The 10 Saddest Anime Protagonist Deaths Of All Time | Pretty Reel

October 2022 has been one of the most stacked anime seasons in recent memory, and many beloved protagonists have already had close contact with death.

While characters like Loid Forger are pretty much declared safe no matter what, not all anime protagonists survive life-threatening situations. Fans familiar with the genre will watch new hit anime like Chainsaw Man in constant concern for the heroes and other main characters, knowing that their predecessors didn’t always reach the end in one piece.

Son Goku

The bone-headed shonen protagonist is one of anime’s worst archetypes, and Son Goku is one of the original dumb protagonists.

After an ego-filled battle with the dastardly Cell, Goku finds the world in danger due to his and his son’s tendency to not take their opponents seriously enough. Goku had to sacrifice himself to teleport a self-destructing cell away from Earth, but the tragedy of death was mitigated by Goku’s eventual rebirth.

Itadori Yuji

Itadori Yuji didn’t start out as one of the strongest shonen protagonists, and his weakness forced him to bring out the deadly Sukuna to face a special curse.

After Sukuna took Yuji’s body hostage by ripping out his heart, a short battle with Megumi ended in a way that shocked many viewers: Yuji’s personality reclaimed his body and he died shortly after. soon after. While the effect this had on Megumi and Nobara was tragic, Sukuna revived Yuji soon after.

Natsuki Subaru (several times)

While Re:Zero is built around Natsuki Subaru’s constant deaths and rebirths, there are plenty of deaths for the character that hurt audiences almost as much as a proper death scene.

Each of Subaru’s deaths brings him to a reset point, meaning he loses all of his recent achievements and social interactions. That means he’s dozens of times closer to his friends on the show than they are to him. With each death, Subaru loses important moments and a bit of his sanity along the way.

Yagami Light

Light Yagami was one of the most famous “anti-hero” protagonists of all time. However, after the death of rival L, many fans were of the opinion that Death Note had lost in quality.

While Light’s plan to become the god of the new world came to an abrupt end after his conflict with Near, the death didn’t have the same impact as L’s death for most viewers. Ultimately, it was a fitting ending for a character who lost himself and his morals throughout the series.

Eren Yager

After unlocking the true powers of the Founding Titan and the incredibly mastered Attack Titan, Eren Yeager made the amazing shift from protagonist to antagonist in Attack on Titan.

Although his demise has yet to occur in the anime, his death in the manga was the tragic end of a tragic character. His final battle with Mikasa and Armin is something manga fans can’t wait to see animated. However, Eren’s demise is less heartbreaking than many as he’s become a horrible person by the end of the manga.

Jonathan Joestar

Jonathan Joestar is the protagonist of the very first series of a long but beloved franchise: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. Although he may have started the Joestar saga, Jonathan couldn’t defeat his brother Dio for good.

The ultimate villain of the Jojo franchise, Dio, resulted in Jonathan’s death and plagued the Joestar family for generations. While Jonathan’s final moments were tragic, fans held out hope that future generations of Joestar would carry on Jonathan’s legacy.

Spike Spiegel

The way the protagonist of Cowboy Bebop lived his life, it was clear his end was going to be untimely. You can only narrowly escape death so many times in the Cowboy Bebop universe.

While Spike eventually defeated his rival Vicious, it came at the cost of his life. Some viewers believe Spike’s death wasn’t final and the space cowboy has narrowly survived many similar situations before, but the general audience interpretation is that Spike met his end after his death. battle with Vicious.


Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is a series divided into two parts. The first half splits the protagonist role between Simon and his mentor Kamina, while the second half focuses on Simon after Kamina’s death in the first act.

Kamina is one of the most beloved anime characters of all time, and her death was unexpected and tragic for many viewers. Despite his demise in the first half, Kamina’s spirit continues throughout the second half and his memory helps Simon become a great man and leader.

Lelouch Vi Britannia

Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion follows the titular protagonist Lelouch, a genius high school student with the power to rewire the minds of others.

After becoming the masked avenger Zero, Lelouch gradually rose through the ranks until he took over the world as Lelouch Vi Britannia. In a final attempt to bring peace to the world, Lelouch convinced his best friend Suzaku to kill him disguised as Zero. Lelouch’s death ushered in an era of peace and made him one of anime’s greatest martyrs.


91 Days revolves around the death of protagonist Angelo’s family at the hands of the Vanetti family, and Angelo’s subsequent plan for revenge under the guise of a business partner named Avilio.

Tragically, Avilio eventually became best friends with the heir of the Vanetti family: Nero. Protagonist and antagonist have one last ride after Avilio dispatches the Vanetti’s lives and reputations along with the mafia crashing down around them. Then, resolving to take the hit he was too afraid to take at the start of the series, Nero pointed his gun at Angelo at the end of the series.