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Thou Shalt Not Kill / Anime & Manga

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  • In A Certain Magical Index, Touma Kamijou is noted for his ability to defeat bad guys and solve problems without killing anybody, and he'll even save his enemies' lives. In the light novel version, he came close to crossing the line when Aureolus Dummy turned a girl into a gold statue and then melted her. In a rage, Touma beat him half to death, then was horrified and allowed him to leave.
  • Dr. Orson from A Cruel God Reigns stresses this to Jeremy while he is counseling him before his death. He tells him that killing will only succeed in harming his own soul in the end. Subverted when Jeremy, while still considering this, commits Vehicular Sabotage.
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  • In Assassination Classroom, everyone except for Korosensei is off-limits for Class 3-E. He has only had to explicitly forbid his students from killing humans twice: once before they went up against Gastro, and the other to prevent Nagisa from murdering Takaoka.
  • Roger Smith in The Big O lives by a self-imposed code of ethics. It appears to trend towards not killing people as he is very reluctant to use any form of firearm, and when pushed to use one will shoot at objects rather than people.
  • In Bleach, most of the main cast members who aren't dead at least try to follow this, save for when fighting run-of-the-mill Hollows. Inoue Orihime not only hasn't harmed anyone seriously since her powers first emerged, but can't due to her personality. Unfortunately, she tends to believe that this makes her a burden on her friends, despite that she can reject reality to the point where she can heal a corpse with half of their brains blown out. The fact that it was someone who had shown up simply to try and torture her for no reason other than spite is just icing on the cake.
    • Oddly enough, Ichigo didn't kill a single Arrancar in his invasion of Hueco Mundo, at least not consciously; he let Grimmjow live, his Superpowered Evil Side took out Ulquiorra, and the mooks he cut down were revealed to be fakes generated by another arrancar. This is somewhat jarring when compared with Fake Karakura Town, where both of the Espada's Token Good Teammates are cut down without anybody batting an eye.
      • It's debateable whether Ichigo avoids killing because he's following a code, or because he just doesn't feel like it. In one arc the villain is revealed to have altered the past of Ichigo's friends and family, making them believe him to be their friend and turning on Ichigo when he attacks him. Once Ichigo hears the details, the first thing he asks if if they'll change back if he kills the person who did it. He looks quite scary when he says it.
      • Ichigo himself has issues with this. He has no will to kill anyone, and it's even lampshaded by Urahara. During his fight with Renji, he gets over it. Renji still lives, but Ichigo was able to put the thoughts behind him and kill him if necessary.
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  • In Claymore, the Claymores are forbidden from killing humans, even if it's an accident or is done to protect another human. The punishment is immediate execution. However, there have been Claymores who are perfectly willing to kill humans. For example, Teresa slaughtered a group of bandits to protect Clare then went rogue and there was Ophelia who took sadistic pleasure in torturing and killing humans and fellow Claymores, but was just sure to kill all the witnesses so no one would find out.
  • Code:Breaker has the main character Sakura who goes to great lengths to prevent Rei and others from killing, as she believes all life is precious. However after the Re:Code arc, expect her personality to be centered around this.
  • In Detective Conan/Case Closed, Conan/Shinichi always refuse to let a suspect end up dead, even the suspect tries to kill him. He would even try to save the suspect's life even if it risks his own life.
