We live in a world with blurred definitions of right and wrong. Sure, some of the most basic of actions are aligned rather easily, but sometimes we come to justify some of the things people do because it isn’t always as clear-cut as we’d like. And so, we have the concept of premeditated murder with clear motivation – political or otherwise – executed with efficiency, artistry and sometimes, a bit of flair, flashy moves and supernatural powers – what, did you think we were talking about real-life assassination?
We at Honey’s Anime have put together a list of some of the most significant assassinations in anime. These are executions which changed the texture of entire shows. So load your gun, sharpen your sword, steel your resolve, and lunge straight into what is the heart of a lot of great shows these days: the assassination. Careful, they know we’re coming so they’ve beefed up security with a whole lot of spoilers!
10. King II from Akatsuki no Yona (Yona of the Dawn)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: October 2014 – March 2015
Yona’s life as princess of the Kingdom of Kouka is a rose-coloured dream until her father, the king of Kouka, King II is murdered by her favourite cousin, Su-Won. With her father gone, Yona finally experiences the bitter realities of poverty and suffering within the kingdom and she is forced to flee in order to put together a band of allies capable of helping her take back her kingdom and come to understand the reasons behind her father’s assassination.
In what explores the concept of assassination in a way we know all too well as human society, Akatsuki no Yona follows Princess Yona after King II is assassinated – an event which sets the entire plot into motion. King II’s assassination at the hand of Su-Won was motivated by the fact that King II stabbed his brother, Su-Won’s father, killing him, and later labelled the murder an accident. And so, all in the name of vengeance, a cog was removed while the others turned.
9. Saya from Black Cat
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: October 2005 – March 2006
Working in the shadows and controlling a third of the world’s economy is the mysterious organization, Chronos. Under Chronos is a band of assassins, some of the best in world, but even among the elites exists one who stands head and shoulders above the rest: Chronos Number 13, the harbinger of bad luck, Train Heartnet – the Black Cat. Train lives his life as a greatly-feared assassin, but decides to quit upon meeting an interesting woman, the bounty hunter called Saya. Quitting Chronos seems like a great idea, but not everyone agrees with his life choices, especially his “partner”, Creed Diskenth… Is Train about to become a victim of the very bad luck he has been dishing out?
The answer is yes. Saya leads Train away from the life of an assassin, and one night when she and Train were meant to go on a date, Creed decided to remove the one thing that in his opinion, caused Train to stray from the right path: Saya. In a spirited but one-sided fight, Saya expresses how she believes that Train should be allowed to choose his own path. When Train eventually arrives, he is too late and, in a scene worthy of buckets of tears, a heavily wounded Saya dies in Train’s arms. The true significance of Saya’s death is the fact that it could be seen as the final nail in the coffin for his life as an assassin and setup Creed as the main antagonist of the series. Having a black cat cross paths with you is bad luck, but what happens when you double cross Black Cat?
8. Zaratras from Nanatsu no Taizai (Seven Deadly Sins)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: October 2014 – March 2015
Nanatsu no Taizai follows the story of the princess of Liones, Elizabeth and her pursuit of the titular group of Holy Knights from the Kingdom of Liones who were, in a series of events which lead to the outbreak of the Holy War prior to the events of the series, framed for conspiracy to overthrow the empire. This came about after the discovery of the body of the Great Holy Knight, Zaratras, father of Gilthunder and superior of the Seven Deadly Sins themselves.
Zaratras’s death was at the hands of his brother Dreyfus and his accomplice, Hendrickson. The two poisoned Zaratras before murdering him, leaving his body to be discovered by the Seven Deadly Sins, an event which led to them being labelled traitors to the Kingdom and Zaratras’s murderers. This very assassination is the catalyst to all the events which occur in the anime itself. Another instance of politically-motivated murder resulting in a very interesting show.
