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Considering that Akira, one of the most influential and popular anime of all time, boasts multiple bloody and gory sequences; it should come as no surprise to learn that violence and anime go hand in hand. As with any genre, some series pull off gratuitous mayhem better than others. There is a fine line between tasteless and artistic, a distinction which will largely be ignored in favor of brutality.
The amount of red gushing out of a body is not necessarily the defining factor which determines a scene's appeal, as the emotional impact should also be given consideration. Spoilers will obviously be included, so if these are shows you plan to watch, it might be best to skip the entry. Anyway, that is enough stalling, let us get started with the Top 10 Most Brutal Anime Deaths. Another list was already compiled in 2015 -which you can find below this article- so those entries will not be taken into consideration.
10. Mirai Nikki (The Future Diary) - Episode 22
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Oct 9, 2011 to Apr 15, 2012
Mirai Nikki combines the intellectual mind-games of Death Note with the brutality and mayhem of Battle Royale. Suffice it to say it leads to a whole lot of carnage. Aru Akise is one of the only genuinely likable personalities in the anime, and he develops a close friendship with the protagonist Yuki Amano. After receiving the ‘Detective Diary,’ granting the ability to read the predictions of other Diary Holders, the popular detective ends up in a fight with the deranged Yuno over his budding relationship with Yuki.
Initially getting the upper-hand, Yuno catches him off guard before slitting his throat. This sequence is particularly unnerving due to the slow pace of the death scene. The audience is forced to watch as blood drips out of Akise’s throat before Yuno cuts his head off completely.
9. Akame Ga Kill! - Episode 17
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Jul 7, 2014 to Dec 15, 2014
This entire list could be compiled of deaths just from Akame Ga Kill! By the end of its run, these brutal scenes had practically become the anime’s trademark. If forced to pick only one, we would have to go with Chelsea. Although her time on screen was relatively short-lived, as she joined Night Raid much later on in the story; her death was incredibly cruel. During an assault on the Jaegers, Chelsea donned a disguise and infiltrated the headquarters to kill Kurome. Overconfident in her own ability, she ended up ambushed before painfully meeting her demise.
That was not the end of it or even the worst part. While out on a scouting mission at a nearby town, Night Raid’s Tatsumi found her head stacked on a pole in the main square. It was later revealed that her body was fed to Seryu’s pet Hekatonkheires.
8. Mononoke - Episode 12
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jul 13, 2007 to Sep 28, 2007
Nowhere near as bloody or graphic as any of the other entries in this list, Setsuko’s death is no less disturbing. As an anime, Mononoke gained a reputation due to its unique and unsettling animation style. The stand-alone stories follow a Medicine Seller who travels across Japan seeking violent supernatural beings to put to rest. For this to be accomplished, the truth behind their death needs to be discovered. Usually, the spirits were victims of some heinous crime.
Bakeneko is the final mini-arc, which sees the Medicine Seller and six passengers locked in a haunted train. The spirit in question is Setsuko Ichikawa, a journalist who tried to report a scandal and ended up being killed for her trouble. As what really happened is methodically revealed; a flashback illustrates, in agonizing detail, how Setsuko was betrayed by someone she trusts and thrown off a bridge onto the subway tracks. Just about surviving the fall, there is nothing she can do as a train runs her over.
7. Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan) - Episode 1
- Episodes: 37
- Aired: Apr 7, 2013 to Sep 29, 2013
What would a list of anime death scenes be without at-least one from Attack on Titan? With the recent completion of season 2, there are dozens of new contenders to pick and choose from. Like the first season, the sequel got off to a gruesome start, killing off a relatively major character in the opening episode. Mike Zacharias was the second strongest soldier in the Survey Corps, only trumped by Levi. A squad leader, he prioritized the safety of his comrades and often put himself in the middle of danger for their safety.
