Killing off a character's closest friend
can have serious consequences.
At this point a hero may become much more serious at his work. For a character who already rides the fence between good and evil, this can be enough to totally push them over the edge. And both will sometimes find a way to blame themselves for it. Optional routes are a nervous breakdown
, and/or a brief retirement
. It's likely the hero will take an I Work Alone
attitude, at least for a while. In anime
this also can occur with the death of partner mons
Genre Savvy Sidekicks
will often notice they're Friendly Targets
See also Dead Partner
As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.
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Anime & Manga
- Dragon Ball Z: After Freeza (who was assumed dead) emerges out of the ocean, he wastes no time killing Goku's best friend, Krillin. Goku goes over the edge and turns into a Super Saiyan, then kicks the crap out of Freeza. Piccolo Daimaou made roughly the same mistake nine (in series) years earlier in Dragon Ball, and Super 17 would make it again 34 years later in Dragon Ball GT, with roughly the same results.
- Takeru's Angemon in Digimon Adventure died (and came Back from the Dead) when Takeru was a small child; the resulting trauma led him to become a warrior for justice, and about the only one in Digimon Adventure 02 that argued for killing the bad guys instead of just locking them up. This wouldn't be the only time a partner was killed — Wormmon, Leomon, and Masaru's Agumon are the other offenders. However, Leomon didn't come back.
- Leomon's death, in particular, was taken exceedingly well.
- Basically, in every series, one of the partners will die. Leomon comes from a Darker and Edgier series where Digimon don't just revert to egg form but properly die. Also, a Leomon will die. Interestingly, in Digimon Frontier, the kids become Digimon, and one Digimon's highest level is JagerLowemon, also known as KaiserLeomon. Yes, he dies. But he gets better.
- Not quite a sidekick, because she was rejected as such by Mai, but whenever Sayuri in Kanon was hurt by the demons (which was usually pretty badly, and she would have died were it not for Mai's healing), Mai went almost crazy in her attacks on them.
- Played with in YuYu Hakusho during the Dark Tournament Arc: Yusuke lies on the arena floor beaten by Toguro, who provokes Yusuke to go on fighting by attacking and killing Yusuke's best friend Kuwabara. Not only does Yusuke find the strength to stand up again, he also proceeds to thoroughly kick Toguro's butt. After the battle is over, however, Kuwabara reveals that he's Not Quite Dead. Toguro missed his vitals, but Kuwabara played dead, knowing that his "death" would give Yusuke the determination needed to defeat Toguro. Of course Kuwabara almost suffered death AGAIN when Yusuke realized he'd been fooled, and only the collapse of the arena snapped him out of the semi-murderous rage.
- Yusuke returned the favor by letting Sensui kill him to awaken Kuwabara's greatest powers. But don't worry, he comes back from the dead as an even more bad ass character.
- Mercilessly subverted in Episode Five of Mnemosyne. Mimi's stronghold is attacked by a cyborg Laura and a squad of Angels. Mimi herself is kidnapped and Rin rushes to the top of the temple to save her, expecting the worst. However, instead of killing Mimi first, Apos cuts to the chase and just kills Rin instead.
- Played with in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. The hero Kamina is killed, only his sidekick was actually the real hero and Kamina enabled him. Suffice it to say an angst-fueled breakdown ensued.
- This happens to Batman quite a lot. The death of Jason Todd, the second Robin, had a long-lasting impact on both Batman and the role of Robin, to the extent that Batman considers Jason's death the greatest mistake he'd wish to fix. The third Robin describes his entire career as being spent under Jason's shadow, and other characters define Jason's death as the turning point after which Batman became Darker and Edgier.
- A Bat Family Crossover directly before Jason Todd's proper return ended with the death of Stephanie Brown, briefly Robin. The Crisis Crossover at the end of that same story was originally planned to kill Nightwing. One suspects the editors have a dead Robin quota.
- Dead Robin quota confirmed. The fifth Robin, Damian Wayne, was killed in a 2013 story. For those of you keeping score at home, that's three-fifths of Batman's sidekicks — Jason, Stephanie, and Damian — who have died. That's a 60% casualty rate. If you account for the fact that DC pretends Steph no longer exists, it's 50%. If you account for the fact that Steph no longer exists and Tim Drake was never Robin, it rounds off to a 70% casualty rate. Damian stands an equal chance of being resurrected eventually, considering that his grandfather is functionally immortal and Jason & Steph's deaths were both reversed. Whether this is lazy parenting or lazy writing is an exercise left for the reader.
- Captain America had long felt guilty about his sidekick Bucky Barnes's death, occasionally falling into angsty despair over it. This was used against him by various villains from time to time. It used to be the major flaw of Modern Cap in his earliest days until Stan Lee and Jim Steranko recognized how old it was and had Rick Jones tell Cap to "Quit Your Whining" and get over it. Bucky, however, isn't quite dead...
- Played with in Earth X and sequels: most of Captain America's sidekicks (not just Bucky Barnes) have died. In Earth X, "Daredevil", whose ability to regenerate damage prevents him from dying, teams up with Cap in the hopes of being killed. It doesn't work, but Daredevil eventually gets his wish. In Universe X, Cap becomes the sidekick of the reincarnated Captain Mar-Vell, and promptly gets killed mid-series.
