Despite the nature of a lot of anime to focus on the more exaggerated aspects of life, certain genres such as action, fantasy, sci-fi, and even horror may dabble into situations where death is unavoidable. As common in other forms of fiction, death in anime is almost always treated seriously – an unexpected fate to befall a fan-favorite character, or an expected character development of someone who may have brought themselves to their untimely demise.
Unfortunately, or fortunately, for fans, some death scenes in anime just end up on the right side of bizarre that some viewers couldn’t help but think of the situation as extra hilarious. And while some death scenes are outright funny in certain anime, the dramatic irony in other stories may bring out someone’s inner dark humorist.
10/10 Marik (Yu-Gi-Oh!)
In a world where card games can determine the fate of the whole world, Yu-Gi-Oh! remains to entertain fans with a rather tight narrative on top of its awesome card game duels. One such instance was the thrilling conclusion of the Battle City Tournament, where the Pharaoh faced off against Yami Marik and his rather indestructible Winged Dragon of Ra. It’s not enough that the fate of the world hanged in the balance, but Yami Marik twisted the odds further by putting the lives of their other halves on the line – the innocent Marik Ishtar on one, and Pharaoh’s best friend Yugi Muto on the other.
As expected of the Pharaoh in an impossible battle, he uses a MacGuffin in the form of a new card – Ragnarok. With this card, he’s able to destroy all monsters in Yami Marik’s field at the cost of all the cards in his deck. And since Yami Marik still has 1 Life Point yet, he’s still got a shot at finally defeating the defenselss Pharaoh. But in a surprising turn of events, Marik Ishtar comes to his senses and overpowers Yami Marik, essentially making him the stake and not the other way around. Instead of the Pharaoh getting the final blow, Marik simply surrenders, sending his other half to the pits of the Shadow Realm. It’s such a letdown of a satisfying finish, but a hilarious way to defeat the villain.
9/10 Light Yagami (Death Note)
When law student Light Yagami discovers the Death Note and its ability to kill anyone with only a face and a name, he’s discovered a means to not only eliminate crime but recreate the world in his image as. His pursuit of godhood, documented in the Death Note series, will have Light constantly kill criminals as the mysterious Kira. In the process, Light will form a bond with his Death Note’s guardian Ryuk, date fellow Death Note user Misa Amane, and form a rivalry with L, the World’s Greatest Detective who’s obsessed with capturing Kira and bringing him to justice. In fact, such was L’s skill that he made a successful prediction that Light was Kira, with Light having to spend half of the series not only disproving L but even orchestrating his death.
With the latter half of the series showing Light in a seemingly unstoppable crusade as Kira, L’s protege Near proves he’s much more tenacious than his predecessor. Having successfully cornered Light to a standstill, Light expected Ryuk to help him murder Near and his team but the nonchalant Death Note guardian proved he was in no way Light’s ally. In the end, Light dies because of a grave miscalculation and in a surprising fit of inflated overconfidence. Despite Light’s death being practically guaranteed in the series, the sheer irony of his demise leaves its circumstances rather hilarious.
8/10 Festo (Fang Of The Sun Dougram)
Fans of classic anime would remember the 80s where mecha anime was on the rise, and Fang of the Sun Dougram was exactly that – a tale of a rebel group fighting an oppressive alien occupation with the help of the eponymous robot. And as with the trend in these classic anime, tragedy would almost assuredly strike the protagonists in order to band them together.
This comes in the form of Festo, the group’s resident comic relief. And while defeating giant monsters often warranted celebration, this particular time Festo decided to show off his biking skills in the desert would be his last. In a shocking revelation, it’s revealed a live grenade was in the compartment of his bike and exploded just after Festo declared he’s the best. While this was truly a horrific death in the series, the level of potential comedy the dramatic irony had is a surefire test whether a viewer is a fan of dark comedy.
7/10 The Brain, The Brawn (One-Punch Man)
Compared to other superhero-themed anime, the villains faced by the heroes in One-Punch Man are no joke, especially when some of them are often global-level threats that heroes often don’t get to defeat. Such was the case of the Brain and the Brawn, a pair of brothers that served as some of the deadliest villains in the series. Whereas the Brain serves as the mind behind their operations, the Brawn is the muscle that could very well tear anything apart with his own hands.
So when push comes to shove, Saitama comes to save the day. And before the three (3) prepare to face-off, the Brawn gets excitedly touchy with his brother. Such was his strength that he actually squishes his brother to pieces, much to everyone’s surprise. And before players could get a laugh in this dramatic irony, Saitama takes out the Brawn in his signature punch.