7. Minister Honest from Akame ga KILL!
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: July 2014 – December 2014
In a prime example of politically-motivated assassination, comes that of the Prime Minister of the Empire and the puppeteer behind the figurehead that is the Emperor. Living in a nation brought to its knees by poverty brought on by incredible levels of corruption, Tatsumi and his friends Sayo and Ieyasu decide to leave their home village in pursuit of work under the nation’s military, unaware of the true darkness that runs deep in country. After a few days in the nation’s capital, Tatsumi comes to the realisation that all is not as it seems and joins the assassin group working within the Revolutionary Army, Night Raid.
Minister Honest’s assassination couldn’t have come soon enough. The man was sadistic, cruel and the very definition of corrupt. Running the country from the shadows, he managed to influence the Emperor’s decisions and benefitted heavily from the suffering of the people. That is, until Leone, a member of Night Raid, carried out her duty and duly sent him to the emperor’s throne room in the afterlife, ending a long legacy of cruelty and corruption within the Empire. Sad that Minister Honest couldn’t live up to his name.
6. L from Death Note
- Episodes: 37
- Aired: October 2006 – June 2007
When Yagami Light finds a mysterious notebook that claims to be able to take the life of whoever’s name is therein writ, he decides to use it to create the ideal world without evil. But, when scores of people start dying through mysterious means, people wonder who the perpetrator may be. Now forced with an adversary that threatens his fantasy of a world without evil, Light must use the notebook, or Death Note to both remove what he believes is evil from the world, as well as to protect his identity and status as Kira: the god of the new world.
With the large-scale panic caused by the realization by the public of the existence of the entity knowns as Kira, a number of individuals came together in order to find a way to apprehend the one responsible. One such individual was the great detective, a man known as L. L is, in a sense, the series’ main antagonist, given that he is employed in order to uncover the secret behind Kira and therefore facilitate Kira’s apprehension. With an incredibly keen intellect, L got awfully close to uncovering Light’s secret and is arguably the only character who was capable of keeping up with Light’s tactics. That being said, he was Light’s biggest rival and obstacle. Upon learning his real name, Light makes quick work of L – an assassination for the history books. Or the Death Note. Or both.
5. Matoi Souichiro from KILL la KILL
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: October 2013 – March 2014
When Ryuuko’s father is murdered by a scissor-blade-wielding assailant, she devotes her energy to finding her father’s killer. In pursuit of the murderer, she attends the prestigious Honnouji Academy, a hierarchical school where high-ranking students are offered uniforms which grant them special abilities called Goku Uniforms. After losing a fight to an opponent clothed in one such uniform, Ryuuko stumbles upon the living, talking Senketsu – a uniform known as a Kamui that unlocks latent abilities upon contact with Ryuuko’s blood. With this new partner, Ryuuko can now find her father’s killer while standing on equal footing with anyone who may stand in her way.
When your wife plots to create a world ruled by living clothing, there is not much you can do to stop her, especially if she is Kiryuuin Ragyo. Souichiro tried and ended up literally getting stabbed in the back. The assassination was carried out by Harime Nui, one of Ragyo’s underlings and it was as a result of their diverging opinions on the use of life fibres. It turns out that Souichiro prepared a garment made of life fibres for his youngest daughter, Ryuuko, one she wore in order to defeat Ragyo. Souichiro’s murder compels Ryuuko to attend Honnouji Academy and search for her father’s killer – a fact that is the basis of the plot itself. This is an assassination for all the fashion killers out there!
4. Togame from Katanagatari
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: January 2010 – December 2010
During the Edo Period in Japan, the sword maker Shikizaki Kiki created twelve katana with various abilities known as the Deviant Blades. The Shogunate at the time ordered a woman named Togame to locate and gain possession of these blades, a journey which brought her to the island where one Yasuri Shichika and his sister, Nanami, the only inhabitants and practitioners of the swordless sword style known as Kyotouryuu. With a little persuasion, Shichika joins Togame on her quest to find Shikizaki Kiki’s Deviant Blades.
