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Children Forced to Kill

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"Taking the kids from our districts, forcing them to kill one another while we watch — this is the Capitol's way of reminding us how totally we are at their mercy."
Katniss Everdeen, The Hunger Games

Having to kill another human being is traumatic enough. But when a child has to do it, either in defense of themselves, in defense of another, or being forced at gunpoint or swordpoint themselves to do it, the effect can be all the more horrifying. The fact that even children are forced to hand out violence to defend themselves adds to the cynicism of a setting. Children having to kill on a regular basis is a red flag for a Crapsack World.

The reasons for a child having to kill vary. They may have been attacked by someone and struck out in defense: they just happened to have the right thing on hand. Equally, they may manage to get the drop on someone who is trying to murder a parent or other carer. As mentioned before, they may be forced to do it, either as some form of Training from Hell or just from a complete sadist. This will be made all the more tragic if it was someone close to the character: a friend, relative or, worst of all, their own parent or even parents. If this is in a character's past, it will be a dark and troubled one.

Of course, such an experience is Harmful to Minors. Can lead to an even more warped form of Blood-Splattered Innocents. Often the cause of a Dark and Troubled Past. Child Soldiers must do this as a matter of course. Kid Hero stories with a particularly dark tone may also have this as normality for the setting, especially if that setting is a Teenage Wasteland. Tyke Bombs can become this if said Tyke bomb is forced to kill before it can be defused.

Of course, this goes along with Child Soldiers.

