Death in anime is as common as it gets. However, for the array of putrid poisons, sinister stabbings, and magical meltings ever-present in anime, beheading is one method of ending someone’s life that falls into the lesser-used category. Let’s take a look at five iconic beheadings in anime!
5. Chelsea from Akame ga Kill
Chelsea was the upbeat and kind-hearted member of the assassins. Whether it be fawning after Akame with sweets, or teasing Mine and Tatsumi for their intimacy, you could always rely on Chelsea to have a beaming smile plastered across her face. After a mission goes awry, however, Chelsea finds herself alone and facing down an enemy much tougher than her. Those who got used to Akame ga Kill’s storytelling devices and leniency with death, know that this situation only has one outcome.
After scouting a nearby town, Tatsumi is horrified to happen upon the severed head of Chelsea, skewered atop a large pole surrounded by onlookers. As mentioned before, after the first several deaths, we all but resigned ourselves not to get attached to any of these characters. One character death per episode seemed to be the formula for this anime. Nevertheless, with Chelsea striking such a chord as the happy-go-lucky big sister, it was truly painful to witness her expressionless head after being murdered.
4. Hidan from Naruto Shippuden
Hidan’s beheading was a moment of pure satisfaction. After he brought about the death of everyone’s “kinda-liked” character Asuma, fans were more distraught over the effect this had on both a pregnant Kurenai and, more importantly, Shikamaru. Konoha took Asuma’s death hard but none more so than his prized student. At a time when teachers are dying left right and center, it seems almost like destiny that Asuma had to perish, to give Naruto someone to mourn with (and vice versa with Jiraiya’s passing).
So, when we finally meet up with Hidan for the final showdown, we don’t want a quick and painless kunai slicing, we want him to suffer. Luckily, Hidan’s invincibility proves to get the better of him. After beheading him in battle, Hidan’s head (while still alive and spouting profanity) is tossed into the ground and buried forever. Still resting below the dirt to this day, Hidan must be regretting all his decisions thus far (and praying fervently for a sudden site excavation)!
3. Kaito from Hunter x Hunter 2011
Kaito as a character, despite not having nearly as much screentime as our mainstay cast, grew into a fan-favorite among Hunter x Hunter watchers. After conducting reconnaissance on the Chimera-ant empire, Gon, Killua, and Kaito are suddenly ambushed by Nerferpitou. Knowing the strength of Pitou, Kaito beckons the children to escape with their lives. It is not until later that we see Pitou stroking the decapitated head of our once idolized teacher.
This beheading in particular came out of nowhere. While Kaito was never integral to the plot of Hunter x Hunter, he had made a name for himself as a recurring character, though we had yet to learn of his history or the extent of his weapon’s powers. Nevertheless, it seems the writers had other plans and decided to murder him off-screen instead. The moment the camera pans down to Kaito’s head nestled between Pitou’s thighs is when we knew the Chimera ants meant business. This beheading alone is what spurs Gon to fly into his murderous roid-rage later down the line. Kaito’s death will go down in Hunter x Hunter history as one of the most shocking moments of all time.
2. Akise Aru from Mirai Nikki (Future Diary)
After discovering the long-kept mystery behind Yuno’s secret, Akise takes it upon himself to provide Yukiteru with this information. However, do you really think Yuno is the type to let her beloved Yukki be taken away from her so easily? No, she does everything she can to prevent Yukiteru from learning the truth, including slashing Akise’s throat to keep him from spilling the beans. Akise, however, does not give in. He types the message on his phone and painfully stumbles toward Yukiteru until Yuno is forced to lop off his head.
When Mirai Nikki was airing weekly, this episode drove us viewers wild! For a show shrouded in mystery, this ending only added to the intrigue of what could happen next (and the frustration of having to wait another week)! Akise stands in front of Yukiteru, holding his phone screen outward. His dying message to the person he loves has been received. Yet, before we as an audience can know what that phone screen says, the episode concludes. Akise’s beheading was such a turning point in the series and keeping us in suspense was just the right incentive to keep us watching to the end!
1. Rui from Kimetsu no Yaiba (Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba)
Kimetsu no Yaiba’s animation and storytelling have always been a selling point of the show. So, as one may assume, arguably the biggest fight in the series will be receiving a majority of that illustrious budget. From beginning to end, the fight against Rui is a rollercoaster of emotions. What starts out as hate-filled contempt for Rui and his torturous methods, evolves into a steady stream of sympathy once we learn of his history. However, this is short-lived once he lays a hand on our precious Nezuko, and the hatred comes flowing back!
When Tanjiro beheads Rui, not only does the animation do a stellar job of making us feel how tough his neck is (as well as the sheer amount of power needed to rip through it), but Tanjiro’s cries also give additional emotional weight to the whole scene. Then, after Rui’s head is decapitated in a blaze of fire, we are left with nothing to do but sigh in relief (and wait for Tokiyami to come and rescue Tanjiro again!). This is the greatest beheading in anime history both in terms of style and emotional weight!
Decapitations in anime are a somewhat rare occurrence but when they do crop up, you can bet that such a brutal method of death is bound to stir up some emotions. What is your favorite...favorite, really? How about, what beheading made you the most emotional? Let us know down below!