Anime is an emotionally charged and stylistically exaggerated form of storytelling. Because of this, character deaths are almost always their respective anime’s most devastating and saddest moments. However, some character deaths were so anticlimactic that they left the audience stunned or feeling empty for the wrong reasons.
These deaths weren’t anticlimactic just because they were so sudden, or because they seemingly came out of nowhere. These deaths were their anime’s anticlimax because they contradicted everything that had previously been built up, or they were too common in context. A few deaths felt intentionally hollow, but most were just disappointing.
10/10 Sternriders R, Q and Y were cannon fodder for Zaraki Kenpachi
Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War
Sternritter was Bleach’s most powerful villains. Thanks to their Bankai-stealing abilities and their Schrift’s unique powers, a Sternritter single-handedly killed many Shinigami and fought Captains to a standstill. Meanwhile, Kenpachi killed three Sternriders in a flashback that only lasted a few seconds.
Kenpachi immediately cut Jerome in half for being too loud and he slit Berenice’s throat for not caring about their questions. Kenpachi’s fight against Loyd was the longest just because Loyd changed form into Kenpachi. As anticlimactic as these fights were, they established just how monstrous Kenpachi was.
9/10 Each villain’s death was a deliberate anticlimax
One Punch Man
As the world’s strongest hero, Saitama had the ability to kill even the strongest enemies with just one blow. However, Saitama’s immense power was anything but cool or satisfying. Due to the absence of any real challenge or conflict, Saitama’s life was a dull one. For him, world finals were just chores.
Each match ended in an anticlimax. This was done for comic effect most of the time, especially since One Punch Mangot a lot of mileage out of Saitama’s disappointment. However, some of Saitama’s boring victories, such as the fight against the Deep Sea King, showed the high price he paid to become the world’s strongest hero.
8/10 Everyone except Rena Ryugu died off-screen
Higurashi When They Cry: Kai
Part of the horror Higurashi when they cry then the countless terrifying ways the characters died. All ominous Higurashi the arc ended with nearly every named character dying horribly, but Quay was the strange season out. IN Kai’s first episode, everyone in Hinamizawa village (except Rena) died off-screen.
As for outsiders, a gas leak killed all the villagers in 1983. Rena was the only survivor only because she was stuck in the police station at the time. What made this more anticlimactic and shocking was that in the previous season, everyone survived. Their reward was to die off-screen in the moment Quay began.
7/10 Rudol Von Stroheim was killed in offscreen action
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Battle Tendency
Rudol von Stroheim was the dark horse of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Battle Tendency, but he suffered a surprisingly anticlimactic death. Worse was that Storheim died every now and then Fighting tendency and Stardust Crusaderpp. Storheim’s death in Stalingrad, Russia was only mentioned by the narrator during the former’s epilogue.
Given his popularity among fans and his importance to Joseph Joestar’s adventures, Stroheim’s unseen death felt anticlimactic. Fans still wish Stroheim would at least die on screen like Muhammad Avdol did Stardust Crusaders. For what it’s worth, the epilogue stated that Stroheim died honorably in battle.
6/10 Ymir’s death was just mentioned in passing
Attack on Titan
Ymir was one of Attack on Titans most surprising breakout characters. After spending most of the early episodes in the background, Ymir was revealed to be a Titan Shifter. Also, Ymir became Historia Reiss’ love interest. Despite this development, Ymir died unceremoniously between the third and fourth seasons.
When Reiner Braunn brought her to Marley, Ymir allowed herself to be devoured by Porco Galliard. While this could be interpreted as Ymir finally accepting her death, it was still a disgruntled way for an exhausted character to die. It didn’t help matters that her death was just a quick flashback in Porco and Reiner’s conversation.
5/10 Ryoko Asakura was erased from reality
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
One of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya The biggest and most unforgettable twist was Ryouko Asakura’s murderous side. Ryoko tried to murder Kyon because she wanted to see Haruhi’s predictably extreme reactions to his death. After an epic battle against Yuki Nagato, Ryoko was basically erased from reality.
Specifically, Yuki anticipated Ryoko’s attack and set up a trap that only took a few minutes to take effect. While this was a smart counterattack on Yuki’s part, it was a futile way to end one of the anime’s best fights. Ryoko got her shining moment when she successfully stabbed Kyon in the final movie.
4/10 Shige Shige Tokugawa was killed by a poison needle
For most people Gintama, the shogun Shige Shige was a walking punchline. Shige Shige was subjected to endless humiliations, but he was always good at the end. This changed in the “Shogun Assassination Arc”. After surviving countless assassination attempts, Shige Shige was stabbed by a poison needle and died quietly.
Shige Shige was Japan’s ruler, and he was a close friend of Odd Jobbers. Because of this, fans assumed that Shige Shige’s death would be appropriately dramatic. Instead, Shige Shige’s death was the anticlimactic conclusion of an action-packed arc. This surprisingly quiet death was Gintama’s dark point of no return.
3/10 Light Yagami died of a heart attack
Through death note, Lys avoided justice by hiding in the shadows, outsmarting all his enemies and executing those he deemed unjust. Light was eventually cornered by the end of the anime. Instead of being killed by his vengeful victims or being brought to justice for his global massacre, Light suffered a heart attack.
Although Light escaped his captors, Ryuk wrote his name down on the death notice because he grew tired of Light. Seconds later, Light suffered a fatal heart attack in a dingy warehouse. Light was one of the most selfish and reprehensible villains of all time, and his boring death was ironically well deserved.
2/10 Nanbu passed away between seasons
Nomad: Megalo Box
Nanbu was one of the most important members of Team Nowhere. Besides training Joe in battle fitness, Nanbu was Team Nowhere’s leader and heart. Because of Megalo Box’s over-the-top style, it seemed likely that Nanbu died in a suitably bad way. Instead, Nanbu passed away of natural causes.
In between Big box and Nomad, Nanbu received a terminal diagnosis and had less than a year to live. After all the boxing adventures and victories Nanbu and Team Nowhere enjoyed, dying in a hospital was an unpleasant way to end his story. However, Nanbu didn’t care about this, as he felt fulfilled with his life.
1/10 Kuina fell down some stairs
IN One Piece, even lesser characters get the chance to die honorably in battle or on the high seas. Roronoa Zoro’s childhood friend, Kuina, was the oddly mundane exception. Not even a full day after Kuina and Zoro vowed to become the world’s strongest swordsmen, Kuina fell down the stairs of her home and died.
Usually, an anime character’s childhood friend would die in a dramatic way that fit the stylized reality of the story. Meanwhile, Kuina died in such an anticlimactic way in a world populated by super powered pirates. The normalcy of Kuina’s death only made it even more tragic and painful for Zoro and the viewers.
NEXT: Every major death in one piece (in chronological order)