Note: Children who kill when they don't have to aren't this; that's some form of Enfant Terrible.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Several characters in Attack on Titan feature this within their back story.
    • Mikasa was kidnapped by a gang of slavers, and was forced to help Eren kill them in self-defense. She's never the same.
    • Annie, Reiner, and Bertolt are the Tyke Bomb variant. Their mission required them to commit acts of mass murder, and all are shown to have suffered varying levels of trauma as a result. Reiner states they didn't even understand what they were doing at the time, and being allowed to go home is the one thing all three focus on to keep them going.
  • Berserk: Both Casca and Guts had to kill people in self-defense at a very young age as part of the Backstory. In Guts' case, arguably twice; one was maybe more of a revenge thing, but given both that he was a kid and what the revenge was for, it could arguably still count as this.
  • Black Bullet: Several cursed children are often forced to be Child Soldiers for criminal gangs, governments, and Civil Security Companies. In particular, Tina Sprout was forced to be an assassin sniper by Ayn Rand to kill Seitenshi, but has also shown hesitation on killing people.
  • Black Lagoon: The Vampire Twins started out as this when they were forced to kill other children in paedophilic Snuff Films. At some point, they broke and began to like it.
  • Arises a few times in Code Geass given the nature of the series. Suzaku killed his father at age 12, but most notable would probably be Rolo Halliburton who was a very effective assassin thanks to being able to freeze people in place with his Geass.
  • Day Break Illusion: Poor, poor Akari Taiyou is a Genki Girl who just wants to be like her mom, and certainly has powers to do it. It's just too bad that, for her, to help others means killing the Monster of the Week, which are possessed humans. Her first kill is her dear friend and cousin whom she lived with ever since the death of her mother.
  • In D.Gray-Man, the average age for an Exorcist seems to be late teens. Allen's fifteenish when things start, Lenalee's about the same but has been working as one since childhood, Lavi's eighteen, and Kanda has been an Exorcist since the day he was born due to certain experiments performed by the Order.
  • Elfen Lied: The Diclonius are all young girls. The iconic bloody first episode shows Lucy kill scores of men, and she's only 18. Several other Diclonii are forced to deal lethal attacks to each other throughout the series.
  • Fate/Zero: Kiritsugu's Dark and Troubled Past kicks off when his surrogate big sister, Shirley, turns into a Dead Apostle after drinking one of his father's potions in an attempt to prove Kiritsugu's dad wasn't an evil person. Kiritsugu later comes across Shirley, who begs him to Mercy Kill her, but he doesn't. As a result, the entire island turns into Dead Apostles. Kiritsugu, realizing his mistake, confronts his father, who is planning for their escape since the infection has gathered the attention of the Mage Association and their mercenaries, who want him dead. Realizing that his father has no regret for what happened to Shirley and the island and only cares about Kiritsugu so that he can have someone to continue his work, Kiritsugu kills him to prevent further deaths. And it goes downhill from there...
  • Happens in various Gundam franchises where the protagonists are young enough and the universe serious enough. Although combat is generally personified by mechas, the protagonists generally never forget that there is a person inside the war machine that is so easy to objectify, and spend time angsting over it.
    • In Gundam 00 the protagonist was brainwashed as a young child into becoming a member of a terrorist organisation. Part of the initiation involved killing his own parents.
    • Taken to a whole different extreme with The Witch from Mercury’s prologue, where Ericht Samaya—a four-year-old girl—operates Gundam Lfrith to get her and her mother Elnora out of an attack by the Benerit Group’s Dominicus Corps. In the process, Eri kills three other MS pilots, all the while remaining none the wiser to her carnage and simply pointing out how the explosions look like the candles on a birthday cake.
