Throughout the history of anime, fans have been outraged when their favorite characters either died or were pushed aside. While there are examples of deaths being logical and ultimately accepted in anime like Itachi from Naruto, there are some character deaths that cause large amounts of fan outrage.
Anime fan reactions to character deaths vary from turning away from a show to criticisms of bigotry to death threats and false information. To make this point very clear, it's okay for anime fans to mourn and hate that their favorite dies and/or drops from a show entirely for whatever reason. It's not okay to send death threats over anything, especially anime.
Note: The following contains major spoilers for the fates of characters throughout various anime. Content warnings for death and depictions of violence, r**e, abuse, as well as real-world threats. Likewise, these are just the author's opinions.
10 anime deaths that caused a lot of controversy
1) Sasha Braus (Attack on Titan)
The death of a beloved anime character always causes outrage, but Sasha's was huge. Across social media and anime fansites, people called for Gabi Braun's head after she killed Sasha.
Never mind that Gabi's arc was about the fact that she was lied to, never mind that Sasha's family took her in and forgave her and dumped the cycle of hatred that threatened to consume everything, fans were mad.
To be fair, Sasha's death felt like it came out of nowhere and she was indeed a fan-favorite. Her entire arc started as a girl who loved eating and ended as a proud hunter for the Scouts, a senseless death via a surprise gunshot to show how senseless everything was.
Most wanted Kaya, a girl Sasha saved, to kill Gabi before she saved her and then covered for her.
The notion of letting go of hate didn't seem to cross fans' minds, considering they bullied and sent death threats to Gabi's voice actress. The death threats and other postings about Gabi being out of the picture only increased as she continued to be in the series.
2) Neji Hyuga (Naruto)
If Sasha was killed to make a point about propagandizing hate and dehumanization, most Naruto fans believed Neji's Hyuga's death wasn't as grand or operatic in nature. Neji died saving Naruto and Hinata from massive wood projectiles.
After his death, the Allied Shinobi Forces fought on harder than ever, as Naruto gave version 1 Nine Tails' cloaks to the entire formation and released the Ten Tails from Obito and Madara's control. Their chosen formation to do this? A bird, a call back to Neji spotting birds and only being able to see them after his arrogance dropped.
This was more divisive than most, as some would've rather Iruka died or someone closer to Naruto. Others see it less like a grand gesture and more like a forced point to put Naruto and Hinata together. Still, once the plot in Boruto got Neji back during the Time Slip arc, he talked to Boruto about how Naruto changed him and how he could move on from the past.
Some fans still felt like there was salt in the wound, since Kishimoto confirmed the suspicion of strengthening Naruto and Hinata's relationship via Neji's death. Many contested that Neji's character was ignored throughout Naruto Shippuden and that killing him felt unearned.
There was an outcry, but nothing too massive unlike the rest of these. It likewise faded after some time, though many Neji fans still hold grudges.
3) Light Yagami and L Lawliet (Death Note)
To say both L and Light had their own fans would be a major understatement. Fans of the thriller anime Death Note were practically split down the middle as to who they supported, since even though Light was clearly the villain, many found him charismatic enough to root for, and L was quirky enough to love as well.
When L died, it made people mad enough to declare the show done since it was the end of an epic rivalry. Some people felt L's death should've marked the end of the series since it was pretty clear the cat and mouse game would never be the same again.
Light's death, on the other hand? It was the straw that broke the camel's back for many of the anime's fans. It wasn't so much the fact that he died as it was how he died. Many fans consider Death Note to be one of those anime that should've ended after it's first part.
Light's death, in particular, was considered a letdown due to the convoluted series of events that led to it involving fake Death Notes, memory erasures, N being a carbon copy of L, and other complaints.
4) Nina Tucker (Fullmetal Alchemist/Brotherhood)
As most Fullmetal Alchemist fans will attest, the revelation of what Shou Tucker was really up to and the subsequent death of Nina Tucker is well known. It's also incredibly heartbreaking and infuriating. It was an utter tragedy and still hurts every single time.
