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Tragic Keepsake / Anime & Manga

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  • Nagi in Deadman Wonderland wears a scarf that belonged to his dead wife, as well as a locket. He believes it contains a picture of his infant son, but in actuality there is nothing inside the locket; his child was cut out of his wife's belly and the body preserved in a jar. He went insane for a while, and his current stability only comes from repressing the awful truth.
  • In a dark example, in Afro Samurai, the titular character carries around his father's severed head in a basket, until it (the head) is destroyed in a battle.
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  • Haou Airen: A jade jewel that Hakuron's Missing Mom gave him when he was a child and they were running away from their family. It's thanks to said jewel that Hakuron is taken in by The Triads and the Tongs.
  • In Trigun, Vash The Stampede's red Badass Longcoat was made by Rem, a woman who's killed by Knives, in the floating SEED colony, and when it's mostly destroyed during the Auguste incident, another girl in the same colony makes him a new one. However, the red color of it is a reference to Rem's favorite flower; a flower whose name means 'determination'.
  • Jing from King of Bandit Jing carries his mother's soul in a crystal, making it the Soul Jar variety.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Edward's pocketwatch is engraved with 'Never Forget' and the date he and Al burned their house down to prevent themselves from returning home.
  • Gundam:
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    • In After War Gundam X, Roybea's Gundam is a tragic keepsake from his first love.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED:
      • Captain Murrue Ramius wears a locket that is apparently a keepsake from a pilot she'd loved who was killed in action. It's coffin-shaped and has "R.I.P." engraved on the back. She also keeps Mu La Flaga and Natarle Badgiruel's hats after both of them are killed at Jachin Due.
      • For a while, Kira kept the paper origami flower given to him by the little girl on the doomed shuttle.
    • Shinn from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny carries around his sister Mayu's cellphone after she dies. Sometimes he listens to the answering machine just to hear her voice again.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam AGE's Flit Asuno has Yurin's ribbon.
  • After his little sister Aya is hit by a car and left in a coma on her birthday, Ran Fujimiya in Weiß Kreuz not only starts wearing an earring from the pair he'd bought for her present, he also starts using her name.
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  • The seashell in Elfen Lied given to Kohta by his dead little sister eight years before the series. When Nyu sees it in the first episode, she deliberately crushes it, thinking it was making Kohta sad.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima! has Negi's staff. He got it from his father, who had been missing and presumed dead since before Negi was born. The time when Negi received the staff is the one time he met his father, who disappeared again immediately afterwards. This all happened after a large-scale petrification of the village he grew up in; it was snowing.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
    • Hayate's Schwertkreuz, which was all that remained of the first Reinforce after her Heroic Sacrifice. A bonus chapter in ViVid reveals that the Yagami family uses it as a Shrine to the Fallen (when Hayate isn't on duty anyways, since it also serves as her Empathic Weapon).
    • Teana Lanster's toy pistol also counts: It was from her older brother, Tiida, a captain in the TSAB Air Force, who raised her when their parents died. He died injuring a wanted mage, but was unable to apprehend him, leaving him in disgrace and deemed worthless. This is why she works so hard, to prove that his magic wasn't worthless, and to realize his dream of being an Enforcer.
    • Rinne's Intelligent Device in ViVid Strike! was named and based off of a tiepin that had been made by her late adoptive grandfather, the original having been destroyed by bullies on the day he died.
  • Mai Mizushima from Yami No Purple Eyes has a fang pendant. Unbeknownst to her, the fang is actually one of the fangs of her disappeared mother's beast form.
  • In One Piece, Wado Ichimonji was a sword that was once owned by Zoro's friend Kuina's family, but after she died he took it as a reminder to fulfill their promise for one of them to become the world's greatest swordsman.
  • Slightly subverted in Bleach. Orihime's brother Sora gave her hairclips that she thought were too childish, and after a fight, Sora leaves without Orihime saying goodbye. After he dies that day in a tragic accident, Orihime wears the hairclips every single day... and they become a sort-of MacGuffin that allows her to channel her powers when they awake.
  • Part of the title character's face in Black Jack is a darker color than the rest. This was because it was a skin graft from his closest friend, who was mixed-race. His friend moved away afterwards, but eventually Black Jack found that he was an environmental activist. When his friend was killed during a protest, Black Jack decided to never replace the skin graft, so that he could remember his friend every time he looked in a mirror.
