Follow TV Tropes


Karmic Death / Anime & Manga

Go To

  • Bertholdt's death in Attack on Titan. The person majorly responsible for the first Titan invasion, which resulted in the majority of humanity (actually the majority of the Eldians) being eaten alive by Titans, as well as directly feeding one of his own comrades to a Titan, is himself Eaten Alive by a Titanfied Armin whom Berthold almost killed moments before.
  • In The Castle of Cagliostro, the villain acquires Clarisse's ring in exchange for sparing Lupin's life (a deal he never intended to honor anyway) and uses it to unlock a valuable treasure. Unfortunately for him, the mechanism to unlock the treasure involves the hands of a large clock moving to the twelve o'clock position, and he gets crushed (and possibly decapitated) as a result. The camera cuts to a long Gory Discretion Shot but you can still hear a nasty crunching sound.
  • In Code Geass, after confessing to serving in the military just so he could publicly kill people, Luciano Bradley dies. His killer, an Action Girl whom he threatened with rape and torture, even tossed his own sadistic Pre Ass Kicking One Liner back in his face right before doing him in. And no one misses him after he dies.
    • There's also how V.V., after stooping to any possible low imaginable (including being the one behind the murder of Marianne and lying to Charles about it) and giving Lelouch hell throughout the series from afar, is finally defeated by Lelouch (with an assist from Cornelia). Now bleeding and crawling towards Charles, he hopes for the latter's help. However, noticing that V.V. has been acting behind his back once again, Charles declares he has had enough and takes away his code, leaving the former immortal to die.
    • The agents and soldiers whom Lelouch ordered to die always hoped and expected to kill him.
    • Charles' attempts at getting his children killed and/or letting his children get killed, which are described under and essentially the same as Offing the Offspring (aside from the fact that he'd let them die rather than actively try to kill them), are eventually repaid in kind by his son after he nears his life goal of slaying God during Episode 21 of R2; it's doubly karmic when you take into account the fact that (according to Suzaku) he could've saved Euphy.
  • Advertisement:
  • Combat Mecha Xabungle, the Big Bad Kashim King and his follower Biram Key who turn the series for the worse, are killed by having a huge missile dropped right at their faces.
  • A Cruel God Reigns: Greg is killed after getting into a car accident in the car that he raped Jeremy in.
  • In Death Note, users of the titular notes have a nasty tendency to end up killed by one. Ryuk even states in the very first episode that he will write Light's name into his Death Note one day, which he does when Light is defeated in the very end of the series. It's especially fitting in the manga, where Light spends his remaining seconds lying on the ground, crying about how he doesn't want to die, appropriate for someone who inflicted the exact same fear on the world for years.
  • Kurata meets his demise this way in Digimon Savers as the climax of a very well-deserved Humiliation Conga. His final plan to destroy the Digimon sets off a chain reaction, triggering an energy blast that vaporizes him.
  • Dragon Ball is another prime example. Protagonist Goku seldom kills anyone. Many bad guys throughout the series are either killed by a superior bad guy, reform and join Team Good, or end up killing themselves through Karmic Death.
    • Keep in mind with the examples of the Red Ribbon Army, Goku did not know how to pull his punches, and from his perspective, evil deeds make you an evil person. He actually explained his straightforward reasoning to Bulma (after he killed those Red Ribbon Army soldiers). If you survive, well, at least you're not moving, so Goku would leave you alone. Basically, if you're a bad guy, Kami must have a good reason to keep you alive when facing Goku (possibly for more punishment). Goku notably mellowed out when he was 18-19, with the years spent with Kami. After that, he couldn't stop sparing the bad guys (ironically, to his friends' surprise, even Bulma).
    • Advertisement:
    • A sort of twisting of this trope comes with Frieza. It follows the trope at first, with Goku refusing to kill Frieza and Frieza lashing out at him behind his back, but the Karmic Death occurs when Goku turns around and destroys Frieza in his rage, no remorse. Though Frieza doesn't actually die. He later returns as a cyborg, and goes to Earth to kill Goku's friends in vengeance. It is then where he meets his actual death, in the form of Trunks, and it's really brutal. Trunks slices Frieza in half, then proceeds to slice those halves into even tinier bits, and he blows him to ashes with a ki blast. A rather expanded Karmic Death.
