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Harsher In Hindsight: Anime & Manga

Made Harsher in Hindsight by Real Life Events

  • Violence Jack: The world went to crap following a major natural disaster. Cool! Did we mention that the disaster took place on September 11, 197-? Oh...
  • Cowboy Bebop episode "Wild Horses" has an old old Space Shuttle being brought out for one last mission. The shuttle? Columbia. Cartoon Network actually pulled this one off the air for a while after the disaster.
    • Similarly, the episode "Cowboy Funk" was pulled off the air after the events of September 11th, due to the episode involving the bombing of tall buildings.
    • The Movie was released just a few days before 9/11 and didn't get a release in America until two years later due to its terrorism theme.
  • Other anime episodes not aired by networks for being too close in subject matter would include an episode of Pokémon in which a skyscraper is destroyed by a giant Tentacruel.
    • Similarly, the episode "Tower of Terror" was banned in North America for almost two years after September 11th, and the episode "A Scare in the Air" was renamed "Spirits in the Sky".
    • Ironically, that didn't stop the scene of Tentacruel smashing a tower from being in the show's opening for the rest of the Indigo League season.
    • The Team Rocket vs. Team Plasma two-parters were not only unaired but, as the story of Episode N can attest, completely written out of the plot because of the earthquake in Japan. The special contained such scenes as a Paul-lookalike Plasma Grunt and a Liepard blowing up a building, and James blowing up the city.
    • The plot of Pokemon3 became this, since it revolves around Professor Spencer Hale, voiced by Dan Green, disappearing and leaving his young daughter alone; since his wife had also disappeared. Dan Green's wife died giving birth to his twin sons late in 2011.
    • A Rescue Team during Episode N deals with evacuating a factory fire, which Team Rocket takes advantage of to steal Pokémon. This becomes much harder to watch after the bombing of the Boston Marathon and the explosion of a factory in Texas in April 2013.
    • The XY series was going to have an episode dealing with an underwater adventure with Skrelp and Dragalge, but ended up getting pulled and replaced with Ash's gym battle with Grant due to the sinking of a South Korean ferry prior to the first airing.
  • Two almost immediate examples from Transformers Armada:
    • The episode "Palace" begins with Demolishor buried in a desert, taking sniper shots at the Autobots as they struggle to find him. The episode aired during the time of the Beltway sniper attacks.
    • The later episode "Tactician" begins with a news report of a space shuttle nearly colliding with something in space, which somehow appeared to be an exact duplicate (it turns out to be Jetfire). Two days after the episode aired, the shuttle Columbia disintegrated.
  • Another one for the WTC September 11th attacks: with another 70s Combining Mecha show, Voltes V. Part of the first episode shows a series of stills showing the invading aliens' armada laying waste on the world's military forces and key cities, and among them was a certain pair of twin towers. What's more disturbing is that this image was flashed right after the montage of the Liberty getting blown up.
  • In Paprika, Detective Konakawa is tormented in his dreams by the cry of "what about the rest of it?" in regards to a film he started with a friend in school that was left incomplete after he walked away from the project and the friend dies. Satoshi Kon, director of Paprika, died in August 2010 with his next movie incomplete.
  • In the first episode of Future GPX Cyber Formula ZERO, Hayato and Randoll nearly got killed in the British Grand Prix when their cars collided, Hayato's car went off the track banking and crashed to the ground. Then came the Formula One San Marino Grand Prix a month later, in which 2 separate accidents resulted in the deaths of Roland Ratzenberger and 3-time champion Ayrton Senna.
  • In Macross Frontier: The False Songstress, Alto and Sheryl fall of a cliff with their Segways, but they managed to survive. Less than a year later, Jimi Heselden, the company owner of Segway died in an accident falling off a cliff... while riding his Segway.
  • The final stretch of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha The MOVIE 1st, which happened in the course of a single day, involved a duel over a devastated city submerged in sea water, a flashback that involved a disastrous power plant meltdown, and a climax where the protagonists had to stop a massive quake caused by the Big Bad. The movie was released in 2010. One year later, Japan was devastated by a 9.0 earthquake that was immediately followed by a tsunami, causing a radiation leak from a nuclear power plant that eventually grew into a level 7 nuclear accident.
  • In Digimon Tamers, Tokyo's City Hall was damaged by an explosion midway up its length caused by a digimon attack. The building is a twin tower, and the episode was aired on the 9th of September of 2001. The dub understandably edited the explosions when it aired in the USA in December of the same year.
