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Anime’s 10 Greatest Pyrrhic Victories

Anime’s 10 Greatest Pyrrhic Victories

Anime is full of sweeping battles and intense battles. Fans all over the world love to rummage through their favorite heroes as they defeat the enemy and save the day. Unfortunately, not every victory is a complete success.

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When it comes to anime, there are times when the stakes are so great that it is almost impossible for characters to get away with a pure victory. Huge sacrifices often have to be made to earn the greater good. Whether it’s a compromise of morale or loss of life, there are some victories in anime that are too bittersweet.

10 Rengoku fights’ To The End (Demon Slayer)

IN Demon butcher, Tanjiro Kamado and his allies are desperately fighting to defeat the demon Enmu who has taken over a train of innocent passengers. Although they eventually defeated him, the demon Akaza was waiting for them when the train stopped. As Tanjiro’s injury prevents him from fighting, Flame Hashira Rengoku Kyojuro takes over.

Although Rengoku and Akaza fight tirelessly, Akaza gains an advantage by loosening his arms and leaving a gaping hole in Rengoku’s upper body. Akaza runs away and Rengoku succumbs to his injuries. Although Tanjiro and the other killers rescued the train passengers, they are unable to save their comrade – and ruin their victory over one of the twelve Kizuki.

When father is on the verge of defeat in Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, he strikes out and destroys Alphonse Elric’s armor that served as his body. This sends Alphonse’s soul into the void. However, Alphonse uses the opportunity to enter into an agreement with the Truth to give his brother Edward a real arm again, so that he can put an end to his father.

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The deal is successful and Dad perishes, but Alphonse remains trapped. To save him, Edward once again performs human transformation to enter the void. Edward meets Truth, and the two compromise: Alphone’s body for Edward’s alchemy. The truth accepts, and both boys are returned to their world. With Dad defeated, and the brothers all over again, people who recognize Edward’s talent for alchemy mourn the loss.

8 Light Yagami Betrayed by Ryuk (Death Note)

Since Light Yagami first discovered the titular tome in Obituary, the shinigami Ryuk has been by his side. Ryuk let Light do what he wanted with Death Note – and preferred to be entertained by Light’s calculated vigilant removal of criminals. Ryuk’s warning that one day he would write Light’s name in the book hung ominously over the series.

In the last episode, Ryuk kept his promise by writing Light’s name in Death Note and making him perish alone on a staircase. Although it was a victory in the sense that Kira was finally dead, the fact that so much human life had been lost due to Light’s delusions and Ryuk’s inactivity made Kira’s defeat a hollow victory.

7 Princess Yue returns a favor (Avatar: The Last Airbender)

When Aang and his friends finally reach the Northern Water Tribe Avatar: The Last Airbender, they are greeted with gracious hospitality – especially when it comes to the Northern Tribe Princess Yue. Yue’s gracefulness and attentive demeanor instantly charm both fans and characters (especially Sokka).

Unfortunately, fans learn that Yue’s white hair is the result of a blessing she received from the Moon Spirit. Therefore, when Admiral Zhao kills the Moon Spirit, Yue feels compelled to take its place. By sacrificing her life, she gives the water benders and Aang enough power to defeat the invading fire-fighting forces. Although the balance has been restored, and the tribe is safe again, it was at the great cost of Yue’s life.

6 Pyrrha Nikos Charges Ahead (RWBY)

As a member of Team JNPR in the show RWBY, Pyrrha Nikos is a formidable ally. Her extensive training and impressive talent make her one of the rising stars of the Beacon Academy. At least that’s the case until Cinder Fall gains the power of the Fall Maiden and begins to destroy the academy.

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Pyrrha meets Cinder alone, and realizes that she can do more to save her friends. While she holds herself for a while, Pyrrha is eventually beaten down by Cinder. Ruby Rose witnesses the monstrous action, which ignites her hidden powers. This ultimately helps her allies win the day. Despite the success, the weight of Pyrrha’s losses is great.

5 Pain Destroys A Village (Naruto Shippuden)

IN Naruto Shippuden, Akatsuki is a group of rogue ninjas on a mission to acquire all the Tailed Beast Spirits. This leads an Akatsuki – Pain – straight to Naruto Uzumaki who houses the nine-tailed fox. In his mission to capture Naruto, Pain attacks and destroys the entire Hidden Leaf Village.

The only thing left of the village is a giant crater, rubble and the Hokage rock. Although Naruto overcomes Pain and convinces him to give his life to revive the lost lives, the complete destruction Pain caused will take immense time to repair.

4 Battle of Trost leaves a wake of destruction (Attack on Titan)

With the Shinganshina attack still in the minds of the people, many members of the Paradise military are preparing for a new blockade in Attack on Titan. Despite this, no one seems ready when Colossal Titan reappears, kicking a hole in the wall of the Trost District. Numerous titans are pouring in and destroying both civilians and the military.

Even if the military eventually controls the situation – even by using Eren Yeager’s newfound Titan abilities to close the gap – victory is not happy. So much life was lost, and most of the 104th training corps was also taken by the Titans. Although humans succeeded in defeating the Titans, the amount of chaos in their wake was too dizzying to call it a victory.

3 All Might Defeat an Old Enemy (My Hero Academia)

IN My Hero Academia, All Might is known as the symbol of peace. His incredible heroism has cemented him as the best Pro Hero forever. But when an old enemy reappears, an aging All Might meets his elusive rival again.

The battle is intense, with All Might and All For One using their full potential to gain traction. By using all the power he has left (plus a little extra), All Might defeats All for One. Still, without the audience knowing, All Might’s time as a top hero has come to an end. All For One may be conquered for now, but All Might will never again face him – or anyone else – in battle.

2 Kamina bites teeth (Gurren Lagann)

When Kamina and Simon broke through the subsoil to reach the surface, neither of them had any idea about the battles they would face in Gurren Lagann. Despite this, the two young men form an excellent team – together Guren Lagann pilots and defeats many Beastmen. Disappointingly, their series does not last long.

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During a meeting with the spiral general Thymilph, Kamina is mortally wounded. Still, Kamina pushes through the pain, and combines with Simon to destroy Thymilph. Even though they are victorious, Kamina eventually succumbs to his injuries – and inflicts a terrible blow on the Dai Gurren team. They eventually move on to defeat the spiral king, but Kamina’s death is still felt throughout the series.

1 Korosensei is finally defeated (Assassination Classroom)

When the students in class 3-E enter Assassin Classroom first given the task of destroying their teacher, they make attempts on his life in earnest. Students try everything from poisoned pudding to putting themselves in danger. After each unsuccessful attempt, the class learns a lot about Korosensei and himself.

But when the military gets tired of waiting, they threaten to use a laser from space to destroy the beloved teacher. The students in class 3-E do not want their mentor to be taken out by strangers, and they band together to surround Korosensei as one of their own – Nagisa Shiota – gets the murder blow. Although they completed the mission, the students learned so much from their tentative teacher that his passing was a moment of sorrow.

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