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Anyone Can Die: Anime & Manga

  • No one is safe in Air Gear. Though they do come back sometimes.
  • Angel Beats!! may look like a series where nobody can die because they are...ya know, already dead, but it later revealed that the purpose of the place is to make the souls who had a troubled life come to terms with their lives and move on to next time, which more or less erases their existence in that plane completely and dying. So it's not that Anyone Can Die. Everyone WILL die.
  • Kaori Yuki in Angel Sanctuary kills of a lot of the cast. It does not matter if you are human, angel, demon or whatsoever. Though, being main-casty gives you a bit of a protection. (Of course, depending on what your definition of main cast happens to be.)
  • In the anime for Another, practically one person dies per episode after the first two exposition/introductory episodes, usually in a pretty brutal or gory fashion due to a curse in a certain classroom...
  • Surprisingly, Astro Boy uses this trope. People don't die that often, but nobody's too important to die. And we mean nobody.
  • Attack on Titan. Just....this series. The reason there are so many characters is because they die so often, usually in absolutely horrifying fashion. The series takes place in a universe in which humanity was pushed to the brink of extinction when a race of humanoid, man-eating giants known as Titans appeared. In order to survive, humanity surrounded itself with walls they couldn't scale, but that all changes when a titan big enough to kick the gates down appears. Now it's no longer a fight for expansion, but a true battle for survival. In a speech, a commander notes that survival rates for a soldier's first battle are around 50%. In another conversation, it's noted the same commander is considered a military genius because he reduced their average losses per mission to 30%.
  • Basilisk. Anyone can die... and by the end, everyone does die.
  • In Battle Angel Alita, aside from Alita (and even then...), there are absolutely no guarantees that anyone won't be offed later on in the series, AND you will generally have no clue as to when or who it'll be until it actually happens.
  • Black Butler enjoys delving into these antics frequently.
    • Nearly all of the Noah's Ark Circus' members, who were the centre of an entire arc, are killed in a myriad of ways.
    • Sebastian appears to be brutally murdered, though it turns out to just be an act.
      • In the the same arc, random guests at the Phantomhive manor are killed by a mysterious murderer.
  • During Blood+, several beloved major characters are killed off for good, one of them in a particularly horrible manner. However, those major characters turned out to be faking and in the last episode EVERYBODY except Saya, Yuka and the Big Bad.
  • Blood-C is even worse in the 6th episode: two major characters (as well as a truckload of random bystanders) are killed brutally, and in the 8th and 9th episode Saya's class (except for the Class Representative) are all killed viciously.
  • Blue Gender has a similarly poor track record. Aside from a few extras introduced the episode before the end, only two named characters make it through the series alive.
    • It was made clear fairly early on this would be the case. The first episode introduces 8 named characters. By the end of the second episode, four of them are dead, three within less than a minute of each other.
  • Bokurano, made clear when it kills off the Decoy Protagonist in episode two, and then outright writing it in stone that not only can anyone die, but just about everyone ''will'' die.
  • Book of Bantorra does this religiously. Nearly every new character introduced will be shot, stabbed, blown up, eaten, or lit on fire by the end of the arc. The creators, just to stick it to the audience, have no problem killing off main characters, either. One of the most memorable deaths being Volken, who's murdered after finding out everything he fought for was a lie.
  • Le Chevalier Deon uses this trope ruthlessly. At the end of the series, there is only ONE main character left alive, out of a cast of perhaps 10 major players.
  • Chrono Crusade did this to almost the entire main cast.
  • Claymore is noted for this trope, in that nobody except perhaps Clare and Raki are truly safe, and even that is stretched to its limit several times. The Northern Campaign had about a half-dozen notable Claymores killed unceremoniously. And Theresa of the Faint Smile certainly feels like a protagonist once you see her backstory - the segment which delves into her and Clare's backstory together makes her feel like The Hero of the story, and had it been told from the very beginning it would have made her being a rather effective Decoy Protagonist.
  • Code Geass mostly plays this straight during its first season. Examples include: Clovis, the first notable antagonist whose early exit surprised many fans. Mao, Psychopathic Manchild and Geass user who somehow survived his initial stint as arc villain only to finally die an episode later. Euphemia, the Rebellious Princess who became increasingly important to the plot as time went on. But the second series tends to subvert the trope more often than not, something that displeased many viewers. Nevertheless, Shirley (the Naïve Everygirl love interest with her own long-running subplot dating back to the first season), Rolo (the Tyke Bomb manipulated into becoming Lelouch's newest subordinate at the beginning of R2), Charles Zi Brittania (Lelouch's father, the Big Bad and main target of his revenge) and, ultimately,even the protagonist himself, were killed off.
