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Redemption Equals Death / Anime & Manga

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  • In Saint Seiya, Gemini Saga kills himself after his good side regains control of his body, believing the only way of redeeming himself after what he's done to Athena and his fellow Saints is death.
  • Haou Airen: Hakuron, as he dies in the last volume. It really depends on your view of him.
  • Simoun: Mamiina starts as the Alpha Bitch, tries to kill a teammate, grows into a responsible true companion, gets the love and respect she wants, and dies in a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Sailor Moon. The manga version of Sailor Galaxia realizes she was manipulated by Chaos and wanted love rather than conquest immediately before her death.
    • Nephrite turned his back on the Dark Kingdom for the sake of Naru and their growing relationship...and then gave up his life to protect her from Zoisite's youma.
  • Both Mdlock and Ralph in Str.A.In.: Strategic Armored Infantry. Ralph sets Medlock's own Tumor robots to tear her apart once she defects to the Union. Ralph's has more in common with a Heroic Sacrifice, although he is killed by Sara for his crime instead of jumping in to save her or anything. As The Gloire is about to blow up, he looks at his musical pendant and tells Sara to take care of the Emilys.
  • In Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch, it happens to just about every first season villain. Gakuto (Gaito, if you're watching the anime) is doomed to be crushed by or sealed inside his own castle, and the Dark Lovers stay by his side; Sara, seeing the damage she's done, goes voluntarily with him. (Strangely enough, the actual dying only happens in the anime, which is generally the more child-friendly version.) Then there are Mimi and Sheshe, who were actually redeemed in the anime — in the manga, it's debatable. They get offed by Michel.
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  • In Fatal Fury The Motion Picture, Laocorn instantly feels remorse for his sister's death, realizes he was being used all along, and then saves Mai at the cost of his own life, all in about three minutes.
  • Many times in Dragon Ball Z, but most would fall under Heroic Sacrifice, with the notable exception of Piccolo's death at the turning point of the climactic battle of the Saiyan Saga. This is an example as he had been training his ex-archenemy's son for the previous year, and showed more kindness to him than anyone before.
    • Partly averted in the case of Vegeta's Heroic Sacrifice when fighting against Buu after he betrayed his True Companions to become a Majin and beat Goku. This might redeem him in the eyes of most of the human characters, but King Yemma sees things differently and sends him to Hell for his previous crimes.
    • It should be noted that death is rarely permanent in DBZ.
      • Although none of the villains (who stay evil) are ever wished back. The only two times anyone has ever considered it were Nappa asking Vegeta if they should wish Raditz back to life, and Garlic Jr. planning on collecting the Dragonballs to wish his father Garlic (who is dead before the first episode, probably before Dragonball itself) back to life. The closest to an exception is Kid Buu who is reincarnated as Uub, who fortunately is good and not evil.
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    • How does Piccolo's death not fall under Heroic Sacrifice? He specifically threw himself in front of an energy blast meant for Gohan, but rather than doing it purely out of good, he saw Gohan as an extension of Goku, and saving the most treasured aspect of Goku's life is a form of repentance.
    • Android 16, despite being an intended weapon of mass destruction, is the only one to step in to save tremendously outmatched Gohan in his fight with Cell.
    • And in Dabura's case, it's more like Death Equals Redemption: not only because dying released him from Babidi's control, but because he was sent to heaven because King Yemma thought he would enjoy hell.
  • Teresa of the Faint Smile in Claymore, both on a personal level (recovering her human emotions) and on a Conspiracy Redemption level.
  • Almost everyone in End of Evangelion dies after attempting a Conspiracy Redemption.
    • Although not a villain herself, Rei redeems her previous unflinching subservience to morally nebulous Gendo when she defies him and leaves the fate of the world in Shinji's hands. She dies sometime afterwards.
  • Darker Than Black is full of this trope, both on a 'redemption for evil' and 'trying to redeem themselves of their part of a conspiracy' level. Havoc is a prime example of the former (dying after recovering her Contractor powers, yet managing to retain her humanity and thus not use them), while November 11 is a prime example of the latter (and he takes his "conspiring to kill him" superior with him).
  • Monster seems to take great delight in showing how many of the show's villains and side characters are only flawed human beings with their own drives, problems and emotions and not soulless monsters... Most of them, in showing their human sides or by righting their previous flaws and sins, are killed by Johan shortly after. Even nearly dying doesn't redeem the titular Monster, however.
