art by @a-zebra-was-here on tumblr
Tragedy and Misery is a trope we see so many times around us and as well in anime, because it resembles and takes things from our own realities.
As much as there is love and happiness in life, it all wouldn’t mean anything without sadness and calamity bestowing upon us. It’s all similar to a rollercoaster ride, going up and down again to change the pace. Driving upwards for a long lime would be just as boring as it would be terrifying to keep crashing downwards.
That is why a healthy mix of both is needed in life.
Still, sometimes it seems as if life unfairly only gives us opportunity for failure, hurt and darkness. While the light at the end of the tunnel seems so far away, it is important to know that it always is there.
So what about the ones that didn’t get a happy ending? What about the ones that were cut short, the ones that were just about to get what they wanted but couldn’t quite grasp it in the end?
We’re here to talk about anime characters that have filled their surroundings with warmth and love, maybe a purpose or a friendship to someone but couldn’t quite finish their beautiful stories. The ones that had a harsh past and felt like giving up so often that one asks themselves “how did they survive so long?”
The innocent ones who were merely at the wrong place at the wrong time, the ones who had to sacrifice themselves for the greater good and left behind family,friends and comrades with a last smile on their faces.
Not everyone of the characters that are mentioned here are tragic characters that died, some of them still have a lot of life’s perils in front of them, but ultimately they are all people who deserved better.
Before we dive into the list, I would like to mention that it is often the case that viewers and readers wish for these tragic characters to get a better ending, and while that is a legitimate and valid sensation one can feel there is one thing very important to mention.
In fiction the author has control over the plot, and often writes characters like these to elicit exactly these feelings in the reader. It is supposed to be hurtful and unjust, the characters are written to pull on all of our heartstrings.
We should also keep in mind that the protagonist often loses the people around him to grow and keep on his journey, feeling a drive inside him to soar and avenge or act in the lost characters stead.
No that we have established that, let us look into our character list!
Pokkle was a bit of a minor character in Hunter x Hunter.
As the 53rd examinee he was shown to be nimble with a bow and arrow, and even though he might have seemed to be unimportant to the story he gradually became a stronger opponent for our protagonists. It was his personal second try at the Hunter Exam, and he seemed to be a very carefree and laid back character. Pokkle was very smart about his surroundings, retreating when he realised there was nowhere left to go and compared to his peers, seemingly not that talented.
As he became a Hunter only due to Killua forfeiting and leaving the win to him, he mentioned his disdain later on as he felt his ego bruised. Winning without a fair fight wasn’t his style, and he was quick to express his anger towards Killua.
Later on, we see that after developing Nen, he became a Hunter of Fantastic Beast and reenters the story with a lot more relevance in the Chimera- Ant arc. Fighting courageously in NGL against Zazan’s underlings, he loses not only his close friends but also the rest of the expedition groups that he was associated with, fighting on his own against Ants that ultimately defeated him by using a toxin to paralyze him.
The tragedy that befalls Pokkle is the reason he resides in this list, as he keeps fighting even as he lies paralyzed in the chimera ants nest to become the Queen’s food, never giving up until he is found by Neferpitou.
Pitou catches him hiding in a pile of skulls and uses him to learn about Nen, but it’s the way she does so as she performs a lobotomy on him, pricking his open skull until he lamely spits out all the information she needs. It’s the way we see him wither away, as he probed by Pitou, laying there naked only to be tossed away and killed later.
Truly, Pokkle deserved a better ending.
Maes Hughes is a soldier through and through, exhibiting all of the necessary skills to have a successful career as a state military officer. Battling through the war of Ishval, he has endured countless battles and has made clear to the viewer that his abilities are no joke.
While seemingly easy-going, Maes has a reputation of caring deeply for his friends and family. Be it his comrades Roy Mustang and Riza Hawkeye or his newfound bond with the Elric brothers and even Winry Rockbell, he is sure to have open arms for them all and isn’t shy to show his affection.
He also has a strong relationship to his wife Gracia Hughes and loves her dearly, as she puts up with his dramatic antics and the fact he keeps generously inviting his friends to his house. His daughter Elicia Hughes is always on his mind, parading her around and squealing about how cute she is at every possible moment. Elicia in turn loves her father just as much, always smiling around him and talking of him in the sweetest manner.
As a soldier who was traumatized by a horrible war and is still working in terrible conditions and against enemies of all kinds, he keeps a level-head and surprisingly switches from his carefree attitude to a more serious one in seconds.
Adamant on saving and protecting what is valued to him, he doesn’t shy away from hurting the ones he considers as wrong or bad but keeps on his path as long as he can see his family in safe hands.
The reason why Maes’ death is so hurtful, is because it could’ve been easily avoided.
He dies at the hands of Envy, but not because he was physically or intellectually unfit to beat him, instead it is a vicious trick that Envy uses which led to our soldiers demise. He shapeshifted into Gracia, knowing Hues wouldn’t be able to kill him, even though he knew it wasn’t actually his wife.
In his last moments after being shot, he asks for forgiveness and hopes his daughter never forgets him. A tragic end for someone with such a good heart.
The story of Sayaka Miki starts when she and Madoka encounter Kyubey and the magical girl Mami for the first time, as they tag along and wish to become magical girls themselves.
Madoka and Sayaka are both not only recruited by Mami and Kyubey, but they also learn alot from her as she advises them to think very carefully if they even want to become magical girls.
As Sayaka gets to wish for something, she ponders for a long time what she would wish for and mentions using the wish for someone else. This is discouraged by Mami, as she advises Sayaka to think clearly of her intentions when she wishes something for someone else.
In this instance, the person Sayaka is thinking of is her dear friend Kyosuke, who used to be an amazing violin player until he severely hurt his hand. Not being able to feel anything properly with his hand anymore, he started to despise music itself, as Sayaka who kept visiting him could only watch him suffer.
Sayaka having a crush on her childhood friend decided to wish for his hand to get better, after his condition got worse and his prognosis of never being able to play again despaired him.
But as Mami had mentioned before, the intention of Sayaka’s wish was problematic for herself, as she hoped to be acknowledged by her crush. Hoping he would like her back and she could be happy with him. This was never the case, as her friend Hitomi confessed to liking Kyosuke as well.
Sayaka holds herself back after hearing this and doesn’t chase after her beloved Kyosuke anymore, as he starts to have feelings for Hitomi as well, leaving Miki behind and alone.
Her despair gets to her as she realises her wish was for nothing, her feelings left unrequited as she felt hopeless and alone, and as her soul gem started to get sullied she did not accept any help until she turned into a wicked witch and destroyed everything around her.
Sayaka Miki tells the story of betrayal and hurt, and how love doesn’t always conquer all.
The special operations squad, also known as squad Levi, is consistent with the best soldiers handpicked by Levi Ackerman.
With a kill count of over 200 Titans, the squad was known to be the best of the Survey Corps, being able to work together with an insane precision and having had multiple successful missions behind them.
All of them, including Levi and Hange, helped Eren get back on his feet after joining the Survey Corps and becoming humanity’s last hope. They show him what it entails to be working under Levi, show the trust they have towards each other and slowly but surely take him in as one of their own.
After training Eren’s titan shifter powers, they all start to tell stories about themselves, Petra bullying Oluo for trying to be as cold as Levi and general funny moments ensue.
It’s almost as if the Titan’s aren’t a threat anymore and the squad just trains for something that is still far away, but as the 57th expedition starts and they are all confronted with the gruesome killings again, the carefree squad shows their fangs.
Absolutely devoted to Levi and his decisions, they confront Eren when he doubts the captain who left Eren to choose for himself.
Trust his comrades or go out on his own?
After living with the squadron for a long time he goes against his instincts and trusts them, which ultimately leads to their absolute gruesome death by the female Titan.
Petra, Oluo, Eld and Gunther all die tragically and in the most inhumane ways in front of Eren’s eyes, as he truly regrets not doing anything sooner. We find out the true intentions and pure hearts of the squadron, their feelings and hopes after they die and Levi flies past them in his gear as he finds their bodies.
Honestly, a horrible sight to see after a long way of introducing these characters and bonding with them, as they all get ambushed one by one.
The tale of a team that was so close, that they even died together.
All of these characters have tragic stories that make us want to weep, but considering that without these characters the stories wouldn’t be half as interesting, we can admit that not all characters can survive throughout the story.
Sometimes the good must be sacrificed so others can grow, even though it might seem unfair.
The fact that we are thinking of these characters right now shows that we won’t forget them and they will stay cherished in our hearts.
How did you find this assortment of characters? Are there any others you would like to mention that have had it rough and deserved more in their stories? Let’s discuss in the comments below!
Until next tea time then!
Oh, my tears salted the tea…
Category: AnimeTags: Anime, anime characters that deserved better, anime ranking, attack on titan, eld, elric brothers, envy, eren, fullmetal alchemist brotherhood, gunther, hunter x hunter, kyosuke, levi, levi squad, maes hughes, magical girl, manga, oluo, petra, pokkle, puella magi madoka magica, sad, sayaka miki, soul gem, titan, tragic