    • This trope actually fits Frieza more than one would be led to believe. Think about it. He does all he can to destroy the Saiyan race for fear that one day a Super Saiyan will emerge and destroy him. So what happens? He kills Krillin and threatens to kill an already defeated and injured Gohan, causing Goku to finally transform into a Super Saiyan before tearing Frieza a new hole. That's right. Frieza created the very being he spent such a long time trying to destroy.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist nearly all of the ways that the Homunculi are killed are either clearly ironic or a reference to Dante (Alighieri, don't confuse with the character of the same name from the 2003 anime version) who made punishments that were more subtly or symbolically ironic.
    • The first Greed was impaled face down (as per Dante) then melted down for his most valuable part, Lust was incinerated (as per Dante), Gluttony was eaten alive by Pride, Envy pulled out his own heart out of self-hatred rather than live as a Homunculus, Sloth died after expending all his energy in a long and grueling fight, atheistic Wrath was killed by the rageful but religious Scar who survived the genocidal war that Wrath instigated (who got the opening when the sun (the symbol of God, which one of Wrath's victims said would fall on him) blinded Wrath), Pride unsuccessfully tried to take over the body of an "inferior being" (i.e. a human) and then was ultimately stripped of his power, the second Greed died performing a selfless act while saying that he'd gotten all he could ever want, and finally, Father, whose horrible deeds came about only because he wanted freedom and all the knowledge in the world, was dragged back into the darkness whence he came.
    • Shou Tucker, the infamous alchemist who transmuted his own daughter Nina and their dog Alexander into a chimera for his experiments so he could keep his State Alchemist title, gets fried from the inside out by Scar, who specifically targets State Alchemists gone bad.
    • In the 2003 anime adaptation, Dante is presumed eaten alive by the mindless monster she turned Gluttony into.
      • Also from the 2003 anime, Sloth, the Homunculus who spends her time trying to kill the children of the woman she was based on (to prove she isn't that woman) ends up trapped in place (and thus easily dispatched by these children) because she developed a maternal relationship with a child-like Homunculus.
  • In Fushigi Yuugi, Suboshi tries to kill Tamahome and Miaka, but his own weapon rebounds and plunges through his chest while the ghosts of Tamahome's family hold him in place. Suboshi had brutally murdered the family earlier in the series, making this doubly karmic.
  • In Volume 8 of Hellsing, Enrico Maxwell, the leader of the Iscariot Organization, who had shown himself to be as horrifically evil as Millennium by ordering the slaughter of everyone in London due to hating all Protestants, is betrayed by his right-hand man Alexander Anderson in true Iscariot fashion, destroying the reinforced glass barrier protecting him from Alucard's unleashed familiars, resulting in him getting horrifically impaled to death.
  • Highschool of the Dead has a great example. As the school is being overrun by the shambling, biting dead, you see two female students, presumably BFFs, who spend every on-screen moment holding hands, with the intention to survive together. Later on, as they're trying to escape the horde up some stairs, one of them gets grabbed and bitten. With the terrified girl crying and whimpering for help and still holding her hand, the other cries "Let go of me! Damnit, bitch, I said LET GO!" and kicks her "cherished friend" down the stairs into the waiting horde. Shortly after, she is herself killed by zombies who came around behind her.
  • Shion Sonozaki in Higurashi: When They Cry (more exactly, the Meakashi-hen arc), after killing most of the cast disguised as Mion, her twin sister, falls to her death when the air gun holster that Mion always wears snags on the wall while Shion's scaling a building.
    • It was more so a suicide in the visual novels and manga. Played straight with Rina (every world) and Teppei (at least three).
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure loves this:
    • Part 2: Cars is granted immortality in every sense of the word; he uses his newfound evolution powers to transform himself into stone to avoid a volcanic eruption, but the force of the blast launches him into space, where he is unable to change back or stop himself from moving. He eventually shuts down mentally, now a hunk of stone travelling endlessly.
    • Part 3: Dio is killed thanks to Jotaro's time stop ability, which Dio had been using against others to intimidate and kill.
    • Part 4: Yoshikage Kira's good luck finally runs out as he is struck and killed by an ambulance which a bystander had called to help him. When he tries to drag the spirit of one of his murder victims to hell with him, he is stopped by a group of otherworldly hands...which is the body part that Kira had taken from his victims.
    • Part 5: Diavolo unintentionally helps Giornio get the Requiem arrow, which upgrades his Stand into one that can negate any action taken by an opponent... an ability almost identical to Diavolo's own King Crimson Stand, which can erase a section of time and allows limited precognitive abilities. When Diavolo is killed by the new Stand, he is forced to experience death for eternity, unable to see when it's going to occur, each and every time.
    • Part 6: Pucci's own Whitesnake Stand allowed Emporio to gain Weather Report's Stand, allowing him to finally defeat Pucci and save the new universe.