  • Darker Than Black uses this trope heavily during the last episodes. The last couple of arcs see recurring antagonists November 11 and Wei, November's boss, The Handler Huang, most of Evening Primrose, and Magnificent Bastard/Chessmaster/Deliberately Cute Child Amber killed off, and Mao gets reverted to a normal cat. (Though Mao got better in the sequel and at least one EPR member, Amigiri, is shown to have made it out alive.) And so many people tend to die in the course of an arc that focuses on them that it's often both a surprise and a relief when someone makes it out okay.
  • Deadman Wonderland also has a somewhat high body count, though due to the anime only covering part of the story and removing some characters, it doesn't seem to be as jarring as the manga. In the 12 episodes of the anime, two major characters get killed off suddenly Nagi and Hibana, along with numerous members of Scar Chain and various one-shot characters. In the manga, more die in addition to the previous two; Azami, En and Chan and Tamaki. Some other characters get crippled or lose limbs, but in a metaphorical sense another character dies when her evil Split Personality fully takes over her, turning Shiro from a Nice Girl who sometimes becomes evil briefly, into a monstrous sociopath seemingly permanently... unless Ganta uses his power and a machine called the Mother Goose System to reverse this, though the process would ''kill him instead'.
    • Everyone seemed (relatively) safe for a little bit, after Deadman Wonderland actually closed down...but of course, the protagonists (and others) returned due to powerful and dangerous things (or people, in the case of the Wretched Egg and Hagire) left over in Deadman Wonderland. The Japan Self Defense Force went in to find out how to give people Bloody Murder powers like the Deadmen...and got slaughtered by Hagire. Then the protagonists teamed up to kill Hagire, though Hagire killed Yosuga before he went down for good.
  • Death Note lives up to its name. No character's survival is guaranteed. The body count of minor and major characters alike grows so high as the series progresses that there's suspense not in wondering who will die, but who won't.
  • Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z live and breathe this trope since, thanks to the Dragon Balls, the afterlife of this series has a revolving door. Seriously, by the time the series is over, the only non-one-shot character who hasn't been killed, or at the very least sent to death's door and healed just in timenote , is Hercule Satan, the Fake Ultimate Hero who, through this and a few other things, proves to be a Badass Normal.
    • Technically, there's also King Yemma and his ogres, but how alive they are is up for debate.
    • In Dragon Ball GT, Pan, Goku and Hercule's granddaughter, is the only character never to get killed.
  • Elfen Lied tends to kill off its minor characters, and is good at convincing the audience that it will kill all the main ones eventually. And invisible razor arms mean they won't see it coming.
    • To wit: A minor female character who is very quickly established to be a Plucky Comic Relief Dojikko and thus a potential Ensemble Dark Horse in an otherwise serious show is killed off before the end of the first half of the first episode. This show does not fuck around.
  • In Fafner In The Azure, the only character you can really be convinced has Plot Armor is Kazuki, the protagonist. Well over half the main characters die or are assimilated over the course of the series, either in HeroicSacrifices or just completely at random. By the end, when the four remaining pilots are told that any deaths disrupts the entire plan, it comes as a surprise that none of them do. It's taken to an extreme in the Right of Left OVA, where EVERYONE on the split island dies almost as soon as they found out that there was a way for them to escape.
  • Fate/Zero is full of characters dying. At the beginning of the story there are fourteen main characters (seven Masters and seven Servants) all in a war to get the Holy Grail and get any wish they want. There are also many supporting characters helping them. By the end, almost everyone has died with the exception of a handful of characters. The only characters who survive the war survive due to being in Fate/stay night, and even then, many of the survivors end up dead in the various routes of Fate/stay night. Even the main hero, Kiritsugu Emiya, dies in the final scene.
  • A lot of heroes, civilians, and bad guys die in Fist of the North Star. Any civilian Ken meets is likely to be killed in some horrid fashion.
  • From the New World follows this. By the end, only 2 out of 5 (6 if you count Reiko) of the main characters are still alive, and most of their townsfolk are gone.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood actually subverts this. While the death of Maes Hughes established this trope, a majority of the minor and major characters were safe from death after his funeral. It wasn't until the last handful of episodes where the characters were really in danger.
    • Once you think about it, Maes Hughes is really one of the only good guys who dies in the entire series. Others include Captain Buccaneer and Fu. Greed could also count since he's not really a villain, but rather an Anti-Hero. And lets not forget the little girl Ed and Al could not save way at the beginning of the series.
    • Fullmetal Alchemist on the other hand plays this trope straight, with over 30 important or semi-important deaths between the series and The Movie.
  • For a romantic comedy, Fushigi Yuugi has a shocking number of deaths: All of the Seiryuu Seven save Amiboshi, all of the Suzaku Seven save Tasuki and Chichiri, Tamahome's father and siblings, and the Emperor of Kutou.