After he managed to buy his team enough time to escape, Mike found himself isolated and trapped by the Beast Titan. Without his equipment and with a broken leg, the brave soldier picked up his sword to put up some resistance before being overwhelmed by numerous Titans. Keeping with the typical style of the series, Mike’s death is shown in its entirety, as he is torn apart by the monsters.
6. Hellsing Ultimate - Episode 7
- Episodes: 10
- Aired: Feb 2006 – Dec 2012
Turning gore into an art form, cult hit Hellsing Ultimate sees the vampire Alucard working for the Hellsing organization, as they try to rid the world of Nazis. It is as glorious as it sounds and a perfect apology for the mediocrity of the original Hellsing series. In one particularly sad and uncomfortable moment, Seras Victoria’s haunting backstory is forced to the forefront by an illusion spell cast by Zorin Blitz. The busty policewoman-turned-vampire witnessed the death of her parents at the hands of a brutal gang.
Seras’ father was an undercover cop who got in over his head. The criminal organization he was meant to take down discovered the truth and retaliated. After her father and mother were brutally murdered, the young Seras was shot in the gut and forced to watch as her mother’s corpse was raped.
5. Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu (Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World-) - Episode 1
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Apr 4, 2016 to Sep 19, 2016
This entry is a bit of a cheat, as the death was not final. Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu follows the hikikomori Subaru Natsuki, who is transported to another world. After being saved by the silver-haired Satella, they visit a local bar to perform a trade with a thief before a mysterious woman attacks and kills them. Due to his untimely death, Subaru discovers he acquired the ability of having infinite lives. Restarting a few days earlier, the unspectacular hero tries to learn from his mistakes to avoid meeting the same fate.
Subaru dies a lot throughout Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu, with all of his deaths being rather brutal and hard to watch. At no point is this power played for gags, as the pain felt by Subaru is clearly shown in each encounter. Just to pick one, the character’s very first death is particularly difficult to stomach, as Subaru bleeds to death from a stab to the gut. It also benefits from being genuinely shocking, as the latter ones were more predictable.
4. Shiki - Episode 22
- Episodes: 22
- Aired: Jul 9, 2010 to Dec 31, 2010
The character who dies does not necessarily have to be liked by the audience for the scene to be harrowing. Shiki is a fantastic horror series which confirmed that something new could still be done with the vampire genre. Quite slow-paced for the first half of the story, preferring to properly set up the characters and atmosphere before delivering blood pumping action sequences, the last few episodes bring up quite a few moral questions about what is right or wrong.
Megumi is not a good person, by any means. The first villager turned into a vampire, she went from a self-centered human to a malicious and violent creature of the night. The teenager hated her hometown of Sotoba and only showed any regard for her childhood crush Natsuno. As a vampire, she targeted his closest friends and tried to bring him over to her side.
All in all, Megumi kind of deserved to die. Still, the way it happens is definitely overkill. Trapped underneath a tractor, the villagers tear her limb from limb, as she dreams of a better life.
3. Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (When They Cry) - Episode 20
- Episodes: 55
- Aired: Apr 5, 2006 to Aug 21, 2009
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni is probably the most famous horror anime of all time or at the very least a contender. Adapted from the popular visual novel, Keiichi Maebara moves to rural Japan and quickly befriends four seemingly normal girls at his new school. Hinamizawa initially seems like the perfect little village, before its dark and twisted underbelly is revealed. A microcosm for the entire series, Rika’s death is aggressive, unexpected, and off the wall bonkers.
After a back and forth with the sadistic Shion, who injects her with a deadly drug, the cute shrine maiden picks up a butcher’s knife and stabs herself repeatedly in the neck. While performing suicide, she stares right at Shion, who eventually breaks down into a manic laugh.
2. Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion
- Aired: Jul 19, 1997
Neon Genesis Evangelion is more than just a mecha series, which is hardly a groundbreaking declaration. The main show definitely has its fair share of disturbing moments, especially after the creators ran out of money and decided to experiment. The follow-up movie served as the anime's true ending and took full advantage of not being restricted by what can and cannot be shown on television. From Shinji masturbating over the comatose Asuka to the insane climax, there is a lot to digest throughout The End of Evangelion.
Asuka might not have been the most approachable of pilots, but her defensive personality made her quite relatable. Used as a pawn to protect Shinji, the arrogant red-head recovers from her comatose state just in time to fight off a handful of enemy units, before they dismantle her Evangelion. As it is made crystal clear that the pilots experience what their unit is going through, the young girl is literally torn apart limb by limb. Later on, her mutilated corpse is paraded by the enemy units.
1. Corpse Party: Tortured Souls – Bougyakusareta Tamashii no Jukyou (Corpse Party: Tortured Souls)
- Episodes: 4
- Aired: Jul 24, 2013
Just all of it. Every single death scene in Corpse Party: Tortured Souls is equally gruesome, brutal, and stomach turning. Due to a sudden earthquake, Naomi Nakashima wakes up in the haunted Heavenly Host Elementary School. Separated from her classmates, she sets out to try and find them or an exit. Rumor has it that this school once was the site of a mass murder which saw four students killed by one of their teachers. Naomi and her friends must find a way to appease the spirits or risk meeting their maker.
If the first episode was way too much for you, then it is best to move on. Each new OVA seems to exist merely to one-up the gore factor from the one before. There is strangulation, mutilation, torture, and body parts flying all over the place. None of the deaths are handled off-screen either, as these scenes are shown in all their bloody extravagance. While not necessarily the most emotionally draining of the entire list, Corpse Party: Tortured Souls took brutal deaths to a whole new level.
Anime is so overstocked with gory death scenes, we could easily write a new list every week for a few months and still fail to include them all. Clearly not for everyone, the way a character is written off tends to reflect how they are remembered. For most entries on this list, they are remembered in pieces or missing a head.
Which death did you think was too gory to even watch? Please let us know in the comment section below.
Stuff that can be categorized as brutal, or savagely violent as those guys at Oxford like to put it, is something anime certainly isn’t lacking. Although the transition from actual hand-drawn animation to computer generated images seems to have reduced the once incredibly graphic anime violence, it’s still a prominent feature in many anime releases these days.
And anyway, sometimes the brutality doesn’t come from the amount of red pixels, sometimes the most disturbing and most brutal is a result of something being totally unexpected, the context it appears in, that is. But enough chit-chat, let’s get started with one of our Halloween-specials – Top 10 Most Brutal Anime Deaths!
10. Hellsing Ultimate
- Episodes: 10
- Aired: Feb 2006 – Dec 2012
Kicking off our list is one of many dog-related entries. In fan-favorite cult-series Hellsing, main protagonist Alucard joins forces with the group named after his former nemesis, the Hellsing Organization. In this particular clip vampire pretty boy Luke Valentine meets his maker, after meeting Alucard (not his maker). Alucard, after shooting off his legs, unleashes a hellish beast known as Baskerville – unsurprisingly inspired by the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle novel – which devours the unfortunate bloodsucker in a rather nasty manner.
Hellsing got more where that came from, and if you’re a gorehound (that’s what the kids call a horror fan nowadays) you have to absolutely check this out.
Alucard kills Luke Valentine - Hellsing Ultimate
9. One Piece
- Episodes: 713 (still airing)
- Aired: October 1999 – ongoing
In the 483rd episode of one of the definitive veterans of anime, we’re ‘treated’ to the death of Portgas D. Ace, adopted brother of arguably most flexible characters in all of Japanese animation. That the passing of a family member of the main protagonist was going to be a heartbreaking affair was obvious, but you probably weren’t expecting it to be this brutal:
Ace meets his maker in the form of a burning fist, as he heroically sacrifices himself to save his younger brother. As a paper representing Ace’s life force burns to ashes, Luffy sobs while the other characters watch in disbelief. Dramatic and shocking – strong stuff, man.