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  • In Digimon Adventure 02, the Digidestined are afraid of killing Digimon, and avoid it whenever possible (unlike in the first one, when fighting the forces of Etemon, Myotismon, and the Dark Masters). The only exceptions are Control Spire Digimon (as they are not considered "alive"), Kimeramon (who was created by the Digimon Emperor), MaloMyotismon (as he is pure evil and the main villain behind everything in Season 2), and Airdramon (for unknown reasons). They are forced to kill SkullSatamon, LadyDevimon, and MarineDevimon, and Yolei and Cody are shocked when this happens (though Cody knew they'd have to destroy MarineDevimon), though TK and Kari reassure them it was the right thing to do.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Goku strongly personifies this trope when he's an adult (so much so that is almost considered a Running Gag) as he refuses to kill even the most evil opponents. In the original Dragon Ball, he lets Piccolo Jr., a character who was at that time considered a demon who also just tried to kill him live. In Dragon Ball Z, he chooses to let his brother live after threatening his son and rest of the population of the planet, and he even tries to let Frieza, a genocidal alien who destroys planets for fun and just killed his life long best friend, live. This particularly moral code developed after Goku trained under Kami. Before then, he was far less mercifully, ruthlessly killing or causing grave harm to anyone he saw as a threat to himself or his friends. Eventually he becomes more willing to kill evil opponents like Cell and Buu, but for a long period of time he insisted on giving everyone a second chance. At the same time one of the reasons he did not kill Piccolo Jr is because if he did Kami would also die along with the Dragon Balls. Frieza was also more of a case of Cruel Mercy, since he saw letting him live as a punishment. He also tried to kill Frieza without hesitation when he tried to attack him from the back. but Frieza was just so incredibly tough that he survived it.
    • All of the Earth's fighters and Jaco adhered to this code in Resurrection 'F. They all did their best not to kill any of Frieza's men, even people like Piccolo and Tien who had no problem killing their opponents in the past. This ended in vain, since Frieza kills all his soldiers for failing.
    • Android 16 unexpectedly developed a love of all living things, and refused to fight against anyone whenever the opportunity arose. He still planned on killing Goku, but only because that was hard-coded into his programming (and he ignores this directive when he finally does meet Goku, since by then he'd done a full Heel–Face Turn). 16 does eventually make one exception: because Cell is an Omnicidal Maniac that refuses to coexist peacefully, 16 reasons that it is appropriate to kill him for the sake of everything else.
  • In Eureka Seven, both Renton and Eureka have to stop killing humans after Renton realizes what he has been doing to the KLF pilots, and when Eureka realizes the value of human life.
    • In the TV sequel Eureka Seven AO, Eureka did not attack the Scub Coral despite her antagonizing it, to honor her husband Renton's wish not to kill her own kin.
  • Juvia of Fairy Tail admits to live by this philosophy when she fights Meredy, and she states that the other Fairy Tail members do the same. Ironically, Juvia was a former member of the rival guild Phantom Lord which members (at least most of them) didn't seem to hesitate killing their opponents. It's unknown if Juvia also had her no-killing moral code when she was a Phantom Lord member, of if she undertook it after her Heel–Face Turn. Interestingly, another Fairy Tail member, Gajeel, also pulled a Heel–Face Turn from being a Phantom Lord member, and when he was a villain he didn't shy away from trying to kill the heroine Lucy. He has still shown to be quite Ax-Crazy even after turning good, so it's definitely not sure that he refuses to kill his opponents even though he might not do it in cold blood.
  • The titular character of the horror-comedy Franken Fran is absolutely married to this trope. She will prevent any patient that's under her character from dying by any way possible... and that's what makes her terrifying.
  • In From the New World, this is built into the DNA of all humans - if a human kills another human, they will immediately die themselves due to an autonomic reaction. Those who don't have this reaction are called Fiends, and are normally inherently psychotic. However, humans are now a Technical Pacifist race; they use the Trickster Cats/Impure Cats to kill their children who don't measure up to the needs of their society. Furthermore, What Measure Is a Non-Human? is in play in that only people who the killer sees as human trigger the Death of Shame. The ramifications of this drive the majority of the plot points of the second half.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Main character Edward Elric refuses to kill to achieve his goals, even Homunculi. Still doesn't make him any less badass by any stretch of the imagination. Just look what he did to Pride. In fact, the closest he comes to killing anyone is when he punches through Father's chest after regaining his arm, and even then, he didn't actually die...instead, what happened to him was far worse.
    • In the final story arc Mustang and crew also subscribe to this policy, at least in regard to human enemies. However, their allies, the Briggs soldiers, do not.
  • In Ginga Densetsu Weed, Weed (the Pup Hero) strongly believes in releasing enemies after they had enough. Doesn't stop him from killing a wild boar that threatens his pack, though.
  • Rushuna of Grenadier does more or less the same thing (with more Gainaxing).
  • In Ikki Tousen, Sonsaku Hakufu refuses to kill her rivals, saying that she only wants to fight them but not take their lives.