    • In fact, in what may be a subversion of this trope, nearly dying makes him worse. Near the end, his sister comes to believe that if she had forgiven him at that juncture instead of shooting him in the head, Johan may have stopped killing at that point. It's debatable whether his second near death experience, his sister's later forgiveness, and (above all) Tenma's saving him again (despite knowing what a monster he was this time) had any effect on him, but we can always hope.
  • Variation: In Code Geass, Suzaku thinks that Redemption Equals Death; having never been punished for the murder of his father at the age of 10, he throws himself into battles with the hope of being killed and redeeming himself, which has the side effect of making him look like a brave, heroic Knight in Shining Armor. The loving irony of this is that Lelouch eventually puts a "Live" Geass on Suzaku, so as to save himself when Suzaku tries to throw away both their lives under orders. This makes it impossible for Suzaku to willingly sacrifice himself for any reason, as he is now supernaturally hardwired to survive at any cost despite his emotional torture. It gets even worse for him when he learns about the command.
    • Played straight, however, with Rolo, who died saving Lelouch's life. Also overlaps with Alas, Poor Scrappy because some really bad screw ups made him one of the most hated characters in the series, but lots of people cried for him after his Heroic Sacrifice. The sad music and speech really helped.
    • Invoked with Lelouch, who incorporates his own death into his plan to bring peace to the world to atone for all the terrible things he's had to do to get to that point. The Official Guide Book points out that Suzaku is punished by having to continue living instead of dying per his wish, while Lelouch's death forever separates him from Nunnally. Lelouch had other options on the table, such as remaining around to help with the reconstruction of the world, but a combination of the painful experiences he went through (which most recently included Nunnally's apparent demise plus the Black Knights betrayal and barely saving Kallen from going down with him by lying to her) led to a Thanatos Gambit that simultaneously culminated in the rearrangement of the global status quo and his own Suicide by Cop. That said, there was also an odd double subversion of the trope since Lelouch's plan was fairly comparable to Schneizel's because it involved causing additional death and destruction for the sake of peace, to the point of exceeding what he was purportedly atoning for - albeit without intending to hold the world hostage or in fear forever and ever - which damned him in the eyes of history but grudgingly rehabilitated him from the perspectives of Nunnally and Kallen, among others.
  • Lust from the Fullmetal Alchemist anime dies shortly after defecting to the heroes' side.
    • It's also one possible interpretation for Scar's death in the TV series, and Wrath, and Hohenheim's in the movie, for that matter. Although Scar has just killed thousands of soldiers to create the Philosopher's Stone, and Hohenheim's Heroic Sacrifice (?) is a dubious way of apologizing to his son for abandoning him, not to mention the thousands of victims if not more that he created indirectly by making Envy and not killing him before four centuries had elapsed. At least, he seems to feel sufficiently punished for surviving his first son.
  • At the end of Trigun, Wolfwood's death in both the manga and anime qualifies too. Confetti and churches, Faux Symbolism.
  • In the Naru Taru manga and anime, Shiina's mother Misono became an absolute cold bitch after her eldest daughter Mishou died, apparently by suicide, blaming it on the main character in despair. In the manga...after many years, Misono starts to regret what she has done and how badly she treated Shiina. This reaches its peak in Volume 11, where after the death of Shiina's father Shunji and with some help of Shiina's friend Akira, mother and daughter are reunited and patch things up. But few after her redemption, Misono ends up shot to death in front of Shiina.
  • Any single villain in Fist of the North Star that feels ANY amount of sorrow for their heartless deeds after Kenshiro beats some sense into them WILL die. The most certain of them would be Raoh, Kaioh and Raiga and Fuuga, though it takes a few episodes for this to kick into effect for the latter two.
    • Raiga and Fuuga are not really villains at the first place; they were forced to guard the gate of Cassandra because their younger brother, Mitsu, was being held hostage by the true villain, Uighur.
  • In Zone of the Enders: Dolores, I, the main bad guy had plan to literally sweep out the whole earth. After getting his ass kicked by the main characters, he realized error in his way, and then sacrifice himself to save the earth.
  • Done tragically in Deep Love: The Story of Ayu, although the character in question isn't exactly evil. Rather, she's a bit immoral and misguided in her life. After meeting a kind old lady, Ayu learns to be a better person, and what it means to sacrifice for another. Through her efforts, another character is able to be healed of his previously fatal ailment. For all her new found selflessness, she contracts AIDS and dies. Alone. Wishing she could live. Holy crap...