  • Digimon Xros Wars: in episode 30, Taiki and Shoutmon have returned to Tokyo only to find that Tactimon is on the rampage, obliterating buildings and even destroying a bridge. The 2011 Tohoku earthquake struck just three days later.
  • In the series Air, Misuzu Kamio's body deteriorates in a way very similar to a cancer patient. Her Japanese voice actress, Tomoko Kawakami, died of ovarian cancer a few years later on June 9, 2011.
  • Viewers who feel uncomfortable with Kuze and Mizuki's May-December Romance in ef ~ a tale of melodies may even feel more uncomfortable when they learn that Kuze's English voice actor, Illich Guardiola, was arrested in May 2014 for having a relationship with a 16-year-old girl.
  • Yoshinobu Nishizaki, producer of the iconic anime television series Space Battleship Yamato passed away on November 7, 2010 after falling off his steamboat named Yamato.
  • Due to the rather... "special" nature of the mangas she wrote for Shogakukan, it was speculated that Mayu Shinjo may have been an abuse victim in her past, as a way to explain her penchant for melodrama, Sexual Harassment and Rape Tropes, etc. Guess what; She actually was. And at the hand of her Shogakukan editors, the same ones she wrote these "special" mangas for. And worse, she's not the only one.
    • Even worse, some sources are claiming that she hates smut (or at least grew to hate it) and never wanted to write it in the first place.
  • The fifth Detective Conan Non-Serial Movie Countdown to Heaven featured twin towers (that looked eerily enough like the real ones) being bombed. The movie was released in April 2001.
  • Grave of the Fireflies ends with the spirits of Seita and Setsuko looking out over the then-modern-day city of Kobe. A few years after the film was made, Kobe would be hit by Japan's worst earthquake in over 70 years. The quake killed over 6000 people and caused 10 trillion yen in damage.

Made Harsher in Hindsight by canon events

  • When Naruto first defeated Neji in the chuunin exam, he convinced him that he isn't bound by fate, just as Naruto is able to defeat him even though he is a failure, while Neji is born with a pedigree that makes him strong. Later we learn that Naruto's father was the Fourth Hokage and his mother came from a clan that was related to the first two Hokages, making his pedigree even better than Neji's, and meaning that if fate existed, it was fated for Neji to be defeated by Naruto. What makes this worse is that Naruto is The Chosen One of a prophecy, destined to either save the world or destroy it. No matter which way you spin it, Neji turned out to be right in the end.
    • Neji does, however, think to himself after learning the truth behind his father's death, that it's not always certain whether a person's actions can change their destiny, and regardless of what they do, the outcome might be the same. He undergoes Character Development, but with the caveat that he still seems to believe that there are some things that are impossible to change.
    • While it is true Naruto is eventually revealed to be a Messianic Archetype from a prophecy, thus leading Neji to be fatefully defeated, and also taking his stronger pedigree into account as well, it actually means nothing if you don't work for it either. This is the true point of Itachi's message to Naruto in 552.
    • Nagato/Pain's plan involved using the combined power of all nine Tailed Beasts within the Gedou Mazou statue, so that he can use a kinjutsu powerful enough to wipe out a nation, pressuring people to peace, for prolonged periods of time. Already it sounds disturbing, so that could possibly be worse than that? Well, in chapter 594, Tobi revealed that the Gedou Mazou is a vessel for the Ten-Tailed Beast! Meaning Nagato would have revived a demon whose chakra is so evil and foul it endangered the world by existing, planned to only use it as a weapon to use to wipe out a nation and leave it until war broke out again and one side got to it first, would have reintroduced the world to unspeakable horrors, all in the name of world peace. Nagato would have likely learned very harshly that Evil Is Not a Toy, since Kurama/Nine-Tails itself said the Ten-Tails formed entire continents and swallowed oceans. When Minato told Naruto that Nagato was probably an Unwitting Pawn to Tobi, he wasn't kidding.
      • By the way, he used to use that THING as a combat summon.
    • It seemed like a running gag, with Kakashi’s chronic lateness and horrible excuses combined with Naruto and Sakura’s shouts of “Liar!” Getting a lot of laughs out of us… but then we find out later that Kakashi’s real reason for being late is that he visits the memorial stone every day in honor of his dead best friend. He stays there for HOURS lost in thought, and even TALKS to it like he’s talking to Obito. Oh, and those lame excuses? They were Obito’s. Using them is in effect, Kakashi’s way of keeping Obito’s memory alive.
