Juuni Taisen is an anime full of dramatic battles, inspiring story and, most of all, unexpected deaths! Sure, the show started out with a pattern – one death per episode, following the age-old order of the Zodiac animals. In a way, we knew who would win the game already. What made each death unexpected was the way it was carried out.
Even if you’ve watched the entire series as it was simulcast (like us!), it is still difficult to process each and every death within its own weight. After all, there can only be one winner! And as in the recurring battle royale that is the Zodiac War, there can only be one leader on our own list as well. We here at Honey’s Anime have come up with rankings for each character’s death in Juuni Taisen! Characters whose deaths are tragic and exciting, just as much as their lives were… These are the best endings for the warriors of the Zodiac!
*WARNING: Major spoilers ahead!*
10. Tatsumi Kyoudai Otouto – Warrior of the Snake
The younger of twin brothers, the Warrior of the Snake is interesting to viewers simply because he starts out having already lost. He is killed by Usagi, the Warrior of the Rabbit, almost as soon as the brothers arrive for the Juuni Taisen. The brothers operate as a team in the real world, thieving for money. Snake uses a flamethrower attached to his back as his weapon, while his brother uses a container harnessing a freezing concoction. Needless to say, they would have been a powerful duo! However, when Usagi kills Snake before the competition had even officially begun, it puts a rather unfortunate twist in the brothers’ plans. Snake will still play an important role in the Juuni Taisen as part of Usagi’s necromantic army, but without his own knowledge or consent.
This death is at the bottom of our list, simply because it happens early in the competition and off-screen. When we eventually do see a flashback of the brothers arriving for the Juuni Taisen, the viewer already knows what will happen. We also are less interested in the twins’ story as a result! Snake’s role was minimal, even after his resurrection to be Usagi’s lackey.
9. Dotsuku – Warrior of the Dog
As the Warrior of the Dog, Dotsuku is a fierce and formidable foe in the Juuni Taisen. He is a seasoned warrior, with plenty of different skills and weapons he can turn to in a fight. Despite his somewhat scary appearance, Dotsuku actually works as a daycare teacher, where he is loved by everyone. He works hard at both his day job and in battles to bring home money for his adopted daughter, a girl he rescued from a pedophile. Dotsuku could have gone far in the Juuni Taisen, if not for his overly cocky attitude toward his ally, the Warrior of the Chicken.
Dotsuku has a mastery of many different poisons, which he injects into his victims via a bite. He also has a power-up poison, called the “One-Man Army,” which can enhance someone’s combat abilities to their highest potential. Dotsuku ends up teamed with the Warrior of the Chicken, Niwatori, and gives her the power-up to send her out in battle alone. However, Niwatori tricks Dotsuku, using her newfound strength to swiftly crush his skull instead. Dotsuku’s death is early enough that it doesn’t impact the audience too much, especially as his own arrogance was his downfall.
8. Hitsujii – Warrior of the Sheep
The Warrior of the Sheep is an unassuming and inconspicuous old man, although he is actually a past winner of the Juuni Taisen. Hitsujii started out his life as an arms dealer for dangerous battles, but soon learned to fight skillfully as well. He was retired from his previous way of life. But when the old man discovered that his grandchild was to be entered in the next Juuni Taisen, Hitsujii volunteered to take his place. He is more intelligent and conniving than it appears at first glance.
Hitsujii stands out to us because he fights in a unique way, rather than head-on like many of the competitors. He is thoughtful in how he wants to go about this year’s Juuni Taisen. While trying to avoid the Warrior of the Ox, Hitsujii is flushed out of his hiding place. He soon encounters Tora, the Warrior of the Tiger, drunkenly lounging on a park bench. Hitsujii has little desire to fight Tora, but only because he believes Tora to be vastly inferior to himself and not worth the time. We saw Hitsujii’s inevitable death coming after this revelation, but what was unexpected about the old man’s end was how quickly and efficiently Tora cuts him open.