One Piece - Ace's Farewell
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jul 2011 - Sep 2011
Etymology might seem a bit out of place for a Halloween-themed article, but the fact that the origin of the word ‘brutal’ can be traced back to an old French term referring to ‘lower animals’, seem to perfectly with this scene from 2011’s Blood-C.
While we’re on the subject of history, elephants were a very popular means of execution in medieval India, were sadistic rulers would sentence convicts to be crushed or having their limbs pulled apart by trained elephants.
Though more reminiscent of a dog than an elephant, its brutality is on par: the series feature many mention-worthy scenes, but the one where a schoolgirl has her thighs pulled off deserves special attention, especially the sight of her torn-off limb dangling in the air like a human chicken drumstick.
clampPROJECT Wing Egg Blood C Epi 12 HD
7. Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jan 2011 - Apr 2011
At first glance, and here I mean that in the literal sense, in the first ten or so minutes of Madoka, it seemed like just another standard magical girl anime, though with an interesting, psychedelic art style, but that’s because it was produced by Shaft.
Then, as magical girl and mother-like figure Mami battles one of the first ‘witches’ in a candy-like wonderland in a magical girl tutorial for new recruits, Madoka Kaname and Sayaka Miki, while we’re still unsuspectingly enjoying this seemingly normal anime, it suddenly turns violent, and the diet Coke and chicken drumsticks you’ve been munching suddenly announce their respective returns.
It suddenly breaks its own rules, like if *** Double Cartoon and Anime Reference *** Dexter had, instead of chasing his annoying sister out of his lab, pulled out a toothbrush and, like that infamous scene in Nisemonogatari, started incestuously brushing his sister’s teeth *** end of reference ***, and it is this breach of our expectations that makes this particular scene so brutal.
There are many parallels to this scene, making you think of one of those moments that made you realize that the world is crueler than your child-self had initially thought. Echoing what Evangelion showed us regarding the consequences of putting teens in charge of saving the world, this particular scene was the one that gave us second thoughts about trading our souls for slightly disturbing lolita-outfits.
To cite YouTube commenter SuperMollie44:
“I THOUGHT THIS ANIME WOULD BE CUUUTTE;-;”. Didn’t we all, Molly, didn’t we all.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica Movie - Witch Charlotte vs Mami
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jan 2012 - Mar 2012
The ‘that must hurt’-factor is strong with this one, in a series not exactly lacking brutal, disturbing deaths and suicides on the seemingly haunted high-school where the action is set. I’m sure all of you horror fans out there will see the homage to or at least the inspiration from a certain infamous eye-gouging scene from cult-classic 1979 movie Zombi 2, as the genius of the scene is the pacing, the unavoidability of what’s going to happen.
There’s also something Final Destination-ish with this particular scene, something about the inevitability of death, but now I’m getting carried away and putting to much though into this, so just click on the link below and check it out for yourself. The teacher’s suicide is also a classic, by the way.
Another - Umbrella Death Scene
5. Elfen Lied
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Jul 2004 – Oct 2004
Somehow violence against defenseless animals evokes more empathy than the slaughter of humans, and in an anime which frequently sees limbs flying all over the place, it is strange that it is a scene of a dog being beaten to death by a few straight-up evil children that leaves the deepest mental scars on most viewers.
A sociological study by the Northeastern University actually found that a majority showed that the test subject showed more empathy towards an injured dog than they did for a human adult, which might provide some relevant, though probably undesired, scientific basis for this particular scene.
One of the Cruelest Scenes in Elfen Lied
4. Hokuto no Ken (Fist of the Northern Star)
- Episodes: 109
- Aired: Oct 1984 – Mar 1987
Cracking his fists, soaring through the air, and finally showing off the eponymous martial arts technique of the Fist of the North Star, Kenshiro delivers one of the awesomest finishing moves ever put to screen.