  • Gunslinger Girl is all about this. The oldest girl is 16 and the youngest can't be older than 12, but all of them have been taken by the Social Welfare Agency ostensibly as charity cases, but actually so they can be conditioned via brainwashing and cybernetic implants into black ops assassins to kill enemies of the Italian government.
  • Killua from Hunter × Hunter is an example. Being a member of a Big, Screwed-Up Family of assassins, he's taught to kill from infancy, and forced into the life of an assassin without being given much of any choice in the matter. He was murdering people before he turned 6, and by the time he appears in the show - at the age of 12 - he's already killed hundreds of people.
  • Madlax has this as part of the Back Story: the plot stems from the fact that Margaret had to kill her Brainwashed and Crazy father Richard in self-defense when she was 5 years old, and to protect herself from going mad, her mind created the titular Madlax.
  • The heroines of Magic Knight Rayearth are all tender 14 years old girls who got thrown to a fantasy world of sword and sorcery where they find themselves attacked by monsters while attempting to save that world's princess. They mostly have to just kill monsters, never people, except the one who sent the monsters, the princess' kidnapper Zagato, and also the guy who threw the world to chaos... or so they thought. Turns out, the princess summoned the girls to kill her because she fell in love with her kidnapper and because of this and a contract she made to forbid her to think of nothing but the world, the world ends up in turmoil and she can't kill herself. Needless to say, when the girls returned home, they were severely traumatized.
  • Subverted in Monster where Wim appears to have shot his bullies dead during a townwide riot, but it's revealed he just picked up the gun but didn't fire it. He's still troubled as he admits he'd wished they were dead.
  • This is the whole premise of Naruto, basically. Regular shinobi become genin at 12 and are expected to live the rest of their lives in the field infiltrating, guarding, fighting, and killing in an endless cycle of hatred and violence. For extreme examples we have shinobi like Itachi, who was exposed to war at four and made his first kill at seven.
  • Now and Then, Here and There: Children are kidnapped from their home villages and forced to fight for the monstrously insane King Hamdo.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica has its Magical Girl killing, not purifying, the Monster of the Week or losing their power before finally dying and turning into the very monsters they fought. There's no way around it the moment they made their contract. They also forced to fight and, implied in Puella Magi Kazumi Magica, to kill their rivals in turf wars or be killed themselves.
  • In the manga version of Sailor Moon the Sailor Guardians often have to kill the Monster of the Week and even the members of the Quirky Miniboss Squad starting at the tender age of 14. Especially hard on Sailor Venus, who not only had her first kill at 13 (having started her career a year before the others), but the youma happened to be her first crush, and by the time she joins the others she's by far the most skilled but heavily traumatized, though she hides it behind her flamboyant personality.
  • School-Live! takes place in a Zombie Apocalypse with no adults so this is obligatory. Zombies aren't technically alive in the first place, however they act similarly enough.:
  • Sword Art Online: Shino Asada was eleven years old when an armed thief attacked the post office she was in. When the thief threatened to shoot one of the workers, Shino bit him and grabbed his gun, shooting him when he attempted to get it back. She came out of it with PTSD and an acute phobia of guns (to the point she will collapse just from someone making a finger gun), along with getting shunned by pretty much everyone, including her own mother.
  • Tiger & Bunny: During the final fight against Mugan and Fugan, Magical Cat blasts releases a water jet to push Mugan away from Thomas, which causes him to be fatally impaled on twisted metal from a fence and shocks the 14-years-old girl. However, Mugan doesn't die from the injuries. Instead he teleports himself and an equally wounded Fugan to their adopted father Brahe, right before they are all killed by Gregory Sunshine.
  • Trigun has this as Wolfwood's backstory. At a young age he kills his abusive guardian who happens to be his uncle and soon gets adopted by an assassin, who teaches him the Bible, and how to kill.