7. Tatsumi Kyoudai Ani – Warrior of the Dragon
The older twin, the Warrior of the Dragon begins the Juuni Taisen at a disadvantage thanks to his brother’s early death. The brothers are quite similar to one another, although Dragon seems to be more attached to Snake. He is protective of Snake, even in their dangerous line of work. Yet when Snake is beheaded in front of him, Dragon reacts as one who is irritated more than upset. He knew that with his brother gone, Dragon would have a much smaller chance of winning the Juuni Taisen…
Because of his hesitation in fighting outright without his brother, Dragon uses his secret ability to manipulate gravity, keeping himself mostly out of the Juuni Taisen. It is only when he begins thinking of joining in on the fight that Dragon is discovered. Usagi uses the severed head of Snake to locate Dragon. And then, before the warrior has a chance to react, Usagi is there, quickly slicing Dragon in half. Dragon and Snake get to fight alongside each other once more, as part of the necromantist’s army. It is the shocking appearance of Usagi right after we discover where Dragon has been hiding that makes this death all the more exciting!
6. Sharyu – Warrior of the Monkey
Sharyu is one of the most unique entries into the Juuni Taisen, simply because this Warrior of the Monkey doesn’t want to fight. Sharyu decided early on in life that she was a pacifist, and set out to make the world a more peaceful place. Although she prefers not to fight, she does have some serious skills to defend herself, if necessary. Thanks to Sharyu’s dedication to bringing peace, she has ended hundreds of conflicts through her negotiations. She tries to incorporate her ways into the bloody battlefield of the Juuni Taisen, offering a chance for a truce right at the start of the competition. Her desire for everyone to live is appealing to some warriors, but ultimately Sharyu’s ambitions lead nowhere.
Sharyu retains only one member of her alliance after she breaks the floor of the starting room. She hides out with the Warrior of the Rat, Nezumi, in the sewers below the city. The two stay there to plot and plan for a while, until one of Usagi’s dead birds discovers them. Nezumi and Sharyu decide to split Usagi’s fighting forces, leaving Sharyu to fend for herself against the necromantist. We love that even when facing one of the most crazed warriors, Sharyu remains true to herself, trying to convince Usagi to join their efforts for peace. However, Usagi and Snake’s severed head eventually win over this fight, converting Sharyu to join the army of walking dead.
5. Usagi – Warrior of the Rabbit
We honestly didn’t know what to think of Usagi when he first appeared in the Juuni Taisen. Dressed in a very revealing fashion, Usagi’s attire seems to reflect the crazed nature of his mind, down to the tall black heels. Disappointingly, this warrior’s back story is never revealed to us. However, he is clearly a formidable opponent, being quick-witted and deadly with his agile twin blades. And with his devastating ability to turn his enemies into his own personal dead army, Usagi was an early favorite for winning the Juuni Taisen.
With each new warrior Usagi adds to his army, he becomes that much harder to kill. He tries to fight the combined forces of Tora and the Warrior of the Ox, but they quickly end Usagi. Yet the other warriors soon discover Usagi has turned himself into an undead warrior, so that he may keep on fighting the others even after his technical “death.” Gathering his leftover body parts with the help of the dead Sharyu, Usagi trails his prey. And in a horrifying twist, Usagi’s deformed body hides Sharyu as well, lending him a surprise attack. It seems all over for the Warrior of the Ox… until Nezumi arrives to end the horror.
4. Inounoshishi – Warrior of the Boar
The Warrior of the Boar, also known as Inounoshishi, was the first warrior we met for the Juuni Taisen. She comes from a distinguished family of warriors, with a father who trained her well on the battlefield. Inounoshishi tried her whole life to meet both her parents’ expectations, but when her younger sister was picked to compete in the Juuni Taisen, Inounoshishi plotted her revenge. She conditioned her young sister for killing, eventually bringing her to the point of her own suicide. Wielding two machine guns, Inounoshishi was a ruthless and intelligent killer, even if she was quite arrogant.
Unfortunately for our warrior, her arrogance in analyzing situations is her downfall so early on. Inounoshishi encounters Usagi soon after the warriors become scattered, and she believes she can trick the crazed man into being taken down by her special ability. Yet she fails to realize Usagi’s own ability, being locked in place by the headless Snake while Usagi stabs her through the chest. Though we don’t get to see much of her in the Juuni Taisen, Inounoshishi’s death was an epic beginning to this anime. Her demise really set the tone for the rest of the episodes to come!
