(Warning: Spoiler for Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2)
To pick the very saddest death, I’d have to try to go through a list of all 580 anime series I’ve seen and remember the deaths in each one, along with how sad they made me. I’m too lazy for that. The sad anime death that comes to mind first is from Code Geass, in the second season, R2. Thanks to Jeremiah’s Geass Canceler, Shirley regains her true memories, including the fact that Zero is Lelouch. It also reminds her of how much she loves Lelouch despite all he has done. When she talks to Rolo about her love, the assassin boy shoots her and leaves her to die.
Lelouch finds Shirley dying at the end of R2 episode 13. She confesses her love to him in an extremely touching and moving way. Lelouch is absolutely desperate to save her, even trying to use Geass on her to order her to live. But the girl can’t be saved. Shirley’s death is absolutely heartbreaking to watch and it has left me teary-eyed all four times I’ve watched it. I don’t even ship Shirley with Lelouch, but nevertheless… it utterly wrecks my heart when she says she’ll be recincarnated, find Lelouch, and fall in love with him again.
I almost chose Euphemia’s death from season one because that also makes me just as depressed, but the thing about Shirley dying is that she was really just a bystander. Euphie was used to political backstabbing, and she actively interfered with Zero’s plans and knew his true identity to boot. She didn’t deserve to die, of course, but she may have been more prepared for the idea, being in the political spotlight in a time of war. Shirley, on the other hand? She knew Zero’s identity, but Rolo didn’t confirm this before shooting her. He shot her because he was jealous and wanted Lelouch to himself.
Shirley was only a pretty and sweet highschool girl, and Rolo killed her for basically no reason. As if it wasn’t bad enough that her mind had already been tragically tampered with before. A friend of mine actually stopped watching Code Geass after Shirley’s death, and it seems many people share his sentiment that it was pointless to have such a good character die. I don’t think it was pointless for the story, though. The story was in need of a major shake-up to reiterate the theme of how tragic it is to get mixed up with Geass powers, and how Lelouch’s war causes the deaths of innocent people sometimes. Shirley’s Death also gave the push Lelouch needed to drop the act with Rolo.
Now I’m sad. Darn Day 25 of the 30 Day Anime Challenge. Rest in peace, Shirley!