  • Depending on the slightly different characterization in the manga, it's movie adaptation, and the anime series, the Major from Ghost in the Shell is either a cold blooded special forces team leader, or an emotionless cyborg about to lose her last bit of humanity to become a machine in mind as well as in body. Almost all of her body is military hardware and therefore government property, as are the neural implants that hold most of her memories. While the series occasionally shows two of her friends from the manga and her relaxing a bit after work, it also establishes that she has no surviving family and while her safe houses are very luxurious, they are considered completely expendable. The only thing she really owns is a small and almost fragile watch with a thin silver armband, that contradicts about everything of her personalty. However, she doesn't say where she got it and why she keeps it.
    • In the anime she got it after resizing into her final body after a childhood spent in over half a dozen different ones. Batou knows this and goes out of his way to retrieve it while being hunted by the government during the climax of season one.
  • A variation in Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-; Fai isn't actually his real name. Turns out that Fai was actually his dead twin brother's name, and since he's trying to being said brother back from the dead, he's taken to using his name to remind himself. Thank you, Clamp, for making him more confusing than he already is.
    • Also, his surname comes from the stone "fluorite" (CLAMP probably romanized it wrong, they haven't shown to be too good with English). King Ashura put a fluorite crystal beside the other twin's dead body as a good luck charm and gave Fay that name for the same purpose.
  • In Sorcerer Stabber Orphen, the Tower of Fangs pendant that the male lead carries actually belongs to his best friend/mother figure Azalie and not to him. Since Azalie turned herself into a dragon in an experiment and Orphen left the Tower to try search for a cure, well...
  • Naruto
    • Lady Tsunade kept a necklace that was given to her by the First Hokage (her grandfather). She later gave it to her younger brother Nawaki, who died. After that, she gave it to her lover Dan, who also died. After all that, she eventually gives it to Naruto after he wins a bet with her.
    • Kakashi kept his father's tanto after Sakumo committed seppuku. His Sharingan was given to him by Obito Uchiha, his best friend who died saving him from getting crushed under a rock. It gets even more tragic when he learns that Obito is not only still alive, but not the same person he was before.
    • Naruto keeps the scratched headband Sasuke left behind for a good while. He gives it back when Sasuke returns in the penultimate chapter.
    • Kabuto's glasses turn out to be this, since they belonged to his deceased (by his own hand) Parental Substitute, the Combat Medic Nonon.
    • After Asuma dies, his student Shikamaru carries multiple tragic keepsakes. Specifically, Asuma's pair of chakra-chaneling trench knives, his cigarette lighter and his last pack of cigarettes. Shikamaru temporarily takes up smoking those cigarettes until he achieves vengeance on Asuma's killer, using a lit cigarette to set off the trap that condemns the killer to a fate worse than death. Afterward he stops smoking and places the lighter on Asuma's grave, but continues using the knives until a decade later when he passes them down to his own student, Asuma's posthumous daughter.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's:
    • Jack carries around Carly's glasses after her death, until she gets better.
    • Later, in a similar manner, Yusei keeps Bruno's Cool Shades after Bruno is killed. Bruno doesn't get better.
  • Suzaku from Code Geass hangs onto his late father's pocketwatch throughout most of the first season. At first blush it seems to be a standard keepsake, but as the season progresses and we learn that Suzaku killed his father during a massive fight, which was the direct cause of Japan's surrender, so the watch represents his own ties to the past and his attempts to make up for that incident. At the very end of the season, he leaves the watch with what will become another symbol of his being shackled to the past: the corpse of Euphemia, the woman he loved.
  • In Kyo Kara Maoh!, when Yuuri first arrives in Shin Makoku, Conrad gives him a pendant. A flashback reveals that Conrad's close friend Julia first gave it to him years ago, before she died, and that Conrad's been wearing it ever since. His passing it on to Yuuri is especially significant, since he knows (and we later find out) that Yuuri is Julia's reincarnation.
  • At the end of the Dark Tournament saga of Yu Yu Hakusho, Big Bad Sakyou gives Shizuru a gold plated lighter just before calmy facing his end. She keeps it for the rest of the series. A rare case of a hero having a Tragic Keepsake of a villain.
  • In the Comic-Book Adaptation of Breath of Fire IV, Fou-lu explicitly keeps Mami's bells around after Mami was used as the literal warhead in a Fantastic Nuke in The Empire's attempt to kill him. It's literally all he has left of one of exactly three people who show him decency, and Mami's bells falling from the sky is the clue that she was used as the warhead (and what quite blatantly turns him into a full-blown Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds).
