Warning: Spoilers abound in these rankings, but we’ll give a tip that the top five picks are from anime series that aired no later than 2010.

It looks like the Japanese Internet just can’t get enough of tragic anime rankings recently. Following on the heels of surveys asking for the top series that left viewers feeling depressed and wanting to cry, this time we’ve got the results of a survey for the anime characters who died fairly early on but remained influential for the run of their series. Is it too much to ask for somebody to please stop cutting the onions around here??

Goo Ranking held the survey for just over two weeks back in January where it eventually garnered 2,043 total votes. 43 characters made it into the rankings with at least one vote, but today we’re going to introduce the top ten. A quick warning before we begin: since we’re dealing with the deaths of characters (which are in some cases completely shocking and pivotal plot points in the scope of their series), there will inevitably be some heavy spoilers below. Continue reading at your own risk.

Top Ten Anime Characters who Died Early on but Left a Big Impact

10. Shoko Hazama / Fafner in the Azure (44 votes)
9. Li Piao [Ri Hyo] / Kingdom (65 votes)
8. Hideyuki Makimura / City Hunter (77 votes)
7. Maes Hughes / Fullmetal Alchemist (117 votes)
6. Mami Tomoe / Puella Magi Madoka Magica (135 votes)

5. Wakaba Tsukishima / Cross Game (151 votes)
Original anime aired 2009-2010, 50 episodes

The fifth spot on our list goes to a character from Cross Game, a baseball-themed anime adapted from a manga by Mitsuru Adachi. Childhood friends Ko and Wakaba are always together until she drowns while trying to save a younger child in the very first episode. This event sets the stage for Ko and her younger sister, Aoba, to work hard at achieving Wakaba’s dream of seeing him play at the prestigious Koshien high school baseball tournament.

▼ Wakaba, whose name means “young leaf,” is as cute as a button but passes away at a tragically young age.

4. Siegfried Kircheis / Legend of Galactic Heroes (165 votes)
Original anime aired 1988-1997, 110 episodes

Unlike the other manga-based series to rank in the top five, the Legend of Galactic Heroes anime is based on a series of science fiction novels with a distinctly European influence. The red-headed Siegfried is a military commander and childhood friend of Reinhard von Lohengramm, who eventually goes on to to establish the Goldenlöwe Dynasty. Siegfried is killed in the 26th episode while thwarting an assassination attempt on his friend. He becomes a source of inspiration for others and is frequently mentioned for the rest of the series. A more recent anime adaptation of the story is currently garnering renewed interest among fans.

▼ Siegfried’s ultimate sacrifice for his friend is the truest form of loyalty.

3. Kisaragi / Elfen Lied (182 votes)
Original anime aired 2004, 13 episodes

Kisaragi is the somewhat clumsy personal secretary of series antagonist Kurama. She meets a grisly end only seven minutes into the first episode of Elfen Lied (perhaps setting some kind of “quick death” record?) at the hands of the escaped Diclonius main character Lucy. Let’s just say that this specific scene is shocking and bloody enough to unassuming viewers that they’ll feel like their heads are spinning clean off…

▼ Kurama vows to avenge Kisaragi’s death and keeps a picture of her on desk to remind himself.

2. Heart / Fist of the North Star (240 votes)
Original anime aired 1984-1988, 152 episodes

One of the first “big bosses” that Fist of the North Star protagonist Kenshiro faces, Heart is a subordinate of his archenemy, Shin. He’s an extremely massive man whose bulk allows him to absorb attacks. Despite his appearance, Heart usually acts and speaks in a very polite manner but turns into a bloodthirsty killer whenever he sees his own blood. He dies by explosion in the fourth episode after being on the receiving end of Kenshiro’s Big Dipper Soft-Breaking Slash technique.

▼ His death shout of “Hidebu!“, a play on the standard Japanese way of saying “It hurts!”, is one of the most famous in the series after Kenshiro’s catchphrase “You’re already dead.”

1. Kazuya Uesugi / Touch (341 votes)
Original anime aired 1985-1987, 101 episodes

The number one spot on today’s ranking goes to a main character from Touch, Mitsuru Adachi’s most famous manga, which was adapted into one of the most beloved sports anime of all time. Cross Game involves many parallels to Touch in its characters and situations. Kazuya is a twin who, along with his older brother Tatsuya, has a crush on their childhood friend Minami. Hardworking and serious, he plays pitcher on his school’s baseball team. On the day of the final qualifying game to go to Koshien he’s involved in a fatal traffic accident while saving a child. The ramifications of his death are explored in the 25th and 26th episodes of the anime when Tatsuya and Minami must find a way to somehow go on. It’s a shockingly tragic development in this slice-of-life story and to this day continues to cause bucketloads of tears among viewers.

Touch is another story revolving around youthful dreams of participating in the Koshien baseball tournament.

Upon viewing the results and the preponderance of older, “classic” shows, we immediately had to wonder what the age breakdown of survey respondents was. Unfortunately, that information was not released as part of the results. In addition, some net users chimed in to express their surprise that characters such as Kamina (Gurren Lagann), Kanade Omo (Symphogear), and Gai Daigoji (Martian Successor Nadesico) didn’t rank higher on the list. Others were also shocked that neither Krillin (Dragon Ball) nor a character from the highest-grossing film of all time in Japan didn’t even make the final cut (but perhaps the former doesn’t count since Krillin died and came back to life more than once).

OK, Japanese Internet. We have a request. For our next survey, can we please focus on something a bit more upbeat–like this Super Mario series character popularity poll?

Source: Goo Ranking via My Game News Flash
Top image: Pakutaso
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