What makes Anime Deaths so effective?

What makes Anime Deaths so effective (3)

Anime deaths are merciless when it comes to inflicting emotional damage. They happen in an impactful and tragic manner leaving fans scarred forever. But what makes the death of two-dimensional characters so effective and so emotionally stimulating? Anime deaths pull onto too many heartstrings. We can’t prevent the suffering and the damage but we can try and understand what makes them so effective. 

What makes Anime Deaths so effective?

1. The build-up

What makes Anime Deaths so effective
Kaori from Your Lie in April | Image Courtesy via IMDb

A regular anime watcher is well aware of the pattern followed by anime series. Suddenly a character gets too much attention and too much screen time starts to ring a warning bell for fans. Sometimes it happens right before the main event and sometimes it gets foreshadowed for hundreds of chapters and episodes.


The clock starts ticking and the fans just feel on edge about when it will finally happen. This build-up and anticipation stir various emotions within a fan. An example of this is Kaori’s death in Your Lie in April. You get to have enough time to get attached to her character and there are hopes of a future for her. But it all just came crashing down.

If not for the well-done build-up, her passing wouldn’t have been as scarring as it was.

2. The element of surprise

What makes Anime Deaths so effective (4)
A still from Marineford arc, One Piece | Image Courtesy via IMDb

Ace’s death in One Piece is a prime example of surprising death. Everything seemed to be going well for him. He had hundreds of pirates waiting to rescue him. They succeeded in rescuing him. When fans were finally at ease, Akainu’s fist pierced our hearts along with Ace’s chest. Everybody accepted that Ace was saved but little did we know what awaits us. The death was surprising and hard to take in. 

3. They’re unprecedented

What makes Anime Deaths so effective
Whitebeard from One Piece | Image Courtesy via IMDb

You don’t expect every other character to die unless you’re already past season 2 of Attack on Titan. Levi’s team was introduced as important characters, they seemed like people who’ll stick around till the end. Well, guess what, they did not. They were killed as soon as they were introduced. 

Whitebeard’s death is another example. His death was unprecedented. We didn’t think we’d lose both Ace and Whitebeard in the same battle. This combo attack on the fans was merciless and very impactful, to say the least. 

4. They are gruesome and brutal

What makes Anime Deaths so effective
Jiraiya from Naruto Shippuden | Image Courtesy via IMDb

You might have already expected a character’s death and you’re well prepared for it. But then it happens in the most gruesome and brutal way possible. It’s like you’re never prepared enough. Jiraiya’s passing was already foreseen by everyone. We knew Tsunade was going to lose the bet. But none of it was enough to get us ready for what was coming our way. 

Jiraiya got killed by his student who he thought will change the world for the better. His organs were crushed with chakra rods and he pushed himself in his last few moments to make it all meaningful. 

5. The After Effects

What makes Anime Deaths so effective
Itachi and Sasuke from Naruto Shippuden | Image Courtesy via IMDb

The sadness comes in parts with anime deaths. First when it happens and later with the reactions. You feel sad along with the characters, you get to have a point of view of every person who is involved.

Naruto Shippuden made us go through this thrice with the death of Asuma, Itachi, and Jiraiya. Even Ace’s death was horrible in this sense. We got to see Luffy’s breakdown and it was heart-wrenching. 


All effective anime deaths will have one or all of these factors in common. Even understanding what makes them so effective won’t save us from the suffering they bring along.

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