    Comic Books 
  • Cassandra Cain, the third Batgirl, was trained to be this when she was younger. Subverted in that, after her first kill, she panicked and ran off, vowing never to take another life.
  • Grimjack as a child was arrested for stealing and was sentenced to take part in Gladiator Games.
    "Before I was nine, I killed my first man. Before I was sixteen, most of the kids I entered into the Wolfpac with were dead. Some I'd killed myself."
  • In The Walking Dead, Carl's shooting saves the lives of both his parents within a day of each other.
    "It's not the same as killing the dead ones..."
  • In Warlord of Mars, Dejah's most vivid memory is killing a Green Martian at the age of eight to save her mother Heru. Unlike most examples of this trope, which are played for tragedy or horror, it was a moment of triumph for her as she embraced her birthright as a Princess of Helium.
  • X-23, the X-Men's resident Tyke Bomb, was created from Wolverine's DNA and born and raised to be an assassin. Over the course of several years, she killed hundreds of people before eventually escaping from the lab. The bad guys still got the last laugh in the end, since her mother was exposed to a "trigger scent" that caused X-23 to fly into an involuntary Unstoppable Rage, effectively forcing Laura to kill her own mother.

    Fan Works 
  • Part of Rose's background in the Doctor Who Alternate Universe fic Duplicity.
  • 12-year-old Maria shot a man in Echoes of Eternity in order to save her friend Shadow.
  • In Ghosts of the Past, the Red Son is just a teenager and is forced to kill everyone in the Red Room's way by his programming. Given additional punch by the reveal that he's Harry. Or to be more specific, he's Harry's body after his mind was removed to protect and the MacGuffin it was contained in was swiped by the Red Room.
  • In the Love Live!/Jojos Bizarre Adventure crossover Honoka's Bizarre Adventure, Honoka's journey as a Stand user begins with an encounter with the criminal stand user Yoshikawa Fuhai, who attacked her family's candy shop and nearly killed her parents. After facing him in a battle to the death where she unlocks her Stand's powers, Honoka realizes that if she lets him live, he'll return to threaten her loved ones again. So she uses her Stands to break apart his flattened, wall-attached body into pieces. While it was self-defense as he tried to kill her and Yoshikawa is still alive (albeit in literal pieces and unable to reform) the experience is haunting for Honoka, seeing herself as a murderer.
  • The Moon Cries in Reverse (Naruto) offers a variant: in addition to being raised as Child Soldiers, Naruto, Sakura and Shikamaru are forced to learn how to torture by Ibiki, who mistakenly believes this is the best way to combat their growing disillusionment with Konoha and make them useful. Instead, their time at T&I has only made the trio even more distrustful of authority and desperate to prove their loyalty so that they don't end up getting tortured themselves.
    • Shikamaru also kills a team of Kumo-nin in order to protect Ino, Chouji and Sasuke. While this incident is initially treated as further evidence that he's "dangerously similar to Orochimaru", Jiraiya later overhears Naruto and Sakura comforting him while he cries, reassuring him that he did what he needed to do to save his friends.
  • My Hero Academia: Ultra Achievement: During the USJ incident, Aoyama kills a villain that was about to murder two of his classmates even though he knows All for One will target him as a result.
  • re:Bound (RWBY): Neo was raised by Raven from age six to be an assassin. She made her first kill at eight and was already going solo at nine.
  • The Loud children in Rick and The Loud House sometimes have to resort to killing in self-defense when the moment calls for it. One good example would be in "Look Who's Spelling It Out Now", where Lincoln shoots a cat-like alien who came close to killing Lucy in the head.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Blood Diamond has an army of children forced to kill during the Sierra Leone Civil War.
  • City of God has an infamous example in which a ganglord forces one small child to kill his even younger friend after they steal from him.
  • Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter has a climax where Tommy Jarvis, a 12-year-old kid, kills Jason in self-defense.
  • Full Metal Jacket: the Vietcong sniper, who turns out to be a teenage girl.
  • Hornets' Nest features Italian kids taking up arms against the Nazis after their parents are massacred by the SS.
  • The Hunger Games: Yet another horrifying aspect of the Hunger Games. Perfectly ordinary children are forced in a situation where, if they do not kill others, they themselves will die (excepting the Career Tributes).
  • Implied in Icebox. Oscar is forced into a gang and escapes from Honduras to America to avoid violence. He mentions that he saw a classmate get shot and killed. Oscar never outright says it, but his intense reaction implies he shot the boy himself.
  • The Quick and the Dead had The Lady, as a young girl, attempt to shoot a hanging rope in two to save her father, but she missed the rope and hit him square in the forehead instead. Not forced to kill her father, but forced to take an action that took her father's life.
  • Likewise in Sin Nombre a gang leader forces a boy to kill a rival gang member held prisoner to be accepted into their gang. Said dead rival is then cut into pieces and fed to dogs.

