Tokyo Ghoul: The 14 Saddest Character Deaths, Ranked

In a story as grim as Tokyo Ghoul, witnessing characters die isn’t something startling. Sui Ishida, the creator of the manga, is known for killing off his main characters, and he does it in style. Ishida’s writing is so phenomenally nuanced that fans are often trapped between hating the villain and supporting their cause.


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Every character, be it a hero or a villain, carries a heavy burden and a sad past that leaves the reader feeling truly mournful. Considering the complexity of Tokyo Ghoul, it’s difficult to say which character’s death in the series was the saddest. That said, some deaths naturally felt more profound than others.

Updated by Ajay Aravind on June 5, 2023: Although it only ran for three years, Tokyo Ghoul managed to cement itself as one of the best-selling series in manga history. At this point, the overarching franchise includes numerous anime shows, light novels, and live-action movies. All things considered, however, Tokyo Ghoul would have never been so successful without its cast of relatable characters, many of whom perish over the course of the series. As such, we’ve updated this list with some more relevant information.

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14 Kureo Mado

“Circular” Season 1, Episode 8 (Tokyo Ghoul)

kureo mado in tokyo ghoul

To say that Kureo Mado is unlikable would be the understatement of the century. A First Class Ghoul Investigator for the CCG, Mado is a quinque fanatic and revels in killing ghouls, even those who are harmless. When he is killed by Touka Kirishima, fans can’t help but find it well-deserved.

But there’s an underlying sad background to Mado’s story. It is revealed that his actions were in large part because of the death of his wife at the hands of the One-eyed Owl. Kureo’s life is probably even sadder than his death, as he represents the concept of the unending cycle of viciousness between ghouls and humans. He leaves behind a daughter and a partner who both care for him greatly.

13 Hikari Kirishima

“VOLT: White Darkness” Season 2, Episode 2 (Tokyo Ghoul:re)

Hikari Kirishima Tokyo Ghoul

Hikari Kirishima is the mother of Touka and Ayato. She remains a mystery until the latter arcs of the series, when her cruel fate is finally revealed by her brother, Renji Yomo. Hikari’s own parents died an early death, and she was tasked with the responsibility of looking after Renji.

Things start looking better for her once she marries Arata Kirishima and gives birth to two children, but she is soon hunted by the CCG’s white reaper, Kishou Arima. Hikari dies a tragic death and her loss scars Renji for the rest of his life.

12 Ryouko Fueguchi

“Captivity” Season 1, Episode 7 (Tokyo Ghoul)

Ryouko Fueguchi's death

One of the most catastrophic events in the entire series, Ryouko Fueguchi’s executions triggers a vicious slew of deaths across Tokyo. That said, Ryouko is a harmless ghoul, and she lives a peaceful life with her daughter Hinami.

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Despite this, the cruel dove Kureo Mado hunts her down and, after seeing her helpless nature, is even more excited to kill her. Her last act is defending her daughter’s life, which is mocked by Mado since he doesn’t consider her capable enough to show human emotions. Without a doubt, her death is agonizing to witness.

11 Arata Kirishima

“VOLT: White Darkness” Season 2, Episode 2 (Tokyo Ghoul:re)

Arata Tokyo Ghoul

Arata Kirishima is the husband of Hikari Kirishima. In a story as dark as Tokyo Ghoul, it’s not a surprise that he is described as a broken man. His wife’s death leaves him seeking revenge. In fact, Arata is so blinded by rage that he starts scavenging both humans and ghouls alike in order to seek more power to protect his children.

Arata’s tragic life is put to an end when he was captured by Shinohara and Mado. He is then used as a tool to harvest the Arata costume for the CCG. Even though he goes to extremes to protect his children, he never gets to see them again, nor do they ever find out about his whereabouts. Tragically, Ayato realizes what has happened after he faces Shinohara in the Arata.

10 Rize Kamishiro

“The Final Episode” Season 2, Episode 12 (Tokyo Ghoul:re)

rize kamishiro in tokyo ghoul

Also known as the ‘Binge Eater,’ Rize runs amok in the 20th Ward of Tokyo until she crosses paths with Ken Kaneki. In an attempt to devour him, Rize gets caught up in an accident, after which her life turns into a living hell. She is used as a tool to create several one-eyed ghouls like Kaneki, and put through so much suffering that she loses sight of reality.

She becomes the host of a giant Kagune known as The Dragon. Rize’s early life is filled with fear of being chased by the V, but she is used as a pawn in the later stages of her life, as well. Ultimately, Kaneki Ken confronts her and gives her the mercy of a quick death, thereby easing her perennial agony.

9 Tatara

“union: Cross Game” Season 2, Episode 3 (Tokyo Ghoul:re)

Tatara in Tokyo Ghoul.

One of the leaders and most formidable fighters of the Aogiri Tree, Tatara’s entire personality is full of deception. While he appears proud and cocky, he is the most devoted person to Eto and the King. His loyalty to Eto is unquestionable, and he fights for her ideals until his last breath.

He meets his demise at the hands of Seidou Takizawa on Rushima. That said, Tatara doesn’t flinch even while dying. Instead, he returned to his memories of the Tree and wondered if he had served both Arima and Eto with unquestionable dedication. More importantly, Tatara’s death carries a huge plot twist.

8 Ukina

“Old Nines” Season 2, Episode 8 (Tokyo Ghoul √A)

Ukina Tokyo Ghoul

Ukina dies before the main arc of the story begins but her mere existence fundamentally changes the course of society. Her lover, Yoshimura, abandons his life as Kuzen after the two make a life together. They have a daughter Eto, and in her determination to make sure Eto is born healthy, Ukina even eats human meat throughout her pregnancy.

Their happiness is short-lived, as Ukina and Yoshimura are hunted down. In the Tokyo Ghoul manga, she is actually a journalist in disguise, and Yoshimura is forced to kill her himself. In the anime, she dies during their escape attempt. As a result of her death, Yoshimura also loses their daughter Eto, who grows up to become the second One-Eyed Owl and the founder of the Aogiri Tree.

7 Nashiro

“union: Cross Game” Season 2, Episode 3 (Tokyo Ghoul:re)

Shiro Kuro Tokyo Ghoul

Artificial ghouls created by Doctor Kanou, twins Nashiro and Kurona are endearing from the very beginning because of their unique bond. Like many other characters, they are used in Professor Kanou’s unethical experiments, but they still consider him their father. When Nashiro is fatally wounded in battle by Juuzou Suzuya, Kuro turns to Kanou’s aid.

To her shock, he claims there’s nothing he can do for Shiro. In her desperation, Kuro consumes her fatally wounded sister, effectively killing her. A parasitical growth appears on her body, and Kurona believes Nashiro is still alive. Kuro later confronts Kanou about it, who explains this isn’t the case.

6 Furuta

“The Final Episode” Season 2, Episode 12 (Tokyo Ghoul:re)

Furuta Tokyo Ghoul

The main antagonist of the entire Tokyo Ghoul series, Kichimura Washuu — also known as Furuta — is a character who makes fans conflicted. There is always something of a duality about him. While Furuta is often represented as a cruel, heartless monster who has little regard for others, he’s actually a man who accepted his fate a long time ago.

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Kichimura is destined to die, and so he decides to have his share of fun before that. Moments before his death, he tells Kaneki that he wants nothing more than to live a normal life, one where he could embrace freedom.

5 Yoshimura

“Deluge of Flowers” Season 2, Episode 11 (Tokyo Ghoul √A)

Kuzen Yoshimura from Tokyo Ghoul.

Yoshimura is one of the most influential characters in the entire Tokyo Ghoul series. Interestingly, the man Ken Kaneki meets at the start of Tokyo Ghoul isn’t what he was in the past. His previous self was a cruel killer, an incredibly strong ghoul known as the One-Eyed Owl. However, he changes after falling in love with a human and becoming a father.

To make matters worse, he doesn’t truly die in the battle. Instead, he is taken captive and experimented on, used in Professor Kanou’s ghoulification experiments. His death is never shown, but it is mentioned that all the kakuhou samples extracted would have eliminated his regeneration abilities. Yoshimura’s fate is truly devastating for the fans.

4 Karren Von Rosewald

“Beautiful Dream: Dawn” Season 1, Episode 12 (Tokyo Ghoul:re)

Karren von Rosewald

Fostered by the Tsukiyama family after the death of her parents, Karren is a loyal servant to Shu Tsukiyama. To hide her identity properly, Karren takes on the alias of Kanae and pretends to be a boy, which causes her a lot of distress. However, to serve the Tsukiyama family, she is even ready to sacrifice her very identity.

Karren meets her demise at the hands of Haise Sasaki. Her final act is to protect Shu, who acknowledges her as a woman and calls her by her real name. Karren’s life is filled with regrets, yet the moment Tsukiyama uses her real name is so precious to her that she can’t help but consider herself lucky.

3 Kishou Arima

“vive: Those Left Behind” Season 2, Episode 4 (Tokyo Ghoul:re)

Kishou Arima

Kishou Arima is the former One-eyed King before Ken Kaneki. He is a ghoul who poses as a member of the CCG for the sake of creating a better future. Arima’s main goal is to find a successor for his seat, a problem that doesn’t resolve for a long period of time.

He later achieves that goal upon meeting Kaneki. Even though he “kills” Kaneki once, Arima becomes a father to him and loves him with all his heart. Arima eventually meets his demise at the hands of Kaneki himself, all for the sake of a better future for both humans and ghouls. His death is indubitably one of the saddest in the entire series.

2 Shirazu Ginshi

“Beautiful Dream: Dawn” Season 1, Episode 12 (Tokyo Ghoul:re)

Shirazu's death

Shirazu Ginshi is a member of the Quinx squad, working under Haise Sasaki. Shirazu’s reason for becoming an investigator is to seek money for her sister’s treatment. Out of all the members of the Quinx, he is the most gentle. That said, most of his sensitivity is clouded by his obsession with wealth.

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Shirazu seeks more power and a better rank for his little sister’s treatment, which is what ends up killing him in the Rose Extermination arc. Moments before his death, he is surrounded by his entire squad, who helplessly cry over him. Even though he is loved to his last breath, Shirazu can’t see any of it as he slowly descends into eternal sleep.

1 Hide & Kaneki

“Ken” Season 2, Episode 12 (Tokyo Ghoul √A)

Root A from Tokyo Ghoul.

He surrenders to unconsciousness in Kaneki’s arms, and Kaneki sadly carries him outside, where he also embraces death by confronting Arima. As it turns out, both of them survive, though Hide is badly mutilated and Ken loses his memory, turning into Haise Sasaki. Still, this moment that illustrates their shared death is easily the saddest one in Tokyo Ghoul.

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