  • In Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-, Cloney recovers his soul and emotions during the final battle just in time to take a fatal blow for the original.
  • In Naruto, Zabuza fits this. Chiyo also consider her Heroic Sacrifice as a form of redemption, as it was for Gaara, who she sealed the One-Tails into, which is why he was killed by Akatsuki.
    • Also Pain in chapter 449. Intersects with Karmic Death since it was the evil act he committed that causes it.
    • Probably the biggest one in the series, Obito. After returning to his old-self, Obito is at death's door, but manages to keep on fighting it off in order to help the heroes against Madara and later on Kaguya. He finally dies Taking the Bullet for Naruto and Kakashi, his final words thanking Naruto for making him realize the error of his ways, and saying that he knows Naruto will become Hokage.
    • Filler character "Menma" also matched this. A career bandit, he repented during a raid and saved a girl from his former comrades. Ultimately, his entire run on the show was the time-gap between Redemption and Death for him.
  • In the Virtual World arc of Yu-Gi-Oh!, Noah bites it after he is about to escape the Virtual World, leaving the characters inside to die, but instead decides to return and rescue them, at the cost of his own life.
    • After his darker persona takes over his body, Marik realizes that a lot of the hardship he went through was his own fault and becomes horrified at what he's done, so he invokes this by trying to urge Yami Yugi to defeat him in any way possible even though it will mean his death as well. Subverted as Yami Yugi manages to still save Marik anyway.
  • Gin of One Piece, formerly a ruthless killer in the service of Don Krieg, decides to spare Sanji and ask Krieg to leave the Baratie. Krieg responds by ordering Gin to throw away his gas mask and attacking with poison gas. When Luffy throws him and Sanji gas masks, forgetting to get one for himself, Gin throws him his, and is seemingly fatally poisoned as a result. He isn't shown dying, though, although he is speculated to only have hours to live.
  • In Digimon Adventure 02, at the end, Yukio Oikawa apologizes to the Digidestined for creating Arukenimon and Mummymon and ripping a hole between the real world. Then he dies/turns himself into butterflies to save the Digital World.
    • But averted when Ken finds out everything he's been doing as the Digimon Emperor is completely wrong and ends up...getting amnesia?
    • Averted in Tamers by Beelzemon, who almost died from an attack from the D-Reaper but was rescued by Grani and recovered while spending time with his Tamers.
  • Subverted somewhat in Bleach 354 when Ulquiorra finally learns what the heart is as he is literally disintegrating.
    • Played straight a chapter earlier, where he saves Orihime and Ishida from Zombie!Ichigo, but uses up the last of his energy doing so and is thus unable to regenerate. He dies in this chapter, but gets an internal monologue in the one above, which is how he both subverts and plays this trope straight.
    • Lampshaded and mixed with Dying as Yourself in 387 where Tousen finally see's that his path was wrong and that he has those who care for him the same way he cared for his friend only to explode into a mass of blood seconds later.
  • Mostly averted in Fairy Tail, except for Jellal, who supposedly gives his life to keep Erza from giving up hers to save her friends, and she mourns for him. Later, when it turns out he didn't die (how this is possible isn't even questioned), he tries to pull this a second time by blowing himself up to take out an ancient magic superweapon. Erza however, yells that he doesn't have the right to take his life and he can't atone if he's dead. Still, at least he tried, and the whole thing turned out moot when the Arc Villain revealed he knew how to dispel the self-destruction spell he used so it would be a Senseless Sacrifice anyways.
    • Hades, the Big Bad of the Sirius Island Arc, gets in on this act as well. Though he was originally killed brutally by Zeref and had his soul absorbed by Franmalth, after said demon's defeat freed his soul, he gives Lucy and Natsu a message. "It's not over yet. Tartaros's real goal is not Face. Tell Makarov...that it's time to let out the light."
  • 20th Century Boys has a number of examples, but some of the most notable are Yamane, Masao and Sadakiyo. A major theme in the final arc of the series is that of the people who help put Friend in power and, by extension, put the world in the sorry state its in, realising the error of their ways and seeking redemption. This leads to a number of deaths and Heroic Sacrifices on their part, leading to this trope.