It's also inevitably used as a cornerstone for anime fans to judge themselves on. Though Nina's death has been joked about, memed about, and otherwise made fun of to cope with it, there was plenty of shock when the anime version of the death came about.
Though not exactly a secret, some people usually try to see people's reactions to Nina's ultimate fate of being fused with her dog and then dying.
The gist of the story is that Shou Tucker fused his daughter and dog into a chimaera to keep his job as a state alchemist. This didn't go well with Edward since he was appalled by how cold and callous Tucker was, and nearly killed him as most fans wanted to do. Tucker would die in Brotherhood from Scar, so it was cathartic at least.
5) Adam Taurus and James Ironwood (RWBY)
Adam Taurus was the abusive ex of RWBY main character Blake Belladonna, and a secondary antagonist at best. James Ironwood turned from scketchy to willing in helping military man become become a full-on military dictator.
Both of these stories were told throughout RWBY as slowly and directly as possible, practically in the audience's faces, and both died villains.
Adam met his end at the hands of main heroines Blake and Yang after stalking them across a continent, killing his own supporters and generally anyone in his way. Ultimately, his brutality never wavered against all who opposed him, even after being given multiple chances to stand down.
He was never a supporter of the Faunus, merely a wrathful person who used the White Fang as his own personal stepping stone to power.
Ironwood went full military dictator. He tried to arrest the main characters when they disagreed with his plan to abandon the world, shot a kid, shot and killed one of his own council for disagreeing with him.
Additionally, he killed a prisoner, attempted to kill his second-in-command when she rebelled, and nearly nuked a city after destroying transports meant to evacuate people. This was all after he betrayed his key ally and closed his kingdom's borders, pulling his entire military back instead of aiding allies.
Yet according to a frighteningly loud number of RWBY haters and supposed "fans," none of this happened and Rooster Teeth themselves are bad for showing abusers as abusers and absolute power corrupting people.
The outrage ran the gauntlet of death threats. It clogged YouTube and Twitter with negativity, and in some cases outright bigotry, with false information to feed the flames of sheer hate that two male villains died in a female-led show.
6) Muhammad Avdol (JoJo's Bizarre Adventure)
Avdol was loved in the Stardust Crusaders lineup. His serious composure, his straight man antics to others being wacky, and his Stand being rather powerful helped him gain a very good audience.
So, naturally, people weren't happy when he suddenly died. To this day, Avdol is still regarded as the only member of the Stardust Crusdaers group to not have a meaningful death.
Iggy died saving Polnareff against Vanilla Ice, Kakyoin died discovering DIO's Stand ability and making a last stand, Polnareff would last all the way into Golden Wind where he got his soul transferred to a turtle, Joseph Joestar died of old age, and Jotaro lasted all the way into Stone Ocean.
The main problem being that JoJo characters don't usually die so easily or so quickly, especially if they've been main characters for a long time.
The bigger problem was the sudden death as compared to the fakeout death, and that it seemed to many fans that he was just there after the fakeout death. This raised concerns that the mangaka had no idea what to do with Avdol after the fakeout death.
7) Tatsumi, among many (Akame Ga Kill)
This is the anime version and requires as brief of an explanation as can be mustered. In the manga, the good guys lose people but there's a general sense of celebration and mourning as the Empire is brought down and the child emperor made to see the error of his ways. The good guys, those that live, manage to make better lives for themselves and generally get happy endings.
The anime went its own route and fans were not happy to say the least. From episode 19 and onward, it skipped major arcs, removed several big fights, and killed off the main characters.
Tatsumi is a good example as, even though he stopped the Emperor's final mech cold, he died protecting civilians from the mech's falling debris. In the manga, he lost control of himself and was saved from completely giving into dark power at the cost of being in a dragon form for the rest of his life, but was with his lover at least.
This was not seen as a good move on the anime's part, as it ruined the story for many.
Fans were livid when he died, and like many others, they dropped the show in droves and split the fan base, with many reviewers outright recommending that people skip the anime and read the manga instead.