      • This becomes even more depressing when Kakashi finds out that Obito is still alive, and is evil, since Obito is the reason Kakashi is the person he is today… so in effect, everything in Kakashi’s life that he believed in has become a lie.
    • In Chapter 244, after Kakashi passes out while fighting the Rock ninjas, and having to leave Obito behind under a pile of rubble, two sentences come up, "Have I died?" and "Where am I?" The first happened on a black screen after Kakashi passed out. The second appears right after that on the next page on a star filled sky, we see Kakashi wake up, and assume he thought those words. In Chapter 601 (YEARS later in-story and in the real world) those words are repeated as Tobi flashes back to when he awoke half-dead, and missing his right half of his body, Madara having saved him.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Mustang tells Hughes that the soldiers who won't shut up about their girls back home always die. Surprise, he was right, just years later, in a death that involved both the girl he was talking about, and was shot to death, where directly after making this comment, Mustang makes a gun motion at him. It's worth noting that this is actually an inversion; the scene in question is presented as a flashback and is shown to the readers long after Hughes's death.
    • Shou Tucker's transmutation on Nina to make a talking chimera. One has the nasty feeling that someone out there did a better job. Guess what?
    • If one were to watch the 2003 anime version prior to reading the manga or watching Brotherhood, the scene where King Bradley (a.k.a. Pride) kills his son gets a sense of irony in the manga when the kid's revealed to be a homuculus himself, namely Pride.
  • In-universe example: In Hellsing, there's a scene during which Enrico Maxwell, the head of Iscariot, is being chewed out by Integra Hellsing for allowing her men to be killed by Alexander Anderson. He responds by saying, "Two men? If we killed two million of your worthless Protestant scum I would not have shed a single tear." It becomes a whole lot scarier in hindsight when that's exactly what he does. The killing people, not shedding tears.
    • Also Jan Valentine said that he planned to kill Integra and violate her corpse afterwards. Later, we find out that thugs did the same thing to Seras's mom.
  • Natsuki Takaya is the queen of this trope with Fruits Basket and Hoshi wa Utau. Yuki takes the cake with: "There was something I wanted, something I envisioned, loving parents, a happy home with everyone smiling at me. A home that no one would ever want to leave, a warm place, a warm person. It exists, I know it does." When we first meet him it's beginning to become true, but later in the manga, it becomes clear how he became SO desperate for it.
  • In Durarara!!, Celty describes Shizuo's level of strength to a reporter by saying, "You know how, no matter how good a martial artist is, you can just shoot him and it's all over? Shizuo's the gun." The pithy line seems to take on a much darker meaning in a later arc when Horada nearly kills Shizuo doing exactly that.
  • Way back around Volume 7 of Mahou Sensei Negima!, Negi reveals his past: how, when he was four, he tried several times to get himself into danger so his Disappeared Dad would show up and rescue him. One night, a horde of demons attacked his village, turning many people to stone and slaughtering the rest. With only Negi and his cousin Nekane alive, his dad Nagi did show up and fight off the demons. Ever since, Negi felt that the entire thing was his fault, and that it was some divine punishment for his earlier actions. Asuna calls him an idiot and says that it couldn't possibly been his fault; one four-year-old cannot inadvertantly catch the attention of a demon horde. And then, late in the Magic World Arc, we find out that the demon attack was specifically an assassination attempt on Negi's life, made by the Megalomesembrian Senate because Negi was the son of two of the Senate's most powerful enemies. So, in short, the massacre was Negi's fault; they came there and butchered everyone specifically to try to kill him.
  • In The Prince of Tennis, Ryoma oversleeps and arrives late to a match, and when asked he says "I was helping a pregnant woman to the hospital." Later in the story Oishi makes the same excuse, but he was actually telling the truth...and since he caught the soon-to-be-mom when she fell down a flight of stairs, he got a serious injury in his arm.
    • Many Monster of the Week Digimon in Digimon Savers were good Digimon in prior series. Some fans were horrified about old favorites getting creamed by the new heroes.
  • Broly, in the climax of Dragon Ball Z Movie 8, says to Goku after being powered up by his friends "No matter how much power you absorb from those idiots, it won't be enough to kill me!" Movie 10 reveals that Broly was actually quite correct about that statement (at least in regards to being killed by Goku's power increase, although just barely).
  • In Elfen Lied, Kouta's sister, Kanae, tries to tell him that Lucy kills people. This ends up in a rather depressing scene where Kouta yells-at and slaps his sister; his final words to her were "Apologize to her! If you don't I'll hate you!" Immediately after, Lucy brutally kills her right in front of him. The fact that those were his last words to his little sister, who was telling the truth the whole time and whose Famous Last Words were a plea for him not to hate her ("No, Kouta! Please don't say you hate me!"), is pretty damn harsh in hindsight.