  • Every one of the Animorphs at one time or another, since they're fighting a Puppeteer Parasite species where often the only option is to kill the host. At first they tried to limit it to alien enemies, but as the war wears on they're forced to break that vow and kill humans as well.
  • The premise of Battle Royale is that a group of 64-ish students are taken to an island and forced to kill each other until only one survives. Adding to the "forced" aspect is the fact that they're wearing explosive collars and if no one dies for twenty four hours, the guys in charge will kill everyone...
  • Done with downright creepy frequency and casualness in The Chronicles of Narnia. In one incident, Aslan even keeps away the adult soldiers when Susan is threatened by wolves, so that Susan's brother Peter, a mere child, can prove himself capable of fighting the wolves. The fact that this could have gotten Susan killed is never discussed, nor is the morality of turning Peter into a soldier.
  • In the Dark Disciple Trilogy this is the most terrible facet of the Children of Chemosh. This otherwise Nigh-Invulnerable version of The Undead created by Chemosh can only be destroyed if a child strikes them. The destruction of the creature is so horrifying that it also traumatizes the child and robs them of their youthful innocence forever.
  • Saki's "The Easter Egg".
  • Ender's Game is the epitome of Children Forced to Kill. All of the characters are prepubescent or slightly older Child Soldiers being trained to kill an invading alien force.
  • Robert Muchamore's "Home" in which the protagonist is a very young guerilla soldier. After doing it he is nicknamed "Psycho".
    • Another Muchamore series has the protagonist (This time a very young super spy) shoot someone and require counseling afterward.
  • The whole plot of The Hunger Games books is that there's an annual event in which one boy and one girl aged 12–18 from each of the twelve districts surrounding the Capitol are selected by lottery to compete in a televised battle to the death until one winner remains.
  • In Hurog, Ward's father was abusive, and taking young Ward with him while hunting down bandits might have been one of his nicer traits. Ward knows how to kill when he's nineteen, and as he has been Obfuscating Stupidity since he was twelve, one can draw some conclusions ... it is not mentioned whether his father stopped taking him along when it seem like Ward had brain damage from being beaten, but it is pretty clear he started this early.
  • Kagerou Daze has Tsubomi Kido kill her father with an ornamental spear after he goes mad, sets his house on fire, and plans on killing Tsubomi's sister Rin. Even though Tsubomi was never close with her father, she's still horrified by her actions.
  • Alindar from The Red Vixen Adventures was taken in by pirates after her family was murdered by them. By age eight she was a Child Soldier being forced to hunt down other children aboard the ships they attacked.
  • Some beasts pulled into the fighting in the Redwall novels were quite young (as young as preteens - or younger). Some of whose reactions were understandable, while others were not.
  • Horseshoes from Secret Agents Four wrangles with himself after he's forced to kill a guard. It all turns out to be a misunderstanding, and he ends up learning he didn't actually kill the guard.
  • Septimus Heap: In Queste, Septimus and Jenna are forced to throw the InHabited Toll-Man into the Abyss to escape from the Thing that is controlling his body.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, nine-year old Arya Stark has to do this more than once when she's thrust into a wartorn countryside. She moves from simple self-defense to pre-meditated murder, and eventually becomes the apprentice of a guild of assassins.
  • Coin of Sourcery is forced to kill some of the wizards (and Forced to Watch) by the ghost of his father Ipslore.
    "I don't like killing people. I'm sure it can't be right."
  • Survivor Dogs: Lick kills a dog for the first time before she's even been given her adult name. During a fight in The Broken Path, she tears off Terror's jaw protecting her pack. It isn't considered Blood-Splattered Innocents because Lick still remains innocent afterward; she only saw it as protecting her loved ones.
  • The Tomorrow Series: Ellie and her friends didn't set out originally to be guerrillas...
  • In Treasure Island, teenager Jim Hawkins kills pirate Israel Hands in self-defense.
  • Gregor from The Underland Chronicles has latent warrior skills that makes him skilled at assassination. In fact, if he finds himself near death, he involuntarily goes berserk and kills anything in fit of rage.
  • In Velocity by Dean Koontz, 14-year-old Billy Wiles (later the protagonist of the book) has to kill his homicidally deranged father to protect himself and his wounded mother. Then he's forced to Mercy Kill his mother, whose injuries were probably not survivable anyway.
  • In the first Wings of Fire book, the adolescent Tsunami is forced to kill her opponent in a life or death duel. Tsunami tries to convince Queen Scarlet to let them both go after her opponent is unable to battle, but Scarlet refuses to let that happen.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The 24 Made-for-TV Movie Redemption included some children being trained to kill by the followers of an African general.
  • In Criminal Minds episode "North Mammon" an UnSub kidnaps three girls and imprisons them in his basement cellar, he will let two of them go if they kill one of them.
    • The guy in "Psychodrama" tried to force young boys to kill, or otherwise just attack, their mothers under threat of death.
    • Two young men in "The Wheels on the Bus" kidnap a bus of younger teens and force them to fight in a real-life version of a video game.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • This happens to Arya Stark, starting in "The Pointy End" once she flees the castle and takes to the streets of King's Landing. While traveling, she creates a list of people who she want to kill for the deaths of her family and friends. Later on, she traveled to Braavos and takes up assassination lessons from the Faceless Men. After returning to Westeros, she kills Walder Frey, who orchestrated the Red Wedding that killed her mother, her oldest brother, her sister-in-law and their bannermen.
    • Like his older sister, Bran Stark has racked up a body count during his travel, including a couple of Wildlings and Locke. Right now, he's responsible for five deaths.
  • The reason the fourth episode of Hannibal was yanked from broadcast was because the killer of the week brainwashed children into killing their families. Bryan Fuller felt that it was too reminsicent of certain events.
  • To a lesser extent in Kid Nation. The children end up having to kill chickens to feed themselves.
  • Comes up in an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. The individual in question is an adult by the time of the episode, but as a child, he was forced to become a Child Soldier in Uganda, and he's permanently traumatized by his experiences and the memory of the people he was forced to kill, leading to him committing suicide at the end of the episode.
  • On Lost, Sayid got his start in murder by covering for his brother when forced to kill a chicken. Eko did the same thing, but with a person.
  • Supernatural: It turns out that a young Bobby Singer killed his abusive father while he was threatening his mother. Hunters in general too — many of them start off being trained by their parents while still quite young. Krissy Chambers kills her first demon at 14.