  • Standard way of tying up stories with murderers, con artists, etc. in The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service if they're not caught by the police. Insurance salesman killed by an unlikely probability, cryopreservation scammer trapped in a glacier — whatever your sin, Narrative Causality has a death to suit.
  • In the original Mobile Suit Gundam, Kycillia Zabi murders her brother Ghiren for killing their father by shooting him in the head. A few minutes later, Char comes in, looking to complete his revenge by blowing off Kycillia's head.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny, Jona Roma Saran goes to war with Zaft forces and later dies in the battle he started — and in a manner completely bereft of dignity.
  • Nena Trinity gets hit with it in Mobile Suit Gundam 00, killed by Louise, the sole survivor of the family Nena had callously murdered a long time ago. Louise herself, who committed atrocities in order to get to the point of killing Nena, gets the INVERSION of this trope: she ends up so messed-up that she would rather die, but instead lives in the end and must continue to struggle as The Atoner.
    • Ali Al-Saachez dies at the hands of Lyle "Lockon Stratos" Dylandy, the twin younger brother of the original Lockon (Neil), whom he killed four years ago. The exact details of his death are even more ironic: his first on-screen kill was Michael Trinity, shot right through the heart with a lightning-fast quickdraw absolutely no one — including Michael himself — saw coming. When Lyle (somewhat less revenge-driven than his brother) tries to give Ali a Last-Second Chance, Ali taunts him over lowering his weapon and tries to quickdraw on him too... only for Lyle to out-quickdraw him and blow his brains out with a single headshot. And There Was Much Rejoicing among the audience...
  • Played straight at the final showdown between Johan and Tenma in Monster, during which Tenma is presented with a choice of shooting the former or watching him kill a small boy, when Johan is instead shot down by the child's drunken, raving father who just happened to stumble upon the scene. Promptly subverted when the paramedics discover that Johan is still alive, and Tenma decides to try to save his life once again.
  • In Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water, Big Bad Gargoyle suffers one of these in a big way when he enters a space intended solely for Atlanteans and is promptly turned into salt, revealing that he, who has been fighting for years to subjugate the human race under Atlantean rule, is himself a human adopted by the Atlanteans.
  • In Narutaru, one of the main character's best friends is bullied to truly monstrous extents by the local Alpha Bitch Aki Honda and her Girl Posse. The peak of it is when Aki rapes the poor girl with a test tube. What does the victim do when she gets a shadow dragon? Well... she uses said dragon to kill all but one of them — and even the sole survivor gets her leg ripped off. Oh, and she kills other people too. And the one who gets the worst death of all is Aki herself, who gets the shadow dragon raping her with its clawed finger and then ripping her body in half. And then things go considerably From Bad to Worse. The fact that this is even considered Karmic Death at all speaks volumes on just how completely messed up the world of Narutaru is.
  • Gendo Ikari's death in End of Evangelion fits this: It's confirmed to be a hallucination, but what we see is that Eva-01, which has his dead wife Yui's soul in it, picks Gendo up and bites his head off. He spends the entire series safeguarding EVA-01 at the expense of the rest of the cast, particularly the pilots. Yui was the reason he was trying to initiate Instrumentality, and why he treated others (especially their child, Shinji) like shit. Gendo is even said by Word of God to have wanted this to happen:
    "So, this is my retribution? I'm sorry, Shinji." *Crunch*
    • The manga plays this straighter; Gendo is finally killed when Ritsuko, the woman he manipulated, humiliated, and discarded without a thought, shoots him in the neck before she dies.
  • Many stories in Pet Shop of Horrors. Others tend to be the brighter side of Laser-Guided Karma , like the little girl and the Doberman.
  • Although it's not quite the same thing, Osamu Tezuka's Phoenix masterpiece is rife with examples of karmic retribution. Consider the one in Strange Beings / Life: A woman, raised by her evil father as a warrior, learns that her father is dying but might yet be saved by a mysterious nun who lives on a remote island. She travels to the island to kill the nun. After killing the nun, she finds she can't leave the island, and circumstances cause her to pretend to be the nun for some travelers. She finally works out that time is flowing backward, and not only is she the nun, but she can look forward to a day when she gets killed by her own hand. Which will of course continue the cycle indefinitely, unless she can work off her sins through healing those who come to visit the nun. In other words, this is Karmic Death, or dying through one's own actions, a little more directly than most, and with a delay of over ten years between act and payback. Also notable in that by the time of death, the woman had learned her lesson and was no longer a villain type in the slightest.
