- Attack on Titan doesn’t shy away from killing major characters.
- Miche Zacharias’ death is among the most graphic in the series.
- Ramzi and Halil’s deaths are difficult to watch since they are children and innocent victims of the Rumbling.
Warning: Spoilers for Attack on Titan: The Final ChaptersSince its premiere in 2013, Attack on Titan has become one of the most beloved anime made in recent years. With its detailed world-building, nuanced characters, and gripping story, it managed to capture the hearts of people all around the world. But the one thing that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats is the fact that no one in the series is safe from death.
Attack on Titan shows a civilization where humanity is forced to live inside walls for fear of being eradicated by flesh-eating giants called Titans. When the outermost wall is destroyed by two new Titans, the Colossal and the Armored, a boy named Eren Yeager swears revenge after his mother is eaten alive. Eren and his friends enlist in the Survey Corps, a branch of the military dedicated to exploring the outside world. The story is well-known for its graphic depictions of violence, especially the way its characters meet their demise. With Attack on Titan finally reaching its conclusion after a decade, it’s worth revisiting the saddest deaths in the anime.
10 Bertholdt Hoover’s Death Riddles Armin With Guilt
Season 3, Episode 18 “Midnight Sun”
Bertholdt graduates third in the 104th Training Class, and like many of his classmates, joins the Scout Regiment. Initially thought to be a quiet, unassuming person, he is revealed to be the Colossal Titan who, along with Reiner Braun, launched the attack on Wall Maria in 845. Like Reiner and Annie, Bertholdt is one of Marley’s Warriors sent to Paradis to infiltrate the Walls and retrieve the Founding Titan. Masquerading as a refugee from the mountains of Wall Maria, he joins the military to get closer to King Fritz and eliminate the Eldians as a threat.
As the Scouts begin their mission to retake Wall Maria, Bertholdt waits with Reiner inside the walls. When they are discovered, he shifts into his Colossal Titan form and is attacked by Eren, who slices his nape and severs his limbs. Bertholdt begs his former allies for mercy, but is quickly eaten by Armin’s Titan form. Before dying, he instinctively smiles, as if expecting his former friends to save him. What makes his death even more upsetting is that, despite being an antagonist, he truly cares about his friends, and feels guilty about his actions. In the end, Bertholdt is left to die alone, without even his fellow Warriors to help him.
9 Marlo Freudenberg’s Death Ends His Potential For Leadership
Season 3, Episode 16 “Perfect Game”
Marlo is first seen as Annie Leonhart’s comrade in the Military Police. Unlike his fellow recruits who want a safe position away from Titans, he joins with the intention of eliminating corruption in the branch. He transfers to the Scout Regiment after the military overthrows the government, and he takes part in the mission to retake Shiganshina. As the Beast Titan ambushes the Scouts, Marlo and his fellow recruits are put in charge of defending the horses from approaching Titans. Keeping his fellow recruits in line, he shows his potential for leadership.
Despite being terrified, Marlo follows Erwin Smith on a charge against the Beast Titan so that Levi can kill it. With a heavy heart, he thinks back on how excited he was about the mission, not knowing how dangerous it was. Preparing for his death, he sees a flashback of his fellow soldier, Hitch, and wonders what she is doing at the moment. As the Beast Titan continues to pummel the Scouts with rocks, Marlo is obliterated along with the other soldiers. It’s difficult to watch as the soldiers march towards their deaths, believing Erwin’s words about their sacrifices not being in vain.
8 Miche Zacharias’s Death is One of the Series’ Most Brutal
Season 2, Episode 1 “Beast Titan”
Miche Zacharias’ death is one of the most disturbing scenes to watch in the anime. A stoic person with an excellent sense of smell, Miche is a section commander in the Scout Regiment and one of its strongest members. During the Scouts’ second attempt at capturing the Female Titan, Miche’s squad investigates the 104th recruits for other possible traitors. He senses the Titans approaching and decides to fight all five of them at the same time, giving his squad a chance to retreat.
The world of Attack on Titan is a brutal, deadly one and killing Titans is no walk in the park but these characters certainly make it look easy.
After having his legs crushed, Miche is frozen with fear when the Beast Titan questions him. He musters up the courage to fight again but Miche is ripped apart by the surrounding Titans in an extremely graphic manner. As he screams in pain, it becomes harder to remember him as the stoic, quiet person from before. It’s a cruel reminder that even the strongest people can experience fear when faced with a greater enemy. Miche is shown to be reunited with his comrades in the afterlife but is rarely mentioned in the story despite his important position among the Scouts.