  • Tsubaki from Future Diary once had a toy ball given to her by her deceased mother. Becomes a Chekhov's Gun when Yukiteru finds it and uses it to distract Tsubaki and kill her.
  • The title character from Kimba the White Lion has his father's pelt.
  • Cyborg 009: Albert Heinrich has the ring that belonged to his tragically lost fiancee Hilda on a chain around his neck. Eventually, it comes in handy when he uses it while nearly completely paralyzed to shoot down Cyborg 0011.
  • Madoka's hair ribbons in Puella Magi Madoka Magica become this for Homura, who wears them instead of her trademark black headband after Madoka ascends to godhood. In Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie: Rebellion Homura returns them when Madoka comes back. note 
    • In a nod to the main series, The Different Story Spin-Off manga has Kyouko removing her hair ribbon, as per the series' ninth episode, but this time giving it to Mami; Kyouko dies fighting Oktavia immediately after, and Mami is seen clutching the ribbon after she destroys her own Soul Gem in the final chapter.
  • In the series finale of Sonic X Tails receives what's left of Cosmo in the form of a seed from Sonic after both he and Super Shadow attempted to save her with their Chaos Regeneration. Tails later cultivates this seed in a plant pot inside his workshop where at the very end of the episode it is seen sprouting.
  • A piece of Baron's headband in Genesis of Aquarion.
  • Guts from Berserk wears a throwing knife strap after The Eclipse in memory of Judeau and all the other members of the Hawks who perished.
    • Deconstructed with Casca, who is a living tragic keepsake. She was the only other survivor of the Eclipse, but went through, much, MUCH worse and had her minded fragmented as a result. Guts wants to avenge her the most, since their intimate relationship was crushed because of the events that their former-friend Griffith caused onto them, but currently he's on a quest to cure her of her insanity. However, Guts was seething with so much intense hatred that his Enemy Within began to take form as the hellhound-like Beast, which constantly goads Guts into believing that he only keeps Casca around to serve as a reminder of how much he hates Griffith and that he can't really love her anymore - in between trying to get Guts to rape and kill her just so he can get back to hunting down Griffith.
      • But it also reconstructed in that Guts knows that Casca is the only person that he has of value in the world, and without her presence, he would have gone off the deep end long ago. That, and Casca is the only living testament of the very few good and pleasant things that have happened in Guts' life. And with the possibility of seeing her cured of her insanity, Casca is really the last window of optimism that Guts has left to see in this world.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Kamina found his signature Badass Cape worn by his father's corpse. In Lagann-hen, Simon wears Nia's wedding ring as a necklace after her death.
  • Togainu no Chi: In the anime, Keisuke's tag.
  • In Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt Stocking kept her engagement ring after the Ghost she fell in love with passed on due to finally loving Stocking back.
  • Several in Oniisama e..., particularly Rei's gold bracelet and porcelain doll. The second becomes Nanako's own Tragic Keepsake after Rei dies. (Alongside some unused cigarettes, in the anime.)
  • In Kurosagi, Kurosaki keeps a photo of his family and a newspaper clipping about their murder.
  • In Genesis Climber MOSPEADA, Stig Bernard has a holo locket given to him by his girlfriend. He keeps it throughout the war, finally tossing it out of his Legioss in the last seconds of the series.
  • In Axis Powers Hetalia, there's an episode where America decides to clear out a storeroom of his full of keepsakes from his past, mostly things he got from England. One thing there classifies as tragic, though: the musket that he used during the Revolutionary War.
  • In Sunday Without God, Ai's most important possession is her gravekeeper's shovel, which once belonged to her deceased mother.
  • In Yona of the Dawn, an interesting case occurs where Yona deliberately went out of her way to keep the hairpin that Soo-won gave her during her birthday party ... the same night she witnessed Soo-won murdering her father and she was forced to go on the run. It was most likely kept to remind her of that night.
    • A more traditional example is the dragon medallion on Zeno's headband; it was given to him by King Hiryuu, once the king realized that Zeno was immortal and would have to watch his friends die.
  • Sailor Moon has Minako/Sailor Venus provide a couple of strange examples:
    • The ribbon. In her origin story, Minako first wore a ribbon in her hair because the sempai she had a crush on told her she would look good with it, before knowing he was a youma. After the reveal he became her first kill, the following day we see her putting the ribbon in her hair again... And quipping that the ribbon does look good on her.
    • The main series provides a rather stealthy example, thanks to Codename: Sailor V being published saltuarily during the run of Sailor Moon. In the early manga we have a Sailor V poster in which our heroine poses with an ace of hearts. It's a way for her to pay respect to Ace, her first and probable true love who she had to kill because he worked for the Dark Kingdom, who had a playing cards motif and often wielded an ace of hearts (not the same as Minako's, as his deck was destroyed by the attack that killed him)... But the chapter with Ace's debut wouldn't be published until the Death Busters story arc, well after that poster appeared in the main series.
  • In Project K Mikoto wears Tatara's earing after he is killed.
  • Several of them in Candy Candy, particularly the music box given to Candy from Stear, shortly before he is killed in WWI, and the toy puppet given to his girlfriend Patty by his parents after his funeral.
  • Dragon Ball
    • The Four-Star Dragon Ball and the Power Pole to Goku. Both items were given to him by his grandfather before he died. The Four-Star Dragon also doubles as a Orphan's Plot Trinket.
    • In the series finale of Dragon Ball GT, Pan kept Goku's uniform after he vanished for a hundred years. She later passed it on to her grandson Goku Jr.
  • Aladdin from Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic kept Baba's staff after she died and later after the staff was destroyed, he wielded Mogamett's staff.
  • In the end of Your Lie in April, Kousei keeps one from Kaori. It's an old photo from before Kousei gave his first performance, featuring Kaori, her friends and Kousei walking by behind them, making it the first and only photo Kaori has with him.
  • In Detective Conan, several of these show up in the series:
    • Ai Haibara/Shiho Miyano has the cassette tapes that her mother Elena (a member of the Black Organization who was very well-aware of how she wouldn't live enough to see Ai grow up) left her shortly before her death, some of which contain serious messages and others contain more lighthearted ones, like remembering her birthdays.
    • The black notepad and a ring he carries around serve as this for Wataru Takagi, both of them once belonged to his close friend and mentor, Wataru Date. The second one also has a plot point: Date wanted to give the ring to his girlfriend Natalie Kuruma so he can propose to her and get married.
    • In the "Distinguished Family's Consecutive Accidental Death" case, Miyuki Hyuga has her burned fountain pen. It belonged to her parents, who died in a fire when she was little, in which she used it to stab Mitsuaki's hand when he fell to his death. Moreover, that pen actually belonged to her mom, since Chairman Nagato gave it to her when they were kids, and she was his first love.
    • In the "Sakura Love" and "Kobayashi-sensei's Love" cases, both Kikuna Kagitani and Nami Kasakura's rings are implied to be this for them, as they once belonged to their dead mothers. When Nami's boyfriend gave the ring to another woman, Nami snapped and killed him; Kikuna had pawned hers to a Jerkass pawn shop owner who claimed it as hers rather than letting her get it back, so when the shop owner appeared dead, Kikuna was one of the suspects. (She didn't do it, but she wished she had done the bitch in.)
  • In Dragon Ball Z: Bardock – The Father of Goku, after Bardock's friend Torra is killed by Dodoria and his gang, he uses his armband which becomes soaked in his blood as a headband to remember him.
  • In Heat Guy J, after Ian and Mitchal are killed, Clair keeps their respective trinkets: Ian's class ring, and Mitchal's lucky dice.
  • Yuri Mihairokoh from Planetes for a short time carried a compass from his wife, in fact retrieving said compass was the whole reason he came to the debris team in the first place. Later he let Kyutaro Hoshino (Hachimaki's brother and amateur rocket builder) shoot the thing in a rocket.
  • Izuru is revealed to have kept Chiaki's hairpin after her torturous death at the hands of Junko in Danganronpa 3. The Grand Finale, which occurs years after the event, reveals that he still carries it around and looks at it frequently.
    • Also done in an odd way with Makoto. After Kyoko dies, he wipes the blood off her face tenderly with one hand. For the remainder of the anime he can be seen staring at said hand, even after the blood's gone. Turns out to be not-so-tragic, though, when she's revealed to be Not Quite Dead and they have a happy reunion.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure
    • After Baron Zeppeli dies, Speedwagon wears his trademark Nice Hat for the rest of the Phantom Blood arc.
    • Joseph Joestar of Battle Tendency wears Caesar's headband after the latter's tragic death. It later saves his life in the fight against Wham.
    • After the deaths of three of the Stardust Crusaders, Jotaro is shown to have a picture of the whole group on his person at all times in future appearances.
    • In a twisted and borderline example, in Stardust Crusaders, DIO has his head affixed to Jonathan's body since his own body is gone. It counts as a keepsake because DIO is implied to have respected and loved Jonathan.

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