So this is more an observation I’ve made in regards to the anime I watch rather than any kind of explicit analysis or anything, just a heads up for those looking for that kind of thing!
You know, ever since I started to regularly watch anime three years ago now I’ve been unfortunate enough to always seem to pick the characters that die to be my favourite characters- now, just to be clear, I don’t select them as my favourite after the dying has occurred, but beforehand… Obviously death isn’t something which occurs in the large majority of the shows I watch, but if it does, it will always be my favourite character that experiences it! Only one character in the entire show can die, and it will, I guarantee it, be my character- it’s soul crushing! To illustrate, here’s a relatively spoiler-free list of all the shows where this has been the case:
- Aquarion EVOL
- Blood+ (Both my first and second favourite characters, almost my third on several occasions!)
- Clannad: After Story
- Darker than Black
- Death Note (first and second favourite characters again)
- Guilty Crown
- Haibane Renmei (only character to, effectively, die)
- Kuroshitsuji 2
- Last Exile (first and second favourite characters again!)
- Naruto Shippuden
- Neon Genesis Evangelion
- One Piece
- Outlaw Star
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (not that death, but that death)
- Rurouni Kenshin
- Umineko na naku koro ni (I think…?)
- Wolf’s Rain
- Xam’d Lost Memories
- XXXHOLiC (as good as!)
Quite a lengthy, depressing list, huh?
Part of me (the psych student part, perhaps) is interested in investigating whether or not there are any kinds of similarity between these unfortunate characters- am I subconsciously attracted to the type of character that’s more likely to croak? And do shows only bother killing off certain types of character to begin with?
Immediately you’d think that were anyone to die in a show, it would be its villain, right? But, surprisingly, 72% of the characters on the above list weren’t even ‘baddies’, but heroes, on the side of all that is good and righteous. So then, is there a similarity between these good guys? Well previous experience has shown there is a relationship between how large a role the character plays in the show and probability of death, but there’s a fairly even split between main characters and side characters here, so I can hardly draw any kind of conclusions from that either! However, if I look at some more of the roles played by some of the characters I thought of when compiling that list of sorrow, I am able to see some kind of pattern emerge: the majority of these characters (72% again) are either bad-guys-gone-good or the love interest/someone of special significance to the main character.
Admittedly I was not drawn to these characters because of the roles they played in regards to the story, but because of certain characteristics they individually possessed, but in hindsight their roles were a fairly good predictor of their deaths- it does make sense these are the kinds of characters shows are less hesitant to kill off- if a sacrifice is required to save the day, who better to sacrifice than a bad-guy-gone-good- nothing highlights the change in an ex-villain more than having them sacrifice themselves for ‘the greater good’- and killing off a character’s love interest/hero is the fastest, most efficient way to bring about some kind of development in their character thus pushing the plot, which is focused on them, as the main character, forward.
So basically, I just need to stop falling in love with bad-guys-gone -good and love interest because it’s really screwing me over…