7 Hannes Dies Right as He Atones For His Cowardice
Season 2, Episode 12 “Scream”
Hannes is first introduced as a soldier in the Garrison who is criticized by Eren for drinking while on duty. He confidently assures the boy that the Walls will never be breached, worrying when he hears of his plans to join the Scout Regiment. During the Fall of Wall Maria, Hannes rushes over to Eren and Mikasa, saving them after Carla Yeager is devoured by a Titan. As the years pass, his guilt at not being able to save Carla leads him to train diligently and rise up the ranks of the Garrison.
When he meets the main trio again, Hannes apologizes to Eren for letting his mother die. He later encounters the Titan who killed Carla and engages in battle with hopes of avenging her death. Unfortunately, Hannes’ body is severed, and he dies instantly as Eren and Mikasa watch in horror. Hannes has looked out for the main trio since they were children and is the reason they survived the destruction of Shiganshina. It’s sad to see him work hard to atone for his cowardice, only to die in vain. His death is made more emotional by Eren and Mikasa’s reactions as they watch their friend be savagely ripped apart.
6 Marco Bodt’s Death Proves the Titan Shifters’ Brutality
Season 3, Episode 15, “Descent”
Despite Marco’s short presence in the series, he still manages to make a big impact. While he’s initially thought to be a casualty from the Battle of Trost, it’s revealed in season 3 that his cruel death is anything but an accident. After overhearing a conversation between Reiner and Bertholdt that exposes them as Titan shifters, Marco fearfully tries to leave by playing it off as a joke. On Reiner’s orders, however, Annie removes hi gear and the trio leave him for dead on a rooftop. As Marco begs his former allies for answers, a Titan bites him in half, killing him instantly.
Marco’s influence is most prominent through Jean, who honors his friend by joining the Scout Regiment to fight for humanity. His death leaves an impact on several other characters, including his killers, who experience severe guilt over their actions. His memory is kept alive throughout the story and continues to inspire his fellow cadets. Marco’s death also serves as a painful reminder of betrayal and the way innocent people are often killed for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
5 Hange Zoë Sacrifices Themselves For the Greater Good
Season 4, Part 3, Special 1 “The Final Chapters (Part 1): Chapter 1 – The Rumbling”
Initially a squad leader for the Scouts, Hange is one of the few people to show support for Eren after his transformation. While their enthusiasm for Titans often makes them a source of comic relief, they are one of the most intelligent characters in Attack on Titan. Hange survives the battle at Shiganshina due to their assistant, Moblit Berner, pushing them away from the explosion. One of the few surviving members of the Scout Regiment after the battle, they are chosen by Erwin, prior to his death, to succeed him as the commander. As one of the series’ most beloved characters, it’s difficult for many fans to say goodbye to them.
As the Scouts head to Marley, Hange volunteers to stay behind to slow down the Rumbling. They stop to say goodbye to Levi, who, as a sign of respect for his friend, tells them to dedicate their heart. In an emotional scene, Hange fights the Colossal Titans, but suffers burns as a result of their intense body heat. After succumbing to their injuries, they wake up in an afterlife where they see Erwin, who commends them for their sacrifice. It’s a bittersweet feeling to know that while Hange has reunited with their fallen comrades, they are leaving behind the Scouts, who are mourning their commander’s passing.
4 Ramzi and Halil’s Deaths Show How Far Eren Has Fallen
Season 4, Part 3, Episode 1 “The Rumbling”
If there’s anything worse than seeing innocent people die, it’s seeing innocent children die. Despite their limited screen time, the boys’ deaths leave a lasting impact, and have since become one of the most heartbreaking moments in the series. Ramzi and Halil are refugees in Marley who must resort to stealing in order to feed their family. When Eren stumbles upon Ramzi being beaten by a group of men, he saves him and takes him back to his village. He proceeds to tearfully apologize to the child for his future actions.
It’s an upsetting scene to watch, knowing that Ramzi will die soon, but it shows how Eren is willing to proceed even when he knows his actions are wrong. The boys are seen again during the Rumbling, where they try to outrun the Titans but are hit by flying debris from nearby buildings. In a truly devastating display, Halil is killed almost instantly, but Ramzi is left to cry out in pain as a Titan brutally crushes him with its foot. Seeing the Rumbling from their perspective showcases the truly horrifying nature of the event. It also casts light on how children are the unfortunate victims of bad decisions made by adults.
