Anyone Can Die/Anime and Manga

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to navigation Jump to search


  • Attack on Titan has a reputation for this. In the first episode we know of 2 people with names that have died.
  • According to the Meteor Gin information book, Yoshihiro Takahashi had thought about killing "all the important characters" in Ginga: Nagareboshi Gin, but was not allowed to do so. Despite this, quite a few of the series's main characters have kicked the bucket one way or another during it or its two sequels.
  • Angel Beats!! may look like a series where nobody can die because they are...ya know, already dead, but it later revealed that the purpose of the place is to make the souls who had a troubled life come to terms with their lives and move on to next time, which more or less erases their existence in that plane completely and dying. So it's not that Anyone Can Die. Everyone WILL die.
  • Kaori Yuki in Angel Sanctuary kills of a lot of the cast. It does not matter if you are human, angel, demon or whatsoever. Though, being main-casty gives you a bit of a protection. (Of course, depending on what your definition of main cast happens to be.)
  • In Battle Angel Alita, aside from the titular character (and even then...), there are absolutely no guarantees that anyone won't be offed later on in the series, AND you will generally have no clue as to when or who it'll be until it actually happens.
  • During Blood+, several beloved major characters are Killed Off for Real, one of them in a particularly horrible manner.
    • Blood C is even worse in the 6th episode: two major characters (as well as a truckload of random bystanders) are killed brutally, and in the 8th and 9th episode Saya's class (except for the Class Representative) are all killed viciously.
    • However, those major characters turned out to be faking and in the last episode EVERYBODY except Saya, Yuka and the Big Bad.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood actually subverts this. While the death of Maes Hughes established this trope, a majority of the minor and major characters were safe from death after his funeral. It wasn't until the last handful of episodes where the characters were really in danger.
  • Bokurano, made clear when it kills off the Decoy Protagonist in episode one, and then outright writing it in stone that not only can anyone die, but just about everyone will die.
  • Book of Bantorra does this religiously. Nearly every new character introduced will be shot, stabbed, blown up, eaten, or lit on fire by the end of the arc. The creators, just to stick it to the audience, have no problem killing off main characters, either. One of the most memorable deaths being Volken, who's murdered after finding out everything he fought for was a lie.
  • Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas, a series well known for having minimal Plot Armor.
  • Chrono Crusade did this to almost the entire main cast.
  • Code Geass mostly plays this straight during its first season. Examples include: Clovis, the first notable antagonist whose early exit surprised many fans. Mao, Psychopathic Manchild and Geass user who somehow survived his initial stint as arc villain only to finally die an episode later. Euphemia, the Rebellious Princess who became increasingly important to the plot as time went on. But the second series tends to subvert the trope more often than not, something that displeased many viewers. Nevertheless, Shirley (the Naive Everygirl love interest with her own long-running subplot dating back to the first season), Rolo (the Tyke Bomb manipulated into becoming Lelouch's newest subordinate at the beginning of R2), Charles Zi Brittania (Lelouch's father, the Big Bad and main target of his revenge) and, ultimately,even the protagonist himself, were Killed Off for Real.
  • Darker than Black uses this trope heavily during the last episodes. The last couple of arcs see recurring antagonists November 11 and Wei, November's boss, The Handler Huang, most of Evening Primrose, and Magnificent Bastard/Chessmaster/Deliberately Cute Child Amber killed off, and Mao gets reverted to a normal cat. (Though Mao got better in the sequel and at least one EPR member, Amigiri, is shown to have made it out alive.) And so many people tend to die in the course of an arc that focuses on them that it's often both a surprise and a relief when someone makes it out okay.
  • Death Note lives up to its name. No character's survival is guaranteed. The body count of minor and major characters alike grows so high as the series progresses that there's suspense not in wondering who will die, but who won't.
  • Mr. Satan/Hercule is the only character (not even protagonist) never to die in Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z. Anybody else who survived all the way till the end eventually got killed by Buu blowing up the planet. In Dragon Ball GT, Pan is the only character never to get killed. Of course, thanks to the titular Dragon Balls, the afterlife of this series has a revolving door.
  • Hunter X Hunter plays with this trope quite a bit throughout its run. Early on, several characters make appearances merely to be killed off only seconds later, although any character who is portrayed in a sympathetic matter is safe for the most part. Then the Chimera Ant arc rolls around, and key characters who've been around since the beginning of the series start dropping like flies. Suddenly nobody is safe, and the deaths go from being fairly mild to being brutal displays of violence and gore.
  • Elfen Lied tends to kill off its minor characters, and is good at convincing the audience that it will kill all the main ones eventually. And invisible razor arms mean they won't see it coming.