    • Additionally, this almost happens to Kiriko when she testes out the vaccine to the blood virus on herself,
  • In Prétear, Sasame defects from the Leafe Knights to be by Takako's side because he fell in love with her—even though he knew she didn't love him in return. On her side, he attempts to kill his former teammates and turns Mawata into the Puppet of Darkness by breaking her heart, but when Takako has a Villainous Breakdown and is nearly attacked by the dark tree she summoned, Sasame throws himself in front of an attack meant for her. The dark energy possessing the two disintegrates, and (after admitting "Not even my death will redeem me", he dies in the redeemed Takako's arms with a smile. His soul is even seen flying away into a bright white nothingness by his former teammates. However, this is one example where the redeemed DOES come back to life— Himeno revives him (and others) through her powers during the final battle with the Great Tree.
  • Metal Sonic in Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie. He tries to destroy the world, but gets stopped and beaten by Sonic. He then rescues the President and Old Man Owl from a burning aircraft. Immediately afterwards, he collapses and falls into a Lava Pit, and and brushes away Sonic's attempt to save him.
  • Shion at the very end of Meakashi-hen in Higurashi: When They Cry, as she finally becomes sane and apologizes to everyone she's killed as she falls to her death, promising she won't do it again the next time.
  • This is what happens to Kenshin in Rurouni Kenshin: Seisohen OVA. That this represents the ideological antithesis of the manga's conclusion is the specific reason why creator Nobuhiro Watsuki disowned it.
    • Subversion with one of the filler villains for the anime, Tomoe. He acted as a vigilant killing politicians that were supposedly corrupt, but wasn't aware that the politician sending him and supplying him with men was just using him to get rid off his political rivals and planned to kill him and his men they were done. After getting his kicked by Kenshin and learning the truth, Tomoe tries to kill himself, but his former teacher stops and tells him the suicide is just running away.
  • In Burst Angel (Bakuretsu Tenshi), at the end Jo's born enemy, Maria, dies so that Jo and Meg can escape the ship. Maria does this after realizing she likes Jo and is not able to fight.
  • In Toward the Terra, Keith Anyan ultimately redeems himself by turning against Grand Mother and freeing humanity from the SD System. He's rewarded for his efforts with a sword through the gut.
  • This happens to Ray Lundgren of GUN×SWORD just after he accepts an alternative form of revenge in place of the one he wanted.
  • In I'm Gonna Be an Angel! this may apply to Mikael after Noelle eventually turns into an angel and saves Yuusuke, which in turn allows him to save her family. After that he, Noelle and Silky start to merge into one angel being (meaning they start dying) so he indeed does something redeemable after becoming the series' Big Bad.
  • In Yoiroiden Samurai Troopers AKA The Ronin Warriors this is the fate of Dark Warlord Shuten Doji (Anubis) after his Heel–Face Turn when he saves who is the last of the Ancients clan Lady Kayura.
  • Subverted in Inazuma Eleven with Seijirou Kira. After he comes to realize what he's been doing has been a terrible mistake, minutes later the Aliea Academy building starts to collapse. As everyone else flees, he decides to let the building crush him to death as his way of atoning for his crimes and kneels in the middle of the collapsing building. But in the end, Hiroto and Endou turn back and talk him out of it, and he (and everyone else) escapes unscathed.
    • Played straight with Kageyama Reiji though. After confessing to all his crimes and willingly leaving with the police he gets killed by Garshield Bayhan who made his death seem like an accident.
  • Viro in Elemental Gelade, who fails spectacularly in her job as a spy/assassin.
  • A rather sad one in Ginga Densetsu Weed. Teru's father, an abusive father, was given the choice to either save his son from Hougen's hired assassins (Thunder and Lector) or to run away. After choosing whether or not to kill Kyoshiro, who attacked him and cut off his ear earlier, he chose to rescue his son. But then he ends up getting killed while fighting. His good-bye to his son was heart-wrenching.
    • Also Jerome in the anime. After being exiled by Weed for killing Thunder and Lector in cold blood, he helps Weed stay afloat during a flood. But then, to save him and to assure the safety of Ohu, he lets Weed be saved by the pack while he drowns.
  • Another sad one in Aquarion Evol. Just after completing his Heel–Face Turn and saving his new friends from defeat, Jin is killed by Mykage.
  • Downplayed in Holyland: Shougo in chapter 166 saves Yuu and beats down Ryuu, then gets arrested.
  • In Umi Monogatari, Urin believes this in the finale, but she's convinced otherwise and saved.
  • Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple: Redemption may be too strong a word, but Kii Kagerou ultimately proved willing to sacrifice himself to give the Katsujinken masters a chance against the One Shadow Nine Fist.

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