While the 2018 anime line-up was full of highly-anticipated shows, it also brought some surprising and unpleasant moments. Though it isn’t unusual for a character to bite the dust, this year had several deaths that really surprised fans. These characters’ untimely ends left an everlasting impression that we won’t soon forget. Here are seven of the most shocking anime deaths of 2018.
Ginshi Shirazu (Tokyo Ghoul:re)
Tokyo Ghoul takes place in a world where ghouls — creatures that eat human meat — exist. The Commission of Counter Ghoul (CCG) investigates ghoul-related crimes, which often ends with fights against these creatures. Although CCG officers have a low survival rate, the demise of agent Ginshi Shirazu shocked fans.
Though Shirazu wasn’t your model CCG officer, he was a skilled fighter and noble. As such his superior expressed confidence in his potential as a leader. When Shirazu comes face-to-face with Noro, one of the deadliest out of all known ghouls by the CCG, Shirazu sets out to use all his power to destroy his target. But when he gets tired from fighting, he signals his teammate Urie to deliver the final blow on Noro, and he does.
But in the process, the ghoul fatally injures Shirazu. When the rest of his squad rushes to their leader’s side, they quickly realize that his wound is too severe for to regenerate. Too injured to hear his comrades, Shirazu wonders why his team isn’t saying anything, despite them shouting at him to not die. The ghoul investigator goes on to say that he couldn’t see anyone and wants someone to hold his hand, showing his fear of dying alone.
Anime fans had high hopes for Shirazu — after all, everything was going well for him. He got promoted to squad leader and began to take things seriously, leading fans to believe that he had a few more episodes to show his skills.
Miki Makimura (Devilman Crybaby)
One of Netflix’s biggest anime hits — and contender for best anime of the year — Devilman Crybaby has one of the most shocking anime deaths of 2018. Based on the manga series of the same name, Devilman Crybaby centers around Akira Fudo, a sensitive and caring young man, who gets dragged by his best friend, Ryo Asuka, to fight demons, thus becoming a Devilman. When the humans find out Akira’s identity, they go on a witch hunt killing anyone involved with the devil. One of the unlucky victims is Akira’s crush, Miki Makimura.
At an attempt to defend Akira on social media, Mika unwittingly exposes her identity and where she lives. A group of rioters breaks into her home killing her friends. Luckily Mika manages, to escape, although barefoot, through a window.
Despite her track-and-field skills, which helped her survive the track event massacre, she’s only human. Barefoot and with a shot wound in her leg, Mika isn’t fast enough to escape the mob chasing her. She meets a grisly end when one of the rioters stabs her in the back with a large combat knife. Even worse, the rioters aren’t happy in just killing her. They proceed to cut her open and dismember the young woman.
After finding his lover’s remains, Akira holds Miki’s head and unleashes a tragic and bloodcurdling cry that leaves viewers sympathizing for the devil.
Dracula (Castlevania Season 2)
Netflix’s Castlevania follows Dracula as he wreaks havoc on humanity for killing his wife. Luckily, there’s Trevor Belmont, from the monster-slaying Belmont family, to stop him. Joining him are Sypha Belnades, a sorceress with control over the elements, and Dracula’s son, Alucard.
In the penultimate episode, we see father go against son as they fight for humanity’s future. They brawl throughout the castle, smashing through walls and bellow about humanity’s fate. Finally, Alucard tells his father the truth — that his revenge is merely “history’s longest suicide note.” Grabbing a wooden stake, Alucard stabs his father through the chest but misses his heart, and Dracula strikes him through the wall again.
About to kill his son, Dracula realizes where he is: Alucard’s childhood bedroom. The room still has the same décor and the toys he and his wife hand-crafted for their baby boy. Seeing a portrait of his happy family, Dracula finally grasps the depths of his own madness. Realizing what he has become, Dracula admits that he died when his wife did and wants to stop the suffering. He lowers his hands and doesn’t resist when Alucard stabs him in the heart, killing him.
Throughout two seasons, viewers saw how grief drove Dracula to kill countless humans. And to suddenly see him give up took fans by surprise, especially when he had the patience to wait one full year to exact his revenge.
Royal Army (Overlord Season 3)
Overlord season three is full of political intrigue and of course lots of casualties. Ever since season one, Ainz Ooal Gown has been planning to conquer this New World by slaying and manipulating the humans around him. One of such is the emperor of Baharuth, who, after witnessing Ainz with immense power, decides to form an alliance with the Sorcerer King. As such, Ainz joins him in the yearly battle between Baharuth and the Re-Estize Kingdom.
As seen during the Lizardmen War, Ainz commands an enormous amount of power than anyone in the New World can summon. The annual incursion is a perfect place to instill such fear that nobody would dare challenge him.
So, if a few animated soldiers die in the process, it wouldn’t be significant. However, the death toll was surprising, to say the least. On the battlefield, Ainz casts a super-tier spell to bring forth five Dark Young, level 90 powerful and intelligent monsters. However, to summon the creatures, Ainz sacrifices the lives of 70,000 Re-Estize soldiers. One by one, they fall on the ground. But they were the lucky ones as the Dark Young trampled the remaining soldiers to death.
This wasn’t a battle to the death between equally matched foes, but a large-scale massacre that brought the Re-Estize Kingdom to its knees and made anyone trying to betray Ainz to rethink their strategy.
Wizard and Warrior (Goblin Slayer)
The action fantasy series Goblin Slayer follows Priestess as she and other rookie adventurers – Wizard, Fighter, and Warrior – form their first guild. Unprepared, they set out to defeat a horde of goblins who have attacked a nearby village and kidnapped some girls. But right off the bat, things go awry when the inexperienced party gets ambushed by goblins.
They failed to notice the cave’s side tunnels and the goblins quickly overpower Wizard stabbing her in the abdomen. A panicked Priestess tries to do her best to heal Wizard’s wound, but only worsened her condition. In the meantime, Warrior manages to kill several goblins, but he gets stabbed in the leg by a goblin. It seems that his sword isn’t suited for close combat, making it possible for the monsters to swarm and hack the naïve adventurer to death.
Luckily, the Goblin Slayer comes to the rescue and kills all the Goblins. But it’s too late for Wizard, who’s getting worse by the second. As a result, she asks the Goblin Slayer to put her out of her misery, to which he obliges.
Although Goblin Slayer does give a fairly accurate representation of dark fantasy RPGs, the episode was way too graphic, even for anime standards. The assault and death of the adventurers, plus scenes like baby goblins getting clobbered, shocked even the most hardened of anime fans.
Shōko Hida (Happy Sugar Life)
Don’t let the title fool you — Happy Sugar Life isn’t your typical bubbly anime. The series follows Satō Matsuzaka who comes across an abandoned child named Shio Kōbe. But instead of bringing her to the authorities, Satō takes Shio in and becomes obsessed with the young girl. Things quickly take a dark turn when it’s revealed that Satō’s life is a lie, even the apartment she’s living in isn’t hers, but belonging to someone lying in a bloody bag near the couch. Her obsession with Shio makes Satō commit unspeakable crimes.
One of the unlucky victims is Satō’s coworker, Shōko Hida, who happens to have a crush on Satō. However, when Shōko finds out that Satō kidnapped Shio, she hesitantly takes photo evidence with her phone, much to Satō’s displeasure.
Trying to save Satō from her crimes, Shōko desperately confesses that she loves her. Unfortunately, Shōko has broken Satō’s trust too many times and, instead of convincing Satō to not report her to the police, she resorts to stabbing her coworker in the throat. Shōko frantically tries to break free, sinking her nails in Satō’s arm. But it’s too late — she’s lost too much blood, and with tears in her eyes, she dies.
Even though Shōko was in love with Satō, she was still aware of Satō’s evil nature. On top of that, she was the most mentally stable character out of them all. Despite all of this, she still met a grim end.
Shorter Wong (Banana Fish)
Banana Fish follows Ash who, due to his tough upbringing, has now become the leader of his own gang. Due to his past, Ash doesn’t trust anyone, except for his best friend Shorter Wong, who, through the years together running the streets, have grown to have a deep sense of camaraderie and trust. This comes in full display when Ash left Eiji — Ash’s love interest — in the hands of Shorter.
Unfortunately, Shorter kidnaps Eiji and brings him to Golzine, one of Ash’s many enemies. However, this turns into a double-crossing as Golzine’s men knock out Shorter, drug him with Banana Fish, — a brainwashing narcotic — and later on torture him. Shorter is led to believe that Eiji is the reason behind his pain and fear, as such Shorter’s capturers order him to kill Eiji as a way to stop the suffering.
With his hands bound in chains, a frantic Ash begs Shorter to stop, but the brainwashed Shorter keeps on attacking Eiji. For a brief moment, Shorter returns to consciousness and asks Ash to put him out of his misery. But the drug manages to retake its hold, and Shorter returns his attention to Eiji. Luckily, Ash gets loose from his chains and shoots down his best friend to save his lover. A distraught Ash — and fans — can’t believe what he’d done. Shorter’s death is as heartbreaking as it is shocking — there was no evil intent behind the killing.