- In a rare occasion of the sidekick being killed by the hero, in Irredeemable The Plutonian lobotomized his sidekick Samsara after his Face-Heel Turn. This was presumably done to keep him from telling people the secret to his powers.
- Batwoman has Batman warn the title character of this happening, and that the sidekick in question may come back from the dead. This inspires Kate to try to get rid of Bette/Flamebird before anything can happen, and when she strikes out on her own she gets maimed, though not killed, and it weighs heavy on Kate.
- In the early 90s, The Hulk had a sidekick named Jim Wilson, a homeless kid with HIV. Eventually he died of AIDS in a Very Special Episode.
- In the film version of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, the whole reason Tom Sawyer joined the League was because the Fantom had murdered Huck Finn. Note that this is not included in the actual film; it's revealed in a deleted scene shown only on the DVD.
- Boltie in Super.
- Constantine. The title character has three of his sidekicks die on him during the movie: Hennessy, Beeman and Chas Kramer. Chas finally gets a taste of the action and helps subdue Mammon only to be killed by Gabriel midway through his bad ass favorite phrase.
- Jimmy Hart for Richard Chance from To Live and Die in L.A..
- Appears to be inverted in Pacific Rim where Hot-Blooded Raleigh seemed to be the sidekick to his more down-to-earth brother who was killed in the battle against Knifehead.
- In the Psychological Thriller In the Line of Fire, Secret Service agent Frank Horrigan wants to stop Leary from killing the President even more after Leary shoots his partner Al, shortly after Frank convinced Al not to quit the service. Additionally, a minute before Leary shoots Al, Frank has a chance to kill Leary at the cost of his own life but fails to do so.
- After Achilles retires to his tent due to a quarrel with Agamemnon, his sidekick Patroclus dons his armor and rallies the hard-pressed Achaeans, only to be killed by Hector. Achilles hears about this and snaps, going on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
- In The Hunger Games Katniss's ally, Rue, is killed. This is the first thing that really helps set Katniss off against the Capitol, as she sees Rue's death as their fault because they're the ones who made the Hunger Games in the first place.
- Horatio Hornblower loses several protégés over the course of his career. There's Wellard from Lieutenant Hornblower, Longley in Ship of the Line, Mound in The Commodore, and finally Bush in Lord Hornblower. All but Bush are extremely promising young officers who die as a consequence of war being random, cruel, and unfair.
Live Action TV
- The Future Badass version of Hiro in Heroes went from idealist to Zen Survivor due to the death of Ando.
- On Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Herc's li'l buddy Iolaus is possessed by an evil god and killed. And replaced by his Mirror Universe comic relief doppelganger (never mind the previously-established rules that said if you die, your Mirror Universe counterpart also dies). And eventually brought back in time for the finale.
- Happens to the Doctor from Doctor Who on occasion, to the point where Wikipedia has taken note.
- The Doctor's companions very rarely die, though. They may leave voluntarily, be returned home and/or mind-wiped or be stranded in a parallel universe, but the vast majority survive their travels. The only long-term companion to die while traveling with the Doctor is Adric, and it's clear the Doctor feels somewhat responsible for his death. Indeed, the Fifth Doctor's last thought as he regenerates is "Adric?"
- There's some ambiguity as to what counts as a companion, though. A lot of characters ride with the Doctor and company for one adventure in a companion-y role and just as it looks like they're about to sign on, they get Exterminated or something. If you have to actually be an ongoing member of the gang, then in the history of ever, one companion has died. Alas, poor Adric. If the Astrids of the world count, then companions die a lot. Either way, their deaths do cause the Doctor pain.
- Older Than Dirt: In The Epic of Gilgamesh, the story turns from being a story about the shenanigans of two super-powerful best buddies to a tragic tale of the futile quest for immortality on the death of Gilgamesh's Enkidu.
- Hawk's death at the hands of the Big Bad in Soldier of Fortune.
- The World Ends with You Rhyme to Beat. Of course Beat, Shiki, and Joshua themselves count as dead sidekicks.
- Fairly common in RPGs is to have a cast member who's important, but not too important to the main character or plot die to heighten the tension.
- Final Fantasy has Galuf in V, Aerith in VII, possibly Shadow in VI.
- Mass Effect can have Wrex on Virmire if your Charm or Intimidate aren't high enough. Also, you have to choose whether to save Kaidan or Ashley die there. The person you don't pick dies and you and the remaining character will grieve for them.
- Toyed with in, of all things, Pokémon Black and White. The loss of one of his Pokémon to disease was the big reason Alder left the Unova League to its Elite Four to wander in mourning. He manages to come around as a result of Team Plasma's heightened activity, especially when N gets ahold of Reshiram or Zekrom. If Ghetsis was counting on using this knowledge in an attempt to demotivate Alder, it certainly didn't work.
- In the webcomic Everyday Heroes, Iron Jane is shocked into a Heel-Face Turn when she witnesses the murder of Golden Jane. (Although, strictly speaking, Iron Jane is Goldie's sidekick, not the other way 'round.)
- Implied in the animated Doctor Who serial "Scream Of The Shalka". The dead woman the Doctor alludes to seems to be the main reason for why he's become Darker and Edgier (and also maybe why he's a bit of a lush).