    • To wit: A minor female character who is very quickly established to be a Plucky Comic Relief Dojikko and thus a potential Ensemble Darkhorse in an otherwise serious show is killed off before the end of the first half of the first episode. This show does not fuck around.
  • In Fafner in the Azure, the only character you can really be convinced has Plot Armor is Kazuki, the protagonist. Well over half the main characters die or are assimilated over the course of the series, either in HeroicSacrifices or just completely at random. By the end, when the four remaining pilots are told that any deaths disrupts the entire plan, it comes as a surprise that none of them do. It's taken to an extreme in the Right of Left OVA, where EVERYONE on the split island dies almost as soon as they found out that there was a way for them to escape.
  • A lot of heroes, civilians, and bad guys die in Fist of the North Star. Any civilian Ken meets is likely to be killed in some horrid fashion.
  • No one is safe in Air Gear. Though they do come back sometimes.
  • For a romantic comedy, Fushigi Yuugi has a shocking number of deaths: All of the Seiryuu Seven save Amiboshi, all of the Suzaku Seven save Tasuki and Chichiri, Tamahome's father and siblings, and the Emperor of Kutou.
  • Gall Force All the OVAs and movies start with 12 or so main characters that get whittled down one by one until only a handful, if even that, are left. Only the the New Era OVA averts this with almost everyone surviving, and that's because its story never got finished.
  • Gantz. See Death Note above, except change "who won't die" with "who won't be utterly ripped to pieces, smashed to bits, squashed like a bug, eaten, blown apart, stabbed, disintegrated, melted, etc." And those are the nice ways to die.
    • Gantz is an interesting example in the sense that people can actually be resurrected (or even cloned), so when this is first revealed it seems like a case of Death Is Cheap, but it doesn't take long for you to figure out that not only is not that easy, but the process to resurrect someone requires the person to survive through sadistic games (in which the people they're trying to resurrect died at).
      • Gantz has been especially good in killing-off characters no matter how important or popular they might be. This goes to the point that the one protagonist to survive gets killed-off for good. However, some believe the series has gone downhill since it stopped doing this.
  • Ga-Rei Zero kills off every single introduced character at the end of the first episode and the newly introduced character with the most focus at the end of the second one.
    • Given that in Ga-Rei manga bodycount of "in the know" just for first Yomi incident was stated over 70 and there is no new chief with her secretary, no case-fu user and only one of twins in the manga - many. Also manga continues the anyone can die tradition... or starts it, because it was first.
  • Gunslinger Girl. Casualities include Angelica and Beatrice. By the last chapter both the main character and her handler is dead, with three others in the maybe dead category.
  • Higurashi no Naku Koro ni combines this trope with a Groundhog Day Loop, allowing it to kill off its main cast repeatedly.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, being eight arcs long, has this in spades. It gets worse because they are the heroes, and not even main characters are immune. In arc order it has...
    • Part 1: Zeppeli, Dire, Jonathan.
    • Part 2: Caesar, Straights (he counts even though he went evil), Stroheim (twice).
    • Part 3: Kakyoin, Abdul, Iggy.
      • In particular Abdul dies twice. The first is earlier in the series when succumbing to an enemy attack, later retconned to make it seem like he had been mortally injured and recovering off-stage, later joining the others when it was called for.
    • Part 4: Aya, Shigekyo, Keicho (again, even though he was evil, he counts).
    • Part 5: Abbacchio, Narancia, Buccirati, Polnareff (he gets better...almost).
    • Part 6: Jolyne, Jotaro, Hermes, Weather Report, FF, Annasui - basically every hero but one.
  • Kurokami. The anime that brutally kills a elementary school girl, a mother, and a best friend in the first episode. This continues to the point where you are uncertain whether the main character will survive all 26 episodes. Have fun!
  • Black Butler (a.k.a. Kuroshitsuji) has been up to these antics a lot, especially in the recent arc of the manga and in season two. In the manga, an entire circus is killed in variety of ways. And then the Murder Mystery arc happens, where random guests at the Phantomhive manor are killed with no visible pattern. And not just the guests, even Sebastian, one of the main characters dies! Of course, that ends up being fake, but that was a given. Hell, though, they even pulled a Harry Potter move and killed off the owl!
    • And that was just the manga. In season one, a bunch of characters died. And then most of them either came back in the second season, having not really been dead at all, or had a twin brother. Kuroshitsuji is actually probably less of an "Anyone Can Die", and more of an "Anyone Can Die, But Are They Really Dead?"
  • Legend of Galactic Heroes plays this trope nearly to the extreme. Not even the main characters are safe. They even use this to pull a fast one on the viewers: During a particularly brutal battle that has already seen the deaths of two Admirals, the narrator suddenly mentions a report of the death of a major character, just as it shows his ship getting hit. There is just enough time to get the initial reactions of his friends before said character sends a message that he's okay.