Like the Phantom he’s ruthless towards the ruthless, and shows no mercy for the mutated punks of the post-apocalypse, especially those posing a threat to his gurl (I’m just assuming that an atomic blast that blew away social order also would have a severe consequences for the grammar of its respective society, but I might be wrong).
Since finding a ‘scientific’ explanation for the list’s brutal ways of kicking the bucket became somewhat of a recurring theme, and since Kenshiro was partly inspired by Bruce Lee, it seems appropriate to mention that the Fist of the North Star move closely resembles the so-called Touch of Death, a legendary move that killed the opponent by pressing certain special spots on the body, according to ancient Chinese scripts.
Fairly unreliable sources say that this was the cause of Lee’s death, which in turn inspired the titular event of a certain Tarantino movie. Pop-cultural references aside, Kenshiro’s deadpan coolness is only matched by his passive-aggressive ruthlessness as he turns his back to his opponent uttering “お前もう死んでいる” – “you’re already dead”. Like a boss.
[Fist of the North Star] お前はもう死んでいる (You are already dead)
3. Shingeki no Kyoujin (Attack on Titan)
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: April 2013 – September 2013
A good contender for ‘everyone’s greatest fear’ must be witnessing one’s own parent’s death, like *** spoiler for everyone lagging four years behind *** the Stark sisters are forced to do in the first season of Game of Thrones *** end of spoiler alert ***. Attack on Titan recently gave us one of the most brutal depictions of exactly this in its very first episode.
Though a graphic depiction, the worst part of the scene where *** spoiler alert for the anime novice *** Eren’s mother gets devoured isn’t the blood nor the crushing sound as it bites her corpse in two, but rather the sadistic grin the giant’s face as well as the terrified expression on Eren’s face as he watched helplessly *** end of spoiler alert ***.
Shingeki no Kyojin - Death of Eren's Mother
- Episodes: 5
- Aired: Mar 1994 – Jul 1995
Even though the aforementioned study by the Northeastern University also showed that most students that participated showed as much empathy for wounded puppy as an infant in a similar state, and it’s therefore an open question whether the shock value evoke more empathy or apathy (clever play with words), deaths of children are bound to have some kind of impact on even the most hardcore anime Connoisseur (from French connaître – ‘to be acquainted with’).
In a largely unparalleled brutal scene, which also happens to be featured in the video for Genocyber’s end theme, an unforgivingly gory depiction of two children getting brutally murdered broke taboos at the time, and still manages to shock and disturb.
Set to a tune that probably got 1994’s youngsters stomping their feet and ignoring nonsensical lines such as “I want you and love you, fairy dreaming” and “Midnight, like a phantom of blood, twinkles at a noisy town” (okay here I have to admit that I’m depending on a probably sub-par translation from Animeworld, but anyway, you get the idea), the aforementioned gorehounds are sure to be left satisfied with this incredibly graphic clip.
Genocyber - Fairy Dreaming (Jap/Eng lyrics)
1. Tokyo Tribe 2
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Nov 2006 – Feb 2007
Hundreds of reaction videos on YouTube proves that this particular scene from Tokyo Tribe 2 lives up to its reputation as one of the most disturbing scenes of anime (that’s another list by the way), and I will do you the favor of not spoiling the fun but simply encourage you to click on the link, see it for yourself, and preferably, upload your own reacting in the comments section.
Originally I wanted to include some real-life parallels, but the Google results for ‘death by anal rape’ and ‘death by giant penis’ made it pretty obvious that this was a bad idea. A really bad idea indeed. Let’s just stick to the anime version, shall we?
Hopefully this has given you a few ideas as to ways you wouldn’t want to kick the bucket, fall of your perch, feed the worms, give up the ghost, pop your clogs or go see chairman Mao as they say in China, or any other idiom for what the philistines refer to as dying. Happy Halloween!