Spoilers and personal opinions are laid bare below this sentence! You have been warned
#10 Julia (Cowboy Bebop)
She appears in the flesh in the final part of the show. She was the “ghost” that allowed Spike to find something to live for. When they reunited he finally came face to face with the thing he loves the most and the thing he fears the most. In the end, she is killed during a gun battle and dies in his arms. As a fan of Spike and the show, I could see how this may end up with him chasing death to follow her to wherever his greatest fear takes him.
#9 Nicholas D. Wolfwood (Trigun)
A priest destined to carry a giant cross as Jesus did, however, Nicholas’ cross is actually a gun. Nicholas was often the straight man when he had scenes with Vash but eventually proved himself to be as enjoyable as Vash. Nicholas dies from bullet wounds after praying for the last time. As a fan of the show, It was a bit heart-wrenching due to the montage that they played up to his final words “I did not want to die this way”…
#8 Kaori Miyazono (Your Lie in April)
I didn’t like Kaori at first but after the end of the show, I realized the mistake of not analyzing the title of the show. She grew on me as we were able to see her struggle despite her enormous passion for living and playing music plus her genuine admiration/love for Kosei Arima. She served as the catalyst for his change which causes the viewers to cheer for her recovery, however, the manga was more real than we were expecting. Succumbed to her disease, she never stopped smiling nor dancing to the sound of Arima’s music.
#7 Maes Hughes (Full Metal Alchemist)
An over-the-top family man too into his infant daughter. Hughes was much more than that, he was a father figure to the Elric brothers and a friend to Roy Mustang. As the story continued he truly grew on me and it was quite shocking to see him end up the way he did. Maes Hughes unable to warn his best friend above the dangers lurking in plain view and unable to hold his daughter one last time dies alone in a pool of blood. His funeral leads to more sadness as his daughters’ words echo in our hearts at the sheer innocence of them.
#6 Jiraiya (Naruto)
Pervy sensei, no! Jiraiya was Naruto’s teacher and ultimately another father figure who probably had the most impact on him. I know people who actually quit watching the show due to his death and refused to ever look at anything Naruto related. So despite being a big perv, he was an extremely liked character and his last talk with Tsunade really helps add tension as we walk him walk off. Sadly, he was “gunned” down by past mistakes and forced to sacrifice himself in order to provide the path for a better ninja to rise in order to fix his mistake. As Jiraiya drifted down the ocean, he smiles as he wishes to be able to see his greatest pupil grow.
#5 LeLouch (Code Geass)
This would be higher up the list if I hadn’t watched the newly made Code Geass films. The films lessened the impact of his original death. LeLouch was a character that we probably shouldn’t have liked but we clearly did love him enough for Sunrise to try to abuse his corpse with poorly done films and rob us of a true sequel to LeLouch’s legacy. In the end, LeLouch proved to the people closet to him that he wasn’t the monster they thought of him as but he accepted the role in order to achieve what he believed was a better world.
#4 Spike (Cowboy Bebop)
Bang! Cowboy Bebop was one of the first anime I ever watched so it is important to me. Spike was a role model that I needed in my life, sad as it may sound. He was a cross between Bruce Lee and Keanu Reeves with the attitude of a natural rebel and the depth of any philosopher. We all knew that Spike was chasing death after Julia was killed and his speech towards Faye when she tried to stop him. Despite the fact that his death wasn’t truly confirmed we can all use logic enough to realize our role model/hero died with a bang and that is all we could ask for.
#3 Koro-Sensei (Assassination Classroom)
The greatest teacher to grace the screen in my lifetime and the strangest one to boot. He was a master of his craft that put real teachers to shame. He sought out alone time with each student in order to show them the way to improving themselves even in the simplest/strangest manners. Koro-sensei was a truly lovable character that got his wish as he was able to teach the youth and die by his possibly greatest student. “Congratulations on your graduation“.
#2 Nina Tucker (Full Metal Alchemist)
It’s clear as day that once an innocent character dies they will often top these kinds of lists. Nina is one such character as not only is she killed but she is turned into a monster by her own father in order for him to keep working. Her purity truly made the discovery of her new form so heart-wrenching for the viewers and the Elric brothers. It was a sad send off to a character so cute I was sure the Elric brothers would try to adopt her at some point. Sadly, she ended in a similar way to her mother.
#1 Ushio (Clannad: After Story)
This is truly personal as I cried like a little baby when Ushiro died in her fathers’ arms after finally forgiving him for leaving her alone all this time. All I can is that the director was a true master at storytelling in the final few episodes of Clannad: After Story as the build-up to her death was truly a remarkable piece of work. I know that her death will live on as the saddest anime death for me for as long as I live.