  • Despite him beating his enemies to a pulp, Issei the protagonist of High School D×D hasn't killed anybody at all. Not even Mooks!
  • This is the key point of contention between Ryozanpaku and Yami in Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple. Yami's followers believe in upholding the "Satsu-jinken" (killing fist) philosophy, which they feel is the most original (and therefore most authentic) interpretation of all martial arts. On the other hand, Ryozanpaku's martial artists uphold the "Katsu-jinken" (merciful fist) philosophy, as they believe there is no longer any need for killing-based martial art techniques in the modern world.
  • Lupin III zig-zags this trope.
    • In the early comics, Lupin didn't have a problem killing. Even the early Anime has it happening in cruel or horrifying ways. Most adaptations, however, are Lighter and Softer, so Lupin and gang distance themselves from their enemies with this view.
    • This trope is especially noted towards Zenigata; both characters have mentioned that they have an understood "gentlemen's agreement" that neither will attempt to kill the other, and have saved each other's life (several times, in fact).
  • Nanoha Takamachi of Lyrical Nanoha. Very skilled at using Magical Damage, which lets her create a lot of flashy explosions without ever killing anyone, even sentient non-humans. By contrast, the Wolkenritter have no personal qualms about using lethal force when needed, but they also followed this code when they were antagonists in the second season since they didn't want Hayate's name to be defiled with blood.
    • One has to also understand that in a world where Defeat Means Friendship is the 45th law of physics, exterminating one's enemies permanently can be downright wasteful.
    • In fact, there is only one known case of a protagonist killing somebody during the events of the franchise, and it barely counts since it's a Suicide by Cop.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima!, bizarrely enough, has a villain (well, Anti-Villain) with a Thou Shalt Not Kill code, though he was willing to break it if his opponent was dangerous enough.
  • Mazinger Z: The original manga plays with it. In one chapter, three Iron Masks sneak in Kouji's home to try murdering him (it must be stated in the manga they were WAY more competent than in the anime, where Law of Conservation of Ninjutsu held true). Kouji hesitates about killing them even after finding out they are corpses reanimated with a mechanical brain. When he finally gets forced to kill one of them in self-defense he suffers a Heroic BSoD (he remains kneeled, shaking and trembling), and later he is wondering if he is a murderer now. However another character reassures him it was self-defense, lampshading this trope as "the defense of a manga protaganist".
  • Tenma's motto, often tried in Monster.
  • Balsa from Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit refuses to take a life, no matter the circumstances.
  • One Piece plays with this trope; the main character, Luffy, will not kill anyone, but it's not out of niceness or altruism. He just believes that a better punishment would be to let them live, only to let them see their dreams and ambitions shattered and shot down in flames by Luffy and his allies.
    • Other members of the crew, namely Zoro and Robin, are willing to kill off their foes. They never actually do end up killing anyone except some incredibly marginal characters, but they're definitely not holding anything back.
    • 4Kids forces this on their One Piece dub. One example was how Lucky Roo shoots a bandit in the head, but the dub has Shanks saying that "And when he wakes up, tell him it's a cap gun!"
    • Fishman pirate Fisher Tiger held this as a strict rule among his Pirates of the Sun. It wasn't out of altruism. Instead he felt Humans Are Bastards and didn't want his crew falling to that level. He also hoped to avert encouraging a Cycle of Revenge.
  • Akane Tsunemori in Psycho-Pass refuses to kill criminals, unlike the rest of her team. This is made especially clear in the second season premiere, when the Mad Bomber they are chasing has a Crime Coefficient of 302, which just barely puts him in the 300+ threshold of being vaporized by the Dominator's Eliminator Mode, but she opts not to shoot him and uses her negotiation skills to talk him down to 299 and bring him in nonlethally. Something similar happened in the first season premiere, but the big difference is in that case it was a victim she was talking to, not the instigator of the crime. However, she has limits to her compassion: when that same bomber committed another crime and this time killed over a dozen people with a bomb, she outright told him any sympathetic words she'd told him were now meaningless and she was ready to give the order to execute him had Inspector Aoyanagi not shot him first.