  • Survival of the Fittest: Even if you don't count the teenagers (who are usually 15-19) being forced to kill each other, there have been a few younger characters on the show as well, such as 12-year olds who did fit this.

    Video Games 
  • Referenced by Lucil in Final Fantasy X-2 in which she mentions her hope of a new age "in which children will never have to lift a sword."
  • Fuga: Melodies of Steel has the main cast kids ranged from 4 to 12 piloting a giant tank through their war-torn country to fight back against an invading military force, realizing early on that they have to take lives in order to save their friends and family. This hits them as early as the first chapter.
  • In the world of The Last of Us, 14 year old Ellie is forced kill not only Infected Humans but other humans too in self-defense. The Resort level particular has Ellie taking on an entire town of bandits by herself and killing their leader at the end.
  • The prequel novel to Mary Skelter: Nightmares reveals that Blood Skelter was discovered after a tragedy in which a ten-year-old Red Riding Hood inadvertently caused a fellow Blood Maiden to go insane by splashing Marchen blood all over them, resulting in said Blood Maiden lashing out and Red Riding Hood instinctively impaling them with her freshly-gifted pair of person-sized scissors. In Mary Skelter 2, this trope ends up Double Subverted: Otsuu rescues Little Mermaid from her predicament before Red Riding Hood arrives and thus prevents the original tragedy from happening, but it ultimately ends up creating an even worse timeline, so Otsuu and Little Mermaid revert things to the original timeline...resulting in Mermaid's novel death right before the closing credits.
  • Defied in Super Robot Wars X. The first time Wataru takes out a Mobile Suit, he realizes that they are piloted by humans; however, Ryujinmaru quickly assures him that every manned unit that he's fighting has an Ejection Seat and that nobody actually dies.
    • Super Robot Wars T follows suit with Hikaru, Umi and Fuu. Since they're older than Wataru (they are in their early teens whereas Wataru is a fourth-grader), they immediately know that they're fighting other humans and thus actually urge the enemy pilots to activate their Ejection Seat whenever their suits are about to explode. Unfortunately, they cannot defy the trope when it comes to Princess Emeraude, just like in the original series.
  • Tales of the Abyss has this when you take into account Luke is actually seven which makes his entire freak out and inability to adjust to having to kill humans both more understandable and more horrifying. Anise is thirteen and a fon master guardian but doesn't seem to suffer in this regard.
  • One of the Team Fortress 2 comics has The Spy teaching a kid to stab Old Nick in the neck. The kid has no moral issues with it after the fact, and it's played as a heartwarming experience.
  • Can happen in The Walking Dead. For example, Clementine can have to shoot The Stranger to save Lee if he fails to protect himself, or even shoot an infected Lee before he turns - if he tells her she has to do it.

    Visual Novels 
  • The entire premise of the Danganronpa series. 15 to 16 high schoolers are imprisoned in a location (school, island, school respectively for the three main titles) and forced into a “killing game” by the sadistic teddy bear mascot Monokuma. The first person to kill someone else and not be voted as the killer in a trial by the (remaining) students gets to escape and live, while everyone else dies. If they are voted as the killer, they instead are executed by Monokuma in an ironic (including a chef being cooked alive, a biker being forced into one of those motorcycle ball stunt cage and turned into butter and a gambler who pretends to be European being burned at the stake and run over by a truck) and over the top fashion. Even if you don’t kill and aren’t killed, you have to send others to their death for doing so.
    • In the third game, Maki Harukaw's backstory involves her being taken away from the orphanage by a group known as the Holy Salvation Society and being forced to become an assassin.