3 Eren Jaeger’s Death Brought a Tragic End to the Series
Season 4, Part 4, Special 4 “The Final Chapters (Part 2): Chapter 4 – A Long Dream”
Based on his actions in the final season of Attack on Titan, it’s easy to forget that Eren Jaeger was just a boy who wanted to kill Titans so he could avenge his mother. Despite being reckless and hot-blooded from the beginning, his emotions become more unstable as he learns about the horrors in the outside world. Convinced that there is no peaceful solution, Eren develops a twisted worldview where he plans to unleash the Rumbling and destroy the world so Eldia can survive. He tries to justify his acts of mass murder and global genocide by claiming that his intentions are to protect the people he loves.
Eren displays contradictory thinking, believing that through oppression and destruction, he will gain freedom for both his people and himself. After arriving at Marley’s coast, he reveals that his death will destroy the Pure Titans and allow Paradis to gain favor from the rest of the world. As the Scouts face off against the Founding Titan, Mikasa enters Eren’s Titan mouth and severs his head. Sadly, it’s only in death that Eren fulfills his dream of freedom and accomplishes his goal of removing the Titans. It’s a roller coaster of emotions as he realizes that sacrifice is the only way to atone for his actions and end everyone’s suffering.
2 Sasha Braus’ Death Proves The Series Has No Room For Comic Relief
Season 4, Part 1, Episode 8 “Assassin’s Bullet”
Since her introduction as “Potato Girl” in season 1, Sasha has become a fan-favorite character. She provides rare instances of comic relief in an otherwise morbid series, but is also a caring friend and a skilled soldier. While Sasha gets less time to shine than many other characters, she proves herself to be a loveable character on several occasions, such as when she thanks Niccolo for his food instead of judging him for being Marleyan. Her kindness changes the chef’s perspective on the war and encourages him to cook for the happiness of others.
After the Scout Regiment’s victory at Liberio, Sasha joins her comrades on the airship and is shot in the stomach by Gabi Braun. Jean and Connie rush over to stop her bleeding, but she quickly dies from her injuries. Her friends are distraught at her death, with even Mikasa, a usually stoic character, crying profusely. Sasha’s last words, where she asks for meat, remind Eren of their younger days, causing him to laugh as his comrades watch in horror. The scene marks a darker turning point in the series, taking with Sasha the last semblance of hope and optimism. It functions as a bleak reminder that no one is safe in Attack on Titan.
1 Erwin Smith’s Death is the Series’ Saddest By Far
Season 3, Episode 18 “Midnight Sun”
From the very beginning, Commander Erwin was a symbol of hope for the people on Paradis Island. With grand ambitions for humanity, he is often seen as a threat by the government. While Erwin’s intelligence and charisma make him a respected leader, his complexities make him a standout character. He states that while he cares for his soldiers, he is willing to sacrifice them for the greater good. While much of his motivation comes from his childhood desire to learn about the world outside the walls, it doesn’t make him any less likable. It just serves to show that he is still human and prone to bouts of selfishness.
During the mission to retake Shiganshina, Erwin reflects on how many of his comrades died for humanity’s sake, and decides to give up on his dream. Erwin leads the recruits into battle against the Beast Titan, but is mortally wounded by falling rocks. As Levi hears Erwin mumbling about his childhood, he decides to let his friend rest and saves Armin with the Titan injection. Erwin is granted redemption through his death, choosing to dedicate his final moments to fighting for humanity and leaving behind a legacy that paves the way for the surviving Scouts. The heartbreaking send-off and impact of losing Erwin make his death the saddest in Attack on Titan.
- Release Date:
- Matthew Mercer, Josh Grelle, Hiroshi Kamiya, Shiori Mikami, Jerry Jewell, Kishô Taniyama, Jessica Calvello, Masahiko Tanaka, Yui Ishikawa, Romi Park, Robert McCollum, Tomohisa Hashizume, Hiro Shimono, Trina Nishimura
- Main Genre:
- Animation, Adventure, Action
- Many years ago, humanity was forced to retreat behind the towering walls of a fortified city to escape the massive, man-eating Titans that roamed the land outside their fortress. This is their story. With his hometown in ruins, young Eren Yeager becomes determined to fight back against the giant Titans that threaten to destroy the human race.
- Attack on Titan
- Characters By:
- Hajime Isayama
- Adult Swim (Toonami)
- Main Characters:
- Armin Arlert, Mikasa Ackerman, Eren Jaeger
- Production Company:
- Wit Studio, MAPPA
- Story By:
- Hajime Isayama