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10 most heartbreaking deaths in Shounen anime

Naruto Uzumaki as he appears at the end of Naruto Shippuden (Image via Studio Pierrot)
Naruto Uzumaki as he appears at the end of Naruto Shippuden (Image via Studio Pierrot)
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Garen Bainbridge

Shounen anime have a reputation of being hardcore and battle-driven. Typically, fans only focus on training arcs and tournament arcs and rarely spend on more complex aspects of shounen anime. When someone mentions shounen anime, few think about the various emotions behind the story and characters. However, there are many emotions present within each shounen anime, especially the sadness one feels when a character dies.

With that in mind, here are the 10 of the most heartbreaking deaths in shounen anime.


10 most heartbreaking deaths in Shounen anime

1) Jiraiya

Jiraiya as he appears in Naruto (Image via Studio Pierrot)
Jiraiya as he appears in Naruto (Image via Studio Pierrot)

Jiraiya was an incredibly powerful shinobi. He was one of the Legendary Sannin and the Toad Sage. His wide array of Jutsu made him more versatile than many characters in the entire series and other characters in shounen anime.

The Toad Sage was also one of the most iconic characters in Naruto. He was loved by many fans and even people who had not watched the show knew about him. When he was killed by Pain, his death sent ripples throughout the shounen anime community. Fans were deeply saddened by the loss and wanted Naruto to avenge him.


2) Sasha Blouse

Sasha's body laying on the airship (Image via MAPPA)
Sasha's body laying on the airship (Image via MAPPA)

Sasha has been a fan favorite since the beginning of the shounen anime series, Attack on Titan. She got in trouble for eating and trying to share some of her bread with Commandant Shadis, and fans have loved her ever since. Even though she seemed cowardly in the beginning, she matured and gained enough courage to meet the titans face-to-face.

So, when Gabi shot her as the Survey Corps were leaving Marley, fans were in a fury. The entire Attack on Titan fanbase began to hate Gabi for what she did, as Sasha's death came as a surprise to characters and anime fans alike.


3) Kurama

Naruto calling out to Kurama as he vanishes (Image via Studio Pierrot)
Naruto calling out to Kurama as he vanishes (Image via Studio Pierrot)

Kurama has been with Naruto ever since he was a baby. The two have not always been close friends, but as the series progressed, they got closer. At the same time, fans of Naruto fell in love with Kurama.

But due to Baryon Mode completely draining all of Kurama's chakra, there is a very low chance of him ever being seen in the Boruto series again. This was an incredibly heavy price to pay to defeat Isshiki Otsutsuki.


4) Erwin Smith

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Erwin Smith was the 13th Commander of the Survey Corps. He was well-known known for his effective battle formations and amazing leadership.

While the Survey Corps faced certain death as the Beast Titan hurled chunks of rocks at them, they kept charging forward because of Erwin's command. They had so much faith and respect for him that they willingly pushed forward toward a situation whose outcome they knew would likely result in their deaths. Erwin Smith is one of the most respected, if not the most respected, leaders in all of shounen anime.


5) Rengoku Kyojuro

Kyojuro Rengoku’s final moments never ceases to make me emotional 💔 #DemonSlayer https://t.co/oa2RSJurZc

Rengoku was the Flame Hashira and had an overly enthusiastic and loud personality. These aspects of his character were what made fans fall in love with him so quickly. Despite being seen mostly during the Mugen Train Arc, Rengoku's death had a huge impact on anime fans all over. Many were in shock that he ended up dying, and wished he had survived his fight with Akaza.


6) Itachi Uchiha

Itachi as he appears in Naruto Shippuden (Image via Studio Pierrot)
Itachi as he appears in Naruto Shippuden (Image via Studio Pierrot)

Even after the epic power-ups in the finale of Naruto Shippuden, Itachi was still considered one of the strongest shinobi in the show. His masterful usage of Tsukuyomi and other Sharingan abilities made him a force to be reckoned with.

Itachi died during his last fight with Sasuke. While they were fighting, Itachi could be seen coughing up blood frequently due to his sickness. In the end, he died with a smile on his face after sealing a one-time usage of Amaterasu into Sasuke's Sharingan when they made eye contact.


7) Koro-sensei

Koro-sensei's death scene in Assassination Classroom (Image via Lerche)
Koro-sensei's death scene in Assassination Classroom (Image via Lerche)

The heartbreak from Koro-sensei's death affected not only the students of Class 3-E but many anime fans as well. Despite being tasked with killing him the entire show, the students could not help but let tears and sadness overcome them as their beloved teacher died.


8) Kaori Miyazono

Kaori as she appears in Your Lie in April (Image via A-1 Pictures)
Kaori as she appears in Your Lie in April (Image via A-1 Pictures)

Kaori seemed cheerful and healthy throughout the entirety of the show. She was the key to getting Kousei Arima to play the piano once again, and their performances together were the best moments of Arima's life. Because of this, Kaori's death came as a surprise to everyone. When her death occurred as Kousei was playing the piano by himself, fans were heartbroken at the loss.


9) Maes Hughes

Maes hugging his daughter Elicia Hughes (Image via Bones)
Maes hugging his daughter Elicia Hughes (Image via Bones)

Fans of Fullmetal Alchemist loved Maes Hughes. Even though his cheerful personality came off as annoying at times in the anime, one of his greatest traits was his love towards his family. He loved his wife and daughter so much, and when he died, everybody grieved.

Scenes such as at the funeral, when his daughter yelled that Maes still had a lot of work to do, only made the heartbreak the characters and anime fans experienced that much worse.


10) Isaac Netero

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Isaac Netero was revered as the most powerful human Nen user to have ever lived. In order to defeat Meruem and save humanity, he sacrificed his life. Everything leading up to his final moments; his fight with Netero and the activation of the Poor Man's Rose, were all amazing. In the final moments of his life, he made sure to show Meruem the true might of the human race and was the first — and last — person to make the Chimera Ant King feel true fear.


For comprehensive coverage of Narutoverse, check out SK Naruto Wiki

Edited by Sandeep Banerjee
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