  • Gall Force All the OVAs and movies start with 12 or so main characters that get whittled down one by one until only a handful, if even that, are left. Only the the New Era OVA averts this with almost everyone surviving, and that's because its story never got finished.
  • Gantz. See Death Note above, except change "who won't die" with "who won't be utterly ripped to pieces, smashed to bits, squashed like a bug, eaten, blown apart, stabbed, disintegrated, melted, etc." And those are the nice ways to die.
    • Gantz is an interesting example in the sense that people can actually be resurrected (or even cloned), so when this is first revealed it seems like a case of Death Is Cheap, but it doesn't take long for you to figure out that not only is not that easy, but the process to resurrect someone requires the person to survive through sadistic games (in which the people they're trying to resurrect died at).
      • Gant Z has been especially good in killing-off characters no matter how important or popular they might be. This goes to the point that the one protagonist to survive gets killed-off for good. However, some believe the series has gone downhill since it stopped doing this.
  • Ga-Rei Zero- kills off every single introduced character at the end of the first episode and the newly introduced character with the most focus at the end of the second one.
    • Given that in Ga-Rei manga bodycount of "in the know" just for first Yomi incident was stated over 70 and there is no new chief with her secretary, no case-fu user and only one of twins in the manga - many. Also manga continues the anyone can die tradition... or starts it, because it was first.
  • According to the Meteor Gin information book, Yoshihiro Takahashi had thought about killing "all the important characters" in Ginga Nagareboshi Gin, but was not allowed to do so. Despite this, quite a few of the series's main characters have kicked the bucket one way or another during it or its two sequels.
  • Gunslinger Girl. Casualities include Angelica and Beatrice. By the last chapter both the main character and her handler is dead, with three others in the maybe dead category.
  • Higurashi no Naku Koro ni combines this trope with a "Groundhog Day" Loop, allowing it to kill off its main cast repeatedly.
  • Hunterx Hunter plays with this trope quite a bit throughout its run. Early on, several characters make appearances merely to be killed off only seconds later, although any character who is portrayed in a sympathetic matter is safe for the most part. Then the Chimera Ant arc rolls around, and key characters who've been around since the beginning of the series start dropping like flies. Suddenly nobody is safe, and the deaths go from being fairly mild to being brutal displays of violence and gore.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, being eight arcs long, has this in spades. It gets worse because they are the heroes, and not even main characters are immune. In arc order it has...
    • Part 1: Zeppeli, Dire, Jonathan.
    • Part 2: Caesar, Straights (he counts even though he went evil), Stroheim (twice).
      • Though the second time is during WWII, after Part 2 is over.
    • Part 3: Kakyoin, Abdul, Iggy.
      • In particular Abdul dies twice. The first is earlier in the series when succumbing to an enemy attack, later retconned to make it seem like he had been mortally injured and recovering off-stage, later joining the others when it was called for.
    • Part 4: Aya, Shigekyo, Keicho (again, even though he was evil, he counts).
    • Part 5: Abbacchio, Narancia, Buccirati, Polnareff (he gets better...almost).
    • Part 6: Jolyne, Jotaro, Hermes, Weather Report, FF, Annasui - basically every hero but one.
    • Part 7: Mountain Tim, Wekapipo, Hot Pants, Gyro.
    • Part 8: Johnny.
  • Kamui Den: A large majority of named characters introduced in the first series don't live to see the end of it.
  • Kurokami. The anime that brutally kills a elementary school girl and a best friend in the first episode. This continues to the point where you are uncertain whether the main character will survive all 26 episodes. Have fun!
  • Legend of Galactic Heroes plays this trope nearly to the extreme. This story does not know the concept of plot-armor, and not even the main characters are safe and in fact both protagonists die. And not only do people die, if you thought that glorious heroes will also get to have glorious deaths, think again... They even use this to pull a fast one on the viewers: During a particularly brutal battle that has already seen the deaths of two Admirals, the narrator suddenly mentions a report of the death of a major character, just as it shows his ship getting hit. There is just enough time to get the initial reactions of his friends before said character sends a message that he's okay.
  • Lost Universe series ends very unexpectedly. All except the comic relief characters die in the last minute. Considering that the entire series was slapstick comedy like Slayers, this tragic ending is quite shocking. Considering that now there are no more people capable of fighting the remaining evil Lost Ships, that probably means Evil won after all.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam and, perhaps to a greater extent, some of its sequels or spinoffs use this with regularity. There's a reason Yoshiyuki Tomino got his nickname "Kill 'em All," you know.
    • Gundam SEED is actually the current holder of the most cast deaths, main and supporting, in the entire franchise, beating out even the notorious Victory Gundam. Given that this was the first Gundam series to be broadcast in high definition, some of the deaths are particularly brutal thanks to new graphics capabilities.