    Web Comics 
  • This is standard in the setting of Drowtales, where children as young as 10 are expected to be able to defend themselves if need be, and the straightest example is when Ariel, who at the time is the equivalent of a 7 year old human child, is forced to choose between killing Mir'kiin, an asshole who had tried to kill her, and fighting her cousin to the death. She chooses to kill Mir'kiin, and it's heavily implied this leaves her with PTSD.
  • Example from, of all places, El Goonish Shive. Well, depending on your definition of 'child', but Susan and Nanase probably weren't much more than 12 when, during a class-trip to France, they wind up being targeted by a Somewhat Different Vampire. He's not technically human, but he LOOKS human - mostly - and while Nanase does most of the fighting, it's Susan who ends up having to kill him - with an axe, even. Unsurprisingly, she was traumatized, and the arc that featured the flashback culminated in an Immortal decrying the irresponsibility of the two french Immortals who originally equipped Nanase and Susan for the battle, while giving them no apparent alternative save dying at the hands of the vampire. Apparently, they could have simply informed the French Government's anti-supernatural-creature-squad instead, but elected to drag two pre-teens into a battle in order to 'recruit them for the fight against evil'.

    Web Original 
  • Parodied by Cracked, in an article consisting of a man apologizing to his neighbors for kidnapping their children and holding a Hunger Games-inspired event. He still thinks it was friggin' awesome, though.
  • One of the matches in DEATH BATTLE! was Luigi vs. Tails. Since these are battles to the death, Kid Hero Tails would need to kill Luigi in order to win. In the end, he does.
    • Another one was Gaara vs. Toph Beifong, wherein the latter is only 12 years old. Like Tails, she does kill Gaara.
    • And much later came Mob vs. Tatsumaki, in which the former is only eight years old. Unlike the two earlier battles, Mob is defeated and killed by his foe.
    • There is also the case of Ben Tennyson having to fight, and potentially kill, Hal Jordan. Just like Mob, Ben doesn't leave with his life.
  • The subject matter of Madgie, what did you do? XIX:Mercenary and, as the description put it, no one is exempt from fighting, even the youngest must fight, as in if they can hold a weapon and know what it is, they can fight.
    • One a side note, it's also been pointed out that Bunny was surprised that Doki (the one leading this group) was affectionate and maternal towards them and that they mean a lot to her, thus if she didn't have to, she wouldn't be putting them up to it but she has no choice and they have no choice either, as per the lines:
      "In whatever war that is going on, I was surprised that Doki was very affectionate with them and it occurred to me that, due to what was going on, she didn't want to put them up to killing as so to defend their turf or themselves but it was not like she could take them anywhere else or hide them for very long. As it seemed in the case of Violetta, who was minus a leg, they would have to be damaged in sort of way if they were to be out of duty. Doki's affection towards them proved what no one thought, it proved that they were not expendable weapons and, that to her, they were precious and that, if she didn't have to, she wouldn't be making them do what they are doing."

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender is set in a world at war, and since the protagonists are children, it's only natural that this trope gets discussed. The protagonists face lethal confrontations with soldiers left and right (though only Sokka is unquestionably forced to kill because of it), and at one point we see a group of displaced children who are willing to kill innocent civilians for revenge against the Fire Nation.
    • Aang, only 12 years old, absolutely hates this. He believes all life is sacred, and he is horrified at the thought of having to kill Fire Lord Ozai. After allowing the Ocean Spirit to possess him and sink an entire Fire Navy fleet during the Siege of the North, he has nightmares about losing control and killing people while in the Avatar State.
  • Infinity Train: In "The Wasteland", MT is forced to kill Agent Mace in self-defense, and it's not helped by the gruesome way it ends up happening: she grinds him against the wheels of the Train while he screams in agony and we see Mace's leaking chrome body splatter against MT's face.
  • In The Venture Bros., a clip from The Rusty Venture Show shows a young Rusty traumatically having to shoot a bad guy to save his father. Just one of the many little events that screwed up Rusty. He also briefly mentions being forced to kill a man using a house key at age ten. Played for pitch-black laughs.
  • Voltron: Legendary Defender: Besides the more impersonal versions of blowing up enemy ships, Pidge, the youngest Paladin of Voltron, personally kills a Galra early in the series.

    Real Life 


Video Example(s):



Olle is forced to kill the Skogsra in order to leave the forest. Showing her mercy isn't an option, because if he tries to do so she kills him on the spot. This act horrifies Olle and causes him to Stress Vomit while he's trying to process what he's done.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / ChildrenForcedToKill

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