También puedes leer este artículo en: Español
Stuff that can be categorized as brutal, or savagely violent as those guys at Oxford like to put it, is something anime certainly isn’t lacking. Although the transition from actual hand-drawn animation to computer generated images seems to have reduced the once incredibly graphic anime violence, it’s still a prominent feature in many anime releases these days.
And anyway, sometimes the brutality doesn’t come from the amount of red pixels, sometimes the most disturbing and most brutal is a result of something being totally unexpected, the context it appears in, that is. But enough chit-chat, let’s get started with one of our Halloween-specials – Top 10 Most Brutal Anime Deaths!
10. Hellsing Ultimate
- Episodes: 10
- Aired: Feb 2006 – Dec 2012
Kicking off our list is one of many dog-related entries. In fan-favorite cult-series Hellsing, main protagonist Alucard joins forces with the group named after his former nemesis, the Hellsing Organization. In this particular clip vampire pretty boy Luke Valentine meets his maker, after meeting Alucard (not his maker). Alucard, after shooting off his legs, unleashes a hellish beast known as Baskerville – unsurprisingly inspired by the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle novel – which devours the unfortunate bloodsucker in a rather nasty manner.
Hellsing got more where that came from, and if you’re a gorehound (that’s what the kids call a horror fan nowadays) you have to absolutely check this out.
Alucard kills Luke Valentine - Hellsing Ultimate
9. One Piece
- Episodes: 713 (still airing)
- Aired: October 1999 – ongoing
In the 483rd episode of one of the definitive veterans of anime, we’re ‘treated’ to the death of Portgas D. Ace, adopted brother of arguably most flexible characters in all of Japanese animation. That the passing of a family member of the main protagonist was going to be a heartbreaking affair was obvious, but you probably weren’t expecting it to be this brutal:
Ace meets his maker in the form of a burning fist, as he heroically sacrifices himself to save his younger brother. As a paper representing Ace’s life force burns to ashes, Luffy sobs while the other characters watch in disbelief. Dramatic and shocking – strong stuff, man.
One Piece - Ace's Farewell
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jul 2011 - Sep 2011
Etymology might seem a bit out of place for a Halloween-themed article, but the fact that the origin of the word ‘brutal’ can be traced back to an old French term referring to ‘lower animals’, seem to perfectly with this scene from 2011’s Blood-C.
While we’re on the subject of history, elephants were a very popular means of execution in medieval India, were sadistic rulers would sentence convicts to be crushed or having their limbs pulled apart by trained elephants.
Though more reminiscent of a dog than an elephant, its brutality is on par: the series feature many mention-worthy scenes, but the one where a schoolgirl has her thighs pulled off deserves special attention, especially the sight of her torn-off limb dangling in the air like a human chicken drumstick.
clampPROJECT Wing Egg Blood C Epi 12 HD
7. Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jan 2011 - Apr 2011
At first glance, and here I mean that in the literal sense, in the first ten or so minutes of Madoka, it seemed like just another standard magical girl anime, though with an interesting, psychedelic art style, but that’s because it was produced by Shaft.
Then, as magical girl and mother-like figure Mami battles one of the first ‘witches’ in a candy-like wonderland in a magical girl tutorial for new recruits, Madoka Kaname and Sayaka Miki, while we’re still unsuspectingly enjoying this seemingly normal anime, it suddenly turns violent, and the diet Coke and chicken drumsticks you’ve been munching suddenly announce their respective returns.
It suddenly breaks its own rules, like if *** Double Cartoon and Anime Reference *** Dexter had, instead of chasing his annoying sister out of his lab, pulled out a toothbrush and, like that infamous scene in Nisemonogatari, started incestuously brushing his sister’s teeth *** end of reference ***, and it is this breach of our expectations that makes this particular scene so brutal.
There are many parallels to this scene, making you think of one of those moments that made you realize that the world is crueler than your child-self had initially thought. Echoing what Evangelion showed us regarding the consequences of putting teens in charge of saving the world, this particular scene was the one that gave us second thoughts about trading our souls for slightly disturbing lolita-outfits.
To cite YouTube commenter SuperMollie44:
“I THOUGHT THIS ANIME WOULD BE CUUUTTE;-;”. Didn’t we all, Molly, didn’t we all.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica Movie - Witch Charlotte vs Mami
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jan 2012 - Mar 2012
The ‘that must hurt’-factor is strong with this one, in a series not exactly lacking brutal, disturbing deaths and suicides on the seemingly haunted high-school where the action is set. I’m sure all of you horror fans out there will see the homage to or at least the inspiration from a certain infamous eye-gouging scene from cult-classic 1979 movie Zombi 2, as the genius of the scene is the pacing, the unavoidability of what’s going to happen.
There’s also something Final Destination-ish with this particular scene, something about the inevitability of death, but now I’m getting carried away and putting to much though into this, so just click on the link below and check it out for yourself. The teacher’s suicide is also a classic, by the way.
Another - Umbrella Death Scene
5. Elfen Lied
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Jul 2004 – Oct 2004
Somehow violence against defenseless animals evokes more empathy than the slaughter of humans, and in an anime which frequently sees limbs flying all over the place, it is strange that it is a scene of a dog being beaten to death by a few straight-up evil children that leaves the deepest mental scars on most viewers.
A sociological study by the Northeastern University actually found that a majority showed that the test subject showed more empathy towards an injured dog than they did for a human adult, which might provide some relevant, though probably undesired, scientific basis for this particular scene.
One of the Cruelest Scenes in Elfen Lied
4. Hokuto no Ken (Fist of the Northern Star)
- Episodes: 109
- Aired: Oct 1984 – Mar 1987
Cracking his fists, soaring through the air, and finally showing off the eponymous martial arts technique of the Fist of the North Star, Kenshiro delivers one of the awesomest finishing moves ever put to screen.
Like the Phantom he’s ruthless towards the ruthless, and shows no mercy for the mutated punks of the post-apocalypse, especially those posing a threat to his gurl (I’m just assuming that an atomic blast that blew away social order also would have a severe consequences for the grammar of its respective society, but I might be wrong).
Since finding a ‘scientific’ explanation for the list’s brutal ways of kicking the bucket became somewhat of a recurring theme, and since Kenshiro was partly inspired by Bruce Lee, it seems appropriate to mention that the Fist of the North Star move closely resembles the so-called Touch of Death, a legendary move that killed the opponent by pressing certain special spots on the body, according to ancient Chinese scripts.
Fairly unreliable sources say that this was the cause of Lee’s death, which in turn inspired the titular event of a certain Tarantino movie. Pop-cultural references aside, Kenshiro’s deadpan coolness is only matched by his passive-aggressive ruthlessness as he turns his back to his opponent uttering “お前もう死んでいる” – “you’re already dead”. Like a boss.
[Fist of the North Star] お前はもう死んでいる (You are already dead)
3. Shingeki no Kyoujin (Attack on Titan)
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: April 2013 – September 2013
A good contender for ‘everyone’s greatest fear’ must be witnessing one’s own parent’s death, like *** spoiler for everyone lagging four years behind *** the Stark sisters are forced to do in the first season of Game of Thrones *** end of spoiler alert ***. Attack on Titan recently gave us one of the most brutal depictions of exactly this in its very first episode.
Though a graphic depiction, the worst part of the scene where *** spoiler alert for the anime novice *** Eren’s mother gets devoured isn’t the blood nor the crushing sound as it bites her corpse in two, but rather the sadistic grin the giant’s face as well as the terrified expression on Eren’s face as he watched helplessly *** end of spoiler alert ***.
Shingeki no Kyojin - Death of Eren's Mother
- Episodes: 5
- Aired: Mar 1994 – Jul 1995
Even though the aforementioned study by the Northeastern University also showed that most students that participated showed as much empathy for wounded puppy as an infant in a similar state, and it’s therefore an open question whether the shock value evoke more empathy or apathy (clever play with words), deaths of children are bound to have some kind of impact on even the most hardcore anime Connoisseur (from French connaître – ‘to be acquainted with’).
In a largely unparalleled brutal scene, which also happens to be featured in the video for Genocyber’s end theme, an unforgivingly gory depiction of two children getting brutally murdered broke taboos at the time, and still manages to shock and disturb.
Set to a tune that probably got 1994’s youngsters stomping their feet and ignoring nonsensical lines such as “I want you and love you, fairy dreaming” and “Midnight, like a phantom of blood, twinkles at a noisy town” (okay here I have to admit that I’m depending on a probably sub-par translation from Animeworld, but anyway, you get the idea), the aforementioned gorehounds are sure to be left satisfied with this incredibly graphic clip.
Genocyber - Fairy Dreaming (Jap/Eng lyrics)
1. Tokyo Tribe 2
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Nov 2006 – Feb 2007
Hundreds of reaction videos on YouTube proves that this particular scene from Tokyo Tribe 2 lives up to its reputation as one of the most disturbing scenes of anime (that’s another list by the way), and I will do you the favor of not spoiling the fun but simply encourage you to click on the link, see it for yourself, and preferably, upload your own reacting in the comments section.
Originally I wanted to include some real-life parallels, but the Google results for ‘death by anal rape’ and ‘death by giant penis’ made it pretty obvious that this was a bad idea. A really bad idea indeed. Let’s just stick to the anime version, shall we?
Hopefully this has given you a few ideas as to ways you wouldn’t want to kick the bucket, fall of your perch, feed the worms, give up the ghost, pop your clogs or go see chairman Mao as they say in China, or any other idiom for what the philistines refer to as dying. Happy Halloween!