    • She also refused to kill the respective Big Bad of each season, but in those cases, she also had practical reasons to do so besides her own morals: in Makishima's case, she had a chance to kill him at Nona Tower, but was under very clear orders from Sibyl to bring him in alive, and her sense of justice prevailed. Later, she cut a deal with Sibyl to bring Makishima in alive in exchange for Sibyl agreeing to let Kougami go free, which failed when Kougami killed him. In the second season, she becomes suspicious of the fact that the Sibyl System really, really wants Kamui dead at all costs without an explanation, and prioritizes bringing him in alive to find out why he's such a threat to the System. Even when Sibyl frames Kamui for the murder of her grandmother, she's perceptive enough to realize he couldn't have killed her and won't take the bait.
  • In regards to humans and fellow Magical Girls, Homura Akemi from Puella Magi Madoka Magica generally follows this way of thinking, with two very specific exceptions: imminent "witch out" (Sayaka in episode 8 and Madoka in episode 10) or directly threatening Madoka's life (Oriko). Ironic given her choice of weaponry.
  • The Rave Master and his allies hold to this as a central philosophy. While they don't shy away from doing it when it's necessary, they will generally do all in their power to resolve their battles without killing.
  • Rurouni Kenshin has a similar plot, where the main character (a former assassin) has sworn to never kill again, and uses a specially designed sword that faces the wrong way, so opponents won't get cut by it, normally (he keeps an edge so as to be able to cut inanimate objects by flipping the blade). Get him to unleash his Superpowered Evil Side, and you may have a problem.
  • In Saiyuki Gaiden the heavens have to abide by this rule and do so to varying degrees. Konzen is vegetarian, however Kenren thinks it's fine to eat fish but has to fight in the army with a stun gun...yet Tenpou has a katana but presumably still obeys the rule. Of course all of that goes out the window in the end. Averted entirely in the main series; the main characters kill many, many, many youkai on their divinely-ordered trip to India.
  • Exa of Superior adheres to a strict no kill rule and holds all his party members to the same standard. He even wields a Morph Weapon that he keeps in the form of a dulled blade to avoid lethal blows. Ironically, his goal is to kill the demon queen.
  • In Tiger & Bunny the Heroes employed by Hero TV refrain from killing criminals. However, the public seems to have gotten tired of this "soft" method of dealing with criminals. When a Vigilante Man NEXT calling himself Lunatic starts killing criminals, the public loves him.
  • Toriko is perfectly willing to kill.... but only if he plans to eat the victim afterwards. Otherwise he attacks to incapacitate. The only time he ever set the rule aside was when he decided killing complete bastard Tommyrod was the only proper option.
  • Vash's quest to live without killing is essentially the main subject of Trigun. Not only does he strive to live without killing, he also attempts to spread this philosophy to others, including villains, even at the cost of his own health and safety. Other times, he begs characters who have a just cause for vengeance to forgo it and let things lie. However, he IS forced to take a life at one point to save others. This does not cause him to renounce his goal to save as many people as possible however. That said, with how heavily the series points out how this has cost Vash, physically and emotionally, and the numerous dismissive or critical actions of other characters, and the question the series raises itself that Vash and Knives may essentially be following childish philosophies without any mental maturity, it's not too hard to argue that the series is a deconstruction of this trope.
    Vash: "Thou shalt not kill, remember? What kind of churchman are you?"
  • Abel from Trinity Blood.
  • Yami No Aegis:
    Tate: I will not kill, nor will I assist in anything leading to killing.
  • Yu Yu Hakusho plays with this trope when Yusuke fights Doctor Kamiya, a follower of Shinobu Sensui. Kamiya brings up that Yusuke has never killed humans before, only demons, and thus believes that Yusuke is going to hesitate before trying to kill him. He doesn't, and is only stopped when Kamiya takes a passing nurse as a hostage. Turns out the "nurse" is really Yana in disguise, and Murota informing Yusuke that the Doc was lying about a cure and really planned to finish him off, prompts Yusuke to cross the line. Killing Kamiya breaks his psychic territory and saves everyone in the hospital, and Yusuke's conscience is eased when Genkai quickly revives Kamiya with a chest compression.


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