  • In an early chapter of Gunslinger Girl, we get Henrietta making it clear that she would kill herself if Jose stopped caring about her. It's heart-warming at the time, in a weird way, but becomes much worse when Jose, knowing that Henrietta will never be able to feel anything towards him after she was restored to the factory settings, kills her (and himself).
  • In-universe example: In Rosario + Vampire, the Security Committee wanted Tsukune's blood just because he was human. In the second serialization, we find out why. Turns out their leader at the time was actually a mole for Fairy Tail and was even willing to put the entire Security Committee at risk by murdering Tsukune. This means that if Tsukune died and the Security Committee was eventually caught afterward, Fairy Tail would've won for sure.
  • In Code Geass's episode 19, Kallen claim that Euphemia is a useless puppet princess of Britannia who can't make any decisions of her own. Some episodes later, Euphie gets killed after being accidentally mind controlled by Lelouch (himself a rebellious member of the Britannian nobility) and stripped of her free will. ... Ooops?
  • In Bleach, Ishida once says: "Tell Aizen that a Quincy has come! For the one you truly have to fear is not a Shinigami but a Quincy!" Flashforward to several arcs later... where the final arc villains are the Vandenreich Quincies, who devastate both Hueco Mundo and Soul Society in truly merciless invasions.
    • Made doubly harsher when Ishida himself joins the Vandenereich as their "Prince of Light". Owwwwwww.
  • Science Ninja Team Gatchaman episode Farewell, Red Impulse. The title character gives up his life to save the world, including his son who just learned his father isn't dead as he believed for several years. It makes the episodes he appears in earlier in the series much more painful, especially the occasional rivalry between G-1 the son and Red Impulse.note 
  • While Bokurano is already quite harsh, there are still instances in which remarks become harsher once you look back on them. For example, when Ushiro accuses one of the pilots of getting cold feet, Misumi admonishes him, saying that "Everyone's scared." When you consider that she's his mother and is all but certain that her son is going to die, you can see that she's referring to herself and her comment has more weight.
  • A voice actor related "joke" here, but with Valvrave the Liberator Aina's death at the hands of Q4 was pretty much how Shu killed Inori
  • In One Piece news of Ace's death came shortly (as in within days) after Funimation released the first dub episodes of the Alabasta arc on their site. Said arc featured him as a Guest Star Party Member for a few episodes. It makes things unsettling...
    • Double whammy: Episode 437 also came out this week. Luffy's determination to reach Ace is to the point that he gets up even though poisoned, and beats his head against the bars of a cell to break out. Even considering the expression on Luffy's face, watching that scene was hard, when you consider that all his effort and sacrifices will ultimately be in vain.
    • Also, remember Bon Clay's Heroic Sacrifice and his facing down Magellan while Luffy and Co. got away? Yes? Remember Bon Clay's last words to Luffy? "YOU MAKE SURE YOU SAVE YOUR BROTHER!!!" ...Ouch.
    • Basically, to everyone who's read through the Marineford Arc, yeah... so how's watching any of the anime episodes holding up for you?
    • There's a villainous example with Arlong; his rants about fishmen superiority over humans ("Heaven gave us the power to separate us from you! So WE ARE DIFFERENT! Humans are lower than fishman from the day they're born!") takes on a horrifyingly twist when it's revealed that fishmen have been savagely persecuted by the World Nobles and he in all likelihood was once a slave. And then think about how the World Nobles see themselves as gods; Arlong's ranting comes off as deeply embittered counterarguments against that kind of thinking instead of standard Fantastic Racism.
    • Arlong killing Bellemere has another Tear Jerker layer to it. His former captain, Fisher Tiger, gave his crew the command to not harm humans, no matter what. Not only did Arlong rob Nami of her mother, he also broke his promise to his captain.
  • The intros and out-tros in Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei look like surreal nonsense. The manga's finale showed that these intros and outros might as well have been foreshadowing Kafuka being Dead All Along.
  • Pretty much everything Kanta did in Desert Punk can be considered this after his Face-Heel Turn
  • Grave of the Fireflies opens with the scene of a child dying and meeting his sister in the afterlife. It's a pretty heavy Tearjerker to begin with. It's somehow made even worse once you actually watch the movie and see what they both went through leading up to that moment.

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