This was a problem since the manga ended in 2016 and the anime only went up to one season in 2014. It was also rushed far too much at the end, in a fashion similar to Fullmetal Alchemist in 2003.
8) Sayaka Miki (Magica Madoka)
Magica Madoka was of course going to lead to some controversy, but not to the extent some people probably thought of. Sayaka is a particular sticking point for some people, as her entire life seems just determined to make her fail.
Her boyfriend-to-be is a jerk, her potential girlfriend Hitomi is homophobic (or at least massively closeted if some interpretations are to be believed) and everything she does is for nothing since she burns herself out.
Mind you, Sayaka is supposed to deconstruct the determinator trope most anime have. But to some fans and critics, this doesn't work.When you add in the fact that she cannot be saved by the author's word, there is a spread of issues.
There's a potent combination of literal homophobia to some, misogyny to others, and no actual point beyond gleefully watching someone suffer over a love interest that never loves her back.
Despite its popularity, Madoka still sparks plenty of criticism as to whether or not the deconstructive elements were done well.
Fans and critics went to war over Homura, Mami's death, and the general tone and ending of the show itself. The fact that Madoka spawned many imitators in the wake of the show's end and popularity didn't help matters either. At least everyone agreed they all wanted to see Kyubey dead for one reason or another.
9) Lafter Frankland. (Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans)
Let's be honest, shock deaths suck. Sure, you can say that death happens everywhere, but stories are usually spaced out in a deliberate way to give deaths meaning and consequences.
When a sudden death happens in the middle of a story, or particularly to a character that's already suffered a lot of hardship, it leads to fans wondering what was the point of it? Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans is already a darker Gundam series, but many argue that Season 2 took it too far.
Overall, the heroes of Tekkadan managed to destroy many of the corrupt Gjallarhorn's government's pilots, mech suits and super weapons. They later ran afoul of a mafia organization named Teiwaz, but were otherwise in good standing.
At least until one of their more arrogant members named Jasley Donomikols got far too greedy and decided to frame them for illegal weapons smuggling so he could take power. When goading them at a funeral didn't work, Jasley had Lafter Frankland killed.
Lafter was killed in a hit-and-run at a toy store while she was shopping for her love interest. Whilst fans may have been frustrated at Lafter's death, especially considering her skills as a mobile suit pilot and generally cheerful attitude, the fact that Jasley ended up dying horribly at the hands of the heroes only barely mitigated it.
Lafter was one death that fans hated, owing to how it came out of nowhere and that it was just one more in the end. Gundam's messages of "war isn't pretty" are always shown in the deaths of many that never deserved it and Lafter was just one in the history of the franchise.
10) The Greenhorn Team (Goblin Slayer)
Goblin Slayer is a Berserk-like anime about the titular Slayer, his quest and campaign of goblin slaying, and his adventuring group that keep him from getting himself killed. Fans who've watched beyond the first couple of episodes are usually surprised at the genuine care that is put into each of the characters helping each other.
The big controversy from this anime includes the deaths and r***ing of the rookie Team in the very first episode of the anime. It was quite jarring for new fans to see a new adventure party consisting of teens getting brutalized and ripped apart, especially when they didn't ignore warning signs and assumed it was easy to kill goblins.
Most people found what happened entirely too shocking for an anime advertised everywhere on a major platform.
While the wave of backlash didn't include death threats towards the author or voice actors, there were still a lot of complaints about offering no warning or otherwise easing into of the darker material. The show itself wouldn't get much darker after that, but the damage was done.
The problem was that it seemed way too fan service-y for the seriousness of it. Additionally, it continued to contain mainly titilating camera shots, sparking some comparisons and contrasts to when Sword Art Online had its own bad handling of the subject and led to people telling others to avoid the anime entirely.
Crunchyroll itself had to apologize for screening the content, and content warnings were made available after the first episode. The anime wasn't canceled, however, as season 2 is in development, and the light novel and manga are still ongoing.
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Poll : Are some outrages warranted?
Yes, if explained properly or coming from a good place
No, it's just a cartoon/if it comes from a bad place