6/10 Kazuma Sato (KonoSuba)
In one of the crazier isekai series of modern anime, KonoSuba probably turns the trope on its head and provides viewers with a rather refreshing yet hilarious take on the genre. When Kazuma Sato dies in the real world, his life as a shut-in NEET caught the attention of Aqua, a goddess of a parallel world with MMO elements. She offers to reincarnate him as a warrior there and, after some misadventures, ends up with an absent-minded Aqua who seems to be unable to join her brethren in the afterlife until the defeat of the Devil King. And after trying to establish a team to defeat him but to no avail, Kazuma decides to just try and live a comfortable new life… until circumstances force him and his friends to slowly work their way to defeating the Devil King’s generals anyway.
What’s perhaps hilarious about KonoSuba is the first time Kazuma is transported into his second life anyway. Instead of the usual “transportation via magic” trope, Kazuma’s reincarnation was a result of a rather embarrassing death. After trying to save the life of a girl he thought was going to be hit by a truck, it’s the shock of the thought that he was hit that ultimately killed Kazuma. In truth, the “truck” was a slow-moving tractor and the girl was never going to get hit.
5/10 Dandy (Space Dandy)
It’s not often for a space-themed anime to go wild with its concepts, especially for a comedy like Space Dandy to throw continuity out of the way in favor of crazy storytelling. At its core, the anime tells of the adventures of eponymous Dandy as he and his friends of the Aloha Oe embark on various space-faring adventures that often explore various sci-fi concepts. While a lot of times would have Dandy and his friends outright be eviscerated, they always have a means to go back safe and sound in the next episode.
Of course, viewers had no idea the anime would take such a path in the first episode. At the end of the first episode, Dandy and his friends found themselves in a hostile alien planet with no escape in sight. So of course Dandy does the sensible thing and blows everything up. Aside from being a tone-setter, this “what the f-“ moment is definitely a hilarious way to go for a reset.
4/10 Dolph (Nichijou)
Although Nichijou didn’t get as much praise in its initial release due to its unique take on comedy, it became an instant classic precisely because of this. In the anime, main character Yuko Aoi strives to be a “more interesting” person, and she inevitably gets entangled in the affairs of her closest friends, who end up being more than what they seem. Being a slice-of-life that borders on the bizarre, a lot of the comedic situations in Nichijou are often associated with dark humor.
Such is the case of Dolph, a traitorous madman hoping to claim rulership of an elven kingdom at some point in Yuko’s adventures. And as he declares his victory to the kingdom’s captured rulers, Dolph takes a step, falls on himself, and dies instantly.
3/10 Lancer (Carnival Phantasm)
In the Holy Grail War of the Fate series, various heroes of myth and historical figures become Servants, Heroic Spirits bound to the will of their summoners, called Masters, who now use them to wage war for the ultimate prize: any wish. And while each iteration of the Holy Grail War has had its fair share of intense narratives, some of its most popular ones always had their Lancers, a Servant Class focusing on their charm and skill with the spear, dying horrific and undeserved deaths.
This was transformed into somewhat of a running gag in Carnival Phantasm, a comedy spinoff of the Fate series where Servants and Masters do rather crazy shenanigans. Each episode almost always features Lancer dying, and most of the time in rather unceremonious ways. Part of the comedic factor here is how his death is always treated as a “meh” factor, with characters even blatantly forgetting who he was, sometimes only referring to him as a “man in blue tights.”
2/10 The Potato (Magical Witch Punie-Chan)
While having to attend a Japanese high school is a rather weird requirement to become next-in-line to rule a magical kingdom, this is the case of Magical Witch Punie-chan, where protagonist Punie Tanaka attends a school while being a secret magical girl, and all the while assassins of various kinds try to kill her to stop her from being the next ruler of Magical Land.
Although the anime itself parodies magical girl tropes, perhaps one that takes the cake would be the school festival episode. In it, an antagonist attempts to disrupt the festivities but instead transforms the ingredients of a curry booth alive. With the vegetables fearing their own death just shortly after their newfound sentience, a heroic Potato decides to brutally – and emphasis on unnecessarily – peel himself and throw himself into the mixture to spare his vegetable brethren.
1/10 Yamcha (Dragon Ball Z)
Throughout the course of the Dragon Ball anime, Son Goku fights and befriends various martial artists of varying combat styles – from disciplined triclops Tien Shinhan, enemy-turned-friend Piccolo, and even the wolf-like fighter Yamcha. Unfortunately for the gang, Dragon Ball Z and their whole host of new characters easily relegated the likes of Yamcha to the sidelines, with extremely powerful characters like Vegeta, Trunks, and other fighters easily overshadowing them in terms of power.
None reflected this overshadowing in such a somber manner than the rather hilarious death of Yamcha. Now a meme at this point, Yamcha’s death happened during the arrival of both Vegeta and his assistant Nappa to wreak havoc on Earth. Thing is, Yamcha didn’t even get to scratch Nappa when he died. Instead, a self-destructing Saibaman, a mere henchman, claimed Yamcha’s life. It was truly an embarrassing way to go – and that’s before the fact that Vegeta and Bulma got together, with the former being Yamcha’s ex-girlfriend.
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