Plenty of characters can die in anime. There is dying and then there is dying in a heroic sacrifice. What makes it so heroic, you may ask? It is the fact that they gave their lives directly so that another character could live. There are quite a few heroic sacrifices in anime, and as you’d guess this article comes with more than a few spoilers about them.
So whose ready for a heroic sacrifice!?
Ace in One Piece
Even though Ace was not his brother by blood, when he was sentenced to public execution, Luffy and his crew took up arms to go to his rescue. While Luffy went in to Marineford to save Ace, soon after being freed, he ended up still giving his like in order to protect Luffy from Akainu. While the Whitebeard pirates took heavy losses in that fight, Ace could have just as easily made it out alive, but what’s that worth if you lose your brother?
Vegeta in Dragon Ball Z
Heroic sacrifices in DBZ, there were many, but while virtually none were permanent due to plot device, the sacrifice of Majin Vegeta was by far the most memorable. At a certain point in DBZ, post-time-skip, you see Vegeta as somehow now a father, and a pretty terrible one. He shows little affection for Trunks, but rather still feels the pride of having the son. Likely how his own father treated him, Vegeta treated his son the same way. That is, up until he becomes Majin Vegeta, an evil being who willingly took the Majin mark for power. Instead of returning to previous evil ways, he shows his growth as a character by doing a final explosion to take out Buu, but not before hugging his son for the first time.
Neji in Naruto
The Hyuuga family had a pretty complicated relationship, but much of that was aided in some way by Naruto. So when Hinata is determined to give her life in order to protect Naruto from the 10-tails, you expected a heroic sacrifice. You just didn’t expect it to be Neji’s. As Hinata is prepared to die, Neji steps in and takes the brutal assault in her stead, costing him his life.
Madoka in Madoka Magica
To be fair, the way Madoka Magica ended is probably the happiest ending that anyone could have hoped for. In order to break the chain of girls becoming magical girls only to ultimately become the witches they fight, Madoka sacrifices her physical being to ensure that witches never existed. This takes her to transcendent levels of being and saves all her friends include Homura who is stuck in a cycle of suffering and failure, but she no longer exists in the end.
Otonashi in Angel Beats
The thing about Angel Beats is that all the characters are already dead, so their playful deaths in the afterlife don’t mean much. However, as you learn Otonashi’s back story, you learn that he did himself a pretty heroic sacrifice, though not as epic as in some other anime series. After being in a train crash, he uses all his strength helping other injured passengers with his medical training. However, during this time, he is also suffering from massive internal bleeding that claims his life shortly before rescue arrived. Yet, before he passed away, he inspired the remaining passengers to become organ donors, an act that we later learn saved the life of Kaede.
Judeau in Berserk
Let us not forget one of the more forgettable characters in Berserk and their sacrifice. Throughout Berserk you see Judeau as a consummate joker and being firmly stuck in Casca’s friend zone. However, as the Eclipse launches into full swing, he shows her just how much of a man he is. With death and demons around them, the newly appointed commander Casca is rescued by Judaeu on horseback who proceeds to take a beating in order to try to gallop her to safety. The act ultimately costs him his life, and you find out that Casca(‘s life, anyway) wasn’t really in danger.
Ed and Al in Fullmetal Alchemist (Not Brotherhood)
The original Fullmetal Alchemist anime had a much different ending than the more manga adapted Brotherhood version. In it, Ed is killed in his fight with Envy and Al uses Human Transfiguration in order to give his life for Ed’s. Finding himself alive and whole again, Ed turns it right around by sacrificing himself for Al’s life. The series ends with them both technically alive, but separated by the Gate.
Rem in Death Note
Shinigami that get involved with Misa have a tragic outcome. They tend to fall in love with her and when a Shinigami does something to extend a human’s life, they die. Light ends up using Rem as a tool to defeat L. In it, he puts Misa in danger, and thus forces Rem’s hand to protect her. It takes out L and Watari, but it also kills Rem who fully knows she had been manipulated.
Ichiro in Inuyashiki
Ichiro was always the unlikely hero in Inuyashiki, but he shows from the very beginning that he is an honest hero. Even while he was unappreciated and served an unfair life, he still fights for the lives of others. The anime ends with him making the ultimate sacrifice. As a meteor heads to Earth that will destroy human life, he uses his self-destruct function to instead destroy the meteor. You could argue he could have endured that meteor blast, but what is life without anyone else?
Tatsumi in Akame Ga Kill
Although the anime upset people by deviating from the source material, Tatsumi’s death was as heroic as they come. Even though he won his last fight against the Emperor, his giant armor, when falling, threatened to kill hundreds of civilians that it would have landed on. Instead, Tatsumi gave the last of his life in order to stop it, dying propped up against the armor in a heroic pose.
Yusuke in Yu Yu Hakusho
Yusuke tries the whole heroic sacrifice thing a lot in his run on Yu Yu Hakusho. However, the whole series started with his sacrifice. Seeing a young child about to get hit by a car, he pushes the kid out of the way, getting hit instead and dying. It is later revealed that it wasn’t actually needed, but it is still a great way to go out.
Do you know any more heroic sacrifices? Sure you do! Let us know in the comments section below.
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