3. Niwatori – Warrior of the Chicken
Niwatori, the Warrior of the Chicken, is one of the most likeable characters in the Juuni Taisen. She appears to have murdered her parents at a young age, which then left her on her own until the Niwa family took her in. She drew the interest of the Niwa clan after they learned of her unique abilities. Niwatori was swiftly trained in the art of espionage, becoming a heartlessly deceiving part of her family’s operations. Her command of birds is her greatest asset, other than this ability to gracefully lie to her enemies. Niwatori’s experiences in life have left her rather cold - although she has a bubbly personality, she is unable to distinguish between friend and foe.
Niwatori takes out Dotsuku shortly after he bestows his power-boosting poison on her, crushing his skull in an instant. With this added gift in her system, Niwatori believes she can now fight most opponents in the Juuni Taisen. She plans to betray Sharyu and Nezumi when she is led to their hideout in the sewers, but finds herself unable to lie. Sharyu’s kindness and honesty affect her cold, heartless ways, leaving her weak from confusion. It is at this time that the Warrior of the Ox appears and questions Niwatori, but Niwatori’s body moves on its own to defend Sharyu and Nezumi. Niwatori dies for something much bigger than herself, and satisfied with her end, she allows her birds to feast on her own flesh.
2. Ushii – Warrior of the Ox
The most noble of the warriors, Ushii is the Warrior of the Ox, fighting in a swift and efficient manner. Known as the “Genius of Slaughter,” Ushii has graced many battlefields, killing all in his wake. We do not learn much about Ushii during the Juuni Taisen, other than that he believes in doing what is right, even through all of his endless killing. It is revealed he saved Tora in the past, and has remembered her ever since that day. Ushii was the heavy favorite for winning the Juuni Taisen, since he could easily slaughter most of his opponents in a head-on fight.
Ushii wanders around throughout the Juuni Taisen, fighting any warriors he happens to encounter. He eventually happens upon Tora and the headless form of Snake, agreeing to a truce with the Warrior of the Tiger so as to defeat Usagi’s army. After cutting apart the corpses, Ushii and Tora square up to fight each other, only to realize the body parts of the twins won’t stop coming! They manage to defeat Usagi and his walking dead momentarily, but Tora gets mortally wounded saving Ushii. Ushii is left to face Usagi alone, and would have lost were it not for Nezumi arriving at just the right time to destroy them all. For a seemingly unbeatable warrior, Ushii’s end was justly satisfying, allowing him to go out with dignity.
1. Tora – Warrior of the Tiger
Of course, the most unexpected and moving death on our list goes to the Warrior of the Tiger, Tora. Tora appears to be nothing more than a drunken slob, but she has proven her strength time and again in the Juuni Taisen. She began her life the top student at a dojo, but after seeing all of the destruction battle had to offer, she turned to drinking. She holds little interest in anything except drinking and killing, until she meets Ushii. Ushii’s determination to do the right thing resonates with Tora, and she starts to turn her life around. Tora even decides to participate in the Juuni Taisen because she hears that Ushii will be there. She is the only warrior who gets her wish in the end.
Tora finally encounters Ushii and challenges him to a duel, but their fight is held off by the appearance of Usagi and his undead. Just when the alliance thinks they’ve finished off the enemy, Usagi’s unexpected resolve surprises them both! Tora protects Ushii, at the cost of her own life. She is carried away from the fight by Ushii, reminding her of the time she had met him before. Knowing that their duel could not be completed, she asks the one warrior she respects to end her life, so that she will not become a member of the walking dead. This death is unexpectedly heartbreaking, and brings a whole new level of depth to the Juuni Taisen that wasn’t there before.
Though it was not difficult to anticipate the Juuni Taisen to be a bloodbath, the impact these deaths made on their audience was unexpected. The way that these characters met their end determined how we would feel about them, despite learning about their pasts.
So what did you think of Juuni Taisen? Which character was your favorite? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!