  • Lost Universe series ends very unexpectedly. All except comic relief characters die in the last minute. Considering that entire series were slapstick comedy like slayers, this is quite shocking to end them in so tragic way. Considering that now there are no more people capable to fight remaining evil lost ships, that probably means Evil won after all.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam and, perhaps to a greater extent, some of its sequels or spinoffs use this with regularity. There's a reason Yoshiyuki Tomino got his nickname "Kill'Em All," you know.
  • Monster. Got a favorite character you like? Have they, at any point, so much as made eye contact with Johan? Big mistake.
  • Narutaru. With emphasis on anyone: and for good reason. Shiina herself was a casualty before she got better.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion towards about the last third of the series, while the movie shifts into Kill'Em All territory.
  • Now and Then, Here and There definitely falls under this trope.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica has one of the original magical girls die two and a half episodes in. Brutally. And for this Deconstruction of a Magical Girl series, It Gets Worse from there.
    • To put it in perspective, there is only one Magical Girl who hasn't died at any point in the show, and for good reason. She's the one responsible for creating all the timelines, after all!
  • This trope is made to occur in the first two cycles of Robotech: given the series’ status as a cut-and-paste translation, characters from one cycle couldn’t appear in others, which necessitated regular deck-clearing exercises to explain the disappearances. For example, by the time its first cycle, The Macross Saga, had ended, fully half of its cast had died, including several characters that had in fact survived the series it had been based on. What’s more, part of the backstory for the series’ third and final cycle (The New Generation) involves the revelation that the Army of the Southern Cross—which included the great majority of the characters from the series’ second cycle (The Robotech Masters)—had been decimated by the Invid army that had taken over the Earth. While the statement is intentionally vague, and supplementary materials have established that several of the its characters did survive, current canon has only confirmed the survival of two of the cycle’s characters. Only the New Generation characters, by virtue of being last, manage to keep a survival rate higher than 50%.
  • Shiki, although it sort of figures in a show that is about a zombie-like invasion on a small village. While the manga is still on-going, the anime ended with nearly everyone from the main cast dead.
  • Soukou no Strain starts off as any Shojo series would, except in space with mecha. However, by the time it reveals its true Seinen colours after episode one, all but two characters are dead; important members of the new cast die every fourth episode after that.
  • Starship Operators kills off a main character almost every episode; even the main character's reciprocated love interest isn't safe.
  • Kamina dies early on in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, along with most of the rest of the cast in the second half.
  • Toward the Terra spans decades and light-years with its plot, and the entire way is littered with bodies. Only two major characters make it out alive.
  • Blue Gender has a similarly poor track record. Aside from a few extras introduced the episode before the end, only two named characters make it through the series alive.
    • It was made clear fairly early on this would be the case. The first episode introduces 8 named characters. By the end of the second episode, four of them are dead, three within less than a minute of each other.
  • True to its predecessor, Umineko no Naku Koro ni also embodies this. The first half a dozen deaths each arc are particularly brutal.
  • In Vinland Saga, only Thorfinn is left in the story out of all the characters from the opening chapters. It's safe to say that any character that doesn't have a historical basis, and even some that do, will meet a grisly end.
  • Weiss Kreuz makes its position clear with the opening scene of its first episode, in which a boyfriend and girlfriend spend several minutes making affectionate farewells - and then a van comes flying off an overpass onto the boyfriend. Although the four original main characters never suffer more than Disney Deaths, any other character is fair game, whether it's a one-shot potential love interest, a supporting character who's been around for the whole series, or both of the new lead characters introduced for the Oddly-Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo Weiss Kreuz: Gluhen.
  • In Wolf's Rain, everyone dies in the last few episodes.
    • Wolf's Rain basically sets the stage for this in the first episode when a kid whom is implied to a major character gets killed off at the end of the episode. After that, you get the sense that anybody could fair game despite most of the real cast deaths only occur towards the end of the series.
  • X 1999 While the movie just kills 'em all, the anime and manga both have this. Half the cast is lost via anime, and while the manga is unfinished...well, it is a show about the Apocalypse. When we say anyone in this fandom, we mean ANYONE.
  • Sailor Moon does this over and over again with pretty much every one of the senshi, as well as Tuxedo Kamen and the guardian cats.
  • In the anime for Another, practically one person dies per episode after the first two exposition/introductory episodes, usually in a pretty brutal or gory fashion due to a curse in a certain classroom...
  • Kamui Den: A large majority of named characters introduced in the first series don't live to see the end of it.

Back to Anyone Can Die
  1. see above re: The Team Normal. Protip: Do not torture someone to death whose girlfriend is a Psycho Lesbian Action Girl with a laser katana.