and death filled anime.
9. Akame ga Kill!
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: July 2014 – December 2014
Hoping to earn money for his village, Tatsumi heads to the capital despite warnings about its dark seedy nature. In the capital, Tatsumi finds himself as the newest member of the assassin group, Night Raid. Throughout the show, the Night Raid carries out hits on corrupt members of the Empire and other Imperial Arm Users.
With every episode titled "Kill the.." it's obvious that there is a lot of death and spilled blood to be found in this show. The first episode features a family that tortures and kills people just for the fun of it. With that kind of corruption found in the capital, you can expect the deaths of lots no-name characters as well as that of many integral to the show's story and progression.
8. 91 Days
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 2016 – October 2016
In 1921, Angelo Lagusa witnessed the death of his family in a mob hit. Just barely managing to escape with his life, Angelo lives out the next seven years as Avilio Bruno, all the while holding on to his grudge against those responsible for his family's death, the Vanetti family. When Avilio receives a mysterious letter with the names of his family's killers, he returns to his hometown of Lawless to get his revenge.
Anyone who knows anything about the mafia knows that there is a lot of death involved. 91 Days starts off with the death of the Lagusa family, and takes the viewer along on a ride of revenge, mistrust, lawlessness, and, of course, death. What makes the sheer number of 91 Days death toll is that it includes gangsters and innocent alike; No one is safe. Death looms over all characters and can happen at any time, making the anticipation of the next death a thrilling experience.
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: June 2012 – March 2012
Curses don't exist, right? Tell that to the Class 3-3 of Yomiyama North Middle School. 26 prior to the story, a student, Misaki Yomiyama, died in the middle of the school year. Unable to cope with the loss of a classmate, the students carried on as if he were still alive. Unbeknownst to them, this inability to face reality leaves a deadly curse on all future students of Class 3-3.
In essence, every year after that, Class 3-3 would have an extra student, who is in fact, the spirit of the dead. Despite attempts to prevent the curse, the class of 1998 and their relatives find themselves caught in an unrelenting storm of death. A way to end the curse is discovered, but this only causes more deaths. The great thing about the deaths in Another is how unexpected and gruesome they are. Lives can be lost at the drop of a dime with no warning, rhyme or reason.
6. Parasyte -the maxim- (Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: October 2014 – March 2015
No one knows exactly where they came from, but one-night countless spores descended upon Earth. These spores contained parasites that take over the brains of living creatures and takes over their body, transforming them into man-eating monsters. The opening scene of the anime shows the first of what would be referred to as the "mincemeat murders."
A high schooler, Shinichi Izumi, was lucky enough to not lose his brain to one of these parasites but finds himself targeted by parasites around him, as he becomes caught up in their world in a "kill or be killed" fight for humanity. Whether it's designated feeding areas, killing sprees, or berserker parasites, Parasyte -the maxim- racks up the deaths in a fun and interesting ways.
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: April 2004 – June 2004
Death is a certainty, right? Well, not when death is followed by your resurrection and forced participation in a "game" of death. Kei Kurono finds himself among those resurrected and forced to go on deadly missions to kill aliens on Earth.
Throughout Gantz, numerous characters are introduced, which implies their first death. In addition to the necessary death required for these characters to die, more times than not they are killed off in missions. This revolving door of gruesome deaths makes Gantz a must watch for those of you looking for your share of anime deaths.
4. Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin)
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: April 2013 – September 2013
100 years prior to the start of the anime, mankind was attacked by mindless creatures called Titans. The Titans whose sole purpose and instinct seemed to be to feed on humans. As such, the human race was pushed to the brink of extinction. An impressive death count, no doubt, but not the one we're concerned with.
Spending their lives safely behind walls separating them from the outside world where the Titans roam free, the remainder of the human race became comfortable with their lives behind the walls. Needless to say, when the Titans attack the outermost wall protecting humanity, they were unprepared, leading to an absolute massacre at the hands of the Titans.
As if the insane amount of death to start off the show wasn't enough, as the show progresses, the death count only increases, taking the life of many great characters in its wake. Attack on Titan is definitely a must-watch if you're looking for death and bloodshed. Just don't get attached to too many characters, okay?
3. Corpse Party: Tortured Souls (Corpse Party Tortured Souls -Bougyakusareta Tamashii no Jukyou-)
- Episodes: 4
- Aired: July 2013
It's not a good idea to build a high school on the site of grisly murders. It's an even worse idea to perform a ritual in said school. Unfortunately, a group of high school friends, they didn't get the memo. As a result, the students of Kisaragi Academy are transported to a hellish reality, where they must deal with the disgruntled spirits of Heavenly Host School.
Corpse Party: Tortured Souls is one of the most brutal anime out there. And while it doesn't contain the most deaths out there, it contains such gruesome methods of killing off nearly all of its characters that it is and will always be remembered as one of the deadliest anime.
2. Future Diary (Mirai Nikki)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: October 2011 – April 2012
Deus Ex Machina is the God of Time and Space and imaginary friend of junior high schooler, Yukiteru Amano. One day, Deus gives Yukiteru a cell phone that can record the next 90 days. What follows is a battle royale fight to the death to find the successor to Deus' throne.
Despite the fact that there are only 12 participants in this survival game, Future Diary features more deaths than one might deem necessary. When the winner earns the title of "god," things tend to get dirty for everyone, even for those uninvolved with the game. Add in the fact that the game takes place over different iterations of the world, and it's easy to see how Future Diary manages to add to its death count.
- Episodes: 22
- Aired: July 2010 - December 2010
One summer day, in the town of Sotoba, 15-year-old Megumi Shimizu goes missing. Megumi is found several days later, but due to her condition upon being found, she dies days after her rescue. What follows is a plague of death as the Shiki, a vampire like race, attempts to turn the village into a safe haven for themselves.
In a fight for the village, Shiki sees the death of countless characters, both human and Shiki, alike. War isn’t pretty and that’s precisely what happens in Shiki: an all-out war. There are only so many ways to kill a vampire —stake to the heart, decapitation, or exposure to sunlight— but for the terrified villagers, it’s best to not err on the side of caution.
Don’t forget there are blood-hungry Shiki on the loose as well. There are also many interesting ways to kill humans as well, and the truly vile methods are saved for characters of utmost importance. When there’s a pit of bodies, you’re guaranteed to find a trail of death leading to it. A tale of survival, Shiki offers the viewer anything but that, as the body count rises in quite a gruesome manner.
Death is inescapable, it happens to the best and worst of us. In anime, death helps us to appreciate the characters; as the saying goes, "you don't know what you've got til it's gone." But sometimes it's more than we bargained for, as we watch characters we've grown attached to die simply for the sake of dying. Sometimes, it's a character with little or no meaning. One thing's for sure, with so many deaths being handed out like candy, these anime help us to appreciate our favorite characters even more.
What do you think of the list? Are there any deadly anime that we missed? Let us know in the comments below!