  • Monster. Got a favorite character you like? Have they, at any point, so much as made eye contact with Johan? Big mistake.
  • Naru Taru. With emphasis on anyone: and for good reason. Shiina herself was a casualty before she got better.
  • Naruto has been zig-zags with this. The Third Hokage, Asuma, most if the Akatsuki, Jiraiya, and at one point, about half of Konoha (but they ended up getting revived via Deus ex Machina). However, the Fourth Shinobi World War downplays this. At its climax people start dying vs the Big Bad. Tsunade is almost guaranteed to die, Shikaku and Inoichi are dead, and most recently, Kishi killed off Neji, who died protecting both Hinata and Naruto.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion towards about the last third of the series, while the movie shifts into Kill 'em All territory.
  • Now and Then, Here and There definitely falls under this trope.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica has one of the original magical girls die two and a half episodes in. Brutally. And for this deconstruction of a Magical Girl series, it only gets worse from there. There is only one Magical Girl who hasn't died at any point in the show, and for good reason. She's the one responsible for creating all the timelines, after all!
  • This trope is made to occur in the first two cycles of Robotech: given the series’ status as a cut-and-paste translation, characters from one cycle couldn’t appear in others, which necessitated regular deck-clearing exercises to explain the disappearances. For example, by the time its first cycle, The Macross Saga, had ended, fully half of its cast had died, including several characters that had in fact survived the series it had been based on. What’s more, part of the backstory for the series’ third and final cycle (The New Generation) involves the revelation that the Army of the Southern Cross—which included the great majority of the characters from the series’ second cycle (The Robotech Masters)—had been decimated by the Invid army that had taken over the Earth. While the statement is intentionally vague, and supplementary materials have established that several of the its characters did survive, current canon has only confirmed the survival of two of the cycle’s characters. Only the New Generation characters, by virtue of being last, manage to keep a survival rate higher than 50%.
  • Sailor Moon does this over and over again with pretty much every one of the senshi, as well as Tuxedo Kamen and the guardian cats.
  • Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas, a series well known for having minimal Plot Armor.
    • Which is a Foregone Conclusion, since the original series establishes that only two saints survived that war.
  • Shiki, although it sort of figures in a show that is about a zombie-like invasion on a small village. While the manga is still on-going, the anime ended with nearly everyone from the main cast dead.
  • Soukou No Strain starts off as any shojo series would, except in space with mecha. However, by the time it reveals its true seinen colours after episode one, all but two characters are dead; important members of the new cast die every fourth episode after that.
  • Starship Operators kills off a main character almost every episode; even the main character's reciprocated love interest isn't safe.
  • Tail Star: In the first and second chapters we meet the inhabitants of Ageha village and the "tail-hunters" who are trained to fight evil knights who basically have spiky dragon tail clubs attached to their heads. In chapter three all the tail-hunters and most of the villagers are killed by one of these guys.
  • Kamina dies early on in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, along with most of the rest of the cast in the second half.
    • By Lagann-hen however, nearly all of them survive until the end, save for Kamina, Kittan, Lordgenome, and Nia, among others...
  • In Tetragrammaton Labyrinth none of the side characters are safe and even the main cast starts dwindling towards the last part of the manga.
  • Toward the Terra spans decades and light-years with its plot, and the entire way is littered with bodies. Only two major characters make it out alive.
  • True to its predecessor, Umineko no Naku Koro ni also embodies this. The first half a dozen deaths each arc are particularly brutal.
  • In Vinland Saga, only Thorfinn is left in the story out of all the characters from the opening chapters. It's safe to say that any character that doesn't have a historical basis, and even some that do, will meet a grisly end.
  • Weiß Kreuz makes its position clear with the opening scene of its first episode, in which a boyfriend and girlfriend spend several minutes making affectionate farewells - and then a van comes flying off an overpass onto the boyfriend. Although the four original main characters never suffer more than Disney Deaths, any other character is fair game, whether it's a one-shot potential love interest, a supporting character who's been around for the whole series, or both of the new lead characters introduced for the Oddly Named Sequel Weiß Kreuz: Gluhen.
  • In Wolf's Rain, everyone dies in the last few episodes.
    • Wolf's Rain basically sets the stage for this in the first episode when a kid whom is implied to a major character gets killed off at the end of the episode. After that, you get the sense that anybody could fair game despite most of the real cast deaths only occur towards the end of the series.
  • In Marvel Anime: Wolverine, every'' named character except Wolverine and Kikyo gets it.... and in the last scene of the series, those two are squaring off in a Duel to the Death.
  • X1999 While the movie just kills 'em all, the anime and manga both have this. Half the cast is lost via anime, and while the manga is unfinished...well, it is a show about the Apocalypse. When we say anyone in this fandom, we mean ANYONE.

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