  • Of all series, Pokémon did this with Bounty Hunter Hunter J. After capturing one of the Lake Trio (Azelf), Mesprit and Uxie arrive and during a battle with her, use Future Sight on her ship. After capturing them and handing them to Team Galactic (and collecting her payment), her ignoring/forgetting about Future Sight leads to the pixies' attack striking her ship and sending it sinking into Lake Valor, followed by the glass breaking and flooding the chamber, and the ship marvellously exploding, killing J and all her henchmen. Shows what you get for trying to capture three superpowered pixies almost as old as time itself...
  • In Romeo X Juliet, Lord Montague kills one of his allies and friends in front of his son, for no real reason at all. Said son goes insane and later stabs Montague to death.
  • Shishio Makoto of Rurouni Kenshin suffers a Karmic Death, succumbing to a fatal condition that does not allow him to fight for more than 15 minutes at a time without overheating (and in this case, causing his body fats and oils to catch fire), just as his opponent Kenshin is lying exhausted and helpless on the floor. This is made even more karmic due to his wealth of fire-based attacks, and the series implies that his death is literally karmic; "The man does not choose the age: the age chooses the man."
  • A majority of Sailor Moon's humanoid villains were killed by their superiors for failing once too often, or by other, envious members of the same Quirky Miniboss Squad. Said superiors usually changed into monsters for the season finale and thus could be blown to bits.
    • Subverted in the manga, where the Senshi themselves killed the minor villains (Sailor Moon herself got a few too.)
  • In Samurai Champloo, an episode discussing Church and one woman's faith in God employs karma to kill the false priest attempting to profit from the persecution of Japanese Christians of the Endo Period by crushing him beneath a statue of Jesus: it fell because of a fracture created by the misfiring of a rifle.
  • In School Days, the main character, Makoto, is The Casanova who has spent 90% of the series playing with the hearts and interests of several girls, becoming more and more of a Jerkass as the story advances. In the end, though, Sekai, who is supposedly expecting his baby, snaps violently after he suggests she should have an abortion; she violently kills him by repeatedly stabbing him to death with a kitchen knife.
    • That was only in the anime however. In the game's ending that was closest to that scene, Sekai stabbed Makoto because he decided to simply abandon her and go back to his old girlfriend, Kotonoha. Of course, as he's crawling across the ground and bleeding to death, Makoto becomes The Atoner and realizes the error of his ways, then dies.
    • Sekai ends up this way in the anime, too. Kotonoha had suffered bullying and a rape at the hands of a fellow classmate because of Sekai's actions, and after learning Sekai has killed Makoto, she goes insane. Kotonoha then proceeds to pay Sekai back for all the psychological abuse she's suffered, and slits her jugular vein open with a dozuki.
  • Folken Lacour de Fanel in The Vision of Escaflowne. After his Heel–Face Turn, Folken tries to attack his ex-boss Dornkirk, but the sword he uses breaks in two and the tip injures Folken fatally by impaling him in the chest. It doesn't help that the Zaibach has a machine that actually uses karma and destiny as its fuel.
    • There's also a subversion here, as Folken went to battle fully knowing that his days were numbered due to all the experiments Dornkirk had perfomed on him through the years.
  • Strider Hiryu: Vice-Director Matic gets his just deserts in the manga when Yggdrasil, the heart of the ZAIN Mind Control Project he wanted to use in his quest for world domination, impales him in the heart.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's, Episode 37, when Divine sends Carly falling to her death. He immediately regrets it.
  • DEVILMAN crybaby has Moyuru Koda who, after the existence of demons has been revealed, sides with them believing they will prevail over humanity and the Devilmen, thus getting turned into a monstrous form (murdering innocent people left and right) thinking he'll get to survive for long. When the final showdown among the three sides is about to start, Akira rips him in half before he even has the chance to do anything.
  • Show by Rock!! The backstory of the main villain of Season 2, Victorious, uses this trope. As a little girl, Victorious was friends with another girl named Astrael. They both decide to work together to complete the hardest trial for their school on their home planet, which involves climbing a mountain. As they climb, Astrael nearly slips and falls, but Victorious catches her and encourages her to keep going. As they get very close to the top, the tables turn and Victorious slips. Rather than save her friend, Astrael abandons her to fall, so she can get to the top alone and claim the prize for herself. Completely devastated by this betrayal, Victorious becomes consumed by darkness and flies up to the top of the mountain just before Astrael reaches it. Astrael is so startled by Victorious that she loses her grip and she falls to her death. If she hadn't been selfish and greedy, she could've lived and shared the prize with Victorious.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: