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Characters Dropping Like Flies

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My readers fall in love with every character I've written
Then I kill 'em! And they're like "No, he didn't!"

There are certain genres where you can expect a few people to die by the end. Murder mysteries naturally start with a death every episode, any action work targeted at those above preschool-age will see some non-Mecha-Mooks causalities at very least implied, war movies always have lots of redshirt deaths, etc.

Then there are the works within these genres that are known for the high body count. Characters die early and often. This trope is typically used to establish a dark and gritty setting or to enhance realism in works that are set in dangerous situations such as wars or extreme jobs. In the very darkest of such stories, the question in effect is not "who will die?", but "who will survive?"

Compare Anyone Can Die, where death isn't as common as this trope but no character is safe from it regardless, and "Everybody Dies" Ending, where no one — or at most, a bare handful of characters — survives at the end.

Note that this does not count for series where Death is Cheap, or millions of nameless characters die off-screen.

As this is a Death Trope, unmarked spoilers abound. Beware.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Yoshiyuki Tomino is notorious for this, especially during his period of depression and when he wants to make clear to the audience that War Is Hell. Zambot 3, Aura Battler Dunbine, Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, and Mobile Suit Victory Gundam are the best examples and Space Runaway Ideon ends with an "Everyone Dies" Ending.
  • Fist of the North Star has so many people die that it would be easier to count how many people are still alive at the end of this series, even if one discounts all the random mooks that get massacred throughout the series. Driving this in further is the fact that these people are still remembered, to the point that the Toei anime had the credits of the Grand Finale showing the images of about every named character (aside from the most important of them) scrolling by.
  • As you'd expect from the title, this is true in Death Note. Lots of important characters get offed, never mind redshirts. Light needs the names of criminals to kill them, so he's always killing characters that have names. Several times, they'll have a few chapters of focus, they'll die... at which point we find out they were being controlled by the Death Note that entire time.
  • Everyone is fair game in Gantz and since it's a Deadly Game we're talking about here, there's always going to be a good bunch of (named) players around to be killed. Also, since the players end up in the game by dying in the first place, many (or most) of them get to die more than just once. And then the protagonists start to run into other teams with equally named and expendable characters... and then the war starts.
  • In the X/1999 film, everyone dies except for Original Kamui.
  • Berserk. Absurd body count of the named characters, not even factoring in the genocidal slaughters on the battlefield every few episodes.
  • Attack on Titan deals with a Red Shirt Army facing giant, man-eating creatures that are almost impossible to kill thanks to their Healing Factor. Soldiers are regularly encouraged to die bravely for Humanity, as opposed to actually winning or even surviving a battle. Members of the Survey Corps, in particular, have dismal survival rates and the large cast is primarily thanks to how quickly characters are slaughtered in various gruesome ways.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure has this in many of its different Parts, especially in final battles. Araki clearly is quite willing to off characters of all different levels of importance.
    • Phantom Blood sees Dario Brando, Danny, and George Joestar as casualties early on... and once the story reaches its climax, we can add the deaths of William Zeppeli, Dire, and Jonathan Joestar himself. Dio, the Big Bad, doesn't die, but even he's left incapacitated and inactive for the next century.
    • In Battle Tendency, Straizo, an ally from Phantom Blood, goes through a Face–Heel Turn and is killed by Joseph early on, the Pillar Man Santana is incapacitated and disappears for the rest of the Part, and Stroheim gets a Disney Death before returning much later in the story. Near the end, characters start dying off much more quickly, these being Loggins, Esidisi, Caesar Zeppeli, Wamuu, and Kars (kind of). The brief Where Are They Now montage in the epilogue also shows that Speedwagon, Erina, and Stroheim (the former two being characters who were around since Phantom Blood) all died not too long afterwards as well, though the former two at least died peacefully of old age.
    • Stardust Crusaders sees many of its Villain of the Week characters killed off. There was also the Disney Death of Avdol, who was out of the story for quite a while before revealing himself to be alive. Then we get to the final battle, and the main characters really start dropping quickly. Before the start of the final battles against DIO and Vanilla Ice, all six main characters are still alive. At the end of these battles, Avdol, Iggy, Vanilla Ice, Kakyoin, Joseph, and DIO have all died, and Polnareff was badly injured fighting DIO, initially leaving Jotaro as the only one standing at the end, though ultimately Joseph does get better and Polnareff makes a full recovery.
    • Diamond is Unbreakable is notably pretty much the only outright aversion. A few villains suffer a Fate Worse than Death, and in the first two story arcs Josuke's grandfather and Okuyasu's brother both die. All in all, though, the deaths we see can be counted on your hands: two rats who were Too Powerful to Live, followed much later by Shigechi, a Sacrificial Lion who had only just joined Josuke's friend group a story arc before and then, again, followed by the recently introduced Aya Tsuji, who is used by the Big Bad for his getaway. One more Fate Worse than Death for the road towards the end, a one-time character dying and his stand being passed onto Rohan, and then the Big Bad kills a couple of background characters after spending the second half of the series deliberately holding his urge to kill back. The main characters do all die a lot in the penultimate story arc, but in the end, Bites the Dust is called off before it could be made permanent. After that, Okuyasu seems to die in the final battle, only to pull a Big Damn Heroes, and the last character to die is the Big Bad himself, though his already-dead father's ghost is destroyed during the final battle. Enough villains undergo Defeat Means Friendship in this Part that the exceptions are what stand out (the norm is that one or two main characters per Part do this, here it's every single main and recurring character besides Josuke, Koichi, Hayato, Jotaro, Joseph, and Tonio), and the Part is generally Lighter and Softer than every other JoJo Part. This is part of why it stands out so much to its fans.
    • Golden Wind killed almost every Villain of the Week (being mafioso will do that to you), meaning an average of one death per arc. On top of this, only three of the six (later seven) main characters are still around at the end (though one of them was Put on a Bus, and another spent half the season technically dead) and what few characters appear that aren't hostile tend to die as well.
    • The final battle of Stone Ocean takes this up a notch, where every single good guy except for one gets killed off by Pucci, who is then himself killed by the one good guy still remaining (Emporio).
    • Steel Ball Run follows behind Vento Aureo for having the highest body count (if you're only counting named characters, that is). Not only do over half the villains of the Part end up dead but most of the allies as well. Mountain Tim is killed early on in the story, Wekapipo dies in at the beginning of the Part's third act, and Diego, Hot Pants, and even Gyro are all killed in the climax.
    • JoJolion follows in the steps of Vento Aureo by having every single villain the heroes encounter die in a violent and painful manner.
  • Danganronpa:
    • The entire series pits the entire cast against each other, Battle Royale style (or The Hunger Games, sans the gratuitous award at the end). The premise is to get someone to murder someone else and get away with it. And boy do they start dropping like flies.
    • The Anime Grand Finale for the Hope's Peak Saga of Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School, Side:Future kills character left and right, to the point it led some fans to stop caring. They are especially evil for focusing on killing the most likable characters first. Nonetheless, the survivors count on Episode 9 (being a 12-episode anime), has the lowest number since the beginning of the main installment of the series: only 4 survivors and one other mysterious participant.
  • As the Gods Will involves a typical Deadly Game setup with hundreds of ways to die, as is expected of a series in its genre. However what sets it apart is that every teenager in the world is playing at once, and thus it's very easy to introduce new characters and just as quickly take them away come the next round of games. The completely unfair and trollerific nature of the games (and how the narrative treats them) makes it nearly impossible to tell how important a character will be when they first show up, regardless of how well they establish themselves in the series.
  • Thou Shalt Not Die makes it clear from very early on that things such as Plot Armor is a rare luxury. In the opening chapters alone, the cast is reduced from almost 50 to just a handful, and the story going through at least two Decoy Protagonist's. The rest of the story keeps it up with similarly high body-counts and named characters dropping left and right with little warning.
  • Lampshaded by the author himself in Gamaran, especially during the second part of the story: new antagonists, mainly the Division Commanders tend to die all too easily, sometimes even in the very same chapter that introduces them.
  • Largely Played for Laughs in Akiba Maid War, in which maid cafes in Akiba are treated like a yakuza turf war, with mostly cute girls beating or killing each other with alarming regularity.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • By the Fire's Light, a story based on the Slender Man, has much of its cast dying over the course of the plot. It verges straight into Anyone Can Die, as by the end pretty much every named character is dead or suffering a Fate Worse than Death, with the exception of the Slender Man himself.
  • My Hero Academia: Entropy doesn't shy away from killing off it's cast, with the first few battles alone killing several important and central characters.
  • Venality takes the canonically light on named character death My Hero Academia and turns it into an absolute bloodbath, with notable heroes and villains being killed left and right over the course of the story.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Most slasher films involve around this trope, but notably not the earliest ones - Halloween (1978), Black Christmas (1974), and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) are all fairly tame by today's standards. Naturally, all three have been remade.
  • Platoon: Of the 31 men of the platoon, 15 die, 11 are wounded, and only 5 are left unscathed by the end of the film.
  • Almost no character has survived through all the nine Saw movies. Not even Jigsaw. Dr. Gordon is one of the few exceptions, but he didn't appear after the first movie until the seventh one, so he only appeared in two films anyway.
  • Of The Dirty Dozen, only one survives.
  • Any work based on the RMS Titanic disaster. But you knew that already... because... you know.
  • The Thing (1982) starts with 12 men (not counting the two Norwegians) and ends with exactly one character still standing who's confirmed to be both alive and definitely not infected. And he's probably not going to be living much longer.
  • The Hateful Eight: Only 2 characters are still alive by the end of the film, albeit heavily wounded. It's made clear that they won't live.
  • Revenge of the Sith: Practically every named character who doesn't show up in the original trilogy is dead by the end of the movie. That's not even counting the literal hundreds of Jedi killed by Order 66.
    • The interquel Rogue One took this to the extremes, killing off every character not Saved by Canon. This includes the protagonistic characters.
  • Avengers: Infinity War kicks off with the deaths of Heimdall, Loki, and half the Asgardian refugees, with the planet Xandar (saved in a previous film) confirmed to have its population halved off-screen. By the end, The Bad Guy Wins, and half of all ‘’currently living’’ life in the universe (including about half of the Avengers and all but one of the Guardians) indiscriminately crumbles to dust. Only Cap, Stark, Widow, Banner, Thor, M'Baku, Okoyé, Nebula, Rocket, and Rhodey are confirmed to still be alive, with Stark and Nebula stuck on Titan and many allies dead or unaccounted for.
  • In Utøya: July 22, about half of named characters die, likely including the main protagonist. The ratio is actually worse than the ratio of the actual shooting, where "only" 1/8 of those on the island died.
  • The Belko Experiment starts with 80 employees of the titular company trapped in their office building. By the end of the 88-minute run time, one employee is still alive.

  • Agatha Christie mostly limited the body count to a maximum of three per novel, but occasionally she could be more trigger-happy with her characters. For example, Death Comes as the End is such a bloodbath that you can probably figure out the murderer's identity through process of elimination alone, and the Axe-Crazy culprit of Murder is Easy is just short of victims reaching double digits. And, of course, And Then There Were None is all about Ten Little Murder Victims who are all dead by the end — including the murderer themselves.
  • In Battle Royale every student's death is announced by the Big Bad, and by the end only two students remain.
  • In the Endgame Trilogy the main cast has a 75% mortality rate.
    • If you also count named secondary characters the percentage is even higher. By a lot.
  • The Elric Saga written by Michael Moorcock can be considered a Spiritual Predecessor to the works of Yoshiyuki Tomino and George RR Martin regarding this trope. Throughout the series, pretty much every named character dies in one tragic way or another, culminating in the final battle between the armies of Law and Chaos where the titular Elric and his evil sword Stormbringer are the only survivors.
  • In GONE the FAYZ has a 40% mortality rate. Even though sixty are named, the same rate applies for them. Even the immortal guy dies. Well... kind of.
  • The Chung Kuo series include the deceased characters in the list of characters as a separate section. It's by far the longest one.
  • Robin Jarvis is well-known for being merciless to his characters. In fact, he seems to revel in killing them off. Referring to The Oaken Throne, a prequel to his Deptford Mice books, he stated "I really enjoyed writing this one, especially as it started off with such a bang, I don't think there's been a higher death count in one of my opening chapters."
  • The Empyrean: In the first book alone, no less than ten named characters die, and of those ten four of them were Violet's friends. Despite the tragedy, however, it doesn't warrant so much as a raised eyebrow from the Rider Quadrant. Dragon riding is a very lethal profession and the series makes no bones about the fact that just about any character can die at any given time, no matter how capable they are. Violet notes that of those seeking to become a rider, around fifteen percent are usually killed during the entrance exam (crossing a slippy parapet wall that hangs over a ravine). Even more die during the training to prepare to become a rider, either due to the training itself or due to other cadets seeking to thin out the herd in order to better their chances of claiming a dragon. Even accomplishing the latter doesn't guarantee safety, as some will kill new riders while their bonds are weak in order to claim the dragons for themselves, while others die because they are unable to control their signet ability (basically, their personal superpower). Ultimately, of those that make it past the parapet, only twenty-five percent will usually make it to graduation.
  • J. K. Rowling specifically warned in interviews before the launch of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows that the last book would be an absolute bloodbath. And... well, it's not as bloody as a typical George R. R. Martin novel, but it still has a higher body count than the other six books combined.
  • In the Honor Harrington series, particularly the early books, there were lots of named bit characters dying. When Eric Flint started writing in the universe, he tried to find some characters appearing in only a single book or two that he could use — and found they had a 90% mortality rate. (He did manage to find three.)
  • The Hunger Games: Being a series that focuses on deadly gladiatorial games, the series exhibits this trope. Out of the 24, mostly nameless tributes in the 74th Hunger Games, only two of them come out alive. The 75th Hunger Games has a higher survival rate, but there are also more named tributes. Characters outside the Games drop like flies as the plot calls them, with the death of the main character's sister, which was the reason she took part in all this mess in the first place, being an infamous example.
  • Robert Graves's I, Claudius recounts the life of Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, a member of Caesar's family who survived the genocidal purges of both Tiberius and Caligula because he was believed to be mentally handicapped, but was later crowned emperor. During the arc of the novels (and history for that matter), Claudius witnesses practically every member of his family being murdered due to political intrigues and infighting.
  • Each arc in Magical Girl Raising Project kills the majority of its characters, generally going from sixteen magical girls and a fairy to being able to count the survivors on one hand. Main characters are no more safe than side characters or villains.
  • Oka Shohei's novel Nobi or Fires on the Plains (1951) follows a Japanese soldier deployed to Manila in the final months of World War II after the army started to fall apart. Ordered on a pointless death march to a losing battle, most of the characters succumb to disease, madness, murder...or worse.
  • The Reynard Cycle: By the end of book three, all but five of the characters introduced in Reynard the Fox are dead.
  • Romance of the Three Kingdoms: It's not a terrific exaggeration to say that two characters are introduced and two die on every page.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, named characters die all the time, mostly because there is such a ridiculous number of them. Some of them can't even make it to becoming One-Scene Wonders but are left to be only names in the appendices before they pass away.
  • In The Wishsong of Shannara, Brooks kills off most of the cast, including Allanon, and the entire Company from Culhaven except for Jair and Slanter. Wishsong was the last novel in the original trilogy, so this may have been done as a way to show that it was the end of an era, especially with the death of Allanon. Still, even though a number of important characters had died in the previous installment, Elfstones, the sheer bloodbath that was Wishsong did come as a real shock to many readers.
  • In David Weber's Safehold series, long-established characters meet the end on a regular basis. This is in keeping with the 'Total War' theme of the series, but it still hits hard when an assassin succeeds against a Charisian preacher who's a national treasure.
  • Thebe and the Angry Red Eye is the tale of an ill-fated space voyage. It starts with Dwindling Party as the ship's captain dies, followed quickly by the pilot. Then four more crew members are killed when the ship crashes, leaving the Character Narrator as the Sole Survivor of the seven-person crew, at least until he joins his friends in death at the end.
  • Doctor Who author Jim Mortimore is notorious for having ridiculously high death counts in his novels. In the most extreme example, he kills off the population of an entire universe.
  • Warrior Cats has killed off 603 (named) characters so far, and counting. Anyone Can Die, indeed.
  • In The Third Wheel, once all the characters are introduced and established and you're starting to get feel empathy for them, the killing begins.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Being an adaptation of A Song of Ice and Fire, the series does this often. But in season 5 and later 6 when it becomes more of a Pragmatic Adaptation and going off-book it does so more often. The finale of season five is a particularly egregious example of this, when the show kills six main or recurring characters, two of who are main characters, and four of them being a case of Death by Adaptation. Season six as a whole basically embodies this trope. By the end of the season, the show has killed all members of three major houses of Westeros (Martell, Baratheon [both the legitimate and In Name Only branches] and Bolton); House Tyrell is reduced to a single member, who belongs to another minor house bloodline and unable to produce more heirs; two ancient races (Giants and Children of the Forest); all original leaders of the Great Houses of Westeros (Mace Tyrell being the last); and all leaders in the War of the Five Kings (Balon Greyjoy being the last, killed by his brother).
    • In the last season, most of the main cast who had been on the show since the first three seasons are killed off. By then, Tyrion Lannister, Yara Grayjoy, Robin Arryn, Gendry Baratheon (who is eventually legitimized), Edmure Tully and Jon Snow (whose true identity is Aegon Targaryen) are the only survivors of their noble houses. Houses Clegane, Mormont, and Tyrell are extinct while all of the major Night's Watch members are dead except Jon and Sam. Grey Worm is the only member of Daenerys' council left alive and the Brotherhood Without Banners are gone after having completed their mission to defeat the White Walkers.
  • Andor: Major characters and recurring characters die constantly, for instance the seven man caper crew has only three survivors and of the many named prisoners only two are confirmed to survive the prison escape. The only reason Andor isn't an Anyone Can Die show is that four recurring characters are Saved by Canon, though of course three of them are known to die shortly after the show.
  • The Last Ship isn't shy about killing characters off. In fact, on the show's character sheet, the list of former characters is longer than that of current characters and former villains had to be spun off into their own section to make navigation easier.
  • The The Vampire Diaries TV show is notorious for this. Not only do they kill off lots of named characters, they especially like doing it after said character has had at least a few episodes of character development.
  • In The Walking Dead, only four characters from the first season are still definitely alive by Season 7, with everyone else either confirmed dead or unknown. Both major and less prominent characters die each season.
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003) has: Billy, Gaeta, Zarek, Dualla, Cally, Anders (effectively brain dead), D'Anna Biers (presumably perishes on the uninhabitable "Earth"), multiple supporting cast crew members whose deaths were depicted, several last-episode fatalities (Roslin, Cavil, Tory, etc.) and that's not counting characters who die but come back at least once.
  • Midsomer Murders is famous for its ridiculously high murder rate (even for a detective series). Depending on population estimates, the rural county of Midsomer has a crime rate beaten only by a few countries.
  • Revolution: Within the first season itself, lots of named characters end up as dead as a doornail. By the first season finale, Charlie Matheson, Rachel Matheson, Miles Matheson, Aaron Pittman, Priscilla, Priscilla's daughter, Tom Neville, Jason Neville, Julia Neville, Kelly Foster, Grace Beaumont, and Sebastian Monroe are the only big characters still alive. Not only that, but trailers for the second season have made it very plain that a number of those characters still alive are going to end up as dead as a doornail, too.
  • NCIS: Case of the week aside, the "dear departed" include NCIS agents in the opening credits (Field Special Agent Kate Todd, Director Jenny Shepard, Special Agent Ziva David), their close relatives (Mossad Director Eli David, father of Ziva David; Jackie Vance, wife of Director Leon Vance; Jackson Gibbs, father of Leroy Jethro Gibbs), other good guys (Mike Franks, Secnav Clayton Jarvis, Gayne Levin, Simon Cade, Chris Pacci, Paula Cassidy, Tom Morrow, Diane Gibbs/Fornell/Sterling), and of course, bad guys (Ari Haswari, Rene Benoit, Merton Bell, Sergei Mishnev, Trent Kort). Death never takes a holiday here. One notable exception is Ziva, who turns out to have been Faking the Dead in order to protect her loved ones.
  • Spartacus: Blood and Sand: Historical Domain Characters aside, only a handful of characters are alive by the end of the series.
  • Out of the six characters who received main billing at some point during the first two series of Torchwood, four are dead by the end of Series 3 — three die within a single five-episode span, and another is only spared because he's immortal.
  • The 100, in addition to killing off quite a few major and supporting characters, features large scale massacres on a surprisingly regular basis. To give you an idea, when the Ark space station colony is introduced in Season 1, its population is listed as around 2500 people. By the end of the season, it's down to a few hundred, max.
  • In most Doctor Who stories (pre-2005) and episodes (post-2005), it can be more or less guaranteed that at least half of the named guest characters will be dead by the end, and often more. The rare Everybody Lives stories get special attention.
  • Oz, don't get too attached to any characters because most end up dead by the time season 6 even starts. From characters like Simon Adebisi, Vernon Schillinger, and Chris Keller who are some of the most violent in the show to characters like Augustus Hill and Kareem Said who are relatively peaceful characters. Even Warren Leo Glynn is dead by the end. The fact that there is at least one death per episode makes the feeling much more real.
  • Although Death is Cheap in Supernatural, the series has gained infamy for introducing and killing off recurring characters on short notice, even popular ones. This is particularly pronounced once the Post-Script Season kicks in, as myriad of storylines are brought up and dropped, causing characters to come and go as the writers see fit. Dean, Sam and (after season 4) Castiel are pretty much the only characters who remain mainstays throughout the series.
  • The Sopranos, due to being a show about The Mafia, has this in spades. And if Word of God is to believes, actual mobsters called the show to tell them that not enough people were being whacked.
  • Westworld: In season 4, almost all of the main cast had been killed off starting with Caleb who dies in Episode 4 and is resurrected as a host except his mind slowly breaks down just like James Delos. Then, the last two episodes kill off William, Maeve, Bernard, Stubbs, Clementine, the Man in Black host, and Host-Hale. In the end, Dolores is the only main character left alive along with the hosts who reside in the Sublime (such as Akecheta and Teddy) while Frankie and her outlier friends survive but, as Dolores states, they might not live long in a few years. However, Word of God states that since Dolores rebuilds the Westworld park in the Sublime, some of the characters may come back. Sadly, HBO canceled the show before viewers get to see it.
  • All of Us Are Dead: from the shows beggining of the outbreak to end of season 1, most of the survivors die throught the series, some characters even die in the span of the same episode, across a total of 12 episodes, from 19 characters the show focuses at one point, only 7 make it till the end of the first season.

  • Shakespeare's tragedies are notorious for this. One Reduced Shakespeare Company production had mattresses laid around the stage for the characters to die on.
    • Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus is a veritable bloodbath featuring not only murder but also rape, torture, and cannibalism with more than a 70% kill rate for named characters.
    • Although much less gory, Hamlet also ends with a pile of corpses on stage. A staple of the "revenge tragedy" genre, which Hamlet is a deconstruction of.
    • By the end of King Lear, there are two named characters still alive (discounting Kent, who's about to die, and the Fool, who disappeared at the end of Act III).
  • In the Japanese Kabuki play Yotsuya Kaidan, or "The Ghost Story of Yotsuya" a samurai named Iemon wants to get rid of his wife so he can marry the daughter of a rich man, and in the course of his overly-intricate murder plot, kills her off as well as several innocent bystanders. Later in the play, his wife comes back from the dead as a ghost, and in the course of her overly-intricate revenge manages to kill off most of the remaining characters.

    Video Games 
  • Halo: Reach. One by one, Noble Team dies, including Noble 6, the player character. Jun is the only one to survive, but in his case, he vanishes and never returns, and requires outside content to know he lived.
  • The Walking Dead: Within the 5 episode span of season one, every character except for Clementine, Christa, and Omid are either dead, zombified, or missing.

    Visual Novels 
  • Danganronpa, as a Deadly Game, is known for this.
    • In the original, only 6 characters out of the 15 introduced at the start actually survive until the end.
    • In the sequel, it's 5 characters out of the original 16 who survive. Danganronpa 3 further reveals that all but one of the dead come back.
    • In the third game only 3 characters out of 16 live.
  • Fate/stay night is about a war in which legendary "heroes" and humans fight each other to the death. In all three routes, by the ending, most of the characters have died, though who survives depends on the route. Although there are some main characters who are quite likely to survive in each route, by the third route Heaven's Feel, this rule is thrown out the window and even the main hero can die and stay dead if you make the wrong choices come the finale.
  • Both Higurashi: When They Cry and Umineko: When They Cry by the same author feature this in spades, with the main mystery being figuring out who is doing it. In both cases, it's also exacerbated by a "Groundhog Day" Loop where the exact circumstances of who dies and when keeps changing.

    Web Animation 

  • Goblins, being an RPG Mechanics 'Verse set in a Crapsack World with a Killer Gamemaster, has been known to kill scores of named characters in a single major battle.
  • Homestuck:
  • Unsounded: A lot of characters die regardless of morality and alignment, and there a a handful of entire towns put to the sword save a couple of lucky escapees. Though the main duo and their traveling companions are safe until the final chapters of the first book.


Video Example(s):


Killing Off the Transformers

The Honest Trailer for "The Transformers: The Movie" goes in on Hasbro for killing off Optimus Prime, Megatron, and many of the original Transformers to make room for new toys to sell.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / DyingToBeReplaced

Media sources: