7 anime showing us the significance of loss

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header art by Twitter: @tarokunnnn and @_tamomoko

Loss, something most of us experienced or will experience in their lives. With birth there is death, it’s the ultimate destination for every living being to die.

As loss isn’t limited to death only, loss can also be something out of grasp. It may be something simple as one’s favourite toy or a bit more deeper and metaphoric not existing in a materialistic sense.

But loss always comes with an aftermath, something that changes due to the consequences of that something that has been lost, whether it’s personal growth, despair or even a whole life that changes – changes will happen whereas minimal.

In today’s blogpost we will look at 7 anime series which showed us how significant loss is and the consequences of it, with that said this is your major spoiler warning since most of the series discussed will have topics of late series arcs in it.

Disclaimer: Please, if you have experienced loss or certain trauma connected to it consider that some of the content could be triggering. If you are currently struggling with this topic don’t be afraid to reach out to people or a specialist and do not suffer alone.

Fullmetal Alchemist

It’s not the first time we looked at Fullmetal Alchemist and the complicated yet intriguing topics it brings.

As the blogpost above already mentioned the importance of sacrifice and loss in the series we will shortly see the significance in it and the aftermath.

The story of the Elric Brothers starts with their mother’s death, losing their comfort and most loved one left them devastated not being able to grasp the reality that their dear mother has left them once and for all.

Growing up as children learning about Alchemy their whole life there is one principle the little boys learned from a very young age: in order to obtain or create something something of equal value must be destroyed.

Something so simple yet so complex at the same time. A principle the young boys have not fully understood until they had learned it the hard way breaking one of the biggest taboo in the history of Alchemy: Human transmutation.

As the brothers brought together every ingredient to get their mother back they had realized it isn’t as simple as bringing the components of a human body to bring back another human being. Losing the body of his brother and also his own arm and leg Edward saw for himself that day: death is something that cannot be disrupted even with alchemy.

There is much more than the components of the human body and the Elric brother soon realized that after attempting to bring back their dead mother. They weren’t the only example of that since their teacher tried the same with her dead baby, losing her womb in the process. 

Ironic since it was the most important body part for her to bear a baby, losing her chance to get children after that.

The aftermath of loss in this anime was the realization that some things cannot be redone, they cannot come back and they cannot be brought together as simply as it may seem.

Many things are unknown in this little world of ours and so is the concept of death which cannot be simply explained by body part components brought together as the soul is also a big part of a human life.

Kimetsu no Yaiba/ Demon Slayer

(Contains also spoiler for the Mugen Train movie)

Another example in which the story starts with the death of a whole family.

Tanjiro Kamado who lived a peaceful life in the mountains along with his family making charcoal for a living has not only lost everything he loves but the last part of his family, Nezuko, also turned into a demon.

Having experienced the sudden loss of everything he had as well as his sister who is now not even human anymore, fearing that also could get killed anytime by the Demon Slayer Corps Tanjiro’s life is turned upside down when the young boy realizes he has to take everything in his hands.

From a village boy who never thought of fighting to someone who had to become a part of the Demon Slayer Corps himself in order to protect his sister and try to retrieve her humanity, searching for the responsible person who did this all to him.

Experiencing not only hardships after that, but also almost losing all hope along the way of becoming a demon slayer, Tanjiro works harder than anyone else to make his promise happen that he will save Nezuko, the only loved one left in his life.

Tender-hearted and kind Tanjiro had to kill Demons, the one who also attacked his family yet despite that he still feels bad to fully kill them and hesitates at the beginning of his journey.

We see that Tanjiro slowly changes and even though he never truly loses that kind-heartedness of his, he still becomes someone who kills for his purpose but grieving over the ones he kills and respects them.

Tanjiro’s loss forced him into a world he never wanted to enter and was far away from him, yet in this world he realized many things have been going wrong as he stepped into it. With that kindness and urge to help others Tanjiro also learns there are many people like him who experienced such a tragic story and if it wasn’t for his own loss he couldn’t have helped those people nor would he have ever had any idea what has been the real deal out there, outside of his peaceful village.

Someone as tender and pacifistic as Tanjiro had to become strong and also learn that sometimes despite your own efforts things do not work out, sometimes you are just too weak to do anything which forces you to change.

With Rengoku’s death in the Demon Slayer Movie: Mugen Train Tanjiro yet again realizes that despite his immense growth and strength he acquires he was still helpless in a situation in which he wanted to save someone, someone who had died right before his eyes this time. Someone just as kind-hearted and tender as Tanjiro.

Despite that we don’t see the aftermath of the Mugen Train movie and Rengoku’s death until season 2, it is clear that Tanjiro also burned the sight of Rengoku who gave his life for his junior and dying while smiling into his mind. Blaming himself for being useless in fight and also the unfairness of a battle between a Demon slayer and a demon.

As Rengoku slowly began teaching Tanjiro some things there are seen many similarities between his teacher and him, if one could even assume Rengoku’s death could lead Tanjiro to become his successor as we clearly see that Tanjiro viewed Rengoku in very high regards. 

Still Tanjiro could only fully grasp Rengoku’s message and purpose until he died in the end and despite that Tanjiro’s journey started with loss, another loss will push him to the next stage of that very journey, fighting not only his purpose alone anymore.

Akame ga Kill

Tatsumi’s journey, unlike Tanjiro’s, starts with him and two of his comrades leaving their village in order to gain money and help them in their dire situation.

Full with eagerness and hope they could make big cash in the Capital, his friends and him got separated along the way due to a bandit attack.

Despite that Tatsumi tries to join the army but with no success and gets tricked leading him to lose all his money as he reaches the Capital. Luckily a noble family takes him in and everything seems  to be going well, an assassin group called Night Raid attacks the noble family’s mansion.

Trying to protect the family that has taken good care of him and fighting Night Raid reveals a big and hideous secret of the family, that they actually tortured and killed his friends in the very mansion he was living in, and even worse they planned to do the same with him.

Betrayed and full of rage Tatsumi decides to join Night Raid and kill the family who ended the lives of his dear childhood friends who he got separated from in the beginning.

The tragic loss and reveal of how they had died turned the hopeful and innocent Tatsumi into someone who saw for his own eyes how bitter and cruel the world could be.

Instead of a hero who would bring his village the money they needed, he became an assassin who kills those who bring injustice, a stark contrast to where he started and a great change that also happened after loss and being hurt not only physically but also mentally.

Tokyo Ghoul

Considering that the loss we talked about were all physical death examples, this one is a loss that is partly physical.

As Kaneki Ken experiences a tragic accident due to being tricked by a Ghoul into a date just to get eaten, his life is on the line but he manages to survive – until he realizes that something is far off.

After getting organs transplanted in order to survive he doesn’t get just any organs but the ones from the Ghoul who died in the accident, something that changed him completely from losing appetite for normal food to hunger for human flesh.

Despite his many attempts to suppress those urges, he is forced to eat human flesh by Touka, a girl who is also a ghoul working at the coffee shop he usually visits.

He experiences the immense guilt of eating human flesh despite that he was also a human just not long ago and with events unfolding further, Kaneki loses something important which made him the being he was up until now – his humanity.

Even after having a modified body Kaneki still tried to keep his humanity deep down inside yet with the loss of his own normal body functions. Kaneki slowly becomes more and more ghoul-like and his only humanity left which was his mind slowly fades away after seeing his place being lost in the human world due to many circumstances.

With the loss of one’s humanity, it’s like part of someone dying even if not physically the consequences of Kaneki giving up on his humanity turned him into a lonely killer who refuses to have a place in the world until much later on.

Clannad After Story

How does it feel to lose someone who you slowly fell in love with?

Someone who was your heart and tenderness and the one you made a family with?

Tomoya Okazaki happens to go through that.

After losing his wife due to her bad physical condition that led her to die at giving birth to their daughter, Tomoya experiences grave grief, to an extent that he becomes a workaholic and neglects his daughter who shows stark resemblance to his late wife Nagisa.

Yet after several years in which only Nagisa’s parents took care of his daughter, they attempted to bring Tomoya and his daughter together. 

His daughter recognizes him as uncle and not her father since he was absent all these years making both of them feel a certain disdain towards each other, which mainly comes from Tomoya’s side.

After going on a trip for the first time, Tomoya starts to think back about the years that passed in which he had not cared for his daughter at all and was busy working in order to suppress his grief for Nagisa.

Tomoya’s father who also had to take care of Tomoya all by himself after his wife died was someone Tomoya disliked since he thought his father didn’t really care for him and only argued with since his father was always drunk.

Meeting his grandmother on the trip who explains to him that his father always tried his best to give Tomoya all he needed but fell into a big depression after his mother died made Tomoya understand him a little and feel like he was a good parent since he was also in the same situation now.

Understanding the sacrifices his father made and also remembering the happy times they had made him forgive his father for all the trouble he had given him and also admitting that he was a good father, something he couldn’t have done if Nagisa hadn’t died and made him a single father as well.

He could now fully understand his father being in the same position and decided to become a better parent as well, caring more for his daughter.

Jujutsu Kaisen

In Jujutsu Kaisen we have two scenarios in which loss is mentioned and plays a vital part for the protagonist.

After his grandpa’s death right in episode 1 of the anime, his grandpa’s last words before his death were that Itadori is a strong person who should use his strength to help others and also not die alone unlike his grandfather who was surrounded by nobody beside Itadori.

This event triggered the wish inside Itadori: to lead everyone to a proper death.

After these events he sees life as something more valuable and takes the words of his grandfather very seriously, to an extent that he immediately changes his whole life purpose on them.

Due to the strong connection and death of his grandfather, his words keep replaying in his head and also lead Itadori to save others when curses appear in front of him for the first time.

He doesn’t care that he is a mere human with more strength than others but focusses fully on saving his friends which in the end lead him to accidentally eat Sukuna’s finger.

The drive to use his strength to protect those dear and weaker than him after losing his grandfather and experiencing loss for the first time, makes him want to avoid seeing something like that happen again.

In this first scenario of loss, Itadori found his drive and goal he wanted to fight for which ultimately lead him to become Sukuna’s vessel and share his body with him following that he joins Jujutsu High and becomes associated with the world of Jujutsu.

Due to those events at some point Itadori meets Junpei on his journey, after being appointed to watch him since he was a suspect on the crime scene in the cinema.

Despite the fact that he first only watched him, he soon interacts with Junpei and there are seemingly many similarities that Junpei and Itadori share, leading to a friendship that blossomed from suspicion.

Itadori hangs out with Junpei and deeply cares for him as he sees that Junpei is someone with a good heart and gets along very well. Yet with the interference of Mahito’s plan and Junpei running wild after his mother has been killed, Junpei decides to walk a path of pain and regret in which he wants to destroy those who started it.

But despite the things Junpei did Itadori believed in him and talked some sense into Junpei who finally seemed to understand that there is hope for him and accepted Itadori’s offer of trust.

It seemed that Junpei finally found a friend who believed in him and offered him to come to Jujutsu High as well to find the person responsible for his mother’s death with the help of others.

This heartfelt moment was interrupted by Mahito who transfigured Junpei calling him foolish and making him fight Itadori, after a short time Junpei’s life ends and Itadori sees another of his dear people dying right in front of him not being able to do a single thing with no one to help him.

Losing Junpei had a big impact on Itadori, this kind of loss drove him to actually want to kill someone, a principle of his being violated by this thought.

After the fight against Mahito, Itadori realizes that he wants to lead everyone to a proper death yet again but also that he needs to know what a proper death actually is, starting to question his own purpose.

The second loss led Itadori to question his own values and what they meant, as well as that he is needed as a Jujutsu Sorcerer to protect others. Finally he also understood with Nanami’s help that everyone dies differently and such a thing as equal and proper death is not applicable to all.

On top of that Itadori realized how helpless he was when he couldn’t protect Junpei and wanted to become even stronger to not rely on Sukuna’s help who laughed at him when he needed him.

Danganronpa

As Danganronpa already showed us the significance of despair, in today’s post we will look further into the part of loss.

Kill or getting killed, that’s the question.

With sixteen others who want to escape the prison school life at Hope’s Peak Academy, loss doesn’t come short here and in variety.

It starts with the loss of one’s own freedom and the feeling of security that Makoto Naegi immediately sees in the events of episode 1.

After waking up and the school being a prison from which no one can escape the first loss of freedom starts to take its toll.

On top of that Monokuma, a bear who pronounces himself as principal and leader of this game, declares that the students have to kill each other in order to escape this prison leaving them to live in fear of being killed.

Either only the killer survives after a class trial has been held and he/she hasn’t been found or the rest who voted correctly and found the killer.

Despite that the last option leads just to not being executed for the time being and having to fear another murder happening as Monokuma doesn’t shy away of giving the students motives to kill each other.

Not feeling safe anymore, even in their own room or among their peers, the loss of security is what leads to becoming paranoid, and living in utter and complete fear.

But also the loss of their own friends who lived with them and were forced to kill not being able to withstand the pressure and blackmails lasts heavily on the remaining students.

The saddest part is that the students cannot even grieve fully as one event after the other unfolds, sadly only loss can bring them closer to the truth and to their escape.

Loss in Danganronpa despite the grief part shows that some things can only be acquired when someone loses something precious, it can be basic things such as freedom or security.

But it can also be a heap of lives sacrificed for the truth to be unveiled and leading to a future that must change.

These were some examples for losses in anime and there are even more.

Do you have any anime in which loss also plays a big role?

Drop them in the comments, but please be aware to not spoil anything for the others.

  • Makii

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