Anime history is full of memorable deaths, with many shows using a sudden passing to raise the stakes or change the cast’s dynamics. Fans rarely forget a well-timed and well-executed death, with many famous ones getting referenced or talked about years after their initial airing.
But sometimes viewers might realize that, while the death might have been moving and iconic, it was also utterly avoidable. If the characters involved made a few different choices earlier in the story, or if those around them acted differently during the events that played out, then the character could have easily survived and made it to the end credits.
10 Mami Tomoe (Puella Magi Madoka Magica)
Mami’s death is one of the most memorable and hard-hitting deaths in anime because of how suddenly and unexpectedly it happens. After fighting Charlotte, the candy witch, Mami thinks she’s won, only for the witch to take a new form and decapitate the young magical girl.
This death was highly avoidable, however. If Mami had listened to Homura, who had tried to warn her about Charlotte, and not been too busy trying to impress Madoka, she would have had plenty of time to make sure Charlotte was dead or dodge her attack.
9 Yamcha (Dragon Ball Z)
Dragon Ball is full of character death. While many quickly get undone, some are forever ingrained in anime history due to how iconic they’ve become. Yamcha’s death is memorable, if only for the silly pose he dies in, as it has been referenced and recreated numerous times.
His death didn’t have to happen. If Yamcha had opted to make sure the Saibamen was dead before turning his back on it and monologuing, it wouldn’t have been able to grab him. Also, if Piccolo, Gohan, Krillin, Tien Shinhan, or Chiaotzu had acted, the Saibamen could have been killed before it could self-destruct.
8 Junta (Another)
The horror anime Another is full of gruesome deaths, and while it can be argued that no demise is avoidable when dealing with a supernatural curse, it’s clear that Junta didn’t help themselves.
While on a trip to a beach resort, the whole cast drops their guard, presuming the curse can only affect them in Yomiyama. While playing on the beach, a ball blows into the ocean. Junta swims out to retrieve it, only to drown and get hit by a boat. While it’s sad, Junta’s decision to swim far away from the coast in obviously choppy and uncontrolled water was a silly mistake.
7 L (Death Note)
Death Note is full of gripping ups and downs, keeping viewers on the edge of their seats right to the end. L’s death is a stunning example of this, as it is a dark and utterly thrilling moment, and seeing L die in Light’s arms as Light taunts the poor detective with a sinister grin is darkly memorable.
But, if L hadn’t started to focus his investigation on Misa rather than Light as part of a gambit, then Light wouldn’t have been able to talk Rem into using their Shinigami eyes to find L’s name and add it to the Death Note. So, if L had just kept his focus, then he wouldn’t have died.
6 Jonathan Joestar (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure)
While the JoJo franchise is often pigeonholed as campy and over-the-top, the series can deliver some very emotional moments. The death of Jonathan Joestar as he holds Dio’s head on an exploding cruise ship is a perfect example. Dio’s problems started in childhood due to his father’s abuse.
So, if the Victorian age had better parenting standards or more robust child protections, a lot of Stand-related bloodshed could have been avoided. If Dio had a normal childhood, he wouldn’t have wanted to join the Joestar family, which wouldn’t have sparked the war between him and Jonathan.
5 Sir Nighteye (My Hero Academia)
Sir Nighteye is a fascinating character, as even after his death, his presence can be felt in the story of My Hero Academia. If he wasn’t so fixated on honor, he would’ve survived. When fighting Kai Chisaki (Overhaul), Nighteye opts to have Deku deal with the wounded Lemillion and Eri.
While Deku wasn’t doing well against Overhaul, a two-on-one advantage could have turned the battle around. Due to his decision to fight alone and because he was distracted during the fight, Nighteye gets stabbed by Overhaul, leading to his eventual demise. While this death did allow Nighteye to pass on happily, it is a massive “what-if” moment in the franchise.
Nina’s death is one of the most harrowing in anime history, especially as it’s the second part of an already traumatizing arc. First, Nina is fused with her dog Alexander and turned into a Human Chimera by her father, Shou Tucker. When this is discovered, Scar assassinates Shou and kills Nina as an act of mercy.
However, this death could have been avoided if the Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood’s world had better mental health care and oversight. Shou Tucker is clearly not in a good place due to the pressures put upon him by alchemist society, but despite this, no one seems to care enough to support him or give him the help he clearly needs.
3 Ai Hoshino (Oshi No Ko)
Oshi No Ko doesn’t shy away from the dark side of the idol industry and fame. Nothing shows this better than the death of Ai Hoshino. Ai is murdered by a fan who believes that, by having children, she has betrayed her fanbase. Of course, this wouldn’t have happened if the idol industry hadn’t encouraged parasocial relationships or protected its talent.
However, the easily avoidable nature of this death is the point, showing how the toxic nature of the entertainment industry has insidious and dangerous side effects that ripple far from the industry.
2 Deidara (Naruto: Shippuden)
The world of Naruto has many powers, from the simple to the extravagant. But a power’s success rate boils down to how it is used. This is proved by Deidara, who dies because he used his abilities ignorantly.
Deidara could make exploding clay bombs. When fighting Sasuke, he found that his bombs were not working against the ninja, and out of anger, Deidara decided to blow himself up, hoping to take Sasuke with him. Sasuke teleported away, escaping the blast unharmed. If Deidara had better control of his emotions and didn’t succumb to frustration so quickly, he wouldn’t have endured this silly death.
1 Euphemia (Code Geass)
While Code Geass is a legendary show, Euphemia’s death is one of the most avoidable ones to have ever occurred in fiction. While talking to Euphemia, Lelouch jokes that he could use his Geass to force her to do anything he wishes. And for reasons known only to Lelouch, the example he uses is committing a massacre.
Lelouch had unknowingly lost the ability to turn his Geass off, meaning that Euphemia was compelled to obey and went on a rampage, forcing Lelouch to kill her. While Lelouch can be forgiven for not knowing about his Geass, using such a morbid suggestion as an example is just short-sighted. If Lelouch had used a sensible illustration, Euphemia would have survived.