Late in their journey, after having collected eleven of the twelve swords, Togame sustains a fatal injury at the hands of Souda Emonzaemon, Princess Hitei’s right-hand man. His reasons were due to Togame’s real identity as Princess Yosha, daughter of the former Lord of Oushuu, Hida Takahito, a man who opposed the Shogunate. Togame’s death is one of the sadder ones on this list, as she was Katanagatari’s very likable female protagonist whose relationship with Shichika progressed beyond that of mere travelling companions. She met her end, asking Shichika if it was alright for her to fall for him. While they collect swords, viewers collect intense emotions throughout the course of the show.
3. Ganta’s Classmates from Deadman Wonderland
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 2011 – July 2011
When Igarashi Ganta’s middle school class is scheduled to go to Deadman Wonderland, a prison that is modelled into a theme park where prisoners are subject to gruesome and sadistic games for public consumption, their plans are thwarted when Ganta’s entire class is murdered by a person Ganta dubbed “The Red Man”. Due to the fact that he was the only survivor, Ganta was blamed for the massacre and subsequently sentenced to Deadman Wonderland, flung into a world of intense violence that no 14-year-old should endure. Can Ganta survive Deadman Wonderland long enough to eventually clear his name?
While it may seem that the deaths of Ganta’s classmates were simply a chance occurrence at the hands of a sadistic maniac, the entity known as The Red Man is none other than Ganta’s childhood friend, Shiro, the progenitor of the Branches of Sin, a strange trait which gives its bearers the ability to control their own blood. She is known as the Wretched Egg and due to a fairly tragic past, Shiro went to the lengths of killing all of Ganta’s friends and giving him the power to fight back so that she could meet her end at the hands of a friend she once held dear.
2. Lelouch Lamperouge from Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: April 2008 – September 2008
A year after the failed Black Rebellion, a Japanese uprising led by Lelouch Lamperouge as Zero against the Holy Britannian Empire, Zero has now gone missing and Lelouch lost all memory of his time as leader of the rebellion. With their leader gone, the Black Knights are unable to combat the oppression of the Britannian Empire imposed on the Japanese people. Frustrated, Lelouch’s partner C.C makes it her mission to remind him of his purpose and see the revolution reach its conclusion.
At the end of the series, the Black Rebellion prevails and Lelouch becomes ruler of the Holy Britannia Empire. Feeling guilt at the extent of the damage he’d caused in order to reach this point, Lelouch plans his own assassination, asking his best friend Suzaku to do him one last favour. On the day of his coronation, Lelouch is “ambushed” by a spirited Suzaku dressed as Zero, the hero of justice who wishes to save the Empire from the “evil” that is Lelouch Lamperouge. When all is said and done, Lelouch’s true legacy is the beginning of a world without the threat of the Britannian Empire and true unification.
1. Koro-sensei from Assassination Classroom
- Episodes: 22
- Aired: January 2015 – June 2015
When the moon is chopped into a permanent crescent by a strange yellow bipedal extra-terrestrial octopus, the students of class 3-E of Kunugigaoka Middle School are tasked with the highly important mission of killing the alien, which has now taken up a job for the year as their teacher! The creature, dubbed “Koro-sensei” is by every sense of the phrase impossible for humans to defeat, let alone children. Will the students of Kunugigaoka do the impossible and slay the creature before he destroys the Earth in one year’s time?
In an emotional finale, Koro-sensei bids farewell to the students he had had the honour of teaching, taking attendance one last time as they held him fast by holding each of his tentacles. Student Shiota Nagisa was elected as the one who would deliver the final blow, and after being calmed by Koro-sensei, Nagisa plunged an anti-Koro-sensei knife into his heart, finally assassinating the alien, who had found solace and delight in being killed by his beloved students, a fitting end for one of the best teachers the students have ever had.
Assassination is an event which can be a moral grey area – is it justifiable to end a life for the greater good? We’ll leave that for the actual assassins to answer and instead ask all you killers reading this to drop a comment below if we missed your “favourite” assassination and maybe, should more hits on anime characters succeed, your favourite will show up on a list like this one… that is, if